Exclusive New Journalism Program Addresses Social Epidemic

    • July 18, 2011

Today, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma (Dart Center) announced an unprecedented collaboration to host a first-of-its-kind workshop for journalists interested in intimate partner violence (IPV), an often stigmatized and hidden issue that affects nearly 5 million women and 3 million men each year in the United States. “Out of the Shadows” will provide news professionals with tools, information and ideas to enhance their reporting on domestic violence, teen dating abuse, family violence and sexual assault. It will encourage reporting on all forms of intimate partner violence as a health and social-policy issue with wide implications for our entire society.

“Intimate partner violence is a central issue on so many beats, whether criminal justice, schools, public health,” said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. “This is one subject where informed, effective reporting really makes a difference. Journalists have a special ability to listen to the voices of victims and survivors, to bring difficult issues out into the open, to educate the public and to inspire others to act. It is exciting that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - the largest health foundation in America - has made this commitment to informed, effective and independent reporting on intimate partner violence.”

The workshop will address the challenges of limited and inconsistent coverage of this issue and give reporters access to top expert sources to deepen their knowledge about intimate partner violence, sexual violence and prevention. “Out of the Shadows” will bring together award-winning journalists, national and local health and policy experts, practitioners, educators and prevention advocates for a two-day interactive workshop that includes issue briefings, peer-to-peer learning and networking. The program is designed to provide journalists insight into the causes, implications and consequences of intimate partner violence and offer best practices to add fresh reporting to the field.

“We believe that the media has a vital role to play in the prevention of intimate partner violence,” said Kristin Schubert, director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This is a unique collaboration for us. We are partnering with the Dart Center to advance the media’s understanding of intimate partner violence. Broadening their perspective of IPV as a mainstream public health issue with profound consequences could be a turning point for prevention.”

Other timely topics that will be explored include: digital dating violence and the emergence of technology as a tool for abuse through sexting and cyber-bullying; the impact of IPV on immigrant and refugee communities and particular struggles faced by isolated and vulnerable populations; the growing prevalence of IPV among military families; and the connections between teen dating violence and bullying, teen pregnancy, academic achievement, sexuality, health, family violence and overall life outcomes.

“Out of the Shadows” is made possible with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Scholarships for travel and participation will be provided through their grant. The workshop will take October 21-22, 2011 at Columbia University in New York.

Journalists, editors, news directors, researchers, photographers, bloggers, freelancers and producers of national, regional and local news are eligible to apply. The application deadline is Monday, September 26, 2011.

To apply and for more information, please visit www.dartcenter.org.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measureable and timely change. For nearly 40 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves.

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Whether the topic is street crime, family violence, natural disaster, war or human rights, effective news reporting on traumatic events demands knowledge, skill and support. The Dart Center provides journalists around the world with the resources necessary to meet this challenge, drawing on a global, interdisciplinary network of news professionals, mental health experts, educators and researchers.