Undergraduate Journalism Safety Training Curriculum

The Diederich College of Communication believes that the safety of young journalists is of paramount importance.  As such the Department of Journalism and Media Studies in the Diederich College has partnered with The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation (JWFLF) to develop The James W. Foley Safety Modules for Undergraduate Journalism and Communications Programs. These materials also include resources to help journalists safely report on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The modules are intended to help educators create a culture that promotes safety for all journalism and communications students. Modules are designed to be incorporated into existing courses. The 13 safety modules cover such topics as completing risk assessments, responsibilities of newsroom managers, safety of female and minority journalists, covering civil unrest, emotional self-care, care of sources, interviewing hostile sources, reporting on foreign conflicts, protecting digital data, dealing with online harassment, covering weather-related stories, and reporting during the current pandemic. The safety modules are intended to challenge and inform aspiring journalists in an increasingly dangerous world.

The safety modules were developed by the Foley Foundation’s education program director, Tom Durkin, in collaboration with the Diederich College of Communication, the alma mater of James Foley, a freelance journalist who was captured and killed by ISIS while covering the Syrian conflict in 2014. The safety modules, developed thanks to generous support from the Scripps Howard Foundation, serve as the undergraduate companion to the James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide, a graduate-level curriculum created by Medill Northwestern’s Washington Bureau Chief and Foley Foundation board member, Ellen Shearer, in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders.

The Foley Legacy Foundation and the Department of Journalism and Media Studies offer these modules to all journalism and mass communication educators free of charge and in PDF format with clickable links at https://jamesfoleyfoundation.org/journalist-safety.

Instructors, freelancers, and schools interested in learning more about the safety modules should contact JWFLF Education Program Director, Tom Durkin, at tom.durkin@jamesfoleyfoundation.org or Marquette University Professor and Chair of Journalism and Media Studies, Ana Garner, at ana.garner@marquette.edu.