Mike Walter is a journalist who covers breaking news stories that are often traumatizing for the victims and those telling the story. The biggest news story he covered was the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, which he had witnessed firsthand. Later in his career, he experiences psychological disturbances that led him to the Dart Center.
John McCusker is the photographer whose work is credited with telling the story of the traumatic natural disaster Hurricane Katrina. Photojournalists get very close to traumatic circumstances leading to more traumatic impacts on their mental health.
The Dart Society board gathers to discuss projects for the coming year. McCusker was the focus of the meeting following his incident with the police; Target New Orleans was the result. Dart Administrator Deirdre Stoelzle Graves lives on a ranch in Wyoming where the project took place, far away from the chaos in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Journalist Natalie Pompilio covered Hurricane Katrina for the "Philadelphia Inquirer" and moved to the city to volunteer and help the city recover. Arnessa Garrett also saw a need in the city for the Dart Program. Journalists, staffers, and their family members were professionally and personally affected by the storm that struck their city; they were never able to leave their trauma behind at work or at home.
The journalists take turns reading from journals they penned following the storm about the relief efforts and how the community dealt with the loss of their homes and neighbors. Target New Orleans lasted four months and made a lifelong impact on the journalists and Walter returned a year after the program ended.
Credits: Breaking News Breaking Down
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Breaking News, Breaking Down, winner of the 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival, is a revealing look at how journalists continually go after breaking news, from 9-11 to Katrina, never imagining how it can break them down.
Length: 41 minutes
Copyright date: ©2009
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