University of Portsmouth trials new safety for journalists programme

An open laptop sat in front of a window, next to a cup of coffee, a notepad and pen, and a phone

Portsmouth's Journalism department has helped pilot a new workshop that focuses on the safety and wellbeing of reporters

  • 27 July 2021
  • 3 min read

By Jasmine Carey, UOP Journalism student

The University of Portsmouth’s Journalism department has helped pilot a new workshop that focuses on the safety and wellbeing of reporters.

The Zoom workshop, which was organised in partnership with the National Police Chiefs Council and the National Council for the Training of Journalists, is part of a national crackdown on the abuse journalists face when carrying out their work.

Daily Mail crime and security editor, Rebecca Camber, was on hand to share some of her experiences with students and give advice on how to keep safe. The workshop was also attended by Chief Inspector Mark Lewis, from Hampshire Police, who urged journalists to report incidents to the police.

Natasha Mashembo, a second-year Journalism student at the University, said: “It helped me to understand the risks that can come with being a journalist.”

The Journalism students were asked to put their knowledge to the test at the end of the session through a range of hypothetical scenarios.

The students found the session extremely useful. It’s important they are aware of the dangers journalists face online and in the street and what measures can help keep them safe

Paul Foster, lecturer at the School of Film, Media and Communication

The students were also asked to leave feedback about the session via an online platform to help the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) determine how effective the session is for trainee Journalism students. 

It comes as the government launched the UK’s first national action plan to protect journalists earlier this year.

Paul Foster, lecturer at the School of Film, Media and Communication in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth, said: “We were delighted to take part in this pilot workshop. The students found the session extremely useful. It’s important they are aware of the dangers journalists face online and in the street and what measures can help keep them safe.”

Will Gore, head of partnerships and projects at the NCTJ, said: "This pilot session was a key element in work the NCTJ has committed to undertake as part of the government's industry-backed National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists. 

“We are delighted that students at Portsmouth found it useful, and we will continue to work with our partners to roll the session out more widely. We are also looking forward to launching an e-learning resource on journalism safety as part of our Journalism Skills Academy."

More information on the work of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, can be found at www.gov.uk/government/groups/national-committee-for-the-safety-of-journalists

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