Reporting on Disasters and Crises - 5 Days

Course Type: In-Company | Course Category: Journalism

Course Introduction

Producing clear, compelling news reports on disasters in an ethical manner

What's it about?

This course provides journalists with guidance on how to handle the challenges and techniques involved in covering international-scale crises and disasters, using Reuters and other world news organisations as a model. We will concentrate on natural disasters and humanitarian crises of all sorts, and the special problems that can arise in covering them. The Thomson Reuters Foundation AlertNet service ( will provide a central resource during the course.

Who should attend?

The course is aimed primarily at journalists with two to eight years’ experience who write for an international audience, or seek to.

Learning outcomes

  • Techniques for structuring an ongoing story for a broad international audience
  • Tips to write clear, simple, balanced and eye-catching copy under pressure
  • Crisis news editing
  • Locating good news sources in an emergency
  • Dealing with the emergency relief services
  • Interview techniques, especially problem areas involving trauma victims


Following this course you will have the knowledge and ability to report efficiently and effectively on disasters and crises.

Course Structure Highlights

  • Breaking news: moving fast and carefully avoiding confusion
  • Structuring and packaging news
  • Basic reporting skills: clarity, brevity, accuracy
  • Who are your sources? Evaluating sourcing
  • Editing and proofing skills under pressure
  • Journalism ethics and how to navigate dilemmas
  • Interview skills: dealing with hostile or stressed officials, as well as traumatized people
  • Common pitfalls and guidance
  • Live scenarios to test behaviour under pressure
  • Keeping safe in dangerous situations
  • When the story slows down: how to keep reporting fresh angles

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