Misinformation in News

A Florida Journalism Think Tank Offers Reporters Tips On Stress, And One News Outlet Takes The A Day Off

Led by the likes of CNN’s Jim Acosta, American journalists spent years during Donald Trump’s presidency actually being the story instead of simply reporting it – styling themselves as media “firefighters” every bit as heroic as actual first-responders or military personnel.

Now, the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, under the foundation that owns the Tampa Bay Times, has offered reporters a way to achieve tranquility in moments when the job of gathering the news becomes too much to bear.

Poynter, part of whose mission is to offer journalists training and leadership development, recently offered a course – now available for free – called “Journalism and Trauma.”

Part of the class seems useful.

Its intent, according to the Poynter website, is to teach reporters “how traumatic stress affects victims and how to interview trauma victims with compassion and respect.”

But, we live in an age when self comes before all else, when thin-skinned, emotionally shallow narcissists are encouraged to be quitters, to express their feelings about the “trauma” they must endure from COVID, street crime, or an ill-tasting latte.

As Poynter tells its clients, “This life-and-death pain and suffering doesn’t affect only the victims; it can affect you, too.”

“This course teaches you how to take care of your own health after covering a traumatic event,” Poynter says.


In the olds days, that might involve a trip to the corner saloon.   

Yet the Washington Free Beacon notes that Poynter’s advices includes techniques such as:

“Take time to be sexual — with yourself, [or] with a partner.”

“Allow yourself to cry.”

“Give yourself affirmations, praise yourself.”

“Find ways to increase your sense of self-esteem.”

“Wear clothes you like,” or find another way to “decrease stress in your life.”   

Apparently one local TV news station in Portland, which admittedly has been besieged by leftist Antifa thugs for as long as anyone can remember, accepted Poynter’s feel-good-about-yourself challenge.

On Monday, KATU, Portland’s ABC affiliate, just took the day off.

Mike Warner, a KATU photographer, noted in a Twitter thread, “NO NEWS MONDAY… just a heads up, the @KATUNews morning and afternoon shows have been preempted and will NOT air on Monday, Sep. 27th.  The entire news team is attending a seminar to help deal with on-the-job stress and trauma.”

“In almost 25 years as a photojournalist, I’ve never seen a newsroom do this,” Warner added. “But it’s been a crazy time filled with a raging pandemic, out of control violence, political unrest, riots, and ongoing death & destruction.  Personally speaking, seeing bodies daily gets to you.”

Warner offered that Poynter’s instructors presented a “fantastic program,” which built on the course suggestions the Free Beacon found, such as relaxing with an animal.

“I highly recommend [this] for newsrooms everywhere,” he concluded. “Extremely helpful to have the team off on a work day to focus. … So many people out there suffering, programs like this should be REQUIRED.”

In the post-Trump era, it appears, “Suck it up, buttercup” is too much to ask of our crusading, intrepid reporters. Then again, these reporters better hope that their audiences don’t decide that “no news is good news” is something they can live with – permanently. 

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