Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues
RISC is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency medical training to freelance conflict journalists. Journalist Sebastian Junger founded RISC in 2011 after his close friend and colleague, acclaimed photographer Tim Hetherington, died from wounds he suffered in a mortar attack while covering the conflict in Libya. While Hetherington's injuries were serious, Junger later learned from a combat medic that first aid might have saved his life during the short ride to the hospital. But none of the journalists traveling with Hetherington that day were trained in first aid. Nor are most journalists covering conflict today.
While staff journalists are often provided training by their employers, freelancers have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to participate in traditional hostile environment courses – and most simply cannot afford to. Because these freelancers comprise the vast majority of frontline war reporters today, they make up the vast majority of deaths and injuries. Since RISC’s launch in April 2012, it has trained and equipped a total of 336 freelance journalists at 14 courses in New York, London, Kosovo, Nairobi, Kiev, Turin and Medellín.
RISC provides three comprehensive trainings each year. The organization covers instruction fees, accommodations and provides each reporter completing the course with a custom medical kit similar to that carried by military combat medics.