Columbia J-School to Offer Safety Course to Photographers Interested in War Zones

This may be a rare case in which a $695 class might actually save your life: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is offering a safety course for journalists who cover war, conflict and disaster zones.

Included in the course description:

Specialists will provide instruction in the following areas:
1. Risk assessment: making the right call, setting limits, sound practices amid riots, snipers, mines, shooting, roadblocks, infiltrators and general mayhem
2. Trauma: emotional self-care on troubling stories
3. Cyber security: safeguarding sensitive communications and data. Codes, encryption and cloud computing
4. Emergency first aid: tourniquets, triage, fractures and bullet wounds
5. Rape/assault prevention, setting boundaries, delaying tactics, basic self-defense, healing

Journalist Judith Matloff, who has over 20 years of foreign correspondence under her belt, will teach the intensive course from October 19-21. The course description notes that some scholarships are offered to offset the total cost of the course that give preference to freelancers and freelance camerapeople.

Resources and training could be particularly worthwhile for freelancers who may not have the benefit of a newsroom or larger agency to support them from beyond the conflict zone.

(via PopPhoto via PDN)

Image credit: War Photographer (2001) by Christian Frei Switzerland

  • Khalid Aziz

    In Germany the German Army offers safty coureses for journaists and it’s for free because the professional organization or journalist association will pay for it

  • Rob S

    3 days? Really? After over 20 years in the Army and two previous combat deployments I trained for 8-12 hours a day 2 months to get ready for a year in Afghanistan. If I got told to deploy tomorrow I would do another 2 weeks minimum. All 3 days is going to do is create a false sense of security.

  • Mark

    From the Undergraduate Bulletin:

    JOURN 102 – Warzone Photojournalism (3): This course introduces the student to current trends in professional warzone photojournalism by teaching them not to work for news outlets like CNN or Getty Images, lest they are replaced with citizen journalists using Instagram. The student should complete the course with a better understanding of why choosing photojournalism as a major shows a complete lack of applied reason and logic.

    This course counts for 3 credit hours and may be repeated for credit until the student changes his major to Petroleum Engineering.

    Required materials: iPhone 4 or similar professional cameraphone. Note: Your cameraphone of choice must have the ability to apply BOTH a cross-processing AND titl-shift effects. Only having one requisite effect will result in automatic “F”.


    Betty’s Complete Guide to Photography as a Passion – The Do’s and Don’t s of Selective Color in Black and White

    The US Department of Labor – Handbook for Unemployed Workers

    Prerequisites: JOURN 098 – Extreme Bias in Journalism: The Pros

  • Dazam

    When I was young, I though being a photojournalist in a conflict zone would be the ultimate in high adventure. But now, I don’t think I could have ever be able to handle witnessing death & mayhem every day.