Covering trauma: Impact on the public

An overview of current research on how news coverage of traumatic event effects the public and the risk factors that exascerbate reactions of distress.

People who have been directly or indirectly exposed to tragedy can develop trauma-related symptoms or post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, it is possible, in theory, for a person to develop trauma-related symptoms after merely viewing media coverage of a traumatic event.

But is it really? Does watching trauma-related news induce or worsen psychological reactions in some people? What do journalists need to know about the evidence regarding the impact of trauma-related news coverage? What is the status of evidence about the effects of trauma-related news coverage?

This fact sheet reviews what we know about effects of media coverage from various tragedies, what we still need to learn, and practical implications of what we know.

Read more

Scroll to Top