From left, Susan Catron of Savannah Morning News, Lee Brown of WYFF, Katie Landeck of Panama City News Herald, Tom Lewis of WMBB-TV, Naseem Miller of The Orlando Sentinel, and Asha Gilbert of the Coastal Courier.

Mar. 15, 2019  

SPJ Region 3 Conference Tackles Stress, Trauma in Journalism

In the last year, the Southeast region has been hit by devastating hurricanes, floods and yet another mass shooting.

So for the SPJ Region 3 conference, journalists met to discuss how newsrooms can handle the stress and trauma of covering their community’s darkest days.

“Mental health is a big topic right now nationally, but journalists don’t want to talk about how covering these tragedies is impacting their own mental health,” says SPJ Florida President Christiana Lilly. “I was so pleased to see that our region took the lead in breaking down the walls to talk about such an important topic that can’t be put off any longer.”

During the conference, which drew about 50 people, panel discussions included newsroom members whose communities were hit by tragedy, meteorologists on relaying frightening news to their viewers, two experts in stress in trauma, and students as they prepare to enter the workforce.

SPJ Florida was proud to help bring to Panama City journalists who were hit by Hurricane Michael to the conference to share their stories.

Nick Valencia shares his coverage of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, where 49 people were shot and killed.

The keynote speaker, Nick Valencia of CNN, talked about how he finally came to terms with how his work was impacting his mental health, so he finally sought help with a therapist.

“As journalists we see things we wish we could unsee,” he said. “I wish more people in our field spoke more openly about getting help, that they weren’t ashamed that they do it.”

For more information about stress and trauma in journalism, be sure to visit for a wealth of resources for journalist and newsrooms.

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