SXSW Interactive 2016

Horror Show: Social Newsgathering & Mental Health


Journalists have always put themselves in harm’s way — on battlefields, in disaster zones, under volatile dictators. As they know too well, witnessing violence and cruelty firsthand can take a mental toll.

Today, unspeakable acts are as close as your nearest networked device. Journalists using social media to cover distant horrors can suffer emotional consequences looking at photos and YouTube videos from a cubicle or a living room couch.

Learn about the psychological danger of working with graphic user-generated content from social newsgathering experts at AP, Poynter and First Look Media, and from the psychiatrist who led the first study of the impact of UGC hunting on mental health.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the psychological risks of regularly viewing graphic user-generated content for newsgathering purposes?
  2. What has the road been like for high-volume social newsgatherers? How has this work affected their lives and their careers?
  3. What can journalists, news organizations, mental health professionals and others do to prevent and respond to psychological trauma from UGC hunting?



Eric Carvin, Social Media Editor, Associated Press

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