Covering Protests

Covering Protests


The New York Times: At Protests Across America, Guns Are Doing the Talking
SPJ’s Ethics committee offers tips and resources.

RCFP: Police Protesters and the Press

Committee to Protect Journalists: Guide to Legal Rights in the US


SPJ Code of Ethics

Committee to Protect Journalists: Journalist Security Guide

U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

RCFP: Police, Protesters and the Press
An in-depth guide updated June 2020.

RCFP: Tips for Covering Protests

Dart Center: How to Safely Cover Street Protests
From Judith Matloff, senior adviser, safety training: “Covering civil unrest can be frightening and dangerous. A crowd may turn violent with little warning and police can target journalists or mistake them for rabble rousers. It’s particularly challenging to maintain social distancing during a riot, so take extra precautions to stay on the edge for quick exit. Bring extra masks, gloves and sanitizer for gear.”

Dart Center: Covering Riot Control in the U.S.
Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, author of the book Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of World War I to the Streets of Today, shares a riot control primer for journalists covering protests across the United States.

RTDNA Guidelines for Covering Civil Unrest

RCFP: Police Protesters and the Press

Committee to Protect Journalists: Guide to Legal Rights in the US

RTDNA: SAFE Journalist Training and Resources
Resources are designed to provide newsroom managers, field journalists and freelancers with the knowledge and tools to stay safe during daily reporting and escalated events including civil unrest.

Lenfest Institute: A Journalist’s Guide to Safely and Responsibly Covering Protests

SPJ Legal Defense Fund

SPJ Ethics Hotline

RCFP Legal Defense Hotline

ACOS Alliance: Civil Unrest Resources

Jam Lab: How to Cover Civil Unrest Safely
Jeff Belzil, IWMF’s security director, offers many useful tips.

Internews: Covering a Protest? Resources to Keep You Safe
Available in English and Spanish. Offers mobile security resources, too.

PEN America: Covering Protests Archives
A treasure trove of training on legal rights, safety, digital security and more.

The Guardian: World Protests
News coverage and opinion from protests around the world.

NY Times: Why Charges Against Protests are Being Dismissed by the Thousands

Pen America: Combatting Protest Misinformation

The New York Times: At Protests Across America, Guns Are Doing the Talking
SPJ’s Ethics committee offers tips and resources.

Video: Physical Safety at Polls/Protests
In this 16-minute tutorial from TrollBusters, journalists will learn tactics for assessing your risk at protests, polling locations and other mass gatherings and how to prepare your digital footprint and physical devices for travel.

PEN America: Combatting Protest Disinformation

First Draft News: George Floyd protests: Resources for Online Newsgathering, Verification, Protecting Sources and Colleagues

Poynter: Guidelines for Journalists to Safely Cover Protests

GIJN: Tips for Interviewing Trauma Victims

Muckrack: Guide for Journalists Covering Protests

Poynter: 25 Guidelines for Journalists to Safely Cover Unrest

Dart Center: Tips for Interviewing Victims of Tragedy, Witnesses, and Survivors

Nieman Storyboard: An Editor’s Sensitive Guide to Interviewing Trauma Victims

Dart Center: Covering Volatile Street Protests

The Dart Center Style Guide for Trauma-Informed Journalism
The style guide is designed as a quick, authoritative reference for reporters, editors and producers working on tight deadlines. It includes brief evidence-informed guidance on news choices, language usage and ethics in reporting on the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities; recommendations for appropriate use of relevant psychological and scientific terminology; and special considerations when reporting on consequential trauma-laden issues such as racism and sexual violence.

GIJN: Safety and Security

Before and After the Vote: A Journalism Resource Database
From Free Press, this database database features more than 100 resources that address ways to: Cover white supremacy and white-supremacist violence; report on police, protests, uprisings and demonstrations, detect and combat misinformation and disinformation; produce coverage that upholds election integrity; protect journalists’ physical safety and secure digital communications.

For more training videos, visit our YouTube page.

Dart Center: Covering Riot Control in 2020

CPJ Journalist Security Guide
Download from Kindle for a dollar.

International Media Support Group: Journalist Safety
Medical training, how to set up a live shot, covering protests, etc.

Video: Live Shot Safety
Tips for broadcasters on how to safely set up a live shot.

CPJ Safety Kit
Security guide, safety notes, resource center, first aid videos.

CPJ Emergency Response Resource Center

Reporters Without Borders: Safety Guide for Journalists

James Foley Foundation: Journalist Safety

JAWS: Resources for Covering Protests

IWMF: Covering Injustice — Safety Tips for Reporting on Protests

FAIR: Seven Ways Journalists Use Police Jargon to Obscure the Truth
From Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.

IJNET: Mental Health and Journalism Toolkit

Reporting Atrocities: A Toolbox for Journalists Covering Violent Conflict
A helpful guide from Internews.

GIJN: The Forensic Methods Reporters Are Using to Reveal Attacks by Security Forces

IJNET: Tips for Coping After Covering Traumatic Events

Syracuse University: Citizen Journalism and Political Protests
As protests continue to be held, we are seeing more altercations between the public and police. This resource shares the role citizen journalists are playing in digital media, the rights of the press at protests, and ways for news organizations, reporters and citizen journalists can establish healthy relationships with law enforcement.

Trollbusters Video: A Conversation on Media Safety and Coverage
This panel brings together educators teaching journalism in the face of increased violence in the streets targeting journalists and student journalists. Strategies for staying safe at protests and online come from educators at HBCUs and minority-serving institutions and from Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Founder,

TrustingNews: Trust-Building Tips for Covering Attacks on Democracy


RTDNA: As Protests Continue, Need for Contextual Journalism Grows

IJNET: Tips for reporting on anti-police violence protests in the U.S.

Poynter: What to Do if You’re Pepper-Sprayed

University of Georgia: Tips for Journalist’s Covering Protests

Freedom of the Press Foundation: What to Do if Your Phone is Seized by Police

HuckMag: A Conflict Photographer’s Guide to Shooting Protests

The Right to Photograph and Record in Public

The Opportunity Agenda: Best Practices for Journalists Reporting on Police Killings of Black and Brown People

Dart Center: Guide to Working with Freelancers Exposed to Trauma

Reuters: Safety for Journalists
The Thomson Reuters Foundation has partnered with UNESCO, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), and the International News Safety Institute (INSI) to develop practical and legal tools for journalists, media managers and newsrooms to counter harassment.

Video: Know Your Rights – Joining a Protest or Covering One as a Journalist
Lia Ernst, a NEFAC board member and senior staff attorney at the ACLU, talks about how the First Amendment protects us at political demonstrations across the country. She offers helpful guidance and tips.
Use this tool to estimate the size of a protest crowd.

Google Earth Measure Tool
Use the measure tool to get the size of an area to help estimate a crowd size.

Dart Center: Trauma and Journalism Handbook

Journalist’s Resource: 13 Security Tips for Journalists Covering Hate Online

CPJ: Covering Civil Matters and Disturbances
Part of CPJ’s journalist security guide.

CPJ: Physical Safety, Civil Disorder

Ethical Reporting on Police Violence and Black-led Protests
Compiled by Press On, a southern movement journalism collective.

Surveillance Self-Defense List
Go over this checklist before heading out to cover a protest. Tips on encryption and other digital and personal safety. Includes tips on what to do if your device is confiscated.

NY Times: Covering Protests Where There’s a Distrust of Social Media Tips for Covering Protests

Reporters Without Borders World Roundup
Journalist’s killed, taken hostage or detained in 2018. U.S. ranked among most dangerous countries for journalists for first time.

SPLC: Student Media Coverage of George Floyd Protests

RTDNA Coverage Guidelines

National Union of Journalists: IFJ Safety Guidelines for Covering Demonstrations
This is a .PDF that will auto-download when you click on the link.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Digital Security Tips for Protesters
The tips for the protesters work well for journalists, too.

IJNET: Staying Safe While Covering Protests

National Press Club: Covering Protests — Dissent is Not a One-Way Street

SPLC: Taking Photos and Shooting Video at Protests, Demonstrations and Crime Scenes

SEJ: Student Journalist’s Guide to Covering Dissent

JEA: Tips for Reporting on Protests

Medium: Dressed for Excess: Gear for Covering Riots, Protests, Etc.

Amnesty International: Safety During a Protest How to Report on Online Hate Groups Safely

Navigating the Hate Beat
Slides from IRE 19 on how to cover hate groups and other issues. Capturing Racial Justice Protests with Data

Poynter: Covering a Protest? Know Your Rights

CJR: Covering Protests Has Become the Riskiest Job in Journalism

NPPA Condemns Minnesota State Patrol for CNN Arrests

WNYC Guide to Police Misconduct Records

RCFP: Map of Curfew Orders Around the Country

RCFP: Police Body Camera Legislation Map
Tracks the status of state legislation and police department policies regarding public access to police body-worn cameras.

RCFP: Body-Worn Camera Policies

Phi Delta Kappan: How to Cover a Protest

Dart Center: Working With Traumatic Imagery

MediaShift: Advice for Journalists Working with Traumatic Imagery

NPPA: Critical Stress Help Sheet
A single page of safety tips and outreach contact information.

Local News Lab: Times for White Newsroom Leaders to Act, Tips for Ethical Reporting and Protests

ProPublica: Five Ways You Can Start Holding Your Police Department Accountable

Journalists: Point to What Makes Your Protest Coverage Credible

Oxygen: Crimes Related to Race, Police Brutality

Twitter Thread: What to Do if Your Protest Rights are Violated

IJNET: Mental Health Tips and Resources for Journalists
A single page of safety tips and outreach contact information.

Nieman Reports: Protest Photography Can Be a Powerful Tool For and Against Black Lives Matter

Washington Post: Are Police Trying to Stop You from Taking That Cell Phone Video?

Education Writer’s Association: Covering Protests

Education Writers Association: EWA Reporter Guide for Inclusive Coverage

NPPA: Practical Advice About Covering High Profile News Stories
Some great tips in this Mickey Osterreicher piece about covering protests and elections.

Nieman Lab: How Journalists Are Managing Their Mental Health

James F. Foley Foundation Journalism Safety Modules
A downloadable .PDF of tips and resources to keep journalists safe when doing their jobs.

James F Foley Foundation Journalist Safety Curricula

Public Media Alliance: Tools and Resources for Reporting on Protests

Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism: Security Manual for Covering Street Protests

Archives: Ferguson, Missouri, Protests and Press Rights

Resources for those reporting on the attacks on journalists and citizens in Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014.

The Verge: You Have a Right to Record the Police

Washington Post: Reporters Detained by Police
Story and video.

RTDNA’s Letter to Ferguson Police Chief

NY Times: Ferguson Reveals a Twitter Loop

Research on Police Brutality
From Harvard’s Journalist’s Resource site.

Gigaom: Flexing First Amendment Rights Can Reveal New Threats to Those Rights

RCFP/ONA Help Kit for Ferguson Journalists
Resources, list of attorneys, etc.

The Local News Lab: Citizen Journalism and Ferguson
A great read on the role citizen journalists played in coverage. Many links to coverage and other stories/analysis.

Dart Center: Working with Traumatic Imagery

ACLU: Journalism is Under Attack and it’s Not Just Ferguson

Source: What Data Journalism Told Us About Ferguson
Great examples.

What Data Told Us About Ferguson
Infographic from Simon Rogers.


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