2021: Data From a Dangerous Year in Journalism

RTDNA Research, Advocacy,

safety infographicDuring the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable. 

Every year, RTDNA releases data from a survey of broadcast newsrooms from across the country. This year, for the first time in our history, the report compiled by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University included a section on media safety. Our research team wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country.

The responses were alarming. 

  • 1 in 5 television news directors reported attacks on employees. 
  • 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. 

This data makes clear a reality that many journalists have already recognized - we are under attack. It is a journalist’s constitutionally protected duty to serve the public by seeking and reporting the truth, but this protection alone has proven inadequate. The proof is in the numbers. 

It is time for Congress to act. 

Join our campaign to move Congress to action on the Journalist Protection Act and Right to Record Police Act. We have created a petition urging the U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senate to prioritize the passage of these two essential pieces of legislation. 

Every single day, journalists are attacked and harassed without the protections of the Journalist Protection Act and the Right to Record Police Act. Sign the petition today to demand that the U.S. government prioritize the safety of journalists across the country. 

Take action to strengthen the free press today. Sign here. 

Download the 2021 Safety Infographic

Download the Full 2021 Safety Report