Safety tips for Connecticut journalists

The next few days or weeks in Connecticut have potential to be heated and difficult for journalists out in the field. 

The FBI has warned of armed protests in major cities across the country leading up to Wednesday’s inauguration, and we know the CT State Police have been working tirelessly with the governor’s office, Capitol Police and other agencies to ensure safety in Hartford. 

The state police have also said they will provide a safe staging area for the media during Sunday’s planned protest in Hartford. If we get any more information, we’ll be sure to share it with you. 

In the meantime, here are some tips from Poynter on how to cover safety and unrest. The Committee to Protect Journalists also offered safety guidelines on covering events leading up to the inauguration and has this handy risk assessment form to review in your newsroom. 

Finally, here’s a PDF fact sheet from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on how to protect yourself when covering a protest. 

Basic takeaways: 

  • Put your safety first, not the story

  • Do not go alone

  • Have ID and credentials readily available, but be careful how/where you display them (lanyards are often discouraged)

  • Bring only the bare minimum equipment needed for the job

  • Be respectful and follow police orders

  • Stay in constant contact with your editor/newsroom. If you are an independent journalist, make sure a friend/colleague knows where you are & how long you plan to be there

  • Keep contact numbers for key editors/company lawyers/bail bondsman on a card in your pocket or written on your arm (do not rely solely on your cell phone)

  • Constantly scan your surroundings and plan an escape route

  • If possible, carry a bottle of water with you (to rinse eyes after teargas). A First Aid kit is good too.

  • Remember: Police do not have a right to search or seize your equipment

The RCFP offers a legal hotline at 800-336-4243 or You can also get support from the SPJ Legal Defense Fund to defend freedoms of speech and of the press and to ensure access to government information.

Our hope is that all journalists will be safe this weekend (and in the future). 

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