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The Dart Center is offering its annual four-day crisis zones reporting course to 16 freelance journalists at no cost.

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. 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 hire fixers, 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 troubling stories.
  • Rape/sexual assault prevention: setting boundaries, delaying tactics, basic self-defense and healing.

Lead InstructorJudith Matloff, adjunct faculty, Columbia Journalism School and longtime conflict correspondent with more than 30 years of experience. The course will be held October 19 - 22, 2023, at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City. 

All program sessions are conducted in English. Participants must be fluent in spoken English to be eligible.


Applications are open until June 14 @ 5pm EST.

The course tuition has been offset by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, the ACOS Alliance and the Dart Center; therefore accepted applicants will not be responsible for any tuition fees to attend the course. However, all participants are responsible for their travel, lodging, ground transportation and meals. Selected applicants are responsible for securing travel visas to attend the course.

Sixteen freelance journalists from around the world will be admitted.

The course is open to full-time freelance journalists only.

While the course is intended for full-time freelance journalists at no costs, there are five spots reserved for paying participants (staff or freelance) from small news organizations, nonprofits and public media. If you would like to be considered for one of these 'paying spots' ($1575), please reach out to programs@dartcenter.org


Please direct any queries to programs@dartcenter.org

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