Metrofocus: April 19, 2022

Autism has become one of the most prevalent conditions among our kids. According to a recent CDC Report, 1 out of every 44 children exhibits signs of the condition. The high rate of cases reported isn’t attributable to a rise in the rate of children developing autism, but is instead due to a new awareness that many more are on the spectrum than previously thought. Advocacy work from groups such as, Autism Speaks, have made us more aware of the many faces of autism and the unique ways that the condition manifests in different people. According to Dr. Andy Shih, the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, there is nothing about autism that should prevent those who have it from living full, successful, and happy lives so long as society adapts to become a bit more inclusive. He joins us tonight to break down what autism looks like and share what Autism Speaks is doing to raise awareness and help build a more accommodating world.

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. 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 build a better understanding of the long term damage immersion into traumatic events can have on the men and women who bring you the news.

TRANSCRIPT

TONIGHT, THIS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH WE DELVE INTO WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE DISORDER AND HOW WE CAN CREATE A MORE INCLUSIVE AND ACCOMMODATING SOCIETY.

PLUS, HOW REPORTING ON TRAUMATIC EVENTS LIKE THE PANDEMIC CAN ACTUALLY CAUSE JOURNALISTS TO DEVELOP PTSD THEMSELVES.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- ♪♪ ♪♪

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS '. I'M JACK FORD.

APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH THIS ON THE HEELS OF A RECENT CDC REPORT THAT ACCORDING TO THEIR DATA AS MANY AS ONE IN 44 CHILDREN EXHIBIT SIGNS OF THE DISORDER.

AUTISM SPEAKS IS A PREEMINENT ORGANIZATION PROVIDING INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS AND INDEED, AWARENESS CONCERNING AUTISM, AND THAT ORGANIZATION IS MARKING THIS MONTH, AMONG OTHER THING, WITH A SERIES OF INITIATIVES DESIGNED TO PROVIDE IDEAS AND TRAINING SKILLS FOR CAREGIVERS.

FOR MORE ON ALL OF THIS, WE ARE DELIGHTED TO BE JOINED BY DR.

ANDY SHI WHO IS THE CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICER FOR AUTISM SPEAKS.

DR. SHI, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, JACK.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

I WANT TO GET TO THE INITIATIVES IN JUST A FEW MINUTE, BUT LET'S FOCUS ON AWARENESS AND LET ME ASK YOU TO START OFF BY PROVIDING US A DEFINITION OF AUTISM AND WHAT IT MEANS.

SURE.

SO AUTISM OR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER REFERS TO A BROAD RANGE OF CONDITIONS THAT SHARES COMMON CHALLENGES IN SOCIOINTERACTION AND REPETITIVE BEHAVIOR AS WELL AS VERBAL COMMUNICATION.

AN INDIVIDUAL WITH AUTISM, THEY HAVE A SPECTRUM OF ABILITIES AND SOME ARE -- THEY THINK AND LEARN AND -- DIFFERENTLY, JUST LIKE OTHER PEOPLE AND THEY CAN RANGE FROM BEING EXTREMELY SKILLED TO THOSE THAT ARE SEVERELY CHALLENGED.

YOU CHARACTERIZE IT AS A DISORDER.

EXPLAIN WHY THIS IS NOT A DISEASE.

WELL, I THINK AUTISM AND WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS PART OF THE DIVERSITY OF HUMAN BEINGS AND THE FACT THAT THEY THINK DIFFERENTLY, AND THEY LOOK AT PROBLEMS DIFFERENTLY, I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD CELEBRATE, WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE AND LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, WE NEED TO HAVE A ACCOMODATION FOR INDIVIDUAL'S LIVES.

THAT'S WHY AUTISM IS OFTEN CELEBRATED IN OUR COMMUNITY AND BY NO MEAN, I THINK THE LIMITATION OF THOSE WITH AUTISM IS DUE TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND NOT HAVING TO NAVIGATE A SYSTEM THAT IS NOT BUILT FOR THEM.

I'VE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO BE INVOLVED WITH AUTISM SPEAKS FOR SOME YEARS NOW, AND I'M ALWAYS STRUCK, AND I THINK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT AWARENESS BY AN EXPRESSION THAT'S USED WHICH IS IF YOU'VE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM, YOU'VE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

I ARE.

YEAH.

I LOVE THAT QUOTE.

I BELIEVE THAT'S ATTRIBUTED TO OUR BOARD DIRECTOR DR. STEPHEN SHORE.

I THINK IT REALLY HIGHLIGHTS THE VARIETY AND OF ADVERSITY OF STRENGTH AND ABILITY WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY AND I THINK THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT EACH INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES AUTISM DIFFERENTLY, AND I THINK WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

WE RECOGNIZE, REALLY THE RICHNESS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCES AND THE HUMAN ABILITY THAT'S ON DISPLAY AND NOT TO ASSUME, RIGHT, THAT BECAUSE THEY HAVE AUTISM THAT THEY ARE EXPECTED TO ACT OR BEHAVE OR DO CERTAIN THINGS THE SAME WAY AS EVERYBODY ELSE.

SO --

AND AGAIN, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK ARE IMPORTANT MISPERCEPTIONS IS THAT BECAUSE SOMEBODY FALLS ON THE SPECTRUM DISORDER, IT DOESN'T MEAN, AND PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT IT DOES MEAN, IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT'S A DEBILITATING SITUATION OR DISORDER.

NO.

NOT AT ALL.

I THINK WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT SOME INDIVIDUALS ARE MORE SEVERELY AFFECTED AND MAY REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT CARE, EVEN DAILY ROUTINE, OTHERS -- MANY OTHERS REQUIRE SUPPORT IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE A LIFE AND EVEN STILL, THERE ARE SOME I KNOW WHO ARE ABLE TO LIVE AN ENTIRELY INDEPENDENTLY, VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE LIFE.

SO IT REALLY IS A RANGE OF ABILITIES WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION THE RECENT CDC REPORT AND THE AUTISM PREVALENCE REPORT.

GIVE US A QUICK SYNOPSIS OF WHAT THAT HAD TO SAY AND HOW IT'S CHANGED IN TERMS OF VIEWS OF THE DISORDER MOST RECENTLY.

YEAH.

ONE THING THAT'S BEEN REALLY GRATIFYING TO SEE OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS IN THE COMMUNITY IS REALLY HOW INCREASING AWARENESS, RIGHT?

HAS DRIVEN THE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NEEDED FOR MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY TO THRIVE.

CURRENT NUMBERS, 144, AND A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF OUR CHILDREN ARE AFFECTED THESE DAYS AND I THINK THAT CERTAINLY IS A SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS THAT'S BEEN MADE AND IT POINTS TO THE NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH.

FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IS THAT YOU'RE MORE LIKELY TO BE DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM IF YOU ALSO HAVE INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY.

WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT MORE SEVERELY AFFECTED KIDS IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IS HAVING NOTES.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THOSE THAT ARE AFFECTED AND THEY'RE BEING MISSED AND THESE ARE QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED IN ORDER TO BEST SERVE ALL MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED AND THAT'S AS A SOCIETY AND HUMAN NATURE AND WE'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION WHY ABOUT ANYTHING IN OUR LIVES.

DO WE YET OR ARE WE YET ANY CLOSER TO ANSWERING THE QUESTION WHY WHEN WE TALK ABOUT AUTISM?

YEAH.

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AS I ALLUDED TO EARLIER, THERE IS SUCH RICHNESS IN TERMS OF OUR ABILITIES AND WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE IS IT'S NOT JUST ONE AUTISM AND THERE ARE SUB TYPES OF AUTISM AND THAT THIS DIVERSITY REALLY SPEAKS TO, YOU KNOW, THE NEED TO REALLY BE COM COMPREHENCIVE AND SUPPORT WE R PROVIDE TO THE INDIVIDUAL.

WE KNOW THAT THE ABILITIES WE DO TO INTERACTION AND GENETICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND THE FACT THAT IT PLACE AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THIS WHOLE EQUATION, I THINK SPEAKS TO HOPE THAT IF WE'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND THE HEALTH CARE ENVIRONMENT FOR THIS INDIVIDUAL THEY CAN LIVE AS A PRODUCTIVE AND FULFILLING LIFE AS ANYONE ELSE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND THAT'S GOOD TO UNDERSCORE THE NOTION OF HOPE WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THIS AND UNDERSCORE THE ABILITY TO LIVE MEANINGFUL AND IMPACTFUL LIVES.

ABSOLUTELY.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, AS PART OF THE AWARENESS MONTH IN AUTISM IS TO AUTHORIZE INITIATIVE TO PROVIDE TOOLS FOR CAREGIVERS.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHY THAT'S SO IMPORTANT AND THEN LET'S TALK ABOUT THOSE INITIATIVES.

YEAH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YEAH, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT INITIATIVE FOR US.

I THINK IT SHOULD BE REMINDED THAT THE MAJORITY OF OUR FAMILIES AND AROUND THE WORLD LIVING IN A LOW-INCOME COUNTRY, MORE THAN 95% OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY LIKE THE U.S., CANADA AND WESTERN EUROPE AND THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH AUTISM ARE TYPICALLY A LACK OF ACCESS TO TIMELY INTERVENTION AND LACK OF SUPPORT, STIGMA AND OTHER CHALLENGES, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THEY'VE HAD GREAT HEALTH DISPARITY AS THEY DEVELOP AND AS THEY AGE AND THEY BECOME TEENS AND ADULTS AND MOST OF THE REASONS FOR THIS DISPARITY AND HEALTH CARE IS DUE TO LACK OF CAPACITY TO PROVIDE TIMELY SUPPORT AND SO THE INTERVENTION THAT MANY OF US ENJOY ARE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABA PROGRAM, THE BEHAVIORAL TREATMENTS PROGRAM ARE ASPIRATIONS, AND THEY STILL EXIST.

THERE'S NO PEOPLE AND NO SPECIALISTS ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE SUPPORT.

THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT OFTEN IS SET OUT TO SOLVE.

WE WANT TO CREATE A PROGRAM AND THE EXPERTISE OF THE UNIVERSE.

EACH OF THEM ARE EXPERTS WITH THE CHILDREN AND THE LIKES AND DISLIKES AND WHAT WORKS FOR THEM AND DOESN'T WORK FOR THEM AND HOW DO WE TURN THAT KNOWLEDGE INTO THE BEST CARE POSSIBLE, RIGHT?

SO WE TRAIN THE SPECIALIST IN KEY STRATEGY MESSAGES THAT CAN PROMOTE SOCIAL COMMUNICATION, POSITIVE BEHAVIOR AND INCLUSION OF FAMILY LIFE AND HOME ROUTINES AND PLAY, AND SO BY EXTENSION, COMMUNITY LIFE.

WE THINK THIS IS A HUGELY IMPORTANT INITIATIVE BECAUSE WE PROVIDE STRATEGY IN A FEASIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE WAY IN COMMUNITY EVEN WHEN THERE ARE NO SPECIALISTS AND EVEN WHEN THERE ARE NO PEDIATRICIANS FOR MILES AROUND.

SO IT'S A HOPE FOR MANY OF THE FAMILIES NOW.

WHEN YOU SAY PROVIDE IN A FEASIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE WAY.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

I THINK THIS IS A MAJOR CHALLENGE IN THE AUTISM RESEARCH COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW.

LIKE MOST MEDICINES, IT'S NOT THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO TO HELP IDENTIFY CHILDREN EARLY AND TO PROVIDE THE SUPPORT THAT IS NEEDED SO THEY CAN THRIVE.

THE PROBLEM IS DOING WHAT WE KNOW, AND IT'S TO DELIVER THESE INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORT TO THE FAMILIES WHERE THEY ARE, RIGHT?

AND YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SIMILAR CHALLENGES THAT THEY'RE EXPERIENCING THIS IN THE COUNTRY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN THE UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES AND THE RURAL COMMUNITIES, FOR EXAMPLE, AND I THINK MINORITY COMMUNITY ISSUE THE SAME CHALLENGES OF ACCESS, QUALITY OF CARE AND SO ON.

SO I THINK THE ISSUE HERE IS REALLY, HOW DO WE DELIVER THE HIGHEST QUALITY OF CARE IN A WAY THAT IS FEASIBLE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE REALITY OF YOUR LIFE.

THE REALITY OF LIFE IS NOT THAT THEY CAN DRIVE FOR 15 MINUTES TO REACH A CLINIC OR THEY CAN REGISTER OR HAVE ANYTHING TAKEN CARE OF AND A THERAPIST WILL COME AND TAKE YOUR CHILDREN FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS AND GIVE YOUR CHILD BACK TO YOU.

THE REALITY IS THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO WORK MULTIPLE JOBS AND WE HAVE TO FIND WAYS TO GET TO THE CLINIC AND FIND CHILD CARE FOR THE OTHER CHILDREN AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S THE BEST INTERVENTION FOR THE KIDS?

THAT'S THE REALITY AND HOW DO WE ACCOMMODATE THESE CHALLENGES AND MAKING SURE THAT EVEN THESE FAMILIES THAT FACE THE MOST DAUNTING OF CHALLENGES ARE ABLE TO ACCESS THE CARE THAT THEY NEED IN A TIMELY WAY?

WE HAVE ABOUT 45 SECONDS HERE TO WRAP THIS UP AND THE GOOD QUESTION TO ASK IS THIS, ANYBODY WHO IS WATCHING THE CONVERSATION HERE MIGHT SAY I NEED THIS OR I KNOW SOMEONE THAT'S A FAMILY OR FRIEND THAT NEEDS THIS, WHERE DO THEY GO TO FIND SOME OF THE ASSISTANCE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

PLEASE COME TO AUTISMSPEAKS.ORG, OUR WEBSITE BEEP HAVE A WHOLE SLEW OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND THE LINK WITH THE W.H.O. WEB PAGE ABOUT THE PROGRAM.

I AM ALSO HAPPY TO SHARE THAT APRIL 28th IT WILL BE THE OFFICIAL GLOBAL LAUNCH OF THE EVENT ON AUTISM SPEAKS AND THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME.

WE EXPECT A GLOBAL AUDIENCE FOR THE LAUNCH OF THIS IMPORTANT PROGRAM FOR OUR FAMILIES.

WONDERFUL INFORMATION AGAIN, AUTISM SPEAKS HAS BEEN DOING SUCH A MARVELOUS JOB FOR SO LONG PROVIDING SOLUTIONS AND AS YOU MENTIONED, HOPE, WHICH IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT.

DR. ANDY SHI FROM AUTISM SPEAKS.

IT'S A PLEASURE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

YOU TAKE CARE NOW.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

♪♪ ♪♪

> HI.

I'M JENA FLANAGAN OF 'METROFOCUS' UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECT OF THE PANDEMIC CUMULATIVE AND INDIVIDUAL HAS BEEN DAUNTING TO SAY LEAST.

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

FOR JOURNALIST, TELLING THE STORIES OF THE PANDEMIC'S IMPACT IS BOTH AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE, BUT CONSTANTLY BEING IMERSED IN STORIES OF DEVASTATION AND LOSS CAN HAVE A CUMULATIVE ON THOSE TASKED WITH COMMUNICATING THAT INFORMATION.

THAT'S WHY RUTH SHAPIRO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DARK CENTER FOR JOURNALISM AND TRAUMA AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN STUDYING THE EFFECTS OF REPORTING ON CRISES FOR 20 YEARS AND HE JOINS ME NOW.

BRUCE, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

VERY GLAD TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

SO FIRST I JUST WANT TO START AND SAY THAT JOURNALIST, THINK, WE ARE TRAINED TO NOT MAKE OURSELVES THE CENTER OF THE STORY AT ALL, BUT THIS WAS SOMETHING YOU FOUND WAS NOT BEING LOOKED AT AND WAS WORTH STUDYING AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD EXPLAIN WHY TRAUMA AND JOURNALISM?

SURE.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, A HUGE AMOUNT OF THE COUNTS SAYS THEY'RE THE MOST DISTRESSING EXPERIENCES IN LIFE, WHETHER IT'S FAMILY VIOLENCE, STREET CRIME, WAR, DISASTER AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS THESE ARE BIG DISRUPTIONS IN THE SOCIAL FABRIC AND DO COUNT AS NEWS.

PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM AND THE DRAW OF JOURNALISTS IS TO GO TOWARD EVENTS THAT OTHER PEOPLE WOULD RUN AWAY FROM OR TO LOOK TOWARD EVENTS THAT OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT LOOK AWAY FROM AND THAT'S THE JOB, BUT WE'RE HUMAN BEINGS AND PEOPLE ASK HOW CAN JOURNALISTS REPORT ETHICALLY ON SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE AND WE ALSO NEED TO BE ASKING, WHAT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF STUDYING THE DIFFICULT EVENT, CAR WRECK, MURDER TRIALS AND ORDINARY, DAY TO DAY EVENTS ON NEWS PROFESSIONALS?

WHAT ABOUT THING ARE IMPACT OF STORIES LIKE 9/11 AND WAR ON JOURNALISTS?

WE STARTED ASKING THESE QUESTIONS 20 YEARS AGO BECAUSE THEY WERE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN.

WE WANT JOURNALISTS TO BE SENSITIVE TO TRAUMA OUT THERE IN THE WORLD AND TO DO THE JOB WE ALSO NEED TO BE AWARE OF HOW TRAUMA MIGHT AFFECT US AS INDIVIDUALS.

YOU SORT OF GOT INTO IT A LITTLE BIT, BUT WHAT I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING WAS AS I WAS LOOKING INTO OR RESEARCHING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT OF TRUMA AND JOURNALISM, SO MUCH OF THE ATTENTION WAS -- AND VERY RIGHTLY SO FOCUSED TOWARD JOURNALISTS WHO COVERED WAR ZONE, BUT YOUR RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN A WAR ZONE TO BE AFFECTED BY CONSTANTLY BEING IN CONTACT WITH PEOPLE IN CRISIS.

ABSOLUTELY.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS ARE ACTUALLY EXPOSED AT A VERY HIGH LEVEL TO HUMAN DISTRESS, SUFFERING AND TRAUMA.

I THINK BACK IT THE VERY BEGINNINGS OF THE FIRST CAREER, THE VERY FIRST STORY I COVERED AS A YOUNG ROTOR WAS THE DEATH OF A YOUNG WOMAN OF MY OWN AGE IN THE APARTMENT BUILDING IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

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

WITHIN A COUPLE OF YEARS WITH BEING A LOCAL A LOCAL REPORTER I INTERVIEWED VIETNAM VETERANS AND HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND HAD REPORTED ON THE IMPACT OF AGENT ORANGE AND BEEN AT THE SCENE OF HIGHWAY BRIDGE COLLAPSES.

ALL OF US WHO HAD BEEN LOCAL REPORTERS ARE EXPOSED TO A LOT OF TOUGH STUFF THAT MAY INVOLVE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE US, WHO LIVE IN THE SAME TOWN OR COMMUNITY WE DO, WHO ARE AT THE SAME POINT IN LIFE OR DEAL WITH THE SAME ISSUES AND THAT ALL OF THE RESEARCH THAT'S BEEN DONE OVER LAST 20 YEARS CAN TAKE A TOLL, JUST AS CONSEQUENTIALLY IN SOME WAYS AS COVERING LARGE-SCALE INTERNATIONAL CRISES.

ONE OF THE BIG CHALLENGES IN TALKING TO JOURNALISTS ABOUT THESE ISSUES IS THAT SOMETIMES LOCAL REPORTERS MAY NOT THINK THAT THEIR OWN EXPOSURE TO TRAUMA IS KIND OF WORTHY COMPARED TO INTERNATIONAL WAR CORRESPONDENTS, AND THE REALITY IS THAT IT'S JUST AS CONSEQUENTIAL.

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE RATES OF PTSD AND OTHER KIND OF DISTRESS IN JOURNALISTS THAT ARE COMPARABLE TO FIRST RESPONDERS.

WE ARE A RESILIENT TRIBE AND OUR MISSION HELPS US TO DEAL WITH IT AND IN THE FACE OF DISTRESS IT KEEPS US RESILIENT AND HAVING ETHICS AND HAVING COLLEAGUES PROTECTS US, BUT THERE IS A COST.

JOURNALISTS CAN BE AFFECTED IN PROFOUND WAYS AND EVEN SIDELINED 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 SHAPIRO, DIRECTOR OF THE DARK CENTER FOR JOURNALISM AND TRAUMA AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, AND 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 WITH IT, IF YOU WILL, SO THAT SOMETIMES WHEN YOU DO COVER TRAUMATIC STORIES THERE ISN'T A WHOLE PROCESSING OF WHAT IT WAS THAT WAS JUST EXPERIENCED.

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

THE PUBLIC NEEDS US TO BE EYES AND EARS ON SCENE.

THE PUBLIC NEEDS US TO BE THE CHANNEL FOR INFORMATION AND NEEDS PHOTOJOURNALISTS TO BE COLLECTING IMAGES, SO WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE PATCHING UP 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 MUSCLE, THE TRAINING AND THE SKILLS KICK IN EVEN IN THE FACE OF A MASS SHOOTING, EVEN IN THE FACE OF THIS PANDEMIC PEOPLE BRING THEIR CRAFT SKILLS TO WORK.

THE CHALLENGE MAY COME AFTERWARDS.

THE CHALLENGE MAY BE EVENTS THAT KEEP PLAYING IN A JOURNALIST'S MIND AND IMAGES OR VOICES THEY CAN'T GET OUT OF THEIR HEAD AND THE BIOLOGICAL CHANGES ASSOCIATED WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE OR ISOLATED BY THE EXTREMITY OF WHAT WE'VE SEEN FROM OTHERS.

THOSE CAN BE BIG CHALLENGES AND THEY'RE CHALLENGES OF AFTERMATH RATHER THAN THE CHALLENGES OF THE HORROR MOMENT.

WE DO OUR JOB WELL WHEN IT COMES TO REPORTING THINGS AND THE QUESTION IS HOW DO WE HANDLE AFTER WARDS AND WHAT IS THE CONVERSATION THAT WE HAVE AS A PROFESSIONAL.

YOU SORT OF TOUCHED ON IT A LITTLE BIT, BUT ARE THERE ANY OTHER SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF HOW PTSD, AT LEAST FROM YOUR WORK HAS STUDIED THAT HAS FOUND OUT THAT HOW PTSD SHOWS UP IN JOURNALISTS?

BEAR IN MIND, FIRST OF ALL, I'M A JOURNALIST AND NOT A CLINICIAN OR A NEUROSCIENCE PERSON, BUT THERE ARE GOOD SIGNS ON THIS.

THE VERY MECHANISMS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY OF POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND OTHER REACTIONS.

THE VERY MECHANISMS THAT CHANGE PEOPLE PROFOUNDLY GO TO THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AS JOURNALISTS.

SO ONE OF THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS OF PTSD IS CHANGES IN CONCENTRATION, INTRUSIVE MEMORY.

LOSS OF CONNECTION OR EMPATHY, WE RELY ON ALL OF THOSE SKILLS ON THE ACCURACY AND CONTROLLABLITY OF MEMORY, ON OUR ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE AND MEET DEADLINE AND OUR ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE AND CONNECT WITH SOURCES, WITH A PUBLIC, TO DO THE JOB AND SO WHEN THOSE MECHANISMS ARE INTERFERED WITH JOURNALISTS CAN BEGIN TO SUFFER A LOT AND THEY CAN SLIP INTO THEIR R 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 HAVE, IN TERMS OF HOW TO DEAL WITH THAT WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH THE MISSION.

THINK, THERE'S ALWAYS THE -- WHEN I SAY CUMULATIVE EFFECT.

I'M SAYING NOT JUST FROM ONE STORY.

MANY PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY IN A NEWS CYCLE THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO GIVE ANY BREAKS AT ALL.

THERE'S CAREER-LONG EXPOSURE, FIRST OF ALL.

WE ALL COVER A LOT OF STUFF OVER THE CAREERS AND THERE'S THE REALITY OF THE PRESENT.

WE ARE IN A BICYCLE THAT ISN'T GIVE US A BREAK AND THERE ARE TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES THAT CELEBRATE JOURNALISTS' THOSE ARE, HE WORDED IN DEALING WITH THE SAME STRESSORS THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS AND IN A HIGH-STRESSED PROFESSION INVOLVING DEADLINES AND ECONOMIC DISRUPTION AND INDUSTRY CHANGE AND FEAR FOR OUR LIVELIHOOD, SO THIS PANDEMIC IS UNQUESTIONABLY A HIGH-STRESS PERIOD FOR NEWS PROFESSIONALS AND ADDED TO WHICH IS THE COST OF WITNESSING AND THERE ARE SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS NOW WHO ARE THE WORLD'S EYES AND EARS ON THE FRONT LINE, 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 JOURNALISTS DEALING WITH ONLINE HARASSMENT AND ABUSE ALONG WITH THE NEWS CYCLE.

THERE'S SO MUCH THAT IS A CHALLENGE FOR NEWS PROFESSIONALS NOW AMID WHAT IS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS FOR THE ROLE OF THE NEWS PROFESSIONALS FOR OUR LIFE TIMES, THE CENTRAL ROLE THAT JOURNALISTS PLAY IN COMMUNICATING AUTHORITATIVE INFORMATION AND ENABLING THE PUBLIC TO ENVISION AND IMAGINE WHAT THIS PANDEMIC MEANS.

WE'RE ASKING JOURNALISTS TO CARRY THAT JOB AND WE'RE ALSO DOING CARRY A COST.

CHRIS, 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 AND DONATIONS, IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THAT THE PUBLIC CAN DO TO SHOW APPRECIATION?

I THINK THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS.

FIRST OF ALL, IF YOU SEE A STORY OR HEAR A STORY THAT YOU LIKE, FIND A WAY TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT, SHARE IT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AND FIND A WAY TO THANK THE JOURNALIST WHETHER IT IS WITH AN E-MAIL, AND A DIRECT MESSAGE OR IN PERSON.

RIGHT NOW JOURNALISTS ARE COLLECTING A LOT OF ABUSE FROM HIGH LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AND A LOT OF SECTORS OF POLITICAL SOCIETY AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WORK IS IMPORTANT AND DEFENDING THE WORK OF JOURNALISTS RIGHT NOW IS VERY IMPORTANT AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MEDIA CAPITAL T AND CAPITAL M WHICH IS SO EASILY DEMONIZED, AND THE WORK OF JOURNALISTS WHO EVERY DAY ARE OUT THERE TRYING TO BEAR WITNESS AND MAKING DIFFICULT CHOICES ABOUT WHOSE FACT TO PRESENT AND WHOSE STORY TO TELL AND HOW TO PORTRAY DIFFICULT, EVENTS OF OUR TIME.

BRUCE, UNFORTUNATELY, WE'LL HAVE TO LEFF IT THERE.

WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME, BRUCE SHAPIRO DIRECTOR OF TRAUMA AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME AND OF COURSE, FOR STUDDING THIS EFFECT THAT I THINK EVEN JOURNALISTS DON'T REALLY GIVE THE ATTENTION IT SHOULD GET.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

VERY GLAD TO BE HERE.

ABSOLUTELY.

♪♪ ♪♪

METRO FOCUS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- ♪♪ ♪♪

©2022 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489