NCTJ to host lunchtime panel to accompany new safety and resilience course

The NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy will host a virtual lunchtime panel next week to coincide with the launch of its new e-learning course, safety and resilience for journalists.

The event will put the spotlight on the ever-increasing risks in the profession and the profound effect it has on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing.

Online safety will be a key topic as it continues to be an issue across the industry.

Students and working journalists from across the industry are invited to this free event next Wednesday, 9 November, which will be hosted on Zoom at midday.

Panellists for the session will include Sky News special correspondent and NCTJ patron, Alex Crawford, Dr Rebecca Whittington, online safety editor for Reach, Hannah Storm, director and media safety consultant at Headlines Network and Sophie Perry, digital reporter at the Oxford Mail.

Alex said: “As journalists, many of our tools of the trade are now entrenched online or on social media and while the dangers lurking there might not be so obvious, they are most definitely there and can be as risky as riding straight into a live battlefield.

“So we need to arm ourselves; defend ourselves and protect ourselves with all the measures we can – both individually and as an industry. The more we know how to, the better! I’m looking forward to learning more myself.”

Rebecca said: “Unfortunately online abuse, harassment and other forms of harm are increasingly challenging issues for journalists across the industry, so I’m really pleased to be able to support the NCTJ with its training around online safety. It is crucial to the sustained development of our diverse industry that journalists are supported to do their jobs safely and this includes ensuring that thorough training is provided around protection and response to online harms.”

Hannah said: “Recent years have seen a rise in attacks against journalists, in person and online. At the same time, our colleagues are facing increasing pressures and stressors in their work. It’s vital we work together as an industry to support our colleagues, equipping them with the tools and training to respond to whatever threats they face, be they on the physical or virtual frontline.

“We need to look at conversations around safety and wellbeing holistically, and normalise discussions about mental health. This is what we are trying to do at Headlines Network and we’re delighted to work with the NCTJ on this important training. Journalism ceases to exist without journalists – by supporting their wellbeing, safety and resilience, we can ensure journalism thrives.”

Sophie said: “Working as a journalist means you wake up every morning not knowing what you could face that day.

“Whether you work in local, national or international news you need be prepared for the unexpected, including the risks that come with the job.

“It is more important than ever that students and working journalists take their own safety seriously, as well as the impacts it can have on their mental health and wellbeing.”

The safety and resilience for journalists course has been produced in response to increasing concerns about safety across the industry and aims to raise awareness and provide essential guidance to support journalists.

The NCTJ surveyed journalists working in a range of roles across the UK and 78% of respondents said safety was a genuine concern, while 90% said they need more guidance and support on the topic.

The subjects covered in the course – available free to all student and working journalists – include online safety, resilience and mental health, safety on the job and domestic terrorism.

The NCTJ has collaborated with leading universities and other organisations to produce the course including Leeds Trinity University, University of Portsmouth, University of Ulster and the Headlines Network.

The course also features contributions from working journalists from across the UK who share their own experiences.

Laura Adams, head of the Journalism Skills Academy, said: “The safety of journalists is a source of huge concern at the moment and it is important that all journalists are aware of the risks and how to respond if they are faced with them.

“This interactive lunchtime event will be an exciting opportunity to hear our panellists discuss the key issues and there will be an opportunity for questions at the end.”

To register for the virtual lunchtime panel session, which will last around one hour, please click here.

The course can be accessed here.

Keep in touch

Sign up to receive the NCTJ’s eJournalism newsletter. Sent once a month, it will keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in journalism training.