James W. Foley Legacy Foundation & Marquette University Launch New Journalism Safety Curriculum

WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of World Press Freedom Day, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is expanding its journalism safety materials for undergraduate students with the launch of the  James W. Foley Journalism Safety Modules to help aspiring journalists prepare for and respond to dangerous situations. These new materials include resources to help journalists safely report on the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The safety modules were developed by the Foley Foundation’s education program director, Tom Durkin, in collaboration with Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication, the alma mater of James Foley, a freelance journalist who was captured and killed by ISIS while covering the Syrian conflict in 2014. The safety modules, developed thanks in part to generous support from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, serve as the undergraduate companion to the James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide, a graduate-level curriculum created by Northwestern-Medill’s Washington Bureau Chief and Foley Foundation board member, Ellen Shearer, in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders. 

At a time when practicing journalism is more dangerous than ever, the foundation believes the safety of young journalists is of paramount importance. The modules, piloted across the journalism curriculum at Marquette University last fall, introduce journalism and communications students to safety as a key component of their education.

The safety modules are intended to help educators create a culture that promotes safety for all journalism and communications students. Each module is designed to be integrated into existing courses. The 13 safety modules cover such topics as completing risk assessments, responsibilities of newsroom managers, safety of female and minority journalists, covering civil unrest, emotional self-care, care of sources, interviewing hostile sources, reporting on foreign conflicts, protecting digital data, dealing with online harassment, covering weather-related stories, and reporting during the current pandemic. The safety modules are intended to challenge and inform aspiring journalists in an increasingly dangerous world.

Diane Foley, the foundation’s president and founder, said her son, Jim, would be “deeply grateful for others to learn from his sacrifice. He would be especially proud that the safety modules were developed in collaboration with his alma mater, Marquette University. The modules combine Jim’s passion for press freedom with the vital tools of risk assessment and safety education for any aspiring young journalist or humanitarian.”

In addition to Marquette and Northwestern, other universities that have already implemented and/or expressed interest in the modules include New York University, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma, University of Florida, University of Texas at Austin, American University, Arizona State University, West Virginia University, University of New Hampshire, Weber State University, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Central Missouri.

Both the James W. Foley Journalism Safety Modules and the James W. Foley Journalist Safety Guide can be found, free of charge, at https://jamesfoleyfoundation.org/journalist-safety.

To access the full PDF of the James W. Foley Journalism Safety Modules, click HERE.