It’s not surprising, but it is still unsettling that there is a growing need for Hostile Environment Awareness Training training for journalists. With the pandemic, protests, and increased arrests and press freedom violations against journalists and other threats, safety has become an increasing concern for journalists in the U.S.

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As of last Thursday night, the Press Freedom Tracker recorded 249 cases of journalists being attacked, 68 cases of equipment damage, 78 arrests and 12…


In October 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. He was getting paperwork he needed to get married. Despite promises to the contrary, President Joe Biden has said he will not sanction the country even after his administration released an unclassified intelligence report confirming that the Saudi prince likely approved Khashoggi’s death.

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In 2017, former President Donald Trump called the media the “enemy of the people.”…


If you’re a journalist who has been covering protests or riots, or anticipate covering them in 2021, you hopefully already have a plan to acquire safety gear. If you know you need safety gear but can’t afford it, I strongly suggest applying to the International Women’s Media Foundation for an emergency grant.

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When I applied for their U.S. Emergency Grant, I heard back within a couple of days. My core ‘wish list’…


Have you considered submitting your materials to a pandemic archive? You don’t have to be a professional writer for your pandemic story to become history.

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost everybody. Whether you’ve experienced minor inconveniences or more serious issues, the effects have been felt across the globe.

In response, many organizations are compiling pandemic archives.

Some of us are trying to stave off depression while single and isolated. Others may feel…


Have you ever struggled with gift ideas for journalists around Christmastime or birthdays?

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Sometimes it’s hard to buy gifts related to another person’s profession. If you don’t work in the field, it’s hard to know what would be most appreciated.

I’ve seen a lot of gift suggestions online and in stores for Teacher Appreciation Day, pastors, servicemen and police officers, but in my experience, it gets harder to find ideas for journalists or…


Scrabble letters read, ‘Back to school.’ Nearby text says, “Top 3 places to learn journalism skills for free.”

Not all journalists go to J-school. Here are some of my personal favorite places on the Internet to learn journalism skills for free.

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Poynter’s News University

Poynter’s NewsU is my favorite place to find worthwhile journalism training. They offer paid classes and in-person training, but there are plenty of online, inexpensive and free options available, as well.

As I write this, NewsU is offering free training on covering drug addiction, creating trust, interviewing sources, how to…


John Henry Merrick was working at W.G. Otey’s barbershop in the late 1800s, serving some of the most prominent men in Raleigh, North Carolina, when an undisclosed misunderstanding with Otey got him fired.

Otey was a prominent black entrepreneur whose barbershop was located inside what was then the finest hotel in Raleigh, The Yarborough.

Merrick was born into slavery, and worked his way up from brickyards to shining shoes to the barber business, and by the turn of the century, Merrick relocated to Hayti, the famed historic black community in Durham, North Carolina, and owned five barbershops, a haircare line…


Setting goals as a freelancer has been one of the most important aspects of developing my journalism business.

I’m a very goal-oriented person. I like knowing what needs accomplished, when it needs done, if there’s a specific process or room for creativity, etc. While I like the ability to find creative solutions, setting goals gives me a map.

Building a small business of any kind is hard. You have to learn how to market yourself, find and maintain clients, hone your craft/service, keep up your knowledge and certifications, and more. It’s a lot to keep up with.

Setting goals helps…


When we knock on someone else’s door, we generally know who we’re going to see. Unless you’re selling Girl Scout cookies or alerting a stranger that their dog is loose in the road, you probably have a good idea of who you expect to see- a friend, a family member, a neighbor.

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As a reporter, though, you frequently find yourself knocking on strangers’ doors.

Often you know the name of the resident, unless…

Imari Scarbrough

Freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter. Writes about the government, historical perspectives, education, the environment and investigative news.

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