Re-thinking trauma: Local journalism, peace-building and continuous traumatic stress (CTS) on the violent margins of Colombia

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Abstract

The study of trauma in journalism tends to assume that trauma exposure (whether it has been a single event or a series of cumulative episodes) is past and finite. However, this article argues that the notion of trauma exposure as temporally located in the past fails to adequately capture the experiences of local, indigenous journalists living and working in contexts of protracted conflict or violence. There is a growing, if contested, acknowledgement that existing conceptualizations of traumatic stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have limited utility in conditions of ongoing violence and danger. In contrast, and based on a participant observation study conducted over three years, this article proposes a spectrum of continuous traumatic stressors and charts the continuous traumatic stress (CTS) of four local reporters in Colombia, living and working in a context of intractable conflict. In this setting, where local journalists have become agents for peace, CTS conjoins the mental wellbeing of individual reporters with their capacity for peace-building.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2020

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