• Course Code:  JN28.1e

  • Term:  Self paced

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Catherine Mackie
Final coursethree %281%29

Environmental journalism|Why local matters : Safety

Self paced


  • Circles
    Thomson Foundation
  • Default user
    Catherine Mackie


Take this course on Desktop or Mobile. For the best mobile experience, download the EdCast app for free on iOS and Android and use team name: thomsonfoundation.edcast.com.​

Email us at journalismnow@thomsonfoundation.org if you experience any technical difficulties.


This course was created in collaboration with Dart CenterFree Press UnlimitedCarbon BriefPeriodistas por el Planeta, and the International Federation of Journalists - IFJ



Course overview

Between 2000-2021, 1645 journalists and media workers were killed around the world for doing their job*. Thousands more have been harassed, attacked or detained on spurious charges without their legal rights being respected during that time.  It’s clear that in order to protect their stories, journalists need to protect themselves.  Environmental reporting in particular is now considered one of the most dangerous beats to cover. This course is designed to help media workers stay safe when facing not only physical and digital threats, but also natural disasters. You will be guided by experts about your legal rights and what to do if and when they are threatened. Being in a situation where you are physically at risk can take its toll on mental wellbeing. The course will also help you address the possible emotional impact of doing the job.


* According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 


What you will learn

    • You will learn about risk assessment and how to do it effectively before you start any job
    • You will be guided through the digital risks you might face and how you can counter them
    • You will explore the legal risks you might encounter and learn your legal rights
    • You will address the possible emotional consequences of the job and how you might deal with them. 

Meet your Instructors

Catherine Mackie, your course instructor, is an Editorial Associate at the Thomson Foundation. She’s a former BBC senior journalist with almost 30 years experience in front of and behind the camera. She’s an examiner for the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists and a former Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. 

Joining Catherine is a team of experts.


  • PATRICK GREENFIELD is a reporter with the UK-based Guardian media. He writes about biodiversity loss, the climate crisis and possible solutions. Before working at the Guardian, he was a producer with CNN. 
  • LEO HICKMAN is the director and editor of Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy. They specialise in data-driven articles and graphics to help improve understanding of climate change. In 2020, he was named Editor of the Year by the Association of British Science Writers.
  • LAURA ROCHA is the president of Periodistas por el Planeta (Journalists for the Planet), an organisation of environmental journalists across Latin America who try to bring environmental and climate change stories to the attention of politicians and economists.


  • Dr RICHARD DANBURY is an academic lawyer, journalist and former criminal barrister. He directs the MA in investigative journalism at City, University of London in the UK.
  • GAVIN REES is the Senior Advisor for Training and Innovation for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
  • HISHAM has asked us to protect his identity. He is a digital security expert who works for Free Press Unlimited based in Amsterdam. We’ve agreed not to identify him to protect him and the journalists he advises on cyber safety.

Course Outline

  • Section 1 Gives an overview of the course and introduces the media experts
  • Section 2 Helps you understand the need for risk assessment and dealing with physical dangers
  • Section 3 Advises on digital security techniques for storing and accessing information and why it’s so important
  • Section 4 Offers guidance in dealing with online harassment
  • Section 5 Guides you on your legal rights and where to get help
  • Section 6 Addresses possible emotional consequences and how you might deal with them.
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Environmental journalism|Why local matters : Safety


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