NBC Implements Sexual Assault TrainingPosted: February 23, 2012
NBC has implemented a training course concerning the threat of sexual assault on journalists. Last February, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in Cairo. This “brought the issue into sharp focus, prompting journalists worldwide to begin speaking out in numbers previously unknown,” said Lauren Wolfe about the Logan case in her Committee to Protect Journalists special.
Logan detailed her own assault on “60 minutes” and she encouraged journalists with similar tales to break their “code of silence.” During Lauren Wolfe’s CPJ special, she interviewed many journalists who did step forward. Over two dozen reporters stated they had been sexually violated in some way while covering the news, five of which admitted to have been “brutally raped,” said Wolfe.
This story is relevant to our Public Affairs Journalism class because cases such as Lara Logan’s have spurred a serious concern in the journalism community. This new awareness of the threat sexual violence poses in news reporting has made such a profound impact recently that “NBC has consulted with a social worker who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder to create a pilot course aimed at preventing and dealing with sexual assault,” says Wolfe on her website, “Women Under Seige Project”.
NBC has taken matters upon itself to train journalists in the event of a sexual attack. While the Chairman of CBS, Jeff Fager, has stated that CBS will not make a mistake similar to sending Logan to Cairo. “And if we do not think we can provide enough security to feel safe? Then we will not cover the story,” says Fager.
The case of Lara Logan is certainly not the first time a journalist has been sexually assaulted on the job. However, her story has raised awareness to the dangers of being a journalist in a hostile environment.
Should all news organizations begin to implement training like NBC? Does a journalist’s duty as our democracy’s watchdog override the importance of their safety?