MetroFocus: May 11, 2020

A new study shows that black communities account for a disproportionate amount of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.  African-Americans comprise 13.4% of the American population, but according to the study, counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all Covid-19 cases and almost 60% of deaths. Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama, joins MetroFocus to talk about why statewide reopenings could exacerbate that disparity, and what states and health care professionals can do to address it. She also gives us a look at how her research into the particular impact the crisis is having on women of color.

When we think of journalists afflicted with PTSD, our minds often turn to the men and women working in war zones. But you don’t have to be a war correspondent to suffer from post-traumatic stress. For local journalists, creating content amid traumatic events means exposure to much more low level trauma can build and over time lead to occupational PTSD. Telling the stories of the pandemic’s impact is a privilege, but constant immersion in the difficult stories of devastation and loss can wear on those tasked with communicating that information. And reporting on a highly-infectious global pandemic can be especially daunting. In war, you don’t bring the enemy home with you. While covering a pandemic you can and it can kill indiscriminately. Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University has been studying these effects for 20 years. Today, DART is working with journalists around the globe to help them to better understand the long term damage immersion into traumatic events can have on journalists and how to prevent it.

Aired on May 11, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> UP NEXT, 'METRO FOCUS.'

WE'RE WORKING FROM HOME BUT WE'RE DEDICATED TO BRINGING YOU THE IMPORTANT STORIES ABOUT HOW OUR AREA IS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS.

> WELCOME TO 'METRO FOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORWARD.

WE KNOW THAT COVID-19 HAS HAD A DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

LISTEN TO SOME RESULTS OF A RECENT STUDY.

IT TELLS US THAT COUNTIES WITH BLACK POPULATIONS HIGHER THAN 13% WHICH IS THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, ACCOUNT FOR OVER HALF OF ALL CORONAVIRUS CASES IN THE U.S. AND FOR NEARLY 60% OF THE DEATHS.

THOSE NUMBERS ARE STARTLING, FRIGHTENING AND THEY ARE LEADING EXPERTS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT SORT OF IMPACT WILL THERE BE IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AS THE COUNTRY CONTINUES TO REOPEN?

TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT, WE'RE DELIGHTED TO BE JOINED BY JOCELYN FRYE WHO IS A SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS AND STUDIED THESE ISSUES, ESPECIALLY THE IMPACT ON WOMEN OF COLOR.

JOCELYN, WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

WELL THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

SO LET'S START WITH THAT NOTION THAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE IMPACT COVID-19 HAS HAD ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

WHY IS IT THAT YOU'RE SO CONCERNED ABOUT AN ADDITIONAL IMPACT AS THE NATION CONTINUES TO REOPEN?

I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE THINGS THAT ARE OF GREAT CONCERN.

FIRST IS THAT WE DON'T KNOW THE TRUE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM.

WE HAVE DATA FROM SOME STATES AND SOME COMMUNITIES BUT TRUTHFULLY, WE DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW IN GREAT DETAIL ACROSS THE COUNTRY THESE EXACT DISPARITIES AND WHY THEY'RE OCCURRING.

WE DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT HOW THEY'RE BROKEN DOWN BY RACE, ETHNICITY AND GENDER.

WE MAY HAVE GENERAL NUMBERS ABOUT AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND LATINOS BUT DON'T KNOW THE GENDER BREAKDOWN.

THERE'S A LOT WE DON'T KNOW.

THE OTHER THING IS THAT WHAT WE DO KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE A HANDLE ON IT.

RIGHT?

LIKE WE KNOW THAT MANY PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY MORE LIKELY TO BE IN THE ESSENTIAL LOW WAGE JOBS WHERE THEY MAY BE MORE LIKELY TO CONTRACT THE DISEASE.

THEY MAY FEEL OBLIGATED TO GO BACK TO WORK BECAUSE THEY NEED THAT MONEY FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT THEY ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY MORE LIKELY TO HAVE THE UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO INCREASE THE LIKELIHOOD OF BEING INFECTED OR CONTRACTING THE DISEASE.

SO WE KNOW ALL THESE THINGS.

BUT, YET, WE DON'T KNOW TO ADDRESS THEM.

WE DON'T KNOW THE SCOPE.

AND IN THIS MOMENT OF STILL TRYING TO THINK ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM IS, WE'RE SORT OF MOVING FORWARD WITH REOPENING WITHOUT REALLY HAVING A HANDLE ON WHAT THE SCOPE IS AND WHAT THE SOLUTIONS MIGHT BE.

SO AS THEN THE STATES MOVE TOWARDS REOPENING, LIKE, WHICH THEY ARE DOING.

SOME FASTER THAN OTHERS.

YOU CAN RAISE THE QUESTION ABOUT THE SPEED THAT SOME STATES ARE LOOKING TO REOPEN, WHAT SORT OF CONCERNS DO THEY HAVE?

WHAT SORT OF APPROACHES SHOULD THEY TAKE THAT MAY KEEP IN MIND THE NOTION OF THE ADDITIONAL IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR?

FIRST OF ALL, THEY SHOULD MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE INFORMATION, THE CONCRETE DATA TO KNOW IF THERE ARE IN FACT DIFFERENT RATES OF INFECTION AND DEATHS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

AND THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO LOOK AT THEIR COMMUNITY FIGURE OUT WHERE THE PACTS ARE OCCURRING.

THEY SHOULD ABLE TO CRACK WHETHER THE PEOPLE TRYING TO FLATTEN THE CURVE, IF THEY'RE DOING IT CONSISTENTLY BY RACE AND ETHNICITY OR ARE THERE PARTICULAR AREAS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES THAT ARE ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING THE DECLINES?

THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THAT AND ASK THOSE QUESTIONS.

THEY SHOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE SERVICE THAT'S THEY NEED.

ONE THING WE KNOW IS THAT MANY PEOPLE OF COLOR LIVE IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE UNDERSERVED.

THEY MAY HAVE FEWER HEALTH FACILITIES OR HEALTH -- ACCESS TO HEALTH PRACTITIONERS TO GIVE THEM THE TESTING AND THE THINGS THEY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT, HOW TO TREAT THE DISEASE.

TH THEY NEED TO MAKE SURE ALL OF THAT IS IN PLACE BEFORE THEY START MOVING FORWARD FOR REOPENING.

BUT THE LAST THING I'D SAY IS WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT IF A WORKER IS SICK OR IF THEY HAVE SOME SORT OF CARE GIVING NEED THEY'RE NOT PENALIZED IF THEY NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES OR THEIR FAMILIES.

WE HAVE SOME PROTECTIONS IN THE LAWS OF IMPACT.

BUT THEY'RE NOT -- QUITE FRANKLY, THEY HAVE GAPS.

AND NOT EVERYBODY IS COVERED.

THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO GO TO WORK SICK WHEN THEIR KIDS ARE THE AHOME OR SOMEBODY IN THE FAMILY THAT NEEDS CARE.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS SHOULD BE UPPER MOST IN THE MINDS OF STATES WHEN THEY CONSIDER REOPENING.

WHEN YOU CONSIDER HEALTH CARE AND YOU TOUCHED ON THIS A MOMENT AGO, BUT WE TALKED ON THIS PROGRAM BEFORE ABOUT THE IDEA THAT WITHIN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, THE PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS CONTRIBUTE GREATLY TO THIS DISPARITY.

UNDERSTANDING THAT, AND THAT'S A BIG PICTURE QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED DESPITE THE COVID-19 SCENARIO, BUT GIVEN THE NOTION OF REOPENING, IS THERE SOME WAY THAT THE HEALTH CARE PEOPLE CAN BE BETTER PREPARED TO IDENTIFY THOSE WITH THE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS THAT MAKE THEM MORE AT RISK?

AND AS A RESULT, HELP THEM?

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

WE'RE TRYING TO DO MULTIPLE THINGS AT ONCE.

WE'RE TRYING TO DEAL WITH THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM AND ALSO DEAL WITH THE REALITY THAT ONE OF THE REASONS WE HAVE THE PROBLEM IS BECAUSE OF LONG STANDING SYSTEMIC BARRIERS.

AND SO I THINK, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS CRITICAL FOR HEALTH PRACTITIONERS TO DO IS HAVE A SENSE OF THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM.

WHAT DO THEY KNOW ABOUT THE COMMUNITY?

THEY MAY HAVE HIGHER RATES OF DISEASE AND TARGETING THE COMMUNITIES, MAKE SURE THEY HAVE, YOU KNOW, A DIVERSE GROUP OF HEALTH PRACTITIONERS THEY HAVE ON STAFF TO DEAL WITH THE DIVERSE COMMUNITY.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.

GOING OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY, THERE IS SOME, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY ANECDOTAL DATA THAT PEOPLE ARE RELUCTANT TO GO FORWARD AND GO INTO THE HOSPITALS.

THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT INFECTIONS.

THEY'RE NOT SURE IF THEY HAVE SOMETHING.

SO, YOU KNOW, SEEING IF THERE IS A WAY TO EXTEND THE SERVICES INTO THE COMMUNITY.

I THINK ALL OF THOSE ARE PRACTICAL THINGS THEY CAN DO.

I ALSO THINK THAT THE HEALTH PRACTITIONERS HAVE BEST SUITED TO ALSO SAY WE NEED HELP.

THEY CAN ALSO SOUND THE ALARM ABOUT WHERE RESOURCES NEED TO BE TARGETED AT THIS MOMENT.

RIGHT.

YOU ALSO DONE A GREAT DEAL OF RESEARCH ON THE IMPACT THAT THIS HAS HAD.

ONCE AGAIN, AN IMPACT ON WOMEN OF COLOR.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THAT IMPACT?

WOMEN ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF THIS CRISIS IN A NUMBER OF WAYS.

THE FIRST IS THAT WOMEN OF COLOR ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY MORE LIKELY TO BE AN ECONOMIC DRIVER IN THEIR FAMILIES, YOU KNOW, ECONOMIC STABILITY.

PARTICULARLY IF YOU LOOK AT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN AND LATINAS.

THEY ARE MOTHERS WHO ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND LATINA ARE FAR MORE LIKELY TO BE BREADWINNERS FOR THE FAMILIES, MEANING, EITHER THE SOLE OR PRIMARY SOURCE OF SUPPORT FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

ALMOST 68% OF BLACK WOMEN PLAY A -- BLACK MOTHERS PLAY THAT ROLE.

SO THEIR CRITICAL TO THE ECONOMIC STA BIFBILITY OF THEIR FAMILIES.

IF YOU LOOK AT FAMILY HOUSEHOLDS GENERALLY, A LITTLE OVER 40% OF BLACK FAMILY HOUSEHOLDS ARE FUNDED BY WOMEN.

SO JUST THE VERY NATURE OF THE ROLE THAT MANY WOMEN OF COLOR PLAY IN THEIR FAMILIES IS WHY THEY'RE ON THE FRONT LINES.

A REMINDER, FOLKS, WE'RE TALKING WITH JOCELYN FRYE, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS.

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE ROLES OF THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY CAREGIVERS, OCCUPATIONAL RISKS.

I ALSO SEEN YOU USE THE TERM UNSPOKEN EXPECTATIONS.

PLACES UPON WOMEN OF COLOR.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

YOU KNOW, I THINK WE HAVE DEEPLY EMBEDDED ATTITUDES IN OUR COUNTRY ABOUT WOMEN GENERALLY AND WOMEN OF COLOR SPECIFICALLY.

AND THE ROLES THAT THEY PLAY.

WHAT WE KNOW FROM OUR HISTORY IS THAT WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE OFTEN BEEN THE CAREGIVERS.

THEY'RE THE HOME HEALTH AIDES.

THEY'RE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THE CHILDCARE WORKERS.

THEY'RE THE PEOPLE THAT PEOPLE HAVE RELIED ON TO DO CARE.

OFTEN WITHOUT ADEQUATE MONEY TO BE SURE.

AND ALSO WITH LITTLE REGARD FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL NEEDS.

AND EVEN THOUGH, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT, YOU KNOW, IN THE 1860s, AND WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, MOVED PAST MANY OF THE ROOTS THAT LEGACY OF HOW WE VIEW CARE AND WHO DOES CARE STILL SITS WITH US.

AND THEY OFTEN HAVE VERY FEW BENEFITS.

WE JUST -- WE EXPECT WOMEN OF COLOR TO SORT OF BE THERE.

BE THERE AND TO DO THE CARE, SERVICE, AND DO THE WORK AND THAT'S IMPORTANT.

IT'S CRITICAL ROLE.

WE ALSO DON'T VALUE IT THE WAY THAT WE TALK ABOUT.

THE ROLE THEY HAVE PLAYED THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF OUR HISTORY, BY THE WAY, BEING THERE FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

YES.

LET ME TALK ABOUT SOME PROPOSALS THAT YOU HAVE OFFERED IN THE ORGANIZATION HAS OFFERED.

TO AT LEAST ADDRESS THEM.

REMEDY IS TOO OPTIMISTIC.

YOU TALKED ABOUT SOME STATISTICS.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN NEARLY 68% OF THEM ARE THE PRIMARY, THE SOLE OR PRIMARY WINNERS.

YOU ALSO HAVE A STATISTIC IN THERE THAT TO ME WAS STAGGERING.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE NOTION OF WEALTH.

WHAT THEY CAN DRAW ON.

AND YOU TALK ABOUT FOR A SINGLE BLACK WOMAN, IT WAS AVERAGE OF $200.

COMPARED TO A SINGLE WHITE WOMAN WHICH WAS ABOUT $18,000.

SO LOOKING AT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY, WAGES ARE BEING PAID, THE WEALTH OR THE WEALTH THAT IS NOT THERE, LET'S SAY, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REMEDIES THAT WE COULD BE LOOKING AT?

IN THE SHORT TERM, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE TO THE EXTENT THAT WE'RE CONTEMPLATING DIFFERENT PROPOSALS, WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON HOW DO WE MAKE SURE PEOPLE GET AS MUCH INCOME AS POSSIBLE?

WE OUGHT TO BE THINKING ABOUT ARE THERE SOLUTIONS OUT THERE THAT ACTUALLY WILL GET PEOPLE CLOSE TO A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE THAN THEY CURRENTLY MAKE?

ARE THERE THINGS PARTICULARLY FOR MANY WOMEN OF COLOR WHO ARE IN JOBS WHERE THERE ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS?

ARE THERE THINGS LIKE PREMIUM PAY?

EXTRA PAY?

THEY'RE IN THE VERY HAZARDOUS JOBS AND THEY NEED ADDITIONAL COSTS FOR THINGS LIKE CHILDCARE OR MAYBE HOUSING.

YOU KNOW, CAN WE DEAL WITH THAT?

I THINK LONG TERM WE'RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT HOW WE ELIMINATE SOME OF THE LONG STANDING PAY INEQUITIES THAT WE KNOW ARE THERE FOR WOMEN OF COLOR.

WOMEN GENERALLY EARN LESS.

THEY KNOW THAT.

THERE IS A LONG STANDING PAY GAP.

THE WOMEN OF COLOR ARE THE LOWEST PAID WORKERS AND THERE IS MORE WE CAN BE DOING THERE.

YEAH.

WELL, THERE IS SO MUCH -- YOU HAVE A WHOLE LIST OF PROPOSALS THAT WE HAD MORE TIME WE COULD GO OVER ALL OF THEM.

I THINK IT'S A VERY THOUGHTFUL AND PROVOCATIVE LOOK AT A VERY SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM HERE.

SO ONCE AGAIN, JOCELYN FRYE, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

I HOPE WE CAN TALK AGAIN SOME MORE ABOUT SOME OF THESE ISSUES AS WE MOVE FORWARD.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

YOU BE WELL NOW.

YOU TOO.

HI, UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC BOTH COUUMULATI AND INDIVIDUAL ARE DAUBTINTING SAT LEAST.

A CONSTANT FLOOD OF INFORMATION IS A LOT FOR THE PUBLIC TO DIGEST.

FOR JOURNALISTS, TELLING THE STORY OF THE PANDEMIC'S IMPACT IS A HONOR AND PRIVILEGE.

BUT CONSTANTLY BEING IMMERSED IN STORIES OF DEVASTATION AND LOSS CAN HAVE A CUMULATIVE INFECT ON THOSE TASKS WITH COMMUNICATING THAT INFORMATION.

THAT'S WHY ROUGE SCHAPIRO, DIRECTOR OF THE DARK CENTER FOR JOURNALISM AND TRAUMA AT COLOMBIA UNIVERSITY IS STUDYING THE INFECTS OF REPORTING ON CRISIS FOR 20 YEARS.

HE JOINS ME NOW.

BRUCE, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

VERY GLAD TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

SO FIRST I WANT TO START AND SAY THAT JOURNALISTS, OF COURSE, WE'RE TRAINED TO NOT MAKE OURSELVES THE CENTER OF THE STORY AT ALL.

BUT THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU FOUND WAS NOT BEING LOOKED AT AND WAS WORTH STUDYING.

I WONDER IF YOU CAN EXPLAIN WHY TRAUMA AND JOURNALISM?

SURE, FIRST OF ALL, A HUGE AMOUNT OF THE NEWS IS THE MOST DISTRESSING EXPERIENCES IN LIFE, WHETHER IT IS FAMILY VIOLENCE, STREET CRIME, WAR, DISASTER, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS.

THESE ARE BIG DISRUPTIONS IN THE SOCIAL FABRIC.

AND NATURALLY DO COUNT AS NEWS.

PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM.

AND THE JOB OF JOURNALISTS IS TO GO TOWARD EVENTS THAT OTHER PEOPLE WOULD RUN AWAY FROM.

OR TO LOOK TOWARDS EVENTS THAT OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT LOOK AWAY FROM.

AND THAT'S THE JOB.

WHILE WE'RE ASKING AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ASKED OVER TIME HOW CAN JOURNALISTS REPORT SENSITIVELY EFFECTIVELY, ETHICALLY ON SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE?

WE ALSO NEED TO BE ASKING WHAT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF COVERING A STEADY DIET OF DIFFICULT EVENTS?

CAR WRECKS, MURDER TRIALS, ORDINARY DAY TO DAY EVENTS ON NEWS PROFESSIONALS?

WHAT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF COVERING OVERWHELMING BIG INTERNATIONAL STORIES AND 9/11, WAR ON JOURNALISTS?

WE STARTED ASKING THESE QUESTIONS TWO YEARS AGO.

WE WANT JOURNALISTS TO BE SENSITIVE TO TRAUMA IN THE WORLD BUT TO DO THAT JOB, WE ALSO NEED TO BE AWARE OF HOW TRAUMA MAY AFFECT US AS PROFESSIONALS.

YOU GOT INTO IT A LITTLE BIT.

WHAT IS INTERESTING AS I WAS LOOKING INTO OR RESEARCHING ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF TRAUMA AND JOURNALISM, SO MUCH ATTENTION IS -- AND VERY RIGHTLY SO, FOCUSSED TO JOURNALIST THAT'S COVER WAR ZONES.

BUT YOUR RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN A WAR ZONE AFFECTED BY CONSTANTLY BEING IN CONTACT WITH PEOPLE IN CRISIS.

WELL, ABSOLUTELY.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS ARE ACTUALLY EXPOSED AT A VERY HIGH LEVEL.

TO ASSUME AN DISTRESS AND SUFFERING AND TRAUMA.

I THINK BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF MY OWN CAREER, THE VERY FIRST STORY I COVERED AS A YOUNG REPORTER IS ABOUT THE DEATH OF A YOUNG WOMAN ABOUT MY OWN AGE AND APARTMENT BUILDING IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

AND AT THAT TIME THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND TO SAY HERE'S HOW YOU TALK TO FAMILY OR NEIGHBORS.

HERE'S WHAT YOU MAY EXPERIENCE.

WITHIN A COUPLE YEARS OF BEING A LOCAL REPORTER IN THE 1980s, NOT SOMEONE THAT NATURALLY RAN TOWARD MAYHEM, I HAD INTERVIEWED VIETNAM VETERANS AND HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, I HAD REPORTED ON THE IMPACT OF AGENT ORANGE, HAD BEEN AT THE SCENE OF HIGHWAY BRIDGE COLLAPSES.

ALL OF US HAVE BEEN LOCAL REPORTERS ARE EXPOSED TO A LOT OF TOUGH STUFF THAT MAY INVOLVE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE US, LIVE IN THE SAME TOWN OR COMMUNITY WE DO, WHO ARE AT THE SAME POINT IN LIFE ORDEAL WITH THE SAME ISSUES.

AND THAT ALL THE RESEARCH THAT'S BEEN DONE OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS CAN TAKE A TOLL.

JUST AS CAN YOU AS COVERING LARGE SCALE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS.

ONE OF THE BIG CHALLENGES IN TALKING TO JOURNALISTS ABOUT THIS ISSUES IS THAT SOMETIMES LOCAL REPORTERS MAY NOT THINK THAT THEIR OWN EXPOSURE TO TRAUMA IS WORTHY COMPARED TO INTERNATIONAL WAR CORRESPONDENTS.

AND THE REALITY IS IT'S JUST AS CONSEQUENTIAL.

THERE ARE RATES OF PTSD AND OTHER KINDS OF DISTRESS IN JOURNALIST THAT'S ARE COMPARABLE TO FIRST RESPONDERS.

WE'RE RESILIENT TRIBE.

WE AS JOURNALISTS.

OUR WORK IS PROTECTED.

OUR MISSION HELPS US DEAL WITH IT.

WHAT TO DO IN THE FACE OF DISTRESS.

KEEPS US RESILIENT.

HAVING ETHICS AND COLLEAGUES PROTECT US.

BUT THERE IS A COST.

JOURNALISTS CAN BE AFFECTED AND PROFOUND WAYS OR EVEN SIDE LINED BY PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA, WHETHER THAT IS A MASSIVE SINGLE CRISIS LIKE 9/11 OR THAT STEADY DRIP, DRIP, DRIP OF DISTRESSING AND TOXIC CONTENT THAT LOCAL REPORTERS OR EVEN ONLINE CURATORS MAY EXPERIENCE.

I'M SPEAKING WITH BRUCE SCHAPIRO FROM COLOMBIA UNIVERSITY.

I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY INTERESTING THAT YOU SAID THAT JOURNALISTS WOULD ALSO FIT INTO FIRST RESPONDERS ALTHOUGH WE'RE NOT NECESSARILY DOING THE SAME THINGS THAT POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS AND EMS WORKERS ARE.

BUT THERE DOES SEEM TO BE A SIMILAR ETHOS OF, YOU KNOW, GET ON IT WITH, IF YOU WILL.

SO THAT SOMETIMES WHEN YOU DO COVER TRAUMATIC STORIES THERE ISN'T A FULL PROCESSING OF WHAT IT WAS THAT WAS JUST EXPERIENCED.

WELL, IN -- WE ARE LIKE FIRST RESPONDERS IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS OUR JOB TO GO TOWARD DANGER OR GO TOWARD DISTRESS.

PUBLIC NEEDS US TO BE EYES AND EARS ON SCENE.

THE PUBLIC NEEDS US TO BE THE CHANNEL FOR INFORMATION.

NEEDS PHOTOJOURNALISTS TO BE COLLECTING IMAGES.

SO THERE IS -- WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE PATCHING PEOPLE'S WOUNDS, WE ARE IN THAT SENSE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS, RIGHT?

THE REALITY IS THAT JOURNALISM IS A CRAFT.

WHEN YOU'RE OUT THERE DOING THE JOB, HOPEFULLY THE MUSCLES, THE TRAINING, THE SKILLS, KICK IN IN.

EVEN IN THE FACE OF A MASS SHOOTING.

EVEN IN THE FACE OF THIS PANDEMIC.

PEOPLE BRING THE CRAFT SKILLS TO WORK.

THE CHALLENGE MAY COME AFTERWARDS, REPLAYING IMAGES OR VOICES THEY CAN'T GET OUT OF THEIR HEAD OR THE BIOLOGICAL CHANGES ASSOCIATED WITH, YOU KNOW, POST TRAUMATIC TRESS DISORDER, LOSING THE ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE OR EEG ISOLATED BY THE EXTREMITY OF WHAT WE'VE SEEN FROM OTHERS.

THOSE CAN BE BIG CHALLENGES AND THERE ARE CHALLENGES OF AFTERMATH RATHER THAN THE CHALLENGES OF THE HORROR OF THE MOMENT.

YOU KNOW, WE DO OUR JOB WELL.

WHEN IT COMES TO REPORT THINGS.

BECAUSE HOW DO WE HANDLE IT AFTERWARDS?

WHAT IS THE XORVEGS WE HAVE AS A PROFESSION?

YOU SORT OF TOUCHED ON IT A LITTLE BIT.

BUT ARE THERE ANY OTHER SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF HOW PTSD FROM YOUR WORK HAS STUDIES, HAS FOUND OUT THAT HOW PTSD SHOWS UP IN JOURNALISM?

WELL, SO I'M A JOURNALIST, NO THE A CLINICIAN OR A NEUROSCIENCE PERSON.

BUT THERE IS SOME GOOD G.

SCIENCE ON THIS.

THE VERY MECHANISMS OF CH PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERS AND OTHER THINGS, THE VERY MECHANISM THAT'S CHANGE PEOPLE PROFOUNDLY GO TO THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AS JOURNALISTS.

SO ONE OF THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS OF PTSD, THINGS LIKE CHANGES IN CONCENTRATION, INTRUSIVE MEMORY, LOSS OF CONNECTION OR EMPATHY.

WE RELY ON ALL OF THOSE SKILLS.

ON OUR ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE AND CONNECT WITH SOURCES, WITH THE PUBLIC, TO DO THE JOB AND SO WHEN THOSE MECHANISMS ARE INTERFERED WITH, JOURNALISTS CAN BEGIN TO SUFFER A LOT.

THEY CAN SLIP IN THEIR CAPACITY TO REPORT WELL.

THEY MAY TAKE MORE RISKS THAN THEY SHOULD.

THEY MAY HAVE DIFFICULTIES AT HOME.

THESE ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT COPS OR FIREFIGHTERS EXPERIENCE.

BUT THE CONVERSATION CAME A LITTLE LATER IN JOURNALISTS ABOUT HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH OUR PROFESSIONAL MISSION AND OUR DESIRE TO BE THERE FOR THE STORY.

OF COURSE.

AND THEN THERE IS ALWAYS THE WHICH I SAY COUUMULATIVE EFFECT NOT JUST FROM ONE STORY, MANY PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY IN A NEW CYCLE THAT JUST DOESN'T SEEM TO GIVE ANY BREAKS AT ALL.

THERE ARE TWO THINGS, CAREER LONG EXPOSURE, FIRST OF ALL.

WE ALL COVER A LOT OF THE STUFF OVER THE COURSE OF OUR CAREERS.

AND THEN THERE IS TREALITY OF A MOMENT.

FWHEER THE NEWS CYCLE THAT DOESN'T GIVE YOU A BREAK.

WE'RE IN A PAN DEM NICK WHICH TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES THAT SEPARATE JOURNALISTS WORK WISE FROM OUR FAMILY LIVES, THOSE ARE ERODED IN WHICH WE'RE DEALING WITH THE SAME STRESSES OF EVERYONE ELSE BUT IN THE CONTEXT OF A HIGH STRESS PROFESSION INVOLVING DEADLINES AND NOW ECONOMIC DISRUPTION, INDUSTRY EXCHANGE, FEAR FOR OUR LIVELIHOOD.

SO THIS IS -- THIS PANDEMIC IS UNQUESTIONABLY A HIGH STRESS PERIOD FOR NEWS PROFESSIONALS ADDED TO WHICH IS THE COST OF WITNESSING.

THERE ARE SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS NOW WHO ARE THE WORLD'S EYES AND EARS ON THE FRONT LINES SHOWING US, ENABLING THE REST OF US TO IMAGINE THE DEGREE OF SUFFERING.

THERE CAN BE A COST TO THAT.

THERE CAN BE A COST TO JOURNALIST WHO'S ARE DEALING WITH A LOT OF ON LINE HARASSMENT AND ABUSE ALONG WITH THE NEWS CYCLE.

THERE IS SO MANY THAT IS A CHALLENGE FOR NEWS PROFESSIONALS NOW AMID WHAT IS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS FOR THE ROLE OF NEWS PROFESSIONALS IN OUR LIFETIMES.

THE CENTRAL ROLE THAT JOURNALISTS PLAY IN COMMUNICATING AUTHORITATIVE INFORMATION.

ENABLING THE PUBLIC TO ENVISION AND IMAGINE WHAT THIS PANDEMIC MEANS.

WE'RE ASKING JOURNALISTS TO CARRY THAT TO DO THAT JOB.

WE'RE ALSO ASKING, YOU KNOW, CARRY A COST.

BRUCE, WE'RE COMING UP ON THE END OF OUR TIME WHICH I CAN'T BELIEVE ALREADY.

BUT I'VE HEARD YOU DESCRIBE JOURNALISM AS A PUBLIC SERVICE.

AND I WAS WONDERING IN ADDITION TO, YOU KNOW, SUPPORTING PARTICULARLY LOCAL MEDIA EITHER WITH SUBSCRIPTIONS OR DONATIONS, IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THE P PUBLIC CAN DO TO SHOW APPRECIATION?

I THINK THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS.

FIRST OF ALL, IF YOU READ A STORY OR SEE A STORY OR HEAR A STORY THAT YOU LIKE, FIND A WAY TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT.

SHARE IT IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND ALSO FIND A WAY TO THANK THE JOURNALISTS, WHETHER IT'S WITH AN E-MAIL, A DIRECT MESSAGE OR IN PERSON.

RIGHT NOW JOURNALISTS ARE COLLEC COLLECTING A LOT OF ABUSE FROM HIGH LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AND A LOT OF SECTORS OF POLITICAL SOCIETY.

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WORK IS IMPORTANT.

DEFENDING THE WORK OF JOURNALISTS RIGHT NOW IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MEDIA, CAPITAL T AND M WHICH IS SO EASILY DEMONIZED AND THE WORK OF JOUR JOURNALISTS WHO EVERY DAY ARE TRYING TO BEAR WITNESS AND MAKING DIFFICULT CHOICES ABOUT WHICH FACTS TO PRESENT, WHOSE STORY TO TELL, HOW TO PORTRAY THESE DIFFICULT EVENTS OF OUR TIME.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.

BRUCE SCHAPIRO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE DART CENTER OF JOURNALISM AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND STUDYING THIS EFFECT THAT I THINK EVEN JOURNALISTS PROBABLY DON'T REALLY GIVE THE ATTENTION IT SHOULD GIVE.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE.

VERY GLAD TO BE HERE.

ABSOLUTELY.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY, VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SAFE.

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