New Safety Training Courses Offered In Wake of Battlefield Deaths

During the siege of Misrata in April 2011, a mortar shell landed on Tripoli Street, killing journalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington. While Hondros’s injury was deadly, “Tim’s wound did not have to be fatal,” says Hetherington’s colleague and close friend, journalist Sebastian Junger.

When Hetherington was hit with shrapnel from the shell, no one around him knew what to do. Rebels and journalists, they were not trained to treat injuries like his. So on the way to a Misrata hospital, he bled out in the back of a pickup truck.

In the wake of Hetherington’s death, two new programs have been established to better prepare for the dangers of crisis zones. Junger established a course for freelance journalists: RISC Training – Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues. “It is our hope to make first aid training the industry norm,” Junger writes. The most recent course took place last week at the Bronx Documentary Center. Below is a video from a recent workshop:

In the same vein, the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University will be hosting a three-day program beginning this Friday, “Reporting Safely in Crisis Zones,” for which there are still openings. Led by a longtime Reuters foreign correspondent, Judith Matloff, the course will provide instruction in:

  • Risk assessment: making the right call, setting limits, sound practices amid riots, snipers, mines, shooting, roadblocks, infiltrators and general mayhem.
  • Trauma: emotional self-care on troubling stories.
  • Cyber security: safeguarding sensitive communications and data. Codes, encryption and cloud computing.
  • Emergency first aid: tourniquets, triage, fractures and bullet wounds.
  • Rape/assault prevention, setting boundaries, delaying tactics, basic self-defense, healing.

Click here for more details and to register.