A journalist’s guide to safely and responsibly covering protests

Updated June 16, 2020

Over the past week, demonstrators have flooded cities nationwide to protest police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. Journalists have found themselves in dangerous situations while covering protests and bringing essential updates to their communities.

While it is necessary for journalists to be out and active, safely reporting and not endangering yourself or communities through your actions and coverage is paramount. 

Below are resources on how to safely cover a protest and ethically report on the movements they represent:

  • This 2011 guide from the DART Center brought experts together to share their experiences covering street protests offered advice for how to  not get caught in the middle of protests
  • Protesting during the modern age now involves digital safety as well as physical safety. Electronic Frontier Foundation has tips for personal digital security while attending a protest.
  • From preparation tips to legal guidance, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has covered every facet of safety for journalists attending protests.
  • Adding to existing deep analysis and reports on race issues, Race Forward published a Race Reporting Guide to include historical context and solutions
  • Part of being prepared is educating yourself. Seeing White and The View From Somewhere are two podcasts that dive into the history of whiteness in America and feature stories of oppression that shaped journalism, respectively.
  • To avoid giving a platform to hate groups, The Oxygen of Amplification from Data & Society has helpful tips for reporters on how to look out for hateful messages

Creative Commons of protesters in Minneapolis protesting the killing of George Floyd by Lorie Shaull.

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