Podcast Produced by IJNet

Mental health and journalism, Part 1: A conversation with Anna Mortimer

Written by Katya Podkovyroff Lewis

From crime scenes and road accidents to natural disasters and wars, journalists often report on the frontlines of the world’s most challenging events. Today, journalists around the world are working overtime to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Covering these developments, whether major international stories or events much closer to home, can take a mental toll on those reporting. This can lead to issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases, but more likely anxiety, stress and burnout. 

For journalists in the field, finding resources or someone to talk to can be difficult. To kickstart this conversation about journalists’ mental health, we spoke with Anna Mortimer, journalist, therapist and co-founder of The Mind Field, a platform that connects international development workers and journalists with therapists.

COVID-19 and press freedom: A conversation with David Kaye and Courtney Radsch

Written by Taylor Mulcahey

Journalists today are adapting to the challenges of reporting on COVID-19. In countries across the world, they're working long hours, conducting interviews remotely and taking precautions to protect their health. 

As they do, they're forced to deal with another challenge to their work; one that has become more entrenched in the wake of the pandemic. Often under the guise of emergency protections, governments and corporations are enacting policies that threaten critical press freedoms, and the very nature of journalists' work alongside.

Physical and political attacks on journalists, the criminalization of their reporting, restrictions on free access to information and increased surveillance have become only more commonplace around the world.

In our latest podcast episode, we explore these challenges and how we should respond: ICFJ Global Director of Research Dr. Julie Posetti interviews Prof. David Kaye, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Dr. Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Episode 3: American Gets Hazed

Written by Veronica De Valle and Katya Podkovyroff Lewis

In the newest episode of Ripped From the Wall, Maddi Cole dives into something no one at American University can stop talking about: hazing. With an undergraduate population of only 8,000, AU has such a repeated reputation of hazing within Greek life. From the expulsion of Epsilon Iota to the disciplinary actions against Beta Theta Pi and Chi Omega, the podcast team decided to look closely at what hazing look like on our campus and why it has not stopped.


Currently, the university has six Greek life organizations with outstanding conduct violations affecting their recruitment privileges or social activities. For answers, Cole spoke to Michael Elmore, Senior Director of the University Center and Student Activities. He spoke to defining what hazing is and what it looks like in relation to American University.  


Cole also sat down with a sister of Chi Omega to ask what it’s like to have your organization scrutinized by the small community it falls within. Hazing is not just an administrative issue, but a student issue. This interview reminded the AWOL team that there are people at the heart of Greek life.


Over the course of one semester, Ripped from the Wall tried to look at the ins and outs of the collegiate hazing problem and what students can to end it.


Host: Maddi Cole
Executive Producer: Zach Vallese
Podcasting Team:
Braeden Waddell
Hannah Shows
Katya Podcoveroff Lewis
Luci Rascher
Verónica Del Valle

Original Artwork:
Carly Thaw

Episode 2: The Firing of Will Mascaro

Written by Maddi Cole:

"In this week’s episode of Ripped from the Wall, Katya Podkovyroff Lewis and I dug into the most recent American University Student Government (AUSG) scandal. On Oct. 31, Will Mascaro, director of the Center for Advocacy and Student Equity, was fired for alleged misuse of student activity funds. The executive board of AUSG, led by student body President Taylor Dumpson, fired Mascaro after determining that he misused the funds. The day after the news broke of Mascaro’s firing, many students on campus decided to take action to reinstate him.

Podkovyroff Lewis sat down with Mascaro to talk about the details of his firing. They talked about his original involvement in Student Government, his transition to CASE Director and the organization as a whole and, eventually, dissected his case. Through this interview, we got an inside look into Mascaro’s role in standing up for students who traditionally have not had a voice.

I had the opportunity to attend the AUSG senate hearing for the reinstatement of Mascaro. At the hearing, I talked to students about why they decided to attend the hearing and their thoughts on the firing in general. The room was packed full of students, a rarity for a Wednesday night Senate hearing, and all were energetic and loud in their opinions.

During the public comment section of the hearing, multiple speakers testified to Mascaro’s strong involvement on campus and in the individual cases of students through his work as an advocate in CASE. The tone was clear: the students were not happy that Mascaro lost his position over a misunderstanding.

Through a mix of Mascaro’s interview, clips of the Senate hearing and commentary from Podkovyroff Lewis and I, we tell the story of the week-long saga of Will Mascaro versus the AUSG executive board."