Cover: The Trauma Beat: A Case for Re-Thinking the Business of Bad News by Tamara Cherry

The Trauma Beat: A Case for Re-Thinking the Business of Bad News

Cherry, Tamara

  • A groundbreaking and thorough examination of the trauma caused by the media covering crimes, both to victims and journalists, from a respected journalist and victim advocate

    In The Trauma Beat, an eye-opening combination of investigative journalism and memoir, former big-city crime reporter Tamara Cherry calls on her award-winning skills as a journalist to examine the impact of the media on trauma survivors and the impact of trauma on members of the media. As Tamara documents the experiences of those who were forced to suffer on the public stage, she is confronted by everything she got wrong on the crime beat.

    Covering murders and traffic fatalities to sexual violence and mass violence, Cherry exposes a system set up to fail trauma survivors and journalists. Why do some families endure a swell of unwanted attention after the murder of a loved one, while others suffer from a lack of attention? What is it like to have a microphone shoved in your face seconds after escaping the latest mass shooting? What is the lasting impact on the reporter holding that microphone? The Trauma Beat explores these issues with the raw, reflective detail of a journalist moving from ignorance to understanding and shame to healing.


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  • Tamara Cherry is a Regina-based award-winning journalist, trauma researcher, and media commentator who spent nearly 15 years reporting on crime in Canada’s biggest newsrooms. She is also the founder of Pickup Communications, a public relations firm that is changing the way trauma survivors interact with and are impacted by the media.

  • Published: May 2023

    ISBN: 9781770416864

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 328

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“Her research and reporting is thorough and empathetic, and she makes a convincing case for centering the feelings of victims and survivors in stories of violence and tragedy. This is a revealing take for journalists and true crime junkies alike.” — Publishers Weekly

“If the media wants to gain back lost trust, it has to start being a lot more transparent about the way it does its work. Tamara Cherry does just that with her painstaking research into the link between bad news and trauma. The Trauma Beat isn’t easy to read, but it’s important and forces you to think about the kind of journalism you have and the kind you want.” — Peter Mansbridge, retired Chief Correspondent for CBC News and anchor of The National; author of Off the Record; and host of The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge

“Powerful, immersive, and moving. By meticulously detailing people’s pain behind the headlines, this book is a wake-up call to our industry.” — Jo Healey, former BBC journalist; founder and director of Trauma Reporting training program; and author of Trauma Reporting: A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Sensitive Stories

“While we don’t always know the impact of our interactions with others, The Trauma Beat looks at hard lessons learned through the lens of a journalist. It is a rich and important read for anyone interacting with victims of trauma and crime. It shines a light on trauma-informed practices, allowing victims to tell the stories they want to share. This book is a gift.” — Elynne Greene, Manager of Victim Services and Human Trafficking, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

“On the daily, journalists swoop into the lives of ordinary folks who experience extraordinarily awful things, often with little or no training on how to conduct ourselves with sensitivity. Sometimes, we do more harm than good. Drawing on her years of experience covering crime — combined with revealing insights from trauma survivors, psychologists and journalists — Tamara Cherry holds up a mirror to the messy business of reporting on traumatic events and shows us how we can do better.” — Duncan McCue, author of Decolonizing Journalism: A Guide to Reporting in Indigenous Communities

The Trauma Beat is a stunning work that should be required reading for journalism students, news reporters, true crime junkies, and anyone who wants to write narratives that heal, instead of harm.” — Quill & Quire Starred Review

“A talented reporter’s on-the-ground experience covering the heartbreaks of big-city crime is reassessed against a backdrop of original research that gnaws down on deeper truths about media coverage of violent crime. Tamara Cherry’s enlightening, gripping, and highly personal account reveals what happens after TV cameras and reporters leave, or when they never show up at all. The Trauma Beat is an original, important, and engrossing book that shows the best and the worst — the complexity of what is too much and when it’s not enough — and gives everyone plenty to think about.” — Adrian Humphreys, Senior Crime Reporter for the National Post and best-selling author of The Enforcer

“The crime beat can be a grim assignment, but as a reporter, Tamara Cherry brought so much heart and empathy to the role. In this book, she raises vital questions around how we as journalists tackle stories about the trauma of others. Just because it’s always been one way doesn’t mean it’s right.” — Robyn Doolittle, reporter for the Globe and Mail and author of Had It Coming: What’s Fair in the Age of #MeToo and Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

“Tamara is bringing humanity back to the beat! In this powerfully reflective and honest account of Tamara’s work as a former crime reporter, we learn about the detrimental impact that the media can have on both trauma survivors and the people reporting the news. Tamara is showing proof that a trauma-informed system is necessary and crucial to the wellbeing and mental health of all those involved. More importantly, we are moved by the heart and passion of a person shifting a system in a way that honours people first!” — Paula Rivero, Certified Trauma Specialist and author of My Name Is Trauma and I am Awesome!