PA Press Conference Guide: Covering Trauma


Whether a journalist is covering domestic violence, a natural disaster, or the international issue of sex trafficking, reporters covering stories related to trauma, violence, and tragedy are often faced with difficult decisions and responsibilities.

A Saturday panel discussion on preparing to cover trauma at the PA Press Conference will help explore the issue and open the floor for discussion on the skill and sensitivity it takes for a journalist to cover violence and tragedy.

Three journalism professionals – Josh Meyer of the Medill National Security Initiative, Kari Pricher, producer for CNN Anderson Cooper 360, and New York Times Magazine contributing writer Maggie Jones – will answer questions on the best way to cover a traumatic story and how to prepare for these emotional assignments.

Recommended Resources:

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting About Victims & Trauma

Here’s a look at the panelists:


About the panelist: Josh Meyer

Josh Meyer is the director of education and outreach at the Medill National Security Initiative. Meyer also helps to educate graduate level journalists as a McCormick Lecturer in National Security Studies at the Medill School of Journalism. Meyer’s writing focus includes is covering conflicts, terrorism, and national security.

Before joining Medill, he spent two decades at the Los Angeles Times, serving as a national security writer from 2000 on, where he traveled extensively to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Persian Gulf. Meyer won two staff Pulitzers and a group Overseas Press Club award for his work previous to Sept. 11 on the coverage of Al Qaeda’s interest in attacking on U.S. soil.

Meyer is also the co-author of the 2012 bestselling book, The Hunt For KSM; Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, which was named a New York Times “Editors’ Choice’’ book in July 2012.


About the panelist: Kari Pricher

Kari Pricher is an editorial producer for CNN Anderson Cooper 360. For over a decade, she has traveled to cover stories on communities coping with nationally known tragedies.

Her list of recent assignments include the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, and post-tornado devastation in Moore, Oklahoma.

Pircher was a segment producer on ABC Good Morning America Weekend from 2007 to 2011, and worked on the Dr. Oz Show.


About the Panelist: Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones works with The New York Times Magazine as a contributing writer. She has also written articles and book reviews for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, Mother Jones, Elle and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jones is also a senior Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at Columbia Journalism School.

Jones has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and received fellowships from the Japan Society, the International Reporting Project, the Journalism Fellowships in Child and Family Policy, and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

Her main writing focus is on social issues with a concentration on immigration, crime, poverty, race, gender, education and families. In addition to her work throughout the United States, she has reported international from locations such as Japan, Thailand, Burma and Guatemala.


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