Know your limits
Crime reporters or investigative journalists often face hostile situations while covering news.Before any assignment, I try to follow the guidelines provided by Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma with my own interpretation (read Indian perspective) like:
- Know your limits. If you’ve been given a troublesome assignment that you feel you cannot perform, politely express your concerns to your supervisor.Tell the supervisor that you may not be the best person for the assignment.Explain why.
- Take breaks. A few minutes or a few hours away from the situation may help relieve your stress.
- Find someone who is a sensitive listener. It can be an editor or a peer, but you must trust that the listener will not pass judgment on you. Perhaps it is someone who has faced a similar experience.
- Learn how to deal with your stress. Find a hobby, exercise, attend a house of worship or, most important, spend time with your family, a significant other or friends — or all four. Try deep-breathing. The Eastern Connecticut Health Network recommends that you “take a long, slow, deep breath to the count of five, then exhale slowly to the count of five. Imagine breathing out excess tension and breathing in relaxation.” All of these can be effective for your mental and physical well-being.
- Understand that your problems may become over whelming. Before he died in April 1945, war correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote, “I’ve been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has become too great.” If this happens to you, seek counseling from a professional.
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