Mass Communication Seminar At QU Discusses Teaching Journalists Ways To Cope With Traumatic Events


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Sanaullah Ataullah | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: The Department of Mass Communication of the College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University organised a seminar on 'Integrating Traumatic Events into Journalism Curricula' yesterday.

The seminar presented idea on integrating traumatic events into the curricula to educate students on how to deal with difficulties while reporting in areas hit by conflicts or natural disasters.

Traumatic events can include experiences such as natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods), acts of violence (such as assault, abuse, terror attacks, and mass shootings), and car crashes or other accidents.

Associate Professor of Mass Communication Dr. Saadia Ezziddin Malik gave a presentation on 'Integrating Traumatic Events into Journalism Curricula'. The presentation is based on a survey of 101 journalism educators in Algeria, Sudan and Palestine. The survey aims to examine opinions of journalism educators towards trauma education and its incorporation into their institutions' journalism curricula. This is also to fill a knowledge gap in one of the most under-studied region in trauma education research, the MENA region.

She was representing a joint research team comprising Professor Dr. Yamine Boudhane, Lecturer Dr. Mohsen M. S. Alafranji.

Speaking to The Peninsula, the professors stressed the importance of preparing journalists to cover the traumatic events during natural disasters or wars.

Regarding the mechanism of integration, they noted that the subject of traumatic events can be added to the curricula of journalism to educate students how to deal with difficulties in disaster-affected areas.

Professor Dr. Yamine Boudhane said the seminar aimed at presenting research project and an article published in an international journal on the subject.

He said that this is directive of a group of professors from Palestine, Sudan and Algeria to integrate traumatic events in the curricula.

Explaining the traumatic events, Dr. Boudhane said:“These are shocking events that a journalist is exposed to while media coverage in areas of conflict, disputes, and wars.” He said that the integration process consists of subjects of traumatic events related into academic curricula, or by creating new curricula for addressing trauma in journalism. These courses instil awareness among students and prepare them for the future of being a journalist. They know how to deal with topics related to trauma, and how to confront, for example, traumatic events, events that affect them psychologically, and deal with them in a good way,” said Dr. Boudhane.

He said the idea is very important for students for preparing them to deal with such situation when they would be assigned in difficult places. Dr. Mohsen M. S. Alafranji said this issue is very important in a way that journalists at present are facing a difficult and dangerous fate that is unprecedented in history.“The research coincided with this difficult reality that the Palestinian journalists lives in for example. How can this journalist venture into professional work? How can he maintain professional standards,” said Alafranji. He said this topic is very important.“It alerts us, as academics, to how we can prepare journalists who could one day work in areas of conflict and crises, not necessarily just war.

“The results of the research work will be circulated to universities, and the idea of the proposal is that this topic will be introduced and integrated into some of the courses that are suitable.

“A journalist should have some information about conflict, crisis and how to deal with it and to protect himself by taking adequate preventive measures,” said Alafranji.

Speaking about the mechanism of merger, he said that it is difficult to say that there would be a separate academic programme for traumatic events because there is lengthy process for creating a new programme.“I think the safest way is to integrate subject of traumatic events into some courses at first. The second method is through conducting training workshops for students in cooperation with institutions specialised in this subject, through joint extracurricular activities that can cover some of these aspects,” said Alafranji.

Associate Professor Dr. Kamal Hamidou said the seminar presented outcomes of a research work carried out by a group of professors. He said that they presented this study, which was published in an international journal.

“The conclusion of the study was a recommendation to think about the possibility of including this specialisation either in stand-alone courses or within various existing courses,” said Dr. Hamidou.

For example, he said, it can be added in the academic programme in various universities in order to train journalists on the ability to deal with traumatic events that involve human suffering.

“The group that conducted this research, within a broad view, viewed to train journalists in this field specifically,” said Dr. Hamidou.

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