Publication details

Coping with the Murder : The Impact of Ján Kuciak’s Assassination on Slovak Investigative Journalists



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journalism Practice
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords Coping mechanisms; safety and security practices; stress; trauma; violence against journalists; Ján Kuciak; Martina Kušnírová; murder; Slovakia
Attached files
Description In this contribution, using a case-study approach, we focus on the assassination of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée and explore the impact and consequences that it had on the community of investigative journalists in Slovakia. By conducting a series of semi-structured interviews with top investigative journalists (N = 12), we seek to answer two questions: How have they coped with the murder of their colleague? And, how has this incident changed their everyday journalistic practices and routines when it comes to achieving and maintaining safety? We identified 12 coping actions which, based on their function, were organised into five higher order families of coping: emotional purging; sharing and support seeking; avoidance and displacement; defiance and defence; and spreading the legacy and giving meaning to the tragedy. Regarding safety and security practices, the journalists claim that their approach has fundamentally changed. A variety of measures to stay safe, both online and offline, were adopted both on the organisational and on the individual level. However, many of these measures are not used consistently, mostly because they are not deemed necessary when covering non-sensitive topics, but also because of their impracticality in everyday journalistic work, and sceptical and fatalistic approach of the journalists to safety.

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