Safely reporting from protests and other tense events

The protests that have become familiar across the country are likely to continue. This will mean our journalists will cover protests. In order to ensure the continued safety of our employees, we will cover:

  • For reporters and photographers: Sensing and avoiding dangerous situations, while still bearing witness to events. This will include identifying and avoiding encirclement maneuvers, planning escape routes, working with buddies or in teams, with spotters, etc. The objective of the training is to ensure employees have the information and preparation they need to stay safe at all times.
  • For assigning editors, we will cover elements of the reporter/photographer training described above, and also will cover how to prepare safety briefings and communicate situational awareness before, during and after protest events.

Our No. 1 goal is for our employees to remain safe. The presenter, Garett Jaco, is a combat veteran with experience in urban clashes in Iraq and is a federally certified hostage negotiator. You also can direct questions to security@gannett.com.

Related resources:

Q&A for journalists on personal safety and legal rights at protests

How editors and managers can help keep reporters and photographers safe during protests

Covering Unrest: When Journalists of Color Become the Target. This important session was led by Martin G. Reynolds, who is the co-executive director of external affairs and funding at the Maynard Institute.

The Committee to Protect Journalists: Civil scenarios from crime scenes to riots can generate unpredictable and dangerous conditions. Journalists need to be mindful of self-protection measures to avoid putting themselves at physical or legal risk.

Building resiliency: What science can teach us, featuring Dr. Steve Southwick of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Advanced search techniques, including image search, focused on protest coverage

Advanced backgrounding, with focus on protest coverage

These are stressful times. Being out in the world as a journalist carries an element of risk. But a world without engaged journalists watching over it is risky, too. Our aim is to identify as many risks as we can and take steps to reduce them, prepare for them, and neutralize them if they do arise.

Other useful resources

How to Safely Cover Street Protests – tip sheet by Judith Matloff

Covering Street Protests – a compilation of reporter-to-reporter guidance

Leading Resilience – a guide for editors and news managers

Reporters Exposed to Traumatic Events – tips for editors and managers

Handling Traumatic Imagery – a tipsheet for managing graphic content

Dealing with Hate Campaigns – a toolkit for journalists and newsrooms targeted


More training on Audio: