Academic Commons


Journalists and Safety Training: Experiences and Opinions

Shapiro, Bruce A.; Newman, Elana; Slaughter, Autumn

Over the last generation, safety trainings (sometimes known as Hostile Environment and First Aid Training or HEFAT) have been widely embraced by the news industry as a means of preparing journalists to cover conflict, crisis and other potentially dangerous assignments. Yet the effectiveness, relevance and usefulness of such trainings – both generally and in terms of specific content and approaches – have not been independently assessed.

For this reason, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, surveyed a wide range of journalists around the world about the safety trainings they attended, the skills they acquired and the gaps between these trainings and their professional needs on the ground. From October 2016 to February 2017, 247 journalists completed the survey, which was conducted by the Dart Center’s research lab housed at The University of Tulsa Department of Psychology.

This report, prepared by an interdisciplinary team of researchers in psychology, occupational safety and journalism practice, details the survey results. We make no attempt to evaluate particular commercial or nonprofit safety training providers. Instead, this report examines the various approaches to journalism safety training; how journalists assess their training experiences; and the systematic gaps and other issues suggested by their assessments.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Published Here
April 11, 2019