Journalists have been under increasing threat in America in recent years. This year alone, a gunman killed five Maryland newspaper employees, someone sent pipe bombs to CNN and reporters have been attacked at demonstrations. This environment is leading some in the Idaho news business to reassess safety.
Reporters were once widely seen as neutral arbiters of the news. Today, though, media professionals are concerned about being targeted.
In a recent talk at Boise State University, former New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger called this moment “the most dangerous time for journalism I think we’ve ever seen.”
News organizations have not been immune from what is becoming a depressing new normal for Americans — regular reports of mass shootings.
Former Boise cop Greg Oster, who now runs self-defense company SPAR Tactical, recently addressed a room full of nearly 100 Idaho journalists about what to do if attacked, whether in the newsroom or in the field.
“Some of you saw (the training) as active shooter, but really what we are talking about is a mass murder incident,” he said.
Reporters need to ask difficult questions people don’t always like to answer and that can mean more danger if someone’s anger crosses a threshold into willingness to commit violence, Oster said.
“The media has a tough job because you’re putting yourself a lot of times in hostile environments,” Oster said.
Thankfully, training like this remains simply a precaution - Idaho has so far been spared the kind of mass shootings that have become more commonplace across the country.
Follow Heath Druzin on Twitter @HDruzin for more local news.
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