What People Say

Editors & Journalists

As a journalist covering Africa, especially conflict zones, I have reported for years on people in traumatic situations. Jo’s incredible course, taught in such a dynamic, human and practical way, helped me reflect on the work I have done and how I could do it better. Jo has an amazing ability to connect with participants of her courses. Media students and experienced journalists alike have so much to learn from her, and will be better at their jobs, especially with people they interview, as a result.

I have just done an interview with a mum who suffered postpartum psychosis with both children. I wanted to flag up that your course was invaluable. Having scratched beneath the surface, she got very upset. Everything I learnt on the course helped. It’s one of the most important courses I’ve done with the BBC.

This is essential training for journalists. Interviewing trauma survivors is always daunting and fraught with anxiety: am I pushing this person too hard? are my questions re-traumatising the interviewee? Am I doing this right? Trauma reporting is a skill most journalists pick up on the job. Few of us do it as well as Jo Healey. Her brilliant course teaches journalists how to ‘do no harm’ in pursuit of the story. The workshop I attended was so empowering, packed with insights and practical guidance for dealing with people whose lives have been shattered. Contributions from bereaved families sharing their experiences of the press were especially impactful. I’m hugely grateful to Jo for creating an invaluable resource for journalists who leave her workshops equipped with the tools and confidence to report sensitive stories that ‘do no harm’ either to the contributor or reporter.

The course had so much to offer. Even ‘old hands’ like me with over 40 years journalistic experience who thought they’d seen it all and had nothing to learn, were enabled to re-evaluate their approaches to dealing with traumatised interviewees and see the whole process in a new light.

I have worked with many individuals and families affected by significant traumatic events, where their trauma has been exacerbated by insensitive reporting of their experience. I recommend the training that Jo provides unreservedly. Her sensitive approach, experience and knowledge is second to none.

Despite being a journalist for many years, (and speaking to numerous bereaved families) I feel much more confident in dealing with sensitive stories since the course. I feel more equipped to deal with potentially tricky questions and more aware of how important it is to get things right from the start...We can be professional, but still kind - it’s a fine line, but I feel more aware of the need to achieve this.

An excellent session for journalists of all levels to help reporters deal in a sensitive, informed way with people trying to cope with trauma, loss, or any other challenge. Jo’s experience in dealing with emotionally vulnerable people shines through and the testimonies from some of her previous interviewees about their experiences with the media were extremely informative. Highly recommended.

I’ve never known a course and a trainer have such an impact on a bunch of journalists. While we still spend a lot of time teaching people how to write and use kit - how to deal with people in difficult circumstances has been lost as a core skill. Without cracking interviews we’ve got nothing to work with - Everyone in the newsroom who did the course was raving about it...Jo is a big part of the success. As a working journalist Jo not only brings a wealth of experience and stories with her but clearly understands the pressures of a daily newsroom

Your course absolutely changed the way I work... There are so many areas of my work and my interviewing style which were improved... There are so many areas of our output that I feel NEED that same opportunity.

Anonymous Feedback

This course was excellent: the pacing was perfect for a zoom meeting (which is a bit trickier to engage people over). I took away loads of really helpful pointers and it addressed a lot of the anxieties I have approaching difficult topics and interviews. I feel now that I will be a lot more confident in doing this and am planning to put the advice into practice this week. Jo was fantastic: really clear and collaborative in the way she held the workshop, welcoming questions and answering them comprehensively. I also appreciated how sensitive she was in conducting the course with warnings about upsetting content etc. and it also helped that she showed how the advice could be adapted to different situations, like breaking news. I think many of my colleagues would benefit from this training.

This training has well equipped me to report and gather stories from people in a respectful manner. Jo was excellent in conveying important messages and techniques.

It was a great sessions with lots of take away points...very powerful...got so much out of it.

Documentary Makers

Jo Healey's Trauma Reporting training is a fundamental tool for professionals and individuals who have access to any sort of media platform. It's not optional, it's integral.

This course was so educational…it will help even the most season journalist to look at the work from all angles. It reminds you to take care of yourself. And, most importantly, not to accidentally cause more pain for the interviewees.

Most of us got into this line of work for some altruistic reasons - the belief that discovering and sharing lived stories and ferreting out the truth helps the world by "letting the sunshine in"... but we are not always aware of what we may have inadvertently trampled, unearthed or tripped over along the way. Jo's course provides that needed place and time for honest self-reflection while opening us up to new perspectives on our process - which is so important to any practice.

Universities & Organisations

This was an excellent session, perfectly pitched to our student journalists and staff alike, many of whom were able to reflect on their own experiences and training, or lack of, for approaching and interviewing vulnerable victims of grief and trauma, during their own reporting careers.

The issue was covered comprehensively and illustrated extremely well with relevant and thought-provoking examples, case studies and illustrations.

This is clearly a session built around a long-standing career and years of experience. It's certainly a must-have element for all journalism education programmes.

I was delighted when Jo agreed to lead a masterclass on covering sensitive stories for our mentoring scheme participants. Jo gently led her audience through the minefield of what to say to the bereaved and traumatised, how to behave, how to brief co-workers on the story and how to follow-up. She created a safe environment whereby participants could explore best approaches, ask un-askable questions and see first-hand what it is like to be that victim fielding a barrage of questions and media requests in the midst of tragedy. With Jo’s training and insight, I hope there’ll be fewer instances of the approach I had from one newspaper reporter who sent me a bunch of flowers with the message “Give me an interview” after John’s death.

Jo offered an effective, comprehensive, and thought-provoking lecture when she presented in my Trauma Journalism class at Boston University. Student feedback across the board was unanimous: this was an immensely helpful overview of trauma reporting and offered critical perspectives from trauma survivors themselves (which is often lacking in trauma journalism training materials). Over 90 minutes, Jo offered concrete tips while also allowing space for students to grapple with difficult topics and ask questions about issues that have come up for them in their reporting. It was overall a wonderful lesson that was much appreciated.

I wish Jo's advice had been available when I was starting out as a very green, young reporter. Jo's comment that working journalists have unwittingly practised on bereaved families for too long is, I hate to say, spot on.

Her talk sparked one of the biggest reactions I've ever seen at the end of a lecture - no mean feat when delivering an online session due to Covid! Not only did it make the students think about the impact they have on the interviewee, but there appears to be a greater confidence and willingness to tackle difficult subjects.

As a student reporter, Jo’s guidance was invaluable when making my first ever documentary covering trauma. Both her lecture at City University, book and personal support informed my film and helped to develop my interviewing skills. I am incredibly grateful for Jo’s continued support and her necessary work spotlighting sensitive reporting.

When I attended one of Jo’s trauma reporting training sessions I had one wish – that my journalism students could be there with me to learn from her vast expertise. She talks so much sense. Her workshops are incisive, practical, informed by years of reporting traumatic stories. She builds journalists’ confidence and dispels their fears about this type of sensitive reporting by answering their questions in a direct, pragmatic manner. Every journalist – and journalism student- should take Jo Healey’s course.

It was absolutely fantastic. It had such an impact on our students. They were all completely blown away by the subject matter and the way you presented it. Many of them said it was the best guest lecture they have ever had which is praise indeed. The fact that X and X came to talk to you afterwards said a lot...they have both been through a great deal in their lives. This can’t have been easy for them to sit through. But, because of your tone and the great care you have clearly put into the course, they left feeling empowered. This is the best compliment I can think of.

Talking Trauma Reporting...

Jo is an accomplished and popular speaker at conferences and on panels, early requests advised.

She is also available for consultancy, working with news teams on particular sensitive projects they may be about to cover.