A new pedagogy to enhance the safety and resilience of journalists in dangerous environments globally

Colm Murphy, Nigel Taylor, P Deeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Risks to journalists are rising with disasters, epidemics, physical, mental and digital harassment all increasing globally. Some 1,382 journalists have been killed since 1992 and 246 are imprisoned. But the threat type has been changing with the majority of journalists killed annually being ones working in their own country often who are targeted for assassination. In response, UNESCO and others have called for research into best practice for safety education to halt this and the consequential decline in global media freedom. This United Kingdom national award winning five-year project tested the hypothesis that a new pedagogy based on a ‘humanitarian holistic’ philosophy would be more effective in protecting journalists working in dangerous domains globally than the existing ‘military battlefield’ provision. International experts fed into a Delphi survey to identify the most pertinent competencies. A program was devised and delivered mainly in a forest setting to two international cohorts in 2018 and 2019 to develop these skills. It used principally immersive simulation, the talking stick, role play, foot learning and scenario based learning. The majority of participants evaluated the new pedagogy as having ‘very significantly’ enhanced their resilience and safety skills as measured by the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale and other devices. The research proved the study’s hypotheses. Its concentration on group and individual physical and mental resilience building, risk mitigation, psychology, communication, self defence and digital security skill acquisition was a paradigm shift in training internationally for news professionals in hostile environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEducation Sciences
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2020


  • journalism education
  • simulative immersion
  • disaster reporting
  • resilience development
  • safety training
  • outdoor education
  • scenario-based training
  • war reporting
  • digital safety
  • Delphi method
  • hostile environment reporting
  • journalist safety
  • press freedom

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