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Fri July 1, 2011
NMSU Professor Working On Program To Address Trauma In Journalism
By Vanessa Dabovich
Las Cruces, NM – Photojournalist Bruce Berman has been covering the U.S Mexico border and stretch of land that encompasses El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico for nearly thirty years. He has covered the border for various publications including the New York Times.
As a Professor in the NMSU Journalism Department, Berman has become involved with a program that works with conflict and trauma in journalism. DART, is a center for journalism and trauma and is dedicated to informed, effective and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.
Berman says the program has done research on journalists suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Berman-"DART has done a lot of research that no one has ever done and they found out journalist have PTSD too, they have seen a lot of shocking things. There is that old stereotype of a journalist with a fedora with a press pass tucked into it always drinking in the 40's movies. It's true, PTSD just like soldiers seen too much trying to suppress the emotions."
Journalism educators from eight southwest universities including University of New Mexico, University of Texas at El Paso, have teamed up to create the Border Journalism Network. The mission of the bi-national network, currently based at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, is to develop a series of innovative educational initiatives for students, faculty and professionals on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Berman-"We are trying to learn how to teach our students to cover trauma and conflict without A-becoming traumatized and B- without causing more trauma to victims of violent situations. So that would be something like how do you interview someone whose son has been shot in the head in Juarez. What do you say, how do you feel about this? Which you do see on TV, oh god that's painful. So we are trying to develop methods, a website and be a resource for people to learn how to do this better."
Berman also says the site will serve as a platform for border journalism students to publish their work.
More information on DART and the Border Journalism Network can be found at dartcenter.org. You can also hear the full interview with Bruce Berman by clicking on the Fronteras: A Changing America link at krwg.org.