Network Contact Information

Crisis, Communication and Society Research Network

Dr. Soc. Sci., University Lecturer
Salli Hakala
+358 2941 23770

Assistant Professor (Docent)
Ph.D. Johanna Sumiala
+358 2941 40813

M.Soc.Sc, PhD candidate
Minttu Tikka
+358 50 318 7606

Department of Social Research
Communication Research Centre CRC
Unioninkatu 37 (P.O. Box 54)
00014 University of Helsinki


Seminar: Crisis, Trauma and Journalism

Seminar on Crisis, Trauma and Journalism

Time: 9-12, Friday 27th of January, 2012
Venue: Main Building, University of Helsinki, Small Hall

Please note: The seminar room has changed.
New room is Small Hall, Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor.

The seminar aims at analyzing the coverage and reporting of crises in the media from a perspective of media research and ethics: How to encounter people in distress? How to shoot visual material of them and how to interview them? How does the news media get organised during a crisis? What are the experiences of a field reporter in connection to the newsroom? Why do some disasters become media spectacles?


9:00 Coffee
9:15 Gavin Rees, Director, Dart Center Europe
"How trauma matters in crisis reporting?"
10:00 Comments
10:15 Journalist Leena Reikko, YLE
"Journalist in crisis situation"
10:45 Comments
11:00 Research perspectives – "Why witnessing matters?" Docent Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki and researcher Klas Backholm, Åbo Akademi
11:45 Comments and summary


Gavin Rees, a journalist and filmmaker, is the director of Dart Centre Europe, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Based in London, Rees co-ordinates the Dart Centre’s activities across Europe.  Over the last 13 years he has worked in a variety of broadcast media, producing business and political news for Financial Times Television and CNBC and international news for Japanese networks. He has also worked on drama and documentary films for the BBC, Channel 4, as well as for other broadcasters and a number of independent film companies. Rees’ interest in how people relate traumatic narratives developed as a result of interviewing survivors of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima for a BBC documentary drama, which won an International Emmy in 2006. He has also held a post as a research fellow at the Centre for Public Communication in the Media School at Bournemouth University, where he investigated how journalists interview people at the centre of stories which arouse strong emotions. Gavin Rees is an ex-officio member of the board of European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS).

Journalist Leena Reikko has worked globally for 28 years, mostly in the Middle East. In 1990 she moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where she worked as freelance journalist for example for Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE. Thereafter she has lived and worked many years in Beirut, Libanon, and years 2001 – 2006 in Jerusalem. During these years she regularly visited and reported from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria. As news and current affairs journalist she has often reported on wars and violent conflicts. Reikko returned to Finland in 2006. She has since worked as a journalist for example in a Finnish documentary film “Return to Bagdad”.

Researcher Klas Backholm is currently finishing off his doctoral thesis in the area of crisis psychology, where he investigates journalists’ experiences of working in crisis situations, for example journalists’ work during the school shootings in Finland 2007–08, as well internationally in collaboration with an American research project.  His previous work experience includes working as a news journalist, mostly at the Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE. Klas Backholm is the contact person of the Finnish network of Dart Center. The network connects journalists, researchers and psychologists interested in the topics of trauma and journalism

Adjuct professor Johanna Sumiala is a media researcher specialising in media anthropology, relationships between media and religion, visual culture and the history of media. In her recent research she has studied death rituals of grief and the recycling of violence in global media. She has published numerous monographs, anthologies and articles in international journals. Currently Sumiala is a researcher in the Fluid World Programme funded by the University of Tampere. She is the contact person of the international Crisis, Communication and Society network coordinated at University of Helsinki.


Johanna Sumiala
+358 50 311 2522

Minttu Tikka
+358 9 191 24759

Salli Hakala
+358 9 191 23770