International reporting on conflicts, such as those in Yemen and Afghanistan, are increasingly the result of work done primarily by local journalists. Foreign news bureaus have been closed and fewer international correspondents report on these conflicts as they are deemed simply too dangerous to send in internationals. This comes at a price. 95 per cent of journalists killed in armed conflict are locally based journalists (UN News, 2015).
While there has been increasing focus on the physical and digital safety issues these journalists face, there has been less attention towards the need for psychosocial support. Addressing psychosocial needs of local journalists must become a higher priority to better provide for their well-being as they are impacted by psychologically traumatizing events happening around them. The context of local journalists in covering such events is very different from their international correspondent colleagues.
This paper will discuss the cross-country lessons, as well as the challenges, surrounding psychosocial issues as part of the holistic theme of safety of journalists. Researchers have shown how journalists, particularly war correspondents, are affected by the work they do (Feinstein et al., 2002).
But there has been little examination of the effects on local journalists or fixers for international media who live and work covering violence, conflicts or disasters that impact them directly (for exceptions see Feinstein, 2012; Feinstein et al., 2015).
This paper will look at how trauma support considered mainstream in Western countries might be adapted for local journalists, examples of psychosocial support that have been used in different contexts such as the Middle East, Asia and Latin America and offer considerations in conducting further research into this area moving forward.