Barry Richards, professor of public communication, Bournemouth University The view of journalists as a cold-hearted bunch, immune to the fallout from the stories they pursue, will be challenged by Barry Richards's work on "emotional literacy" in journalism training.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded him £75,000 to research the training journalists receive to help them recognise and manage their feelings and mental health so they can work effectively and sensitively.
News is an emotional business for everyone involved, he said. "We can think in terms of a feeling chain starting with the people directly involved in a newsworthy event, and running through the journalists and others involved in conveying reports of that event to audiences and readers. All along this chain, emotions are experienced, observed, described and passed on in different ways."
How journalists deal with these issues affects their wellbeing and the way they work, said Professor Richards, but this is not dealt with systematically in their training.
The 15-month project, which will start in May, will look at approaches to such training and propose a strategy for helping journalists deal with the emotions that arise from their job.
The AHRC grant will also cover the cost of actors who will play traumatised victims to help train MA journalism students.
"We want to take this model to the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma and other universities that run journalism courses," Professor Richards said.