How is Covid-19 affecting journalists’ mental health?

How is Covid-19 affecting journalists’ mental health? Amantha Perera, journalist and Regional Coordinator for Asia at DART Center for Journalism and Trauma in conversation with freelance journalist, media development consultant and mobile journalism trainer, Sanne Breimer.

News journalism is a stressful job at the best of times. The old saying, “if it bleeds, it leads”, still governs story choice in most newsrooms, meaning we are exposed to stories about human suffering, injustice and violence on a regular basis.

On top of that, online harassment and trolling are entrenched scourges for many reporters, especially women. And then there is the constant worry about the security of journalism as a career. Even before the pandemic, job cuts were commonplace at many news organisations, and the impact of coronavirus shutdowns on advertising revenue has driven many outlets out of business this year.

Amantha Perera is a journalist mainly based in Colombo, from where he covers Sri Lanka and the Asian region, with a special focus on conflict and post-conflict situations, humanitarian disasters and climate change. He has reported for TIME, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Inter Press News Service, and IRIN. 

Amantha is also the Regional Coordinator for Asia for the DART Center for Journalism and Trauma, and currently researches online digital trauma faced by journalists for his post doc studies at the CQUniversity, Melbourne Campus.

In this podcast, he talks about the broad array of challenges currently facing journalists as they do their jobs, how these challenges can impact on our mental health, and how to approach conversations about mental wellbeing in our newsrooms. 

He is in conversation with Sanne Breimer – a journalist who spent 13 years in public broadcasting in her native Netherlands, before relocating to Asia. Sanne is now based in Bali, from where she works as a freelance journalist, media development consultant and mobile journalism trainer. She is also the founder of The Healthy Journalist, a Facebook Page that aims to open up the conversation about journalism and mental well-being. 

Sanne Breimer

Sanne Breimer