October 17, 2018 | Sara Han
This summer, Americans confronted a moral crisis as they learned about the surge in families who are being separated and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. In April, the Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance policy" that treated parents arriving at the border with their children as criminals, detaining their children separately before prosecuting the parents. At the center of this public outrage is trauma: The physical, mental, and emotional health of hundreds of families and their children are being harmed. Experts and advocates for children's health and immigrant rights have spoken out against the separation and detention of these families. "[These] children are essentially living their worst nightmare," Wendy Cervantes of the Center for Law and Social Policy told Newsweek. "A kid's worst nightmare is the boogeyman coming in the middle of the night and taking away their parents. That's what's happening."
From a previous Berkeley Media Studies Group news analysis, we know that childhood trauma is rarely discussed in the news. But has it appeared more often in the midst of this intense, nationwide focus on family separations? We wanted to know, what does the coverage of trauma and family separation and detainment look like? And what lessons can advocates and journalists learn from how trauma is discussed in news coverage of family separation? more