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A year to invest in the security of local journalists

“If the world is demanding these stories, then reporters must begin asking for risk mitigation strategies, training, legal options, and monetary resources.”

In 2019, news outlets will invest in journalist security in new and powerful ways. Readers will be at the forefront, pushing for details about how news organizations take care of the people they ask to cover the world’s most challenging stories.

International news organizations have long provided unequal security options for foreign correspondents and local journalists. This will begin to change in 2019, as news organizations realize that security parity for local journalists requires holistic duty of care.

At Global Press, we employ dozens of local journalists who live in the communities that they cover. They can’t run to an embassy or jump on a plane when things get dicey, so we’ve had to create a comprehensive Duty of Care program that provides for the physical, emotional, digital, and legal security of every journalist in our network. And it’s time all news outlets did the same.

In 2019, Global Press will make its industry-leading Duty of Care program available to more than 1,000 local journalists outside of the Global Press network for the first time. We will share our resources and offer our curriculum to any local or global news outlet to demonstrate that it is possible to better provide for local journalist security. From localized first aid and culturally appropriate trauma counseling to surveillance detection and robust legal support, local journalist security is complex — but possible.

The tragedies and lessons of 2018 have made it clear that we all have a role to play in local journalist security. In 2019, publishers and editors will invest in holistic programs that ensure local reporters, fixers, translators, and sources are safe. This will require that long-term security mechanisms, including digital security training, are put into place in existing bureaus and for freelancers.

Local reporters asked to cover conflict, corruption, and chaos will also begin to self-advocate more. If the world is demanding these stories, then reporters must begin asking for risk mitigation strategies, training, legal options, and monetary resources.

And finally, as readers, we will all play a role in insisting that news outlets invest equally in the security of local reporters tasked with capturing the stories that help us understand our world.

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