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Journalist creates The Self Investigation, a mental health advocacy project to promote the well-being of media professionals

Shared by Gemma Tria on 2023-04-20 16:26

About the solution

“How to be a healthy journalist in an always-on culture?”. This is a question raised by Mar Cabra, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who formerly worked at Panama Papers and suffered a severe burnout that forced her to take a break from her profession. At the time, Mar was leading the data team at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which many journalists would consider the pinnacle of their career. However, she was unhappy and struggling with her mental health.

Taking a break from her career gave Mar a new perspective on journalism. She realized that journalists are expected to be constantly stressed and hyperconnected in order to prove their value. As she explained in an interview with the World Association of News Publishers,“We have many toxic cultures in journalism. Some editors believe that you need to be connected all the time, that being a journalist equals being busy and that you’re not allowed to have a life. And I don’t think this is healthy for the profession.”

Mar Cabra has become a mental health advocate in the field of journalism, working to dispel the notion that being vulnerable or experiencing emotional distress means one cannot be a good journalist. To further this mission, she co-founded The Self Investigation, an online training program that teaches journalists how to investigate their personal history and develop self-awareness and self-investigation skills that can be applied to their work. The project's aim is to help journalists gain a better understanding of themselves and their relationship to their work, while improving the quality and depth of their stories. The Self-Investigation foundation provides various services to promote well-being among media professionals, including consultancy, training, online courses in stress management, productivity, emotional regulation, and digital wellness, as well as one-to-one online coaching support.

Since 2020, The Self Investigation program has provided services to over 8,000 journalists and editors, of which more than 1,500 have received one-to-one coaching sessions, and around 2,500 are currently subscribed to their newsletter.

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About the author

Mar Cabra, a journalist and data expert born in Madrid in 1983, is a co-founder of The Self Investigation. She holds her degree in Audiovisual Communication from the Universidad Computense de Madrid and her Master's in Investigative Journalism from Columbia University in New York through a Fulbright scholarship. Mar Cabra is well-known for her contribution to the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation known as the Panama Papers and has received numerous awards for her investigative journalism, including the Global Shining Light Award and the Data Journalism Award.

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