Safety tips for journalist in light of recent shooting

The young, up-and-coming reporter out of the University of Central Florida, is the most recent journalist to be killed on the job.

19 year-old Keith Melvin Moses killed one woman, Nathacha Augustin, 38 (correction from package), around 11 a.m., Wednesday. Spectrum 13 reporters Dylan Lyons and Jesse Walden arrived to report on the murder, when the killer returned to the crime scene and shot at the two around 4 p.m.. After shooting at the reporters, he went into a nearby home and shot a girl and her mother, killing the nine year-old. Moses killed three in total.

Not the First Time

A similar situation occurred in Oklahoma in 2015, when KFOR reporters Abby Broyles and photojournalist Gene Rickman were shot at as they covered an unrelated criminal investigation. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the shooter was arrested.

Mugshot of the shooter, Bobbie Meeks, who attacked Abby Broyles and Gene Rickman in 2015. (picture courtesy of Natalie Hughes)

Tips for Young Journalists

“We’re on the front lines when we have to go out in these situations and report,” Natalie Hughes, news director at NewsChannel 4. “One of your best safety measures is a discussion with your news director before you take the job, chances are is that if you are a young journalist, they are going to be asking you to be a multimedia journalist (A multimedia journalist is a newer form of journalism where the reporter creates stories about a topic on multiple platforms, including broadcast, web stories and print. You need to get their guarantee and make sure they don’t send you to report in the middle of the night, alone for example,” she said.

“It’s scary to be out there all by yourself and no one really knows where you are,” said UCentral Media’s anchor, Jocelyn Schifferdecker, which is why she stressed the importance of communicating with your team at the desk and to be aware of your surroundings.

The keys to being safe while reporting are: communication, awareness, teaming up. Staying in contact with your news team is helpful so that nobody has to worry and that the reporter is safe. Being aware of the people and area around you will help with a fast reaction to any outward stimuli. Keep your head on a swivel. Teaming up and having at least one other person is beneficial because it allows one person to focus on the production and reporting while another is aware, according to Jocelyn Schifferdecker.

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