Contextualizing Psychological Outcomes for TV News Journalists: Role Differences in Industry Culture, Organizational Hierarchy and Trauma Exposure


Research indicates that TV news journalists’ ongoing exposure to trauma can result in psychopathology. However, we currently know little about potential differences in trauma exposure between indi- viduals in varying journalistic roles. The aim of this study is to contextualize the existing knowledge of psychological outcomes for TV news journalists and to complement current deductive trends in literature by asking: How do TV news journalists of differing roles and responsibilities experience unique factors that ultimately influence their trauma exposure? Individuals in journalistic roles that experience dif- ferences in their exposure to trauma compared to other roles, may be at risk of elevated psychopathology or in need of greater support to prevent distress. A social constructivist approach was adopted and in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 Australian TV news camera-operators and reporters. Analysis was conducted according to a systematic and transparent thematic analysis. The findings sug- gest that TV news camera operators and reporters experience differ- ences in: (1) experiences of industry culture within organizational hierarchy, (2) role expectations of physical proximity to trauma, and (3) social visibility during trauma exposure. By considering role-based differences, this study recommends resources and support necessary for reporters and camera operators. The present findings inform news organizations providing support for their staff, and news con- sumers of the circumstances under which news workers per- form roles.


MacDonald, J. B., Fox, R., & Saliba, A. J. (2020). Contextualizing psychological outcomes for TV news journalists: Role differences in industry culture, organizational hierarchy and trauma exposure. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2020.1809579