Ethical Dilemmas, Guilt and Posttraumatic Stress in News Journalists

B2 Book section

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Klas Backholm, Trond Idås
Editors: Ulla Carlsson
Place: Gothenburg
Publication year: 2016
Publisher: Nordicom
Book title: Freedom of Expression and Media in Transition. Studies and Reflections in the Digital Age
Start page: 191
End page: 196
ISBN: 978-91-87957-22-2


Most news journalists will work with a potentially traumatic assignment (PTA) at some point during their careers. For some, exposure to trauma in one’s line of work will cause negative psychological reactions, and in the worst case have a long-term impact on the journalist’s wellbeing. In this chapter, the concept of ethical dilemmas is presented. Ethical dilemmas constitute a group of risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that are especially relevant for news journalists. They reflect situations during a PTA in which a journalist experiences inner conflicts between behaving like a good human being and behaving like a professional journalist. Research on how ethical dilemmas affect post-assignment guilt and PTSD severity in Nordic journalist samples is presented and discussed, as are best practices for preventing such dilemmas.

Keywords: ethical dilemmas, journalism ethics, occupational health, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), work-related guilt

Last updated on 2020-01-10 at 04:56