Klas Backholm


    Research areas

  • 518 Media and communications - media, Journalism, communication, crisis psychology, health, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, innovations, usability
  • 515 Psychology - media, journalism, communication, crisis psychology, health, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, innovations, usability

Description of research and teaching

I work as an Assistant Professor in media and communication at the Swedish School of Social Science. My research areas include (a) the psychological wellbeing of journalists after work-related crisis exposure, and (b) usability-testing of technical innovations for journalism. I’m currently involved mainly in two research projects:  


1. News Journalists’ Psychological Wellbeing after Work-related Exposure to Potentially Traumatic Events. In the project, we investigate risk factors for psychological impairment in journalists who worked the terror attack in Norway in 2011, and in journalists who have received threats of violence or hate speech due to their occupational role. The project is a collaboration with the Norwegian Union of Journalists.


2. The European Researching Social Media and Collaborative Software Use in Emergency Situations (RESCUE) research project. The main goals in the project include developing better strategies and tools for how to use social media in crisis communication. Crisis communicators as well as journalists are studied. In our part of the project, we map journalists’ views on current challenges with information gathering/verification in social media, and test the usability of a support tool created for journalistic information gathering.   


The work with my doctoral thesis "Work-related Crisis Exposure, Psychological Trauma and PTSD in News Journalists", where I studied topics such as journalists’ work during the school shootings in Finland 2007–08, was finished 2012.   


Previous work experience includes working as a researcher/teacher at Åbo Akademi University, and work as a news journalist, mostly at the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.   


Latest publications

  1. Crises, Rumours and Reposts: Journalists’ Social Media Content Gathering and Verification Practices in Breaking News Situations

    Backholm, K. H., Ausserhofer, J., Frey, E., Grøndahl Larsen, A., Hornmoen, H., Högväg, J. & Reimerth, G., 19 May 2017, In : Media and Communication. 5, 2, p. 67-76 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Risk and resilience among journalists covering potentially traumatic events

    Idås, T. & Backholm, K. H., 2017, The Assault on Journalism: Building Knowledge to Protect Freedom of Expression. Carlsson, U. & Pöyhtäri, R. (eds.). Gothenburg: NORDICOM, p. 235-237 3 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

  3. Distress among journalists working the incidents

    Backholm, K. H., Nov 2016, The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings. Wilson, L. C. (ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, p. 247-265 18 p. (Wiley clinical psychology handbooks).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

View all (12) »

Latest activities

  1. Ethical dilemmas, social support, and posttraumatic growth in news journalists working with large-scale violence.

    Klas Backholm (Speaker), Trond Idas (Speaker), Johan Korhonen (Speaker)
    1 Jun 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

  2. Paper presentation at the 6th European Communication Conference

    Klas Backholm (Speaker: Presenter)
    10 Nov 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. International Journal of Communication (Journal)

    Klas Backholm (Reviewer)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

View all (10) »

Latest prizes

  1. The Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study

    Klas Backholm (Recipient), 12 Nov 2016

    Prize: Prizes and awards

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Latest projects

  1. IA: Immersive Automation: automated storytelling, audience engagement and user experience in a news ecosystem

    Linden, C., Moring, T., Backholm, K., Hujanen, J., Toivonen, H., Granroth-Wilding, M., Leppänen, L., Munezero, M., Haapanen, L. & Sirén-Heikel, S.

    Viestintäalan tutkimussäätiö, Sanoma Media Finland Oy, Alma Media Oyj, Conmio Oy, Tekes, Svenska kulturfonden, KSF Media Ab, Keski Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj


    Project: Research project

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Assistant Professor

ID: 67462800