College Announces World-Class Speakers for National Trauma Journalism Symposium
Events and Lectures

Franklin College is pleased to announce the growing list of nationally recognized speakers for the upcoming inaugural National Trauma Journalism Symposium on Oct. 20-21 on the Franklin College campus.

Keynote speakers are Linsey Davis, ABC World News Tonight weekend anchor/ABC News Live Prime anchor, and Dave Cullen, bestselling author of “Columbine” and “Parkland: Birth of a Movement.” Opening remarks will be presented by Frank Ochberg, M.D., a psychiatrist and pioneer in the treatment of traumatic stress. Special guest speaker is Nick Schifrin, PBS NewsHour foreign affairs and defense correspondent.

Register here.

Davis believes the well-being of those in media needs to be a priority. “Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Crashes. Crime and crises of all sorts. I have witnessed it all, and the observation of human distress can certainly inflict distress on the observer,” she said. “It has been said that ‘trauma is at the heart of news.’ With that basic understanding, it is critical to realize that as we often prioritize telling a story well, journalists must also reflect on the toll it takes on us. Self-care is often a catch phrase these days, but for those of us in media, it is necessary to not absorb and bury the grief we see up close with some regularity. At the end of the day, we cannot allow our curiosity and questions to overshadow our own well-being.”

Cullen says reporting on trauma differs from other work done by journalists. “I think the first big leap in covering trauma is ditching some of that objectivity they drilled into us in journalism school. Objectivity equals emotional distance, and who wants to consume survivor stories from a distance?” he said. “You have to experience their pain to convey it with the power it demands. That means letting it into you, and your own heart is going to bleed, so prepare for it: Set limits, find ways to release it, and most of all, find time for joy. The antidote to pain is joy.”

Schifrin feels this symposium is vital for journalists. “What do you ask the mother who has to watch the exhumation of her son’s body after it was tortured by Russian soldiers?” he said.  “How does the journalist who documents horror avoid being consumed by it? If there are answers to those questions, the Trust for Trauma Journalism can help find them—and an event like this symposium at Franklin College is vital for those of us who cover violence and tragedy and hope to improve our reporting.”

More information about the growing list of participants, programming, registration and overnight accommodations can be found here: Virtual attendance is offered. Scholarships are available for students by contacting Ann Barton at or (317) 738-8194.

Trust for Trauma Journalism (TTJ) serves trauma journalists and those who cover violence, conflict, combat and catastrophe, providing services and support before, during and after they go into harm’s way.

The symposium is a partnership between the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism and TTJ. The first of its kind in the nation, it is not only for practicing journalists, but for many others as well, including those teaching these important subjects in high school and university environments. Students studying journalism, psychology, social work, law enforcement, in addition to those preparing for health care professions, are encouraged to attend. Journalists both in front of and behind the camera would benefit from the symposium.


POSTED Sep 21, 2022