Breaking: IWMF Survey of 350+ U.S. Journalists Uncovers Significant Threats Ahead of 2024 Elections

[June 5, 2024] – Five months ahead of the United States general election, new data from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is an early indicator of alarming physical and digital threats facing journalists reporting on politics and the 2024 elections. This exclusive data derived from the IWMF’s Newsroom Safety Across America (NSAA) participant survey assessed the experiences of 368 local journalists covering politics from eight swing states* across the U.S., revealing the extreme circumstances under which reporters are currently working.

Key findings include:

  • 37.7% of respondents reported being threatened with or experiencing physical violence while working as a journalist.
  • 30.66% of respondents reported being threatened with or experiencing digital violence while working as a journalist.
  • 26.93% of respondents reported legal threats or action against them while working as a journalist.

Anecdotally, journalists’ most frequently cited concerns were receiving online violence from far-right extremist groups, as well as being targeted at protests and rallies. This duality reinforces the need for training to equally address physical and digital safety, a key tenant of the IWMF’s training model.

“The Newsroom Safety Across America initiative was born from the expectation that this election year would bring heightened hostility toward journalists,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “The numbers in front of us make the danger glaring: Journalists need training to stay safe in the field and online this election season; I’m proud that the IWMF is offering this critical resource at no-cost to protect journalists and bolster democracy.”

The IWMF also analyzed the results of qualitative post-training interviews with participants from each state, which illustrate the experiences for reporters in politically charged, but contextually varied, environments. A commonality across these interviews was experience with or concern about physical violence from law enforcement, including attack, detention and arrest while reporting. Further, interviewees in every state experienced death threats, threats of gun violence, verbal attacks, and intimidation. These instances were particularly high in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania – swing states expected to receive increased attention in the 2024 election.

As political tensions rise ahead of November, this data is a timely reminder of the need to help journalists mitigate and respond to the risks they face online and on the ground. With funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Newsroom Safety Across America will continue offering this vital support, training local journalists and newsrooms who are otherwise unlikely to have the resources to prepare for these threats. This summer, additional training stops are planned in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno, California, with more to be announced.

Detailed survey results, including demographics, are available upon request; further results are expected to publish in Summer and Fall 2024. Learn more about Newsroom Safety Across America at

*As of June 2024, NSAA trainings have been held in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New York, Michigan and Nevada. 

Contact: Madison Forker, mforker[at]iwmf[dot]org