The Backstory – Managing safety: What editors can do to keep journalists safe

SEASON 2 NOW ON AIR! In our first season The Backstory explored a wide range of issues from our global network, and we’re now back for Season 2 which examines in-depth the many facets of the conversation around Safety of Journalists.

by Andrew Heslop | June 21, 2019

If journalism protects democracy, then who is protecting journalists? The important role editors and managers play in keeping their reporters safe. In this episode, we hear from editors and safety trainers about starting the safety conversation in newsrooms, to make safety a priority rather than an afterthought. Learn about actual situations that journalists and editors have found themselves facing, and get tips on how to start putting in place safety protocols in your own newsroom.

In this episode:

  • Cilla Benko, Director General, Radio Sweden
  • Luisa Fernanda Isaza, coordinator for the defence and support of journalists, FLIP, Colombia’s press freedom foundation
  • Eliot Stempf, Head of High Risk, Buzzfeed news
  • Elisabet Cantenys, Executive Director, ACOS Alliance

For resources and tips visit WAN-IFRA’s press freedom page and see the links at the bottom of this page. Check back for regular updates and additional resources.

The Backstory production team is Andrew Heslop, Mariona Sanz, Colette Davidson and Sarah Elzas, who edited and mixed the episode.

Music in this episode by Swelling.



Read our accompanying article ‘Finding the balance – when is reporting from a danger zone worth it? that explores how journalists balance the importance of seeking the truth (wherever that might take them) with ensuring their personal safety – and how can editors support them. By Colette Davidson


The News Organizations Safety Self-Assessment is a new resource that helps news outlets to review and improve their current safety practices and protocols.

This resource is a collaboration between the ACOS Alliance and the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Dart Center for Journalism & TraumaFree Press UnlimitedFrontline Freelance Register, the International Federation of JournalistsInternational News Safety InstituteInternational Media SupportInternational Press Institute, the International Women’s Media Foundation and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has produced a four-part Safety Kit that provides journalists and newsrooms with basic safety information on physical, digital and psychological safety resources and tools.


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