James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, Facebook partner on expanding safety guide for journalists


Ellen Shearer, 202-661-0102, shearer@northwestern.edu  or

Thomas Durkin, 708-691-4928, tom.durkin@jamesfoleyfoundation.org




CHICAGO – The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is expanding its James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide  by adding a fourth seminar on the risks of reporting on conflicts, terrorism and violent unrest and by partnering with Facebook to further help college journalism educators teach students about how journalists can keep themselves safe online.

Journalist James Foley was the first American murdered by the Islamic State following two years of imprisonment.

At the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication on Thursday, Aug. 10th, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation will release the fourth seminar of their curriculum guide. “Seminar 4: Risks to Consider in Covering Civil Unrest” addresses dangers that can happen at home or abroad when covering situations of civil unrest ranging from protests to mob scenes. The seminar was developed by Ellen Shearer, the William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism, Medill News Service bureau chief /co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative and Foley Foundation board member, Tom Durkin, Director of Programs for the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, and Medill graduate student Shazeb Hashim.

“Dangers to journalists covering local or national news can come unexpectedly and too often the journalists are unaware of how to plan for their safety in covering incidents such as violent protests,” said Ellen Shearer. “With the help of Medill graduate students and some great journalists, our latest seminar offers ways for aspiring journalists to be prepared.”

The Foley Foundation will also announce its partnership with Facebook to create a new seminar focused on cybersecurity for journalists. This seminar will include expertise and guidance from the journalism partnerships and safety teams at Facebook in conjunction with the Foley Foundation, along with resources from the Facebook Safety for Journalists initiative launched earlier this summer.  

“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we are committed to helping journalists stay safe and to protect their sources on our platform,” said Aine Kerr, Manager of Journalism Partnerships, Facebook. “We look forward to beginning our work with The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to provide more resources, like this upcoming seminar, to help ensure that journalists feel safe on our platform.”

Diane Foley said her son, Jim, would be “deeply grateful for others to learn from his sacrifice. The James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide continues Jim’s passion for press freedom with the vital tools of risk assessment and safety education for any aspiring young journalist or humanitarian interested in serving in dangerous situations.”

The original three-part curriculum, launched in 2016, was created by Ellen Shearer in collaboration with Medill students Ryan Holmes, Satvika Khera, Jacob Mleschke and Xuanyan Ouyang; Delphine Halgand of Reporters Without Borders; Emma Beals and David Rohde of A Culture of Safety Alliance; and Diane Foley of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.

The seminars are intended to challenge aspiring journalists to protect themselves in an increasingly dangerous world and to inform other future journalists, so they understand what their colleagues are experiencing. The first seminar uses the Sundance and Emmy award-winning documentary, “Jim: The James Foley Story,” to introduce students to the world of conflict coverage. The next two seminars use research and case studies provided by seasoned journalists to let students think through the assessments they should take before embarking on potentially dangerous reporting. Role-play is used to reinforce the assessment rubric.

The entire guide can be found at https://www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org/overview-of-curriculum/. Other related and helpful information is available at www.acosalliance.org, www.nationalsecurityzone.org, and https://rsf.org