A raw insight into what it’s like to cover the atrocities being perpetrated in Syria


Earlier today (Saturday, August 31, 2013), I caught an excellent BBC World Service radio interview replayed here in Australia on ABC News Radio.

It’s a behind-the-scenes look at how two journalists are faring as they record, process, select and publish distressing images from Syria.

One, Faisal Irshaid, works with BBC Monitoring and the other, Darius Bazargan, is a filmmaker.

Both are articulate and honest as they step the Fifth Floor interviewer, Pooneh Ghoddoosi, through some of the real challenges they have been facing.

They touched on the confronting realities facing all media who cover atrocities and both did so with sensitivity and professionalism.

It was powerful stuff and you can access the segment (starts at 1min15sec and runs to 10min50sec) at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fm6jq

A global organisation that helps shine a light on best practice for media personnel covering traumatic images is the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.*

Now based at Columbia University, in New York, the Dart Center also has international offices in Melbourne, Australia, and in London, England, as well as in Cologne, Germany, with outreach activities in several other cities around the globe.

If you or a media worker you know would like to know more about trauma and journalism, including how to build resilience and cope with covering distressing stories, the Dart websites are a great place to start.


Words: Trina McLellan

* Disclosure: From 2004-2009, Trina McLellan was a founding board member for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma – Australasia (now the Dart Centre Asia Pacific). Prior to that she had contact with researchers at the Dart Center as she completed a Master of Arts thesis. In the decade since, she has continued to work on teaching and advancement projects relating to issues around journalism and trauma, including the recent delivery of an online Disaster Reporting course for the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.

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