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Ryan Vasquez Co-Authors Article on Safety and Awareness Tips for Journalists

Ryan Vasquez, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Innovation News Center news manager, is the co-author of “For Your Safety: What to Know About Door Knock Journalism” published on on June 27.

News organizations send reporters on assignment knowing there is always some possibility of danger. That’s the nature of the business. But recent events have heightened awareness of reporter safety.

According to Vasquez and co-author JJ Green, national security correspondent for WTOP in Washington, D.C., “Young journalists learning their trade in colleges and universities are taught that sometimes you must knock on doors to get the story, especially when a person of interest may be avoiding other attempts to reach them. Mostly, that’s to prepare them for the profession they will be entering. It is required in many newsrooms to have to do that quality of reporting. How often are they also equipped with the situational awareness to know when a situation is unsafe?”

Vasquez and Green are members of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Safety Committee. They reached out to law enforcement officials to collect the best tips to follow if a reporter must knock on a stranger’s door.

They found that it’s important for journalists to weigh the risks vs. the rewards when given a “door knock” assignment. Five key tips to follow include know where you are going, adjust your mindset, remain in a heightened state of awareness, don’t stand your ground thinking that your status as a journalist will project you, and locate the closest police station, fire station or trauma center.

They add, “One additional tip, journalist to journalist: never be afraid to have the safety conversation with your news director. Your news organization may not have a formalized plan when it comes to going out on a ‘door knock’ assignment, but it is important that you do.”

Posted: July 7, 2023
Category: Alumni News, College News, Student News
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