5. Conflict Zones

Before green-lighting Yang’s trip, Lynn McAuley had to consult with managing editor Jane Davenport — in part to verify whether the Star would face extra insurance costs for an assignment in the hot zone. Fortunately, no premium was necessary at the moment.

Most news organizations’ insurance policies cover hazards faced by reporters abroad, but additional premiums are sometimes needed for assignments in particularly hazardous areas, such as war zone. The decision to put a reporter’s life in danger usually comes with careful planning to mitigate the risk.

At CBC, for example, months after Yang pondered her decision, reporter Adrienne Arsenault and her team proposed a September visit to Liberia. Harris Silver, the manager of high-risk deployment, ensured that the insurance was covered, did his own research on the hazards, and helped the editorial team with mitigation measures and a risk-assessment form. The team’s risk-mitigation plan included an elaborate training regimen created together with an infectious disease specialist and an MSF doctor, who taught the team how to don and remove protective gear safely. Plus, an extraction plan was created for medical support and, if necessary, immediate evacuation, as required by the corporation’s policy.[1]

Next: Safety Measures

[1] “Policy 2.3.32: Risk Management“. Acts and Policies. CBC/Radio-Canada. February 23, 2012.