In partnership with the ACOS Alliance and the Bronx Documentary Center, the Dart Center is offering its annual four-day crisis zones reporting course to 16 freelance journalists at no cost. The course will be held October 3 - 6, 2024, at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City.

Covering crisis presents some of the biggest challenges in the journalism profession. Reporters must make quick decisions on whether to trust a translator or drive down a dangerous road. This course will teach you how to operate with caution in volatile situations, with an emphasis on conflicts and civil unrest. The training is also relevant to working in natural disaster situations such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis. While most hostile environment training for journalists deals with ducking crossfire and kidnappers, this course will teach you how to avoid unnecessary peril through preparation and planning before, during and after assignments. Participants will emerge from the course with a better understanding of how to work with local producers, shun attackers and protect their digital footprints.

Expert trainers will provide instruction in the following areas:

  • Risk assessment: making the right decisions before and during an assignment, setting limits, sound practices amid riots, snipers, mines, shooting, roadblocks, infiltrators and general mayhem.
  • Digital Security: safeguarding sensitive computer data and communicating with others in a secure manner. Coding, encryption and cloud computing skills are taught.
  • Emergency first aid: tourniquets, triage, fractures and bullet wounds.
  • Trauma awareness: emotional self-care while covering difficult stories.
  • Rape/sexual assault prevention: setting boundaries, delaying tactics, basic self-defense and healing.

Lead Instructor: Judith Matloff, adjunct faculty, Columbia Journalism School and longtime conflict correspondent with more than 30 years of experience.


Applications are open until July 31, 2024 @ 5pm EST.

All applications must be submitted through the online platform Submittable. Email or hard copy applications will not be accepted. 

All course sessions will be conducted in English. Applicants must be fluent in spoken English to be eligible to apply.

Course tuition has been underwritten by the ACOS Alliance, the Bronx Documentary Center, and the Dart Center; therefore selected participants will not be responsible for tuition or other fees. However, all participants are responsible for their own travel, lodging, insurance, ground transportation and meals. 

The course is open to freelance journalists working in print, photography, video, and/or audio with at least 2 years of professional experience. 

Sixteen freelance journalists from around the world will be admitted.

Selected applicants are responsible for securing travel visas to attend the course.

While the course is intended for full-time freelance journalists at no cost, five spots have been reserved for paying participants (staff or freelance) from small news organizations, nonprofits and public media. If you would like to be considered for a paid spot ($1295), please reach out to Dart Center Program Manager Krystal Grow at


Please direct any queries to Dart Center Program Manager Krystal Grow: 

For any Submittable technical issues:

Dart Center