Reporting Safely in Crisis Zones Course

October 27-30, 2016
Columbia Journalism School
2960 Broadway
New York, NY, 10026, United States

Covering crisis presents some of the biggest challenges in the journalism profession. Reporters must make quick decisions on whether to trust a translator or drive down a dangerous road. This course will teach you how to operate with caution in volatile situations, with an emphasis on conflicts. Training is also relevant to working in natural disaster situations such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis. While most hostile environment training for journalists deals with ducking crossfire and kidnappers, this course will teach you how to avoid unnecessary peril with careful preparations before, during and after assignments. Participants will emerge with a better understanding of how to hire fixers, shun attackers and protect computers.

Expert trainers will provide instruction in the following areas:

  • Risk assessment: making the right decisions before and during an assignment, setting limits, sound practices amid riots, snipers, mines, shooting, roadblocks, infiltrators and general mayhem.
  • Digital Security: safeguarding sensitive computer data and communicating with others in a secure manner. Codes, encryption and cloud computing skills are taught.
  • Emergency first aid: tourniquets, triage, fractures and bullet wounds.
  • Trauma: emotional self-care while covering troubling stories.
  • Rape/assault prevention, setting boundaries, delaying tactics, basic self-defense, healing.

Lead Instructor: Judith Matloff, adjunct faculty, Columbia Journalism School and former conflict correspondent with more than 20 years of experience. The course will be held October 27 - October 30, 2016, at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City. 

All program sessions are conducted in English. Participants must be fluent in spoken English to participate in the program. 


*** Applications are now closed.

Course Fee: $975.

A limited number of partial scholarships will be granted to freelance journalists, thanks to generous support from the Rory Peck Trust. Scholarships must be used to offset the course fee. Scholarships may not be used for travel, lodging or related expenses. Journalists who are employed full-time by a news organization or other individuals who are not employed by news companies are encouraged to apply to attend the course, but will not be considered for a scholarship. 

The scholarship deadline has passed. Scholarship applicants that submitted material before the July 15 deadline will be notified in late August.

Course Testimonials:

"It was such a joy to attend the class. The course was incredibly informative and helpful. It is things like your course that make me proud to be a journalist and hopeful for the industry. It will make the next generation safer, wiser and more informed.” – Andrew Burton, Getty Images

“These last days at Columbia were amazing. The University, the classes, the professors and the colleagues are now not only part of my professional development, but personal.” – Martin Riepl, reporter for Frecuencia Latina television (Peru)

“I used to operate with a mindset that either one of two things would happen to me: 1. Nothing, and hence I'd be fine; or 2. Something bad, and hence I'd probably die. Now, thanks to [the medical instruction], I realize there's a 3rd option: 3. Something could happen to me and I could survive, simply due to being more prepared and having some basic training. And that's a great feeling.” – Joshua Hergesheimer, independent writer/photographer (Canada)

Please email any questions to [email protected].