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TU prof recounts Haiti trip

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A University of Tulsa professor gave her account of the devastation in Haiti on Thursday after a trip in which she helped Haitian journalists cope with the trauma of covering misery.

Elana Newman, McFarlin associate professor of psychology at TU, traveled to Haiti with a three-person team from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. They spoke at several workshops to more than 170 local journalists.

Newman described the destruction after the Jan. 12 magnitude 7.0 earthquake as being like Dresden, the German city destroyed by bombs in World War II.

"But I stopped seeing the destruction after a couple of days, which is scary," because it became ordinary everywhere she went, Newman said.

Newman's group hosted workshops in several cities around Port-au-Prince, near the epicenter.

She worked through translators to try to help the local journalists by teaching them coping techniques and reinforcing their sense of purpose for what they do, she said.

To overcome difficulties describing complex coping techniques through translators, Newman said she used metaphors.

"Right now there is a wound, and it's not going away," she said, using one of her metaphors. "So we are going to protect it."


Jarrel Wade 581-8367

jarrel.wade@tulsaworld.com

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