About the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma

Wednesday, 29th May, 2024

The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma is a global network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals dedicated to improving media coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy. The Centre also addresses the consequences of such coverage for those working in journalism.
Its mission is to:

  • Advocate ethical and thorough reporting of trauma; sensitive, professional treatment of victims and survivors by journalists, and greater awareness by media organizations of the impact of trauma coverage on both news professionals and news consumers.
  • Educate working journalists about the science and psychology of trauma and the implications for news coverage through this website, academic research, seminars, workshops and training.
  • Serve as a forum for print, broadcast and Internet journalists to analyse issues, exchange ideas and advance strategies related to reporting on violence and catastrophic stress. We also create and sustain partnerships among media professionals, therapists and others concerned with trauma, and nurture peer-support among working journalists.

Key figures in the Centre are:

  • Professor Frank Ochberg, a senior psychiatrist with a long interest in journalism and the impact of violence and trauma, who helped establish the Dart Centre. His CV reveals a long and interesting career. Read A Kurdish Afternoon - an article written about the Kurdish living in Istanbul.
  • Bruce Shapiro, the Centre’s executive director, a journalist and academic who has written about his own experiences as the victim of a random stabbing (and is also a regular guest of Phillip Adams on Radio National).
  • Cait McMahon, the director of the Australasian arm of Dart. A psychologist who has previously worked as a counsellor at The Age, she is researching the impact of work-related trauma upon journalists, including whether it can precipitate personal growth.

Each year, the Dart Centre funds a fellowship scheme to bring together journalists from around the world to examine media coverage of violence and trauma. It was largely my work on Inside Madness which inspired my application for the Dart Centre Ochberg Fellowship.