Interviewing People in Distress

The Inclusive Media trainers, Theodosia Gournelou and Pascale Müller joined forces with the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma's Europe representative Jeanny Gering in April 2016, to implement a one-day training in Berlin. A total of 16 participants learned about interviewing people in distress, with a special focus on interviews with people on the move.

The guidelines produced during the training are available for download below. 


Why was this training needed?

Reporters are often faced with and rarely trained on trauma and distress. We interview rape survivors, victims of accidents and crime, and most recently, even young local reporters in Europe are being expected to interview heavily traumatized refugees. Little thoughts are given within the profession on what an untrained interviewer can cause on the side of the interviewee. Developing trauma reporting skills is needed, in all fields of human rights reporting. 

The main objective of this workshop was to educate young journalists on a specific aspect of trauma reporting: the interview situation. It’s target group were young international journalists, student journalists, bloggers and media students. 

The training was co-organized by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and joined by their trainer and journalist, Jeanny Gering. 

What was the outcome of this training? 

After attending this one-day training participants had a better understanding reporting about people in distress. Those could be refugees, immigrants, torture survivors, children, rape victims, even perpetrators of human rights violations. They exchanged their previous experience interviewing people in distress and discussed good and bad practices. 

They improved their capacity in terms of interviewing people in distress, based on material from the Dart Center for Trauma and Journalism. Two sessions by experts Jeanny Gering from the Dart Centre and Mohamed Amjahid from ZEIT Magazin, joined the training for discussion and sharing advice. 

Participants gained a better understanding on how to produce qualitative human rights-oriented interviews, respecting their interviewees and having a greater awareness on reporting without reinforcing stereotypes or causing more psychological distress.

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Interview Guidelines

These are the interview guidelines, produce during the training - available for you to download and use.