IWMF and ROAAAR Debut Inclusive Journalism Safety Training

Program will cultivate newsroom security advisers representative of their communities

[April 14, 2021 – WASHINGTON, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and ROAAAR today announced the commencement of ‘Next Gen Safety Trainers,’ a groundbreaking program building a new model for journalism safety advising. Indicative of a rapidly evolving industry, the program will use inclusive instructional models to expand the diversity of journalism’s safety training community.

While HEFATs are known as an industry standard in journalist training, many HEFAT advisers come from similar backgrounds; predominantly, white male military veterans whose experience favors conflict reporting. Expanding safety advising to include the risks of reporting in the United States, threats that LGBTQI+, BIPOC and women journalists experience in the field, and the dangers of digital threats are all critical to inclusive safety training.

The first cohort of fellows – 16 women and non-binary people with experience across the media, military, emergency care, education and technology sectors – will receive training from experts in digital and physical security, trauma response and newsroom safety management. Their participation will prepare them to lead HEFAT courses, consult with media organizations, work as newsroom safety advisors and deliver workshops on relevant safety experience.

“The Next Gen Safety Trainers program disrupts the traditional HEFAT model, recognizing that safety training must be responsive to the journalists who are being trained and the evolving threats they face,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “We are empowering our fellows to provide holistic, individualized and intersectional safety training that has previously been inaccessible.”

The Next Gen Safety Trainers curriculum was designed by a team of digital and physical safety experts helmed by Ali Baskerville, founder of the intersectional journalism training nonprofit ROAAAR. “Leading this program feels like our most important work yet to make space for a more diverse generation of safety trainers,” Baskerville said.

“This project equips journalists with the capability to be conscious of how their identity impacts their safety within dynamic situations,” said Next Gen Safety Trainers fellow and documentary photographer Vanessa Charlot. “It provides them with the skills they need to keep themselves safe while sharing pertinent stories with the world.”

To learn more about the fellows, Leadership Team, and the Next Gen Safety Trainers program, visit iwmf.org/programs/next-gen-safety-trainers/.

About the IWMF

Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, grants, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for women journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage and Instagram on @TheIWMF.

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