When 49 people were gunned down in an Orlando nightclub in 2016, journalists from all over Central Florida went toward the nightclub, not away from it. This study explores the lived experience of 18 journalists who covered the Pulse nightclub shooting. Participants came from a variety of news outlets—print, television, and radio—and from a variety of positions—reporters, photographers, and editors. Participants described the chaotic environment and the ethical issues they faced. This paper sheds light on how journalists handle situations like the Pulse shooting and the need to monitor the mental health of those who were on the frontlines covering it.


Journalism, Shooting, Mental Health, Ethics

Author Bio(s)

Theodore G. Petersen is an associate professor of communication at the Florida Institute of Technology. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: tpetersen@fit.edu.

Shyla Soundararajan earned her Master of Science degree in Global Strategic Communication from the Florida Institute of Technology.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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