Oh, the trouble you've seen: How to manage the stress and trauma of being a journalist

  • Event: 2019 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Al Tompkins of Poynter; Sidney Tompkins of Poynter
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 14 at 10:15am
  • Location: Texas F
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Investigative journalists feel the pressure of being called “the enemy.” If you are doing your job right, the subjects of your stories probably don’t love you, to say the least. You have likely witnessed tragedy and the stress of job insecurity and deadlines. It is no surprise that journalists experience job stress on par with firefighters and first responders. 

Poynter’s Al Tompkins and his wife, psychotherapist Sidney Tompkins, combine decades of newsroom and clinical experience to help investigators spot the symptoms of traumatic stress and learn practical ways to manage it. This may be the most important session you will attend because if you are not caring for yourself, nothing else will matter. 

Speaker Bios

  • Al Tompkins is a frequent speaker at IRE conferences and in newsrooms teaching critical thinking, writing, reporting and ethics. He has worked as a photographer, reporter, producer, head of investigations and special projects and News Director.

    Al has been a final juror for IRE, duPont Columbia Awards, Scripps Howard Awards.

    Al has taught journalists in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, South Africa, Iceland, Denmark and beyond. 150 universities use his book "Aim for the Heart."

  • Sidney Tompkins is a licensed psychotherapist with more than 40 years of clinical experience.  Her work includes stress and trauma therapy for corporate and government clients including federal law enforcement.  She sees the signs of trauma in journalists working on conflict zones but also from journalists covering political campaigns and controversial stories.  She helps journalists recognize the symptoms of traumatic stress and provides strategies for dealing with it. 

Related Tipsheets

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