external Safety Advice from Professional Photojournalists —Poynter

If you think the only journalists who face danger on the job are those working in Syria or Egypt, you’re wrong. Last week, WDAZ reporter Adam Ladwig was attacked by three people while covering a fire. Last month, a woman attacked a WUSA9 crew. A CBS2/KCAL9 reporter and photojournalist were attacked while covering the Zimmerman verdict protests in July.

In August, Poynter told you about the San Francisco area attacks on news crews. In a six-week period, thieves attacked journalists six times, targeting cameras, computers and tripods and taking gear at gunpoint in at least one case. In 2011, journalists across the country said they were attacked by both crowds and police while covering the “Occupy” protests.

I turned to seasoned reporters and photojournalists and to the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma for advice on how to stay safe and still get your job done.

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  • Lawrence Sheperd

    One of the best article links on PetaPixel in a long time. Animosity towards photographers, whether professional or amateur will only grow in the coming years…

  • jrconner

    I’ve also had my share of run-ins with people in public places who didn’t want a photographic record of what they were doing. One thing I’ve noticed: the more expensive and professional looking your gear, the more likely you are to be singled out for harassment. Photographers can protect themselves, at least sometimes, by using small cameras that are usually associated with amateurs. Videographers going in harm’s way should consider using unobtrusive gear, and if necessary telling their art directors and producers where to stick their preferences for state of the art technical quality. It’s better to get images using grade B cameras than to get whacked or ripped-off using top of the line equipment.

  • Zos Xavius

    I carry my older backup camera and a beater lens around mostly for these very reasons.

  • Zos Xavius

    It’s only getting worse. The police have seemingly declared war on photographers.

  • Pete Ferling

    I have experience in enforcement and security. Be careful how and with who you pick your fights. There are no hero’s in taking on addicted, unstable or angry people. Stand your ground to protect yourself, but be kind and understanding of the other. Many times you can diffuse a situation from escalating if you just listen and use kind words.

    Your camera is not worth your life. Get some insurance if you need to work in situations that might involve confrontation. Use the buddy system (don’t go alone) when doing so.