Our Approach

Who We Train

Global Journalist Security works for news, non-profit, corporate and government clients. We provide private news organizations with security consulting services and training options for staff, freelance journalists and other contributors. We offer non-governmental international organizations management security consulting services along with both general and customized training for overseas-based personnel. We offer private firms customized training and consulting services to meet their needs. We work with governmental agencies who meet our standards of transparency, multilateral organizations and private foundations to provide security training to journalists, human rights defenders and others who need it.

Global Journalist Security provides specially developed safety training to:


  • journalists from major media organizations preparing for assignments in high-risk environments around the world.
  • journalists living and working—often with their families—amidst sustained risks in communities worldwide.
  • journalists operating in environments heavy with organized crime.
  • investigative journalists and others requiring specialized security skills.
  • citizen journalists working for new media outlets, loosely-organized networks, or private and public news organizations.


Non-Profit Organizations

  • managers, staff, and field contributors who need comprehensive safety training before assignments.
  • teams needing threat and security assessments and relevant and practical security measures.
  • management needing crisis simulation training.


Law Enforcement and Military Personnel

  • policymakers and leaders of law enforcement and military organizations on safely interacting with journalists covering breaking news from civil unrest to armed combat, and on how to interact with civilians in critical situations in a manner that respects human rights.

We only train government personnel that demonstrate a clear commitment to meet international press freedom and human rights standards.

Where We Work

Global Journalist Security currently has training facilities in the Washington, D.C. area and serves clients on location as requested.

How We Train

Global Journalist Security researches the specific threats and contingencies facing journalists, human rights activists and others in any particular nation or region prior to training. For well over a decade, security firms dominated by former military personnel offered a “one-size-fits-all” approach to training journalists emphasizing what the same firms knew best –military combat contingencies. GJS researches needs before training to best serve our trainees. Battlefield awareness and emergency first-aid remain invaluable for covering combat. But our curriculum is broader. Skills from surveillance detection to cyber-security measures to sexual assault avoidance and more are essential for a host of other situations. GJS was designed by journalists for journalists and others to offer the support and training that more journalists and other frontline professionals need.

GJS safety training revolves around complex and dynamic scenarios that challenge journalists and others to apply newly introduced skills under stressful conditions to help make them stick. The simulations are preceded and followed by classroom presentations and discussions, along with group as well as one-on-one guidance. Other exercises are designed to enhance organizational capacity to handle crisis scenarios.

The GJS Philosophy

Global Journalist Security was founded in November 2011 as a new kind of consulting and safety training organization. Comprised of veteran journalists, press freedom advocates and security training professionals, the GJS team shares a commitment to press freedom and human rights. We wholeheartedly support the efforts of journalists and civil society actors to strengthen the free flow of information and the role of human rights; we only accept projects consistent with these values. We train news organizations as well as communities of journalists, human rights defenders, citizen journalists, and aid and NGO (or nongovernmental-organization) workers operating in violent, repressive, criminal or other hostile environments. Our goal is to help individuals help themselves so that they can make informed decisions for their own security.


The ethos of GJS is to help individuals, organizations and communities develop, grow and sustain their own best security practices. Rather than simply impart our expertise to others, we help others assume responsibility for their own security. We train people and groups to become aware of diverse threats, prepare for various contingencies, and execute skills to protect themselves.

Commitment to Service

Global Journalist Security is a non-profit-friendly private firm. Our bottom line explicitly includes social and other goals including serving journalism, human rights and humanitarian communities across nations. Unlike other private security firms, we transfer knowledge and skills to help train trainers in poor nations. Consistent with this approach, GJS is modeled and governed as a B-Corporation, which commits us to:

  • meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
  • meet higher legal accountability standards;
  • build business constituency for good business.

Moreover, consistent with our own values, and establishing a practice unique in the security training field, we regularly either provide or help secure funding to train freelance journalists and human rights defenders. GJS is the only full-time, U.S.-based training provider approved by the London-based Rory Peck Trust and the Toronto-based Canadian Forum on Journalism and Trauma, each of which provide grants to freelance journalists for training.

Since 2010, GJS founder and executive director Frank Smyth has also been advising pro bono Voices of Our Future, a new media, citizen journalism and empowerment training program of World Pulse –an action media network powered by women from 185 countries.


We respect the confidentiality of individuals and local groups operating in repressive or criminal environments who fear they could be put at risk by having their organizations or names associated with security training. And we reserve the right to train and help provide individuals and groups with the knowledge and tools they may need to store, share and communicate information safely in any environment. At the same time, we disclose all our activities in our annual report.