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Reporters Committee, NPPA, CPJ to host training series for journalists covering 2020 political conventions

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The virtual training series will cover the right to record, safely reporting on protests, ways to avoid arrest, and more.
This is a photo of red, white, and blue balloons at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. There is a photojournalist in the middle holding up a camera.

From July 28–Aug. 7, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the National Press Photographers Association, and the Committee to Protect Journalists will lead a series of free training sessions for journalists covering the 2020 national political conventions.

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 17–20, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and virtually in regions nationwide. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 24–27, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida.

The training series will take place via Zoom the week of July 27, and makeup sessions will be offered the following week of Aug. 3. Interested members of the news media can register for the free training sessions at rcfp.org/2020conventions.

Attorneys from the Reporters Committee and NPPA will lead sessions on legal issues to consider while covering the DNC in Milwaukee and the RNC in Jacksonville, respectively. They will cover the right to record, safely reporting on protests, ways to avoid arrest, what to do if arrested, local bail procedures, and more. The legal training is generously funded in part by the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation.

“News reporting on the electoral process is essential to democracy and ensuring people have the information they’re looking for before casting their ballot,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “We’re glad to work with our partners and local media lawyers to ensure journalists are equipped with the knowledge and resources to safely cover this year’s national political conventions and handle any challenges that might arise.”

The Reporters Committee’s Election Legal Guide — published in English and Spanish — will also be available to journalists reporting on the 2020 elections and provides information about exit polling, newsgathering in or near polling places, ballot selfies, and more. The NPPA’s Practical Advice about Covering High Profile News Stories is also available.

The Reporters Committee will also provide special coverage of its legal hotline, as it has in every election cycle since 1972, for journalists reporting on the conventions. Journalists who have questions or encounter issues while reporting can contact the hotline at 1-800-336-4243 or by using our online form, to reach Reporters Committee attorneys in Washington, D.C., as well as local attorneys who have generously agreed to provide assistance in Milwaukee (Brian C. Spahn at Godfrey Kahn and Jason D. Luczak at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown); Jacksonville (Edward L. Birk & Michael A. Manning at Marks Gray P.A. and Henry M. Coxe, III, at Bedell Firm); and Charlotte (Jonathan E. Buchan at Essex Richards), where select RNC events will take place.

NPPA and CPJ will lead a session on physical safety, focusing on general guidance and practical tips to help keep media workers safe when reporting from a protest location. The session will also offer advice on preventative measures to help reduce exposure to Novel Coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

“The National Press Photographers Association is very pleased to be once again partnering with the Reporters Committee to help journalists prepare for covering the 2020 elections and especially the political conventions,” said NPPA Executive Director Akili-Casundria Ramsess. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic presents increased challenges, we look forward to the opportunity of providing additional safety and security training along with CPJ.”

CPJ will lead a session on digital security, focusing on practical tips to better protect yourself against online harassment and doxxing, as well as guidance on securing your phone and laptop while covering events.

“CPJ has for years issued safety guidance to help journalists around the world protect their physical and digital security, especially ahead of elections which are often flashpoints for hostility toward the press,” said María Salazar Ferro, CPJ’s Emergencies Director. “Journalists play an essential role in ensuring that the public is well-informed and holding public figures accountable, and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure journalists have the knowledge and tools they need to safely perform their jobs.”

Register for the free training sessions at rcfp.org/2020conventions


About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. The Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For updates on our work, sign up for our email list, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

About National Press Photographers Association

Since its founding in 1946, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been the Voice of Visual Journalists. NPPA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism, its creation, editing and distribution in all news media. NPPA encourages visual journalists to reflect the highest standards of quality and ethics in their professional performance, in their business practices and in their comportment. NPPA vigorously advocates for and protects the Constitutional rights of journalists as well as freedom of the press and speech in all its forms, especially as it relates to visual journalism. Its members include still and television photographers, editors, students, and representatives of businesses serving the visual journalism community. For updates on our work, go to our website or follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal. CPJ documents hundreds of attacks on the press each year; denounces press freedom violations; meets with heads of state and high-ranking officials; spearheads or advises on diplomatic efforts; and works with other organizations to ensure that justice prevails when journalists are imprisoned or killed. CPJ also provides comprehensive, life-saving support to journalists and media support staff through up-to-date safety and security information and rapid response assistance. For updates, visit our website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

AP Photo by David J. Phillip