May 23 2011 10:08 AM
Since its launch in 2004, the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma Australasia (DCA), the Dart Centre’s hub based in Australia, has gone from strength to strength, providing training and support to journalists reporting on human tragedy far beyond the southern hemisphere. To reflect its expanding influence, effective immediately, the organization will now be known as Dart Centre Asia Pacific [DCAP].
The Dart Centre's original mandate focused on providing training and support to journalists in Australia and New Zealand. But the global challenges of reporting human tragedy know no borders. In recent years the Dart Centre has conducted seminars, fellowship programmes and workshops with media professionals from Korea, Pakistan, Kashmir, Cambodia, India, Samoa, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Japan and Bangladesh.
The 2011 DCAP Asia Pacific Fellowship programme held in Bangkok in April drew together journalists from most of these countries and regions for a week-long intensive training session on psychological trauma as it relates to journalism practice and ethics, as a press freedom issue and a health issue.
In 2008, DCAP collaborated with the Deutsche Welle Training Akadamie to provide trauma awareness training to journalists who would be reporting on the Khmer Rouge trials in Phnom Penh; in 2009, a support mission was conducted in Samoa following the devastating tsunami that rocked the island country. In 2010, a trauma awareness and peer support training programme was conducted in the wake of the Magindanao massacres in the Philippines; in 2011, the Centre collaborated with the Liberation War Museum in Bangladesh to assist journalists who would be reporting on the war crimes tribunal in that country.
This is an exciting amendment for the Dart Centre "southern hemisphere." It is not only a change in name, but an official recognition of the journalists of the broader Asia Pacific region who are carrying forward the work of nurturing "trauma-aware newsrooms" in their own countries.
“This is a great move for Dart and a recognition of our expanding hub in the Southern Hemisphere, said Lisa Millar, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Washington correspondent and a director of Dart Centre Asia Pacific. "It's exciting to be part of this growth and continuing the vital conversation going on within the media community about trauma as it relates to journalism practice.”
Cait McMahon PhD (Cand.) is a registered psychologist and fulltime managing director of Dart Centre Asia Pacific, with headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and activities throughout the Asia Pacific region. McMahon has been interested in the nexus of journalism and trauma since working as staff counsellor at The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia in the mid ‘80’s and 90’s. This interest resulted in postgraduate research in the area in 1993 with subsequent publications.
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