Asia Pacific Media Educator


When traumatic incidents occur, victims and survivors – as well as their families, friends and immediate communities – respond in varying ways. Over the past century, however, researchers have mapped common psychosocial consequences for victims/survivors in their studies of what has come to be known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over the same period, journalists and news media managers have adopted local, medium-specific and industry-wide journalistic standards for acceptable ethical and operational behaviours when it comes to covering such incidents. Yet, despite numerous prescriptive codes – and growing public criticism – Australia’s news media continues to confront victims/ survivors in large numbers when they are at their most vulnerable... and sometimes in ways that are, at best, questionable. Drawing on the experiences of those touched by the 1996 Port Arthur massacre and by industrial deaths, this paper examines the consequences of media actions for victims/survivors.