Ochberg Trauma Journalism Fellowship

A Shared Focus

Cartoon version of Dhruti

I am one of the 12 2015/2016 recipients of the prestigious Ochberg Fellowship offered by the Dart Centre, a project of Columbia University Journalism School in New York, USA.

Established in 1999 for journalists seeking to deepen their knowledge of trauma and improve reporting of traumatic events, the Ochberg Fellowship is awarded to outstanding senior and mid-career journalists in all media who have specialized in covering violence, conflict and tragedy, including such issues as street crime, family violence, natural disasters, war, conflict and genocide.

I have covered traumatic and distressing stories since my career began however, it is in the last few years, I have become increasingly interested in how journalists can protect themselves and still do these sorts of stories justice. This is what drove me to apply for the fellowship and I am incredibly grateful they selected me as their first social media/digital/user generated content fellow.

Journalists working in newsgathering are often exposed to trauma – through the stories we cover, the people we deal with and also in relation to our own self-care. Journalism is a career which thrives on stress and deadlines and but also on stories which have human relationships and emotions at the heart of them. The fellowship introduced me to a global tribe of clinicians, photographers, war correspondents and other journalists all who have the same focus I do.

I remain involved with the Dart Centre and have taken part in several global retreats focusing on trauma care, dealing with contributors sensitively, peer support, and other issues raised in this field.

I am available to speak on mental health, vicarious trauma issues, and the personal impact of being a journalist dealing with traumatic and distressing stories.

For more on my trauma journalism expertise:

Can social media cause #ptsd?
Moderators: the internet's most gruesome job?
Handling traumatic imagery: developing a standard operating procedure

Group of people standing
Dhruti with a picture of a lion on her shirt

Dhruti is truly an inspiring journalist and storyteller. During my time at the BBC I’ve come to know her on a professional and personal level and have continued to be amazed by her editorial and storytelling skills. She is very entrepreneurial and pursues her ideas with great passion and diligence. She is very easy to work with and brings infectious energy to any project she’s involved in.

Digital Editor, BBC Language Services, London

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