IWMF Launches “Newsroom Safety Across America” Ahead of 2024 Elections

Training program will travel to swing states to prepare and protect journalists

[November 15, 2023 – WASHINGTON, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today announced “Newsroom Safety Across America,” a new initiative bringing the IWMF’s groundbreaking journalism safety training to local newsrooms across the United States. Launching next year, this initiative builds on the IWMF’s multi-year effort to bolster newsrooms’ duty of care to protect their journalists’ physical, digital, and emotional welfare.

The Newsroom Safety Across America tour will service small- to medium-sized news outlets across the country in states with heightened attention ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election, including: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Workshops will include one or two days of customized instruction and live-action training covering risk assessment, personal security, legal protection, mental health care, and more.

“Many U.S. newsrooms, which are frequently underserved and under-resourced, were caught off-guard by the spike in physical and digital violence directed against them,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “The Newsroom Safety Across America initiative will help newsrooms better prepare for, respond to, and recover from threats so that no journalist has to bear the weight of an attack alone.”

In 2023, the IWMF has trained 33 newsrooms and 658 journalists to mitigate mounting attacks. This year alone, 30 journalists have been assaulted and eight have been arrested in the U.S. – all following a surge of anti-media rhetoric. The U.S. currently ranks 45th on the World Press Freedom Index, down from 32nd just a decade ago.

“Our country cannot survive without the presence of quality local news – and local news cannot survive without its journalists,” said Craig Newmark of Craig Newmark Philanthropies, a longtime, major supporter of the IWMF and funder of Newsroom Safety Across America. “Ahead of what promises to be a particularly tenuous year, I’m proud to back this massive effort by the IWMF to keep local journalists safe across the U.S.”

The IWMF will collaborate with news organizations including the Institute for Nonprofit News, Spotlight PA, and Georgia News Collaborative to connect with local newsrooms. Additional newsrooms and journalism associations interested in participating in a workshop can express interest using this form: bit.ly/NSAA-InterestForm. Participating newsrooms and their journalists will have access to additional IWMF offerings including safety policy support, emergency assistance, and one-on-one consultations.

The IWMF continues to seek contributions to expand the Newsroom Safety Across America initiative to train more journalists in more locations. To learn how you or your organization can become involved in this effort, please contact the IWMF’s programs director Juanita Islas, jislas@iwmf.org.

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About the International Women’s Media Foundation

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide.

Contact: Madison Forker, mforker@iwmf.org