President’s Column: Trauma training for journalists, open-government training, and legislative preview all coming up

By Betsy Russell

We have three big events coming up the first week of January, and registration for two of them is open now (there’s no registration required for the third one, the legislative kickoff). You won’t want to miss them. Here they are:

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, from 2-4 p.m. MT, there will be a free online seminar on Idaho public records and open meetings law hosted by Idahoans for Openness in Government and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. It’s open to elected officials, government staff, reporters and members of the public. Please register online if you’d like to participate; it also will be archived on YouTube for viewing later (but if you participate during the session, you can submit questions). There’s more info and a registration link here:

On Thursday, Jan. 6, the Idaho Press Club will present an online trauma training session for journalists from 12:30 to 1:45 pm MT; it’s free for IPC members and $15 for non-member journalists. Advance registration is required; there’s more info and a registration form online here:

On Friday, Jan. 7, the Idaho Press Club will host a 2022 Legislative Kickoff, which takes the place of the AP Legislative Preview that’s been held before legislative sessions in recent years. This will run from 8:30-11:30 a.m. MT in Room EW 42 of the state Capitol, and also will be streamed on Idaho Public TV’s Idaho InSession service. It’ll be an on-the-record session with Gov. Brad Little and legislative leadership from both houses and both parties. The governor will speak and take questions from 9-9:55 a.m.; legislative leaders from 10-10:55; and from 11-11:30, we’ll have introductions to the Capitol Correspondents Association and Idaho InSession and a tour of the Statehouse for new CCA members.

There’s more info online at the same Idaho Press Club events site linked above.

All this comes as we’ve also opened our Best of 2021 Annual Awards Contest for entries; it’s time to look over your best work from the year and enter it in the contest. The deadline to enter is Jan. 21.

Now, a word about the trauma training session, which is something new for us, and something our Idaho Press Club board felt strongly about offering to Idaho journalists in this difficult time.

The program, facilitated by the Dart Center for Trauma and Journalism, is entitled, “Stress, Trauma and Self Care for Journalists.”

Audrey Dutton, chair of our Training Committee, puts it this way: “Top of Form

Journalists, you’ve been through a lot. Here’s something that could help.”

Conditions in the last two years in Idaho and throughout the U.S. have placed extraordinary pressure on journalists, and the stress, trauma and burnout are real. The Idaho Press Club wants our members to have as many resources as possible for their well-being as we go through these unusual times for our industry and our nation.

The program covers basics of self-care and collegial support, including the impact of covering trauma and tragedy; exposure to and the impact of toxic imagery, harassment and threats; techniques for self-care; and peer support.

It’s a virtual program that will be offered via Zoom. Those who register will be sent an optional survey that will help the Dart Center design the program to match our needs here in Idaho.

Kudos to Audrey for making this happen and to all of you for continuing to do the important work you do.         

Betsy Russell is the Boise Bureau Chief for the Idaho Press, and is the president of the Idaho Press Club.