Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


College of Arts and Media


Department of Communication


Journalists who have to cover traumatic events are exposed to the potential of having lasting psychological effects. This study explored one of the coping options that could be made available to more journalists through the use of comfort dogs. While journalists often are guarded with their emotions, that does not mean they do not experience the symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This qualitative study focused on long-form interviews with broadcast journalists who covered the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June of 2016. These journalists all had subsequent interaction with comfort dogs in the newsroom. The findings showed that the journalists who interacted with the dogs felt a sense of joy and relief, bringing a much needed distraction to a difficult week of news coverage. Others found that while the dogs were helpful, they were not enough to correct the emotionally unhealthy environment often found in newsrooms. In addition, the findings show that the dogs provided a catalyst for the journalists to be more vulnerable, therefore potentially opening the door for other mental healthcare options within newsrooms during traumatic news coverage.