Safety and Resilience Advisory Panel provides invaluable industry feedback on ‘explosion of issues’ ahead of NCTJ’s action plan

The NCTJ's Safety and Resilience Advisory Panel held its latest meeting to provide insight and advise the NCTJ on an 'explosion' of safety issues in the industry.

Journalists are continuing to face an “explosion of issues” relating to safety and resilience, the NCTJ’s industry panel heard.

The Safety and Resilience Advisory Panel held its latest meeting on Wednesday, 28 February to provide insight and advise the NCTJ on how best to support the industry in tackling safety and resilience issues.

The NCTJ launched the panel last year to gain an understanding of the online and physical threats to journalists’ safety, what the charity can do to help journalists and to create a link between the industry and NCTJ-accredited course leaders.

The panel’s recommendations help the NCTJ to support educators delivering safety and resilience training, which is required to meet accreditation performance standards.

The NCTJ’s panel is chaired by Joanna Webster, global managing editor for visuals (video and photography) at Thomson Reuters, and includes representatives from Sky News, BBC, Newsquest, Iliffe Media, Pink News, SWNS, TalkSPORT and National World.

The following issues were highlighted during the panel discussion:

  • The impact of working from home and hybrid working patterns, which are reducing on-the-job development for early-career journalists
  • The ongoing abuse against female journalists which is stopping women pursuing a career in the industry
  • A lack of confidence in early-career journalists who rely on “non-verbal” communication methods to source stories
  • The sensitive relationship between police officers and journalists who are facing obstruction while out covering stories

The NCTJ has pledged to incorporate these issues as part of its safety and resilience action plan for 2024/25.

The panel also advised the NCTJ to be cautious about supporting campaigns outside its jurisdiction or control, and to focus on actions that will support journalism employers, journalists and educators.

Lisa Bradley, who joined the panel as course leader from the University of Sheffield, said the lack of confidence among student journalists continued to be a source of concern for NCTJ-accredited course leaders.

She said: “Confidence and self-esteem building has been highlighted as of huge importance to both training and early-career journalists.

“This manifests in reluctance to engage in telephone and face-to-face interviews, understanding and embracing their rights and anxiety over social media backlash.

“Whether this is from the backlash of social development being hindered by Covid or growing awareness of neurodiversity, there is a clear need for training in education settings and enhanced support in newsrooms.”

Joanne Forbes, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “The panel discussion has once again highlighted the unacceptable harms faced by journalists while carrying out their day-to-day work. We will continue to work with our employer-led panel to create and implement an action plan which will raise awareness and provide training to support the industry and educators in tackling this complex issue.”

Last year, the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy hosted a safety and resilience workshop for journalism tutors and launched virtual masterclasses for working journalists.

There is also a free training resource, Safety and Resilience for Journalists, available on the Journalism Skills Academy e-learning platform. The NCTJ has also hosted three free webinars, featuring industry panels, during the last 18 months.

This comes in the week before International Women’s Day on Friday, 8 March. To mark IWD 2024, the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy is set to host a virtual lunch and learn session on Women in Leadership: Leading with Confidence on Thursday, 7 March from 12.30pm-2pm.

It will explore different perceptions of confidence in leadership and provide practical advice on breaking down barriers in the workforce.

Secure your place at the session here.

The NCTJ will now formulate a 2024/25 Safety and Resilience Action Plan.

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