Having spent more than 15 years in the humanitarian sector, I am in no doubt that resilience is critical to mitigate the impact of a crisis and enable a swift recovery. Unfortunately for those in the field, resilience is often tested with too little support to ensure that those affected have adequate coping capacities to process crisis contexts, rebound from shocks in order to survive and thrive in challenging post-disaster environments.
Qualities like adaptability and problem-solving, which are crucial to resilience, are common traits of journalists. In fact, persistence and investigative and communication skills are key qualities of effective journalism. Yet other resilience-building traits, such as support networks, balanced lifestyles and manageable workloads, are often lacking due to the challenges of their work, demands of editors and publishing deadlines. In fact the type of journalists most at risk, investigative journalists — often freelancers — lack the safety nets and support networks from which I was lucky enough to benefit from while working for organizations that recognized their duty of care to staff on the frontlines, and as part of a wider humanitarian community with established standards, best practices and codes of conduct.
We can do better to support those that endanger their lives to tell important stories and illuminate truths — truths that are essential to the functioning of democratic society — that would otherwise remain untold. In this newsletter, we focus on how to better support this sector both in the short term and long term. Over the past four years, the Carey Institute has worked to support press freedom through our Logan Nonfiction Program fellowship. As the need for these types of services grow, so too will our engagement.
At a time when the United States sits 48th in press freedom rankings — between Romania and Senegal — we recognize that press freedom is crucial to an engaged citizenry and journalists are a key player in safeguarding our freedoms. Resilience is a necessary quality to enable these watchdogs to continue to shine their vital work.
As the risks to journalists continue to increase, I ask you to consider playing a role in supporting these journalists and their ability to shine a light where it is needed most.
Gareth Crawford, President & CEO