Foley Foundation Partners with Head Set to Provide Journalists with Immersive Training

Portsmouth, NH – On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is announcing its new partnership with Head Set, an immersive learning system for journalists, to provide safety training for 30 reporters over the next year.

During each half-day Stress Management & Civil Unrest training session, six participants will share knowledge and tips, receive a framework for assessing risk on any assignment, and experience a virtual reality field trip that helps test and practice situational awareness. The first training session is scheduled for November 4th. There will be four additional sessions in 2022.

Participants will also gain a deeper understanding of stress and exposure to trauma as well as strategies to help themselves and colleagues who may be struggling with stress or trauma.

“We want to provide journalists with the tools to create a culture that reinforces the importance of preventive safety. This partnership with Head Set allows journalists to “experience” threats they may confront while on assignment,” said Tom Durkin, the foundation’s education program director. “As safety risks continue to evolve, we want to provide current and future journalists with the most up-to-date technology available.”

“At Head Set, we strongly believe that freelance journalists should have access to the best safety and wellbeing training so they are better prepared for the threats they may face in the field,” said Kate Parkinson, Co-founder and CEO of Head Set. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to bring our unique and innovative VR training to so many freelancers over the next 12 months.” 

This partnership with Head Set complements the Foley Foundation’s continued commitment to preventive journalist safety education. The James W. Foley Journalist Safety Modules were developed in collaboration with Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication, the alma mater of James Foley, a freelance journalist who was killed by ISIS in 2014 while covering the Syrian conflict. They serve as the undergraduate companion to the James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide, a graduate-level curriculum created by Ellen Shearer, Foley Foundation board member and Washington bureau chief for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders. 

The Foley Foundation has also partnered with the Samir Kassir Foundation’s SKeyes Center in Lebanon, to produce an Arabic version of the modules.

To learn more about our journalist safety program, contact Tom Durkin at