Why attend the conference?

The Society of Professional Journalists – Region 3 & the Savannah State University Department of Journalism & Mass Communication (JMC) are providing an opportunity for honest talk on what is it is like to face trauma and ongoing stress as journalists, how to recognize when someone needs help, and to help find solutions to help these professionals and newsrooms find resilience and to persevere.

Journalists and newsrooms leaders will provide open, honest talk about how these traumas and also the long-term stress of working in shrinking newsrooms and in an unpredictable journalism job market. How are these emotion stresses affecting their work lives, personal lives, their human psyche and bodies?

What are journalists talking about?

  • Psychological, emotional and behavioral effects of covering a disaster, breaking news or losing a job
  • PTSD and other mental health issues, including depression due to work-related stress
  • Impediments, including stigma, to talking with peers or seeking professional help
  • Signs of traumatic stress and when someone needs help
  • Help from newsroom leadership and peer support when a colleague dies while working in journalism

What the conference will talk about:

  • Emotional, psychological and behavior effects of direct and indirect exposure to work-related stress and traumatic events
  • Changes that occur in the body when exposed to traumatic stress and what to do about those changes
  • Ongoing stress of working in today’s newsrooms and worry related to the unpredictable media industry
  • Deconstructing stigma attached to journalists asking for help and ways to eliminate it
  • Ways newsrooms leaders and colleagues can be proactive in providing resources for journalists when help is needed
  • Resources available for treating mental health problems due to work-stress and exposure to traumatic events; vicarious trauma included
  • Conversations about ways journalists and newsrooms build resilience for and persevere when faced with trauma and ongoing issues
  • Conversations about what journalists have faced when covering traumatic events/work-related stress and hear how others have recovered, or not recovered

Let’s talk!

SPJ Region 3 and Savannah State University is bringing together national, regional and local journalists and newsroom leaders to get the conversation started and keep it going where journalists and newsrooms can sharing each others’ experiences when faced with trauma and long-term stress in the workplace. Furthermore, this conference is about how journalists can ask for help, find help within newsroom resources, through peer groups, or to how to find professional help, if needed. Journalists need to know that they are not alone in this process.

We are all in this together!

Meet the Keynote Speaker

Nick Valencia, CNN National Reporter & NAHJ Vice President, Broadcast



SESSION: Learn about the DART Center and how the industry is addressing trauma and stress

Dr. Elana Newman, Research Director, DART Center


SESSION: “What happens beneath the skin and why it matters”

Dr. Pamela Dorsett, Clinical Psychologist and freelance writer


REGIONAL PANEL SESSION: Surviving painful trauma & disasters

Newsrooms throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have faced hurricanes, mass shootings and loss of colleagues during the last several years. Listen to these regional newsroom leaders and journalists as they share their experiences and how they found support with each other and built a atmosphere of resiliency to survive in the news business.

Lee Brown, Assistant News Director, WYFF-TV, Greenville, South Carolina


Tom Lewis, News Director, WMBB-TV, Panama City, Florida


Katie Landeck, Managing Editor, Panama City News Herald


Nassem Miller, Health & Science Reporter, Orlando Sentinel


Susan Catron, Executive Editor, Savannah Morning News


METEOROLOGISTS SESSION:  Facing the storms: It can be dangerous to be outside

You will have an opportunity to talk with meteorologists one-on-one who are literally “out in the weather” covering traumatic weather events and who face the important and stressful responsibilities of informing people about possible life-threatening storms and floods.

Kris Allred, Chief Meteorologist, WSAV-TV, Savannah, Georgia


Jamie Arnold, Chief Meteorologist, WMBF-TV, Grand Strand, Pee Dee areas, South Carolina


Wes Wyatt, Meteorologist, WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Alabama


Student Panelists: They are already covering traumatic and stress events on campus

Student Journalists are facing traumatic and stressful reporting on their own college campuses and the communities that surround their universities. Listen to what they have experienced and how they are looking for guidance as they enter the job market.

Ashia Manning, editor-in-chief, Tiger’s Roar, Savannah State University

Matthew Enfinger, editor-in-chief, The George-Anne, Georgia Southern University

Hannah Lester, staff reporter, The Plainsman, Auburn University

Isaiah Singleton, SCPJ president, Savannah State University