Mindanao journalists are more exposed to traumatic experiences. That’s given. Try enumerating the war fights in the region. The most fatal calamities that hit this part of the island in the past few years. The extra-judicial killings. Then add the almost ordinary accidents, the inhumane treatment of the powerful few. The list is endless if we are to pen point the events, traumatic events, being covered by journalists for our audiences’s daily consumption.
Today, I learned how fellow journalists were traumatized by the disasters especially when Typhoon “Sendong” hit Cagayan De Oro and Iligan in December 2011, and how they are slowly coping with the floodings. During calamities such as this, they are not only journalists who cover events, they themselves are victims of disasters.
Speaking of Mindanao, who could separate “Ampatuan Massacre” with Mindanao? Yes, that mass killing on a broad daylight, which caused lives of 58 individuals, 32 of whom were journalists.
But how to address trauma?
Paraan said, “talk to someone who understands.” And those who understand journalists more, aside from their mothers, are journalists themselves.
Sophie Garduce, a psychologist handling trauma of journalists told participants coping mechanisms have to be in place to enable journalists to prepare themselves in any unfortunate eventuality. But first, she said, “Do no harm.”
With this seminar on trauma and journalism, journalists see a ray of hope for them who are exposed to trauma.