Covering Crisis: Refresh and Reboot

October 5-9, 2020

With generous support from the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, the Rory Peck Trust, and the ACOS Alliance, the Dart Center offered its annual four-day crisis zones reporting course to 38 freelance journalists at no cost.

This five-day virtual 'Refresher and Reboot’ safety training was held on Zoom October 5-9, 2020, and built on the core foundation of knowledge and skills gained through the in-person crisis zones reporting program at Crisis Zones Reporting Course at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Through expert briefings, interactive scenario-based exercises, small group discussions and individual coaching, the course covered:

  • Risk assessment and situational awareness with an emphasis on safely covering civil unrest and uprisings, natural disasters, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Emergency first aid with an emphasis on staunching bleeding and tourniquet tying.

  • Digital security with an emphasis on securing data and communications with sources, and new risks that have arisen with Covid-19.

  • Legal matters with an emphasis on legal recourse if arrested or detained, as well as work contracts, risk and liability insurance, and ‘know your rights’.

  • Trauma awareness and self-care with an emphasis on resiliency-building and science-informed techniques for managing stress and mental health.

This course was offered two times a day during the week of October 5th to accommodate different time zones.

Course Instructors
  • Judith Matloff, Lead Instructor, Senior Safety Advisor, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Adjunct Faculty, Columbia Journalism School
  • Harlo Holmes, Director of Newsroom Digital Security, Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • Sawyer Alberi, Combat Medic Trainer, EMT-P, Adjunct Faculty at Johnson State College graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy
  • Padraig Hughes, Legal Director, UK-based Media Defence Initiative that trains lawyers to represent journalists and litigates libel and other issues related to freedom of the press and human rights violations of journalists
  • Carlos Gaio, Senior Legal Officer, UK-based Media Defence Initiative
  • Saba Ashraf, Senior Legal Officer, UK-based Media Defence Initiative
  • Joanna Connolly, Legal Officer, UK-based Media Defence Initiative
  • Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma