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Trainings

The Reporters Committee regularly hosts trainings for journalists and newsrooms covering a variety of topics. Below are some examples of the trainings we do. If you would like to set up a training for your newsroom, contact us.

Meet & Greet RCFP Attorneys (Q&A Style)
An introductory session where journalists have a brief introduction into the work of RCFP and get to meet and ask lawyers any questions that come to mind regarding First Amendment legal challenges.

Introduction to RCFP & Our Legal Resources
An introductory training, highlighting RCFP’s legal resources, hotline for journalists, and Local Legal Initiative. Features pre-publication review, court access, state public records and open meetings laws, FOIA, reporter’s privilege laws, recording laws, and other First Amendment and media law issues.

Vital Legal Resources for your Newsroom
An interactive training in which RCFP attorneys discuss basic media law rights that journalists have. Journalists can also answer real-life hypotheticals on various legal issues relating to court access, safety tips, FOIA, FCC recording rules, etc.

Gathering the News Safely and Legally
A primer on journalists’ legal rights and responsibilities that will discuss FCC’s telephone rule, the right to record, safety tips for investigative journalism, and more.

Safety Tips for Covering Protests, Riots and Insurrection
Attorneys from the Reporters Committee will discuss legal issues to consider when covering protests and other mass demonstrations, including the right to record, best practices for safely reporting on protests, ways to avoid arrest, what to do if arrested, and more. Training can be customized to specifically address challenges/concerns that BIPOC journalists face.

Media Law Primer
A primer on basic media law rights such as understanding the elements of libel and defamation, understanding constitutional amendments relating to press freedom, etc.

Vetting Your Content: Reducing Libel, Privacy, & Related Risks
A primer on pre-publication review, fact-checking and the vetting process; resources available, including RCFP’s pre-publication guide; libel and privacy law; and ways to mitigate legal risk.

Gathering Your Content, Part I: Access to Public Records
This training serves as an introduction to the federal Freedom of Information Act and state public records laws; describe the types of records available and common exemptions; the process for submitting records requests; and helpful resources.

Gathering Your Content, Part II: Access to Courts and Public Places
This training will focus on accessing court proceedings and records, the types of records that are publicly available, how to access those records, and helpful resources. This training will also focus on common legal issues that may arise while gathering the news (e.g., intrusion, trespass, recording laws), how to avoid them, and related resources.

Protecting Your Sources: The Reporter’s Privilege
Digital and other resources for protecting confidential sources and a review of the patchwork of protections for journalist/source communications in state and federal courts across the country.

When is it Libelous to Call Someone a Racist?
In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of libel lawsuits based on accusations of racism or white supremacy. Often, these lawsuits are meritless and are brought in an effort to “punish” or harass individuals or news organizations for what is legitimate reporting. This training is designed to provide information on the elements of libel and how to maximize your legal defenses when reporting on racist behaviors or policies.

Understanding Defamation and Libel
This training is designed to provide information on the elements of libel and how to maximize your legal defenses when reporting.