RTDNA: More Than One in Five NDs Reported Attacks on Newsroom Staff Last Year

By Kevin Eck 

The latest survey from the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University shows that more than one in five TV news directors have reported an attack on newsroom employees in 2021.

While the survey showed a correlation between the size of the market and the numbers of attacks, news directors in market 101 and smaller reported an increase in attacks compared to 2020. The survey also said that journalism is less dangerous in the South and “most dangerous” in the West, followed by the Northeast.

In 2021, nearly half of the attacks were during riots, protests and civil unrest, this year the attacks were “much more varied and seemingly random.”


Here’s a look at examples of where attacks occurred:

What happened? Many survey respondents offered anecdotes, including:
● One photographer was attacked while covering an out-of-hand fraternity party
● One reporter was approached on the street and hit unprovoked
● One reporter had a drink thrown at them from a car
● Police detained a news crew covering a protest
● One crew had its car surrounded by a group of people, who shook and pounded on it
● Multiple reporters were spit on, and one was spit on several times
● One photographer was hit in the face by a rock
● One photographer was punched at a crime scene
● Several reporters were the victims of racist verbal harassment
● One anchor received a death threat
● Several crews had their gear damaged or broken