Why You’re There: An Examination of Faith within an Ethic of Care for Journalists Covering Trauma and Educators Who Prepare Them for It
Michael Longinow, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor of Journalism, Dept. of Digital Journalism and Media
Abstract: Traumatic news has been a constant throughout the development of American journalism, but only in the last decade has scholarly attention been given to the implications of, and preparation for, such reporting. This paper adds a crucial, historically grounded faith analysis to the emerging literature on philosophies undergirding responses to traumatic journalism. Among those approaches, each with its own religious underpinnings, it suggests Agape, a faith-based ethic of care, as optimal for covering trauma-related news and preparing students for storytelling involving trauma.
Keywords: trauma journalism, faith based, virtue, ethic of care, Agape
It was a fairly routine television interview. The reporter was standing next to a wooden railing, chatting with a local official. The videographer was leaning in, holding the frame still. Then, down the wooden deck came the shooter, a jerky body camera recording his strides. Viewers saw a gun rise into the frame and the barrel flashed as the reporter turned, wide-eyed, to face the bullets.
This story was trauma journalism. Yet it was different. The shooting of reporter Alison Parker in a live newscast—posted to social media by the killer, former station co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams)—became a horrific glimpse into the kinds of suffering some journalists encounter on a regular basis (Cox, Hedgepeth, & Jouvenal, 2015; Sandoval, Silverstein, & McShane, 2015). The camera was turned on the journalists, typically those who cover trauma, now dealing in very public ways with personal pain.
The video images left the newsroom in shock. Parker’s boyfriend watched the shooting happen, along with other staff, frozen—numb, in disbelief. People at the news desk began texting Parker and the videographer to get details. Neither responded. “Your ears heard it, your eyes saw it, but your brain did not want to process what you just saw on television, not only for us but for our viewers,” said the station’s news director in an interview after the shooting (Quill, 2015). Decisions about whether to air the raw video footage erupted almost immediately nationwide (Clark, 2015; Emery, 2015).
In an era when mistrust of news media approaches by audiences and even journalists themselves has hit new levels (Bennett, Staci, & Flickinger, 2001; Kiousis, 2001), this paper brings new analysis to the growing research literature underlying trauma journalism as an area of study and career preparation, adding a faith component largely absent from the current literature. It examines various philosophies of journalistic approaches to trauma—each with its own religious presuppositions—but suggests Agape as an ethic of faith-based care aimed at remedying audience cynicism about journalistic inquiry into this dark realm. It also applies a faith-based analysis to trauma journalists’ attrition from a profession which has too long neglected care for them. Direct examination of pedagogical techniques will not be addressed. Rather, primary attention is given to the ethical and philosophical motivations, indeed the mandate, for such pedagogy.
Trauma, Teaching, and the Difficult Task
Trauma, as an element of journalism coverage in the United States, has been largely unexamined but generally expected as part of the job of news reporters and photojournalists. But since the 1990s, study of the cultural and psychological implications of and preparation for trauma in journalism has become a growing field among scholars (Amend, Kay, & Reilly, 2012; Buchanan & Keats, 2011; Dworznik & Grubb, 2007; Massé, 2011; Maxson, 2000).
Trauma has been defined by psychologists as any experience or encounter causing an inability to cope with life; it involves a disordering of one’s understanding of meaning in the normal symbols of experience (Bucci, 1997); trauma affects memories, relationships, and approaches to gut-level experience (Maltby & Hall, 2012).
Students studying journalism, media, or communications in U.S. colleges and universities today are a generation at once involved in and separated from the concept of trauma in journalism and fact-based media. Born between 1982 and 2002, they have been known—among other labels—as Millennials (Howe & Straus, 2002), Gen Y (Trunk, 2007), and Generation Next (Pew Center for the People and the Press, 2007). They are a population of students, if they fit the 18-25 year old category, called “the most managed and supervised generation in history” (Hollingsworth, Dunkle, & Douce, 2009). From their earliest years they have had screens large and small before their eyes, familiar with access to more information instantaneously than any previous generation. Encounters with new concepts is a given for them; yet these students feel less comfortable than their parents and even older siblings with personal encounters of any kind, let alone those involving trauma (Bryant, 2013; Lee-Won, Herzog, & Park, 2015). Despite the growth in the number of first-generation college students, most new students today come from majority culture homes earning a median income of $99,000 (Mangan, 2015). They are generally insulated from trauma, particularly violent crime, while those their age who are not in college are significantly more likely to experience it (Baum & Klaus, 2005).
Yet while insulated from external trauma, traditional undergraduate students are, themselves, a population with unique traumas. Perhaps because they have been so well attended in their early years, perhaps for medical or other reasons, they are students who self-report about emotional baggage in seemingly unprecedented proportions. They are prone to anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and personality disorders (Benton et al., 2003). And many of the most serious cases involve students who refuse formal counseling (Gallagher, 2014; Rando, Barr, & Arros, 2008; Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996).
While ethical and philosophical analysis of trauma as an effect on first responders has roots going back decades in medical schools, schools of psychology, and in such organizations as the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, the Dart Center at Columbia University, with roots at Michigan State University in the early 1990s, became a locus for research, collaborative inquiry, and training for journalists and educators (Dart Center, n.d.; Simpson, 2004, p. 77). The University of Washington (Roseth, 1999), the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland (Melki et al., 2009), and the Reynolds Institute at the University of Missouri (Reed, 2015) have also emerged as training centers about trauma touching on professional journalism. But much of the research from these centers focuses on professionals rather than students. Pedagogy and the philosophy and ethics behind such teaching are an area in need of inquiry. This article contributes to what, in an era of mass shootings, domestic terrorism, domestic violence, and urban gang warfare, has become a vital area of research and attention by educators in preparation for students in the U.S. seeking to enter news-related media professions.
Origins of Trauma in Journalism
News coverage of violence and trauma has a long history in Western media. War has long been the context for trauma faced by journalists. While the Paul Revere engraving of British soldiers’ guns unloading on American colonials on a Boston street has become iconic (Casper, 2008), the U.S. Civil War was perhaps the first war to be covered in ways which put journalists on battlefields and in harm’s way (Furgurson, 2008; Ratner & Teeter, 2003). But it was during the Great War (World War I) the term “shell shock” became vernacular for military personnel—and journalists among them. It was at first medical in origin, noting the effects of explosion near the human body. Over time, the term grew in scope, encompassing all trauma deriving from newly mechanized warfare with its frightening tactical and chemical capabilities. It also became a derogatory term for soldiers and anyone else who showed “weak-heartedness.” Research on parallel developments in psychiatry and tactical warfare in the early twentieth century shows the reference to nerves shifted from one of strength (a strong person had nerve) to one of derision. A cowardly person was one who “had nerves” or was “nervous.” Journalists, much like the military sources for whom they covered stories, showed strength by stoically persevering in their work despite exposure to prolonged attack, explosions, the horrific results of combat—particularly on non-combatants, and the effect of violent near-misses in their day-to-day lives (Fueshko, 2016, p. 40).
Off the battlefield, sex and violence go together in the history of trauma in news. One study suggests coverage of sexual violence traces at least to the Victorian era and fed readers’ salacious tastes—perhaps acting also as a tool, at that time, to curb women’s quest for social freedoms (Barrow, 2015). Violence against majority culture women in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century was covered in ways which depicted men of color as more likely than majority culture men to be sexually violent (Freedman, 2011).
Studies of news coverage in the late twentieth century suggest news organizations chose, with varying but similar measurements, how much trauma should get coverage. In non-warfare news in the U.S., race and gender appeared to affect those decisions which partly dependent on geography (Chermak, 1995; Dixon & Linz, 2000, 2002; Entman, 1992, 1994). Editors’ choices of covering trauma sometimes were aimed at arousing caution in society about perceived risk. One study links news coverage of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping to the dawning of a risk-aware era in American culture (Howell, 2012).
Regardless its motive, trauma journalism is a noticeable thread weaving through the history of American journalism. Underwood (2002) traces it through the journalism and even the later fiction of a wide selection of U.S. and British writers, from Charles Dickens to E.B. White, noting a kind of ethos of trauma coverage which became legendary—an ethos of personal suffering in the writers, remedied oftentimes with alcohol or other substance abuse, along with alienation from others. For a glimpse of studies on the effects of trauma on journalists in the U.S. and in other Western countries, refer to Keats and Buchanan (2009, 2013), Blackholm and Bjorkqvist (2012), Joseph (2011), and DePalma (2009).
The history of trauma coverage is one which includes variations on reality—unintended and intentional misapplication of fact in telling stories of pain and suffering. Alexander Gardner, among those who pioneered visual journalism of the aftermath of battles in the U.S. Civil War, was known to rearrange objects at an event site (e.g., rifles, corpses) to reinforce audience expectation of (or horror at) the battle, aiming also in some cases at fulfilling the propaganda intent of his superiors (Lowe & Shiman, 2010; Mahon, 1996). Trauma in government news sources has perhaps always been a filtered glimpse (Anderson, 2014) and some would argue it can be no other, for the horrors of human suffering would seem only palatable in a schema of filtered presentation—myth, perhaps. Roland Barthes (1957) called myth a “system of communication,” and Claude Levi-Strauss (1978) pointed up myth as a necessary tool for organizing cultural norms. Historian and former diplomat Thomas Bailey (1968) has suggested myth—acting as a kind of canvas on which a society begins a multi-colored conversation about itself—if it be shattered, should be done carefully, lest a people suffer “traumatic shock.” James Carey’s (2009) theory of journalism as story and ritual, born of a people’s conversation with itself, fits this mold. Salvio (2009) brings a psychoanalytic frame to the intersection of trauma and audiences and argues without the necessary “field of vision,” trauma, when covered by journalists with all its raw edges, can fall too easily into “stigmatizing discourses” (Boldt & Salvio, 2006; Brushwood-Rose, 2006).
Motivations for Coverage: Why Tell the Traumatic Story?
While the number of journalists, in total, is diminishing (Bruner, 2012) and the number of U.S. journalists assigned to cover international conflict is also on the decline (Hart, 2005; Ricchiardi, 2007), journalists who continue to pursue news of trauma can win awards for in-depth investigation of it, photojournalism about it, and video coverage of it — particularly at the moment it begins (Dankoski, 2001). Why? Cynics would point up profit margin and competitive market advantage among media organizations (Bagdikian, 1990; Squires, 1993). It is an accusation not without merit, given the origins of trauma reporting in the 19th century U.S. newspaper wars, fed by Yellow Journalism amid what Boorstin (1962) called a “Graphic Revolution.” It emerged just at the time news reporting—along with police work and public relations—was gaining traction in what Bledstein (1978) calls a “culture of professionalism” (pp. 80-88).
It is important to analyze the deeper motivations of journalists who cover traumatic stories, with implications for how educators should prepare them for such work. One must trace what trauma journalists do back to their media philosophies—thought processes Plaisance (2005) argues are, at their base, moral in nature. Underneath these philosophical motivations, it will be suggested, can be found in some journalists a faith principle guiding what they do. For hidden under the facts and even the surface relationships of news coverage of trauma lie deeper, spiritual and religious ramifications of the given moment (Hoover, 1998; Ostrowski, 2007; Willis, 2007; Zhengjia, 2012).
Toward the purpose of adding a faith perspective to the growing literature on trauma journalism in practice and in educational preparation, we will now examine four journalistic motivations for making trauma journalism a priority, each with its own varying religious implications: the impetus of the Libertarian mindset; the drive of Social Responsibility; the pursuit of Activism or Advocacy; and the mandate of Agape, or a faith-driven ethic of care.
Libertarian: Because We Can, Limits Aside
The Libertarian approach to coverage of trauma stems from the notion facts and information—harsh and haunting as they might be to witness—are crucial to the socio-political machinery of a democracy. And while John Locke, father of Libertarian thinking, is widely held to be the father of Enlightenment reason and systematic skepticism, he was also author of The Reasonableness of Christianity and, as one scholar has put it, a promoter of toleration in matters of faith—a champion of civil religion (Herold, 2014). In such a context, then, freedom of inquiry is necessary because truth, as a find-able entity, can—like no other—dispel error and falsehood (Wuliger, 1991). Under John Stuart Mill’s conception of an open marketplace of ideas (Mill, 1859/2011), a truly free press will use its energies and resources to add as many perspectives to a media discussion as possible.
For just as the invisible hand of economics gets invoked to explain market change, so can the power of truth-seeking in a Libertarian marketplace mindset be understood as a kind of righting principle (Jensen, 1976; Siebert, Peterson & Schramm, 1956)—one applicable to trauma coverage. The moral imperative in a Libertarian approach to journalism is self-realization (Emerson, 1970). John Locke’s (1689/1947) vision of all people “free, equal and independent” (p. 168) would drive a journalist’s mandate to cover any story she chooses, in any way she sees fit—traumatic as it might be for her and her audience—for only under such freedom can truth be found. Adding complexity to the problem is the notion proposed by Ellul (1973) which argues there are those who would create false truths—propagandized events disguised as reality—and a marketplace of ideas, given the power of subterfuge and the dizzying speed of information flow, becomes a comfortable fiction, one where truth and falsehood cannot be distinguished except by social consensus (Baudrillard, 1988).
It should be noted the Libertarian mindset suggests a marketplace not just of ideas, but of profit-share. “Factual news supposedly makes money when highly credible content leads to higher circulation and better ratings,” notes Barnhurst (2015, p. 1248), adding the separation of fact from opinion in a Libertarian marketplace is difficult and has nudged the overall discourse toward sensationalism as a tool to outperform competing media (p. 1249). This style of competition can trample the vulnerable and exposed victims of trauma (Rothe, 2011). Schwarzclose’s (1989) observation of the Libertarian marketplace of media power was the fact “regaining God’s grace was replaced by one seeking individual utility” (p. 12) which then turned toward a shifting public standard, one prone to err against the needs of the helpless (Kim, 2012).
Social Responsibility: Because We Should, Within Bounds
The socially responsible journalist covering traumatic events does so with a strong awareness of those to whom harm will come from media messages. Just because a journalist can find and describe (or show) the blood, should she? The Hutchins Commission’s observation (Knutson, 1948) of how corporate media shapes public perceptions of events and trends in society led to its insistence media act in the best interests of all, including those on the fringes—those who have no voice (Uzoechi, 2014). Trauma victims, even those who learn to play to the camera, can be seen as those with limited power in the media encounter.
But it should be noted while the commission was convened by Henry Luce, then owner of Time and Life magazines, journalists—by design—were not asked to be part of the commission (McIntyre, 1987; Metzger & Hornaday, 2013). In fact, the label “social responsibility,” as a press approach, was coined neither by the commission nor by journalists, but by scholars, years later, in The Four Theories of the Press (Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm, 1956).
Two problems worrying the commission in the 1940s were news apathy among Americans and the tendency of competitive media to create a monopoly, shrinking the number of news voices available to the dwindling number of Americans who still cared about the world around them. It is a worse problem now, though in the last decade it has given rise to crops of news non-profits from San Diego to New Haven (Edmonds et al., 2012; Downie & Schudson, 2009; Nee, 2014;), and investigations by the Federal Communications Commission into what one former FCC chair called a “potential crisis for democracy” (FCC, 2010).
Christians and Nordenstreng (2004) have noted the rise of Social Responsibility as a theory underlying media practice in Western Europe, New Zealand, South America, and central Africa but warned it is a movement whose ability to function in the 21st century is limited unless members of the media can embrace moral principle. Ernest Hocking, a Harvard philosopher on the Hutchins Commission, crafted the moral underpinnings of the Social Responsibility Theory. It was thinking which grew out of Hocking’s (1940) belief—born of experience, in his youth, with Midwestern-U.S. Methodism—which asserted the practical outworking of Christian faith could help form a tapestry of worldwide cohesion between people groups (Stidsen, 1992).
But where Libertarianism can be seen as a mechanistic self-righting force in a media marketplace, social responsibility draws on a perhaps overly optimistic vision of media self-regulation. Its success relies on the individual choices of journalists (Merrill, 1974, 1989, 1996)—an existentialist notion—yet it is inextricably tied to a commitment to others (Lambeth, 1992). And while both are necessary, the difficulty comes in determining who, in the digital age, should be called a journalist and what, or whom, outside the journalist’s immediate experience and social connections, should draw the journalist’s loyalty (Singer, 2005).
Where social responsibility breaks down most visibly in coverage of trauma, it can be argued, is in the “pack” behaviors which began in the post-World War II era and have extended into the “viral” tendencies of attention-deficit social media covering events and trends (Breen & Matusitz, 2006; Kim, 2015; Matusitz & Breen, 2007). The descent upon a traumatic event of hordes of rumbling television satellite trucks with their bright lights and jostling crowds of reporters is precisely what numbs—or infuriates—victims of trauma (Arterburn, 1998). Research on the ways journalists use social media as a tool for both news-gathering and publishing suggests little attention to social responsibility in their approach. Indeed, the tendency to hype, to be inattentive to breadth of research, and to be shrill rather than meaningful is magnified in a social media pack-mentality approach (Vergeer, 2015).
Activist: Because Attention to Mere Facts will not Bring Change
Trauma suffered by victims, in a sense, cannot be shown in less than the goriest detail if one’s purpose is to wake up an apathetic, lethargic—even escapist—society. Visual theorist Julianne Newton (2001) has argued some things will remain invisible—in fact conceptually non-existent—unless those in power, whether in government, corporate oligarchy, or a local community, are made to see them. Newton quotes a Gulf War journalist who, when confronted about shooting an image of the charred body of an Iraqi soldier, responds, “How could I not take the picture?” (p.55).
Journalism seeking to go deeper than surface facts will, at times, step out of the impartial boundaries inherent in objective journalism. Indeed, Olasky (1996) has argued for people of faith, Christians in particular, objectivity is a myth to be left aside in pursuit of truth-telling which is unashamed and vigorous, stemming from one viewpoint. His view has application to media of other faiths (Gibson, 2015; Mehren, 2005; Werbner, 2010).
Clark (2013) has argued activist reporting lends to audiences’ critical thinking about existing structures of power and can develop a crucial global awareness. Oleson (2008) notes investigative journalism, by its nature, is a kind of political statement, an important moral discussion.
David Protess (1991), along with six other writers in Journalism of Outrage, pointed up the power of investigative journalism which is relentless about rooting out political corruption and social injustice. It is an approach tracing back at least a century in the United States, with roots in religious impulse behind social reform (Olasky, 1988; Roberts, 2015; Rodgers, 2010).
But Hilgartner (1992) notes Protess’ book is heavy on journalistic description and light on the ways such journalism brings change. Investigative journalism lacks the prominence it once had, given journalism’s steady shift toward social media. Auerbach (2015) suggests societal outrage, in such an instantaneous, existential media landscape, must be cultivated carefully in light of advertisers’ reticence to buy space alongside harsh realities. Galander (2013) and Parasie and Dagiral (2013) argue the reverse, noting the potency of social media—particularly in evidence-driven stories transcending superficial rants—as true advocacy eschewing the shifting support of commercial power. And where passion for change erupts, funding for journalistic efforts will often follow (Hunter, 2015).
Yet questions remain: If funding for advocacy journalism dries up, if the trauma itself becomes too much for a journalist to deal with in her personal life, why choose the beat? Or, indeed, why continue doing journalism? Will the marketplace of news really benefit victims? Who determines what is socially responsible—and who can say responsible journalistic behavior will prevail? Outrage has its limits, and in the end, who does advocacy journalism help more—victims or advocates? There are no easy answers to these questions.
Agape: Care for Others which Compels More than Mere Story-Telling
It can be argued for trauma journalism to really matter—spattered blood on twisted metal, a huddled family outside yellow crime-scene tape—the point cannot merely be story, but people. To reverse the order makes for the alienation Buber warned was a most devastating element of human suffering (Silberstein, 1989). And to sustain such compassion, the motivation cannot be external, but from within the journalist. It has perhaps always been so, Underwood (2010) has argued, claiming the best of U.S. journalism has emerged from not merely the minds but the souls—belief systems—of women and men who gather news.
The link between the rise of American journalism and such religious impulse has been established (Buddenbaum & Mason, 2000; Copeland, 1996; Hatch, 1989; Noll, 1992; Nord, 1988, 2007; Olasky, 1988; Smith, 1980) but remains on the margins of the history of news and newsgathering.
While arguments for compassion and empathy in journalism are significant (Chong, 2013; Coleman, 2011; Joseph, 2013; Vanacker & Breslin, 2006), most compelling among them is the suggestion Agape stands as perhaps the most enduring of any motivation behind caring for victims—and for journalists themselves. Agape, a Greek term for a form of love which cares deeply for others in a selfless manner, one exemplified by Jesus Christ on a Roman cross, is a motivation which makes individuals ends-in-themselves (Lewis, 1960/1971), and is not only counter-cultural but not easily sustained (Stromberg, 2015; Tillman, 2008). Agape, despite its explicit religious derivation, is nonetheless firmly embedded in the scholarly literature of altruism (Post, 2002; Post et al., 2002; Sorokin, 1954).
The motivation for such selfless love in civic life, within the history of religion in the U.S., arises most profoundly in descriptions of revival in American Protestant Christianity. The First Great Awakening (1734-1740) and Second Great Awakening (1790-1820) were eras when people, generally in group worship settings, felt supernaturally compelled to lay aside aggressions and bridge walls of hostility because of a profound new awareness of God in their lives. It was a time when faith—evident in a new atmosphere of love—among people of every social status was more important than connection with religious hierarchy or tradition; ground-level compassion was paramount (Hatch, 1989, p. 56; Thomas, 1989, pp. 6-8). In its best moments, it transcended race and culture (Lambert, 2002). While news reporting as a practice was nascent during the First Great Awakening, newspapers and their printers—Benjamin Franklin among them—recounted the social transformations with wonder, albeit with skepticism (Hofer, 2011; Smith, 2012). And if it can be argued even vestiges of this Agape-driven, socially transformative approach to persons was at work as the Bill of Rights was formed, then an ethic of care—along with its commitment to justice and accountability—can be construed as underlying the formation of a mandate for the press (Choper, 2000; McConnell, 2010; Witte, 2008; Wood, 1990).
Steiner and Okrusch (2006) point out an ethic of care for others is one which can guide journalists’ choice of story, sources, approach, and decisions about context and follow-up. And by caring, journalists can model care to those for whom caring is foreign or difficult.
A journalism of Agape can be useful even in a media world where skepticism about and mistrust of religious impulse—let alone organized religion, Christianity particularly—is rampant (Silk, 1995). Yao (1996) notes a parallel between Agape and Jen, the Confucian principle of selfless love, the Buddhist “Five Prohibitions,” and the Judaic scriptural law. And Niebuhr (1957) argued for Agape as a nudge toward humility in a narcissistic age. Ramsey (1970) used a medical ethics argument for Agape as a unique and important contribution to the “postmodern conversation” about doing the right thing to—and about—people. Sytsma (2002) argued for the value of Agape apart from an explicit belief in God, focusing instead on the character principles this approach promotes.
Faith Amid Challenges to Resilience in Trauma Journalism
But what of the burnout which can so easily destroy the careers of journalists who dare to make the suffering of people their primary focus? Clearly, pursuit of journalism about violence, pain and suffering is not for everyone. Little scholarship exists on soul care for journalists who deal with trauma, but there is research evidence connecting faith and mental health (Hall, 2004, 2007; Hall et al., 1998). And there are techniques for self-monitoring in the ongoing journalistic pursuit of trauma stories: honesty with oneself about inner struggle is vital; outreach to others in the newsroom, or outside it, is crucial (Ballew-Gonzalez, 2002; Greenberg et al., 2009; Gutkowska, 2012).
It has been said for many who do the best journalism, the work is much more than a job; it is more a journey than a destination, perhaps a calling (Harwood, 2007). Nouwen (1994) would suggest this call, if it is one committed to understanding suffering, must move one beyond pity to true compassion—a motivation he was impressed with in the Dalai Lama. It was an Agape-informed mindset for Nouwen, a Dutch Roman Catholic Priest with psychology training, who approached those in pain with the assertion: “I too have wept. I too have felt pain” (pp. 104-105). To choose a life embracing pain, argued Nouwen (1999), can become an important element of transparency and resilience in the encounter with those who suffer. It is an approach most applicable to the challenging work of trauma journalism.
Conclusion and Implications for Further Research
Of the many possible motivations for the pursuit of trauma journalism, the approach with perhaps the strongest sustainable motivation for those aiming to tell the stories of those who suffer is one which begins with an awareness of suffering. Agape, as an altruistic motivation, has merit not merely as a benefit to those whose stories can be bypassed or misread; it has benefit as well as a source of journalists’ self-care—a self-care which begins, ironically, with a selflessness mindset and professional approach. It is a motivation with roots in the history of American journalism and one which can be applicable even for those who reject an explicitly Christian understanding of the concept.
More research is needed in the area of trauma journalism in its interplay with faith experience in journalists and media professionals. It bears analysis in the careers of seasoned news workers, but additional research is particularly crucial in understanding how to guide Millennials who, with no little skepticism about their future, are questioning entry into journalism and information media in the coming decade. The role of Agape as a motivation for journalism is a study worth pursuing as part of ongoing research into faith as an element of journalistic inquiry and the ethic behind a compassionate encounter within journalistic truth-telling. Agape as an element of pedagogy within the lives of students struggling with self-care issues is also one worth further research analysis.
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