According to its website, The Keystone Press Awards reinforce excellence by individuals in the newspaper profession, by recognizing journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers, and faithfully fulfills its First Amendment rights/responsibilities.
Take a look at the York Daily Record/Sunday News’ winners for 2015.
Part of the York, Pa., Daily Record’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade crew. (Wonder how many times that newly installed YDR logo on the Great Wall at 1891 Loucks Road will be used as a backdrop for photos? This is already No. 2; Buffy Andrews’ made No. 1).
Kathy Jansen, left, a psychologist and trauma specialist with WellSpan, and Lt. Marc Junkerman (orange tie) of the Harford (Md.) County Sheriff’s Office, talked about trauma and peer-support to a group of Digital First Media journalists on Thursday. (Jason Plotkin photo)
Right now, the idea of a peer-support program for journalists who cover stories of trauma is something new and different for the YDR and for Digital First Media newsrooms in Pennsylvania.
But we hope that, in time, it becomes second nature — like deciding on the best photos from a shoot, or tweeting breaking news, or planning for coverage of a major news event.
Fifteen journalists from 11 news organizations in the state spent a day at the YDR, learning about trauma, resilience and peer-support from a distinguished group: Elana Newman, research director at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma; Kathy Jansen, psychologist with WellSpan and leader of York County’s Critical Incident Stress Management team; Lt. Marc Junkerman of the Harford (Md.) County Sheriff’s Office and a CISM coordinator; Lisa Millar, North American correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Company, a pioneer with its peer-support program; and Kate Black, associate director of the Dart Center.
The DFM journalists are pioneers, too. DFM is the first U.S.-based news organization to begin developing a peer-support program. The Dart Center has provided support and guidance in a partnership that began in May 2014, when about 20 DFM staffers spent a day and a half of training with the center’s executive director, Bruce Shapiro.
He laid the groundwork for what would become the peer-support program that we officially kicked off on Thursday. The focus: Understand trauma on a deeper, cultural level so you can be better journalists; and, because journalists can be affected by what they cover, learn to take care of one another.
The ultimate goal is to cover trauma survivors with greater knowledge and sensitivity, and to recognize when a colleague might need help dealing with a difficult assignment.
The day began with attendees sharing personal stories of difficult assignments they’ve had.
The faculty then led the group through research on trauma and how it affects journalists, what trauma does to a person and why peer support works, and practical advice on detailed ways to to use our guidelines and make our program work.
Elana Newman, research director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, talks about how trauma can affect journalists on Thursday at the YDR. (Jason Plotkin photo)
The newly lettered wall at the YDR. After Buffy, a writer of many successful books, tweeted this, I replied: “What? None of your books up there with you. Unusual missed opportunity.” So, I’ll give her a plug: Here’s her Amazon.com fan page.
We’ll be hosting several colleagues from Digital First Media’s Pennsylvania newsrooms, as well as a few of our own YDR staffers, to kick off our trauma journalism peer-support program.
The program, and this day, started a couple years ago when photojournalist Jason Plotkin and I started wondering how we could better prepare journalists, especially young ones, for some of the toughest assignments they’ll face — photographing a mother whose child died in an accident, talking to a family who lost everything in a fire, seeing the pain on someone’s face when a reporter or photographer approaches at the most difficult of moments.
When a survivor wants to tell her story, our staffers should know how best to work with someone who has been through trauma; those interviews are unlike any others. And when a journalist comes back to the newsroom carrying the emotion of the assignment — guilt, fear, anger, sadness — his colleagues should know how to help him.
We created guidelines that any newsroom can use to learn more about how coverage of trauma and conflict can affect journalists, and how they can help each other and themselves; as well as best practices for reporting with knowledge and respect about tragedy and trauma survivors. Ultimately, we envision every newsroom on DFM’s East Coast will have at least one peer supporter, and beyond that, a network of them at other organizations who are ready when called on.
On Thursday in our newsroom, we’ll learn from experts in this field: Lisa Millar of the Australian Broadcasting Company, whose organization is one of the first to have a peer-support program (see video); Elana Newman, research director for the Dart Center; and York County’s own Kathy Jansen, a trauma specialist at York Hospital and head of the county’s Critical Incident Stress Management team.
Our peer-support effort is not to say that every journalist has to be affected, or be affected in the same way. Some take on the most harrowing assignments and are OK. That’s fine. For others, the story or the interaction linger, and can cause distress — and that has to be fine, too, if we are to be not only better journalists, but better people.
A reporter who covers a fatal accident won’t be required to come back to the newsroom and sit down with a peer-supporter. That would be silly. But that reporter will know she can if she needs to, and that a peer-supporter will have the tools and the language to help at a crucial time. We think that’s vital.
Journalists are first responders, joining police, firefighters, fire policemen and emergency medical workers, on the front lines. For some journos, this work can be taxing mentally and physically. The York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News has developed a program to address trauma in journalism and to train journalists in reporting on victims of trauma.
If a poll falls flat in the wilderness of the World Wide Web, does it still make a sound?
I hope so, at least eventually. Last week’s opinion-page poll on the York County Heritage Trust drew just 29 responses.
Now, when someone asks me a question, I like to think about it before answering. And it may be that all this talk about the future of the Trust is still too new for most to have much of an opinion.
No doubt the members of the Trust, at least, as given the matter considerable attention, given the thoughtful and candid nature of their report exploring the historical society’s future options.
As it was, keeping the Trust’s 10 buildings got six votes, a little more than 20 percent of our small sample, even if that meant reducing hours or closing the Agricultural Museum. Consolidating the Trust’s resources at its East Market Street location got six votes, while consolidating over at the Ag Museum instead got nine. Finally, centering the Trust’s many activities near the Rail Trail and Codorus Creek got the most votes.
Of course, all those things cost money, so they will take public support if they are ever going to be more than silent visions on the World Wide Web. The Trust could play a key role in vibrant, revitalized future for the city.
But all a poll or a report can do is raise questions. How they get answered will be up to all of us.
This week’s poll question asks about Gov. Tom Wolf’s death-penalty moratorium, a topic on which I suspect most folks will have a ready opinion. Go to ydr.com/opinion to make your point of view count.