Newsrooms Trends – Managing safety

Threats to journalists in pursuit of truth

Pic courtesy - WAN-IFRA

Threats to journalists are everywhere, both in person and online. Verbal and physical attacks, and sexual and digital harassment have become commonplace. Arrests, kidnapping, imprisonment and the killing of journalists take place all too often.

It is up to editors and media managers to assess and secure the safety of their journalists – to anticipate the potential risks and provide training, planning and investment towards safety procedures.

Often the first question we ask when beginning the safety conversation is if one is doing enough to address the safety and security of their journalists, their newsroom and their assets. It is a mood lightener, something to ease people in, preparing them for the hard talk.

If the answer is yes, then great – but how can one do it more efficiently, to a higher standard, and in a way that keeps the company up-to-date and relevant in the face of growing threats and challenges?

If no, then why not? What prevents one from saying ‘our journalists are safe – our journalism is secure?’

The reality is that most newsrooms will be doing some things and not others, to varying degrees of competency. Focusing energy and resources on what they perceive to be the most pressing concerns while likely ignoring some of the basics – or avoiding altogether the tougher issues that require the one thing none of us has – time.

Setting priorities and identifying means

Of course, like every decision, addressing safety is a question of setting priorities and identifying means. But this should only establish the scale of one’s ambitions, not close them down to the possibility that there is a better way to work. Too often the response is ‘there’s no money for that.’ Much can be achieved at very little cost. Priorities can be set according to what – and who – a company values, how it wishes to be perceived, and what kind of working environment it creates for those already at the wheel, and those yet to come.

And every organization has the means to begin the safety conversation – a real conversation, involving every member of the team, looking at all the angles and utilizing all the talents to find solutions that will help keep people safe and the product secure. It’s a familiar process from our day-to-day. Do we cut corners in our regimes? Do we deliberately sell our businesses short? Of course not. And nor should we accept limitations to good planning, proper risk anticipation, crisis management, lifesaving first aid or even basic refreshers on the principles and good practice required for safe reporting and secure publication of the stories that matter.

Is the safety conversation happening?

Take a look at your own newsroom – is the safety conversation happening? Is everyone a part of that conversation? And where is that conversation leading? A safety policy isn’t something that should be confined to the top shelf, to be dusted off only once there is a crisis unfolding. Set the right priorities. Find the necessary means. Really do everything possible to address the safety of your journalists.

This report will help begin the conversation about safety in the right way. In it we highlight some of the main themes and issues newsrooms should be thinking about. But it is only a starting point. Many more exhaustive resources exist to help expand one’s approach and go deeper into the topics we cover here.

To buy the report, click here.

Source: From the foreword by WAN-IFRA press freedom director Andrew Heslop, with minor modifications

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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