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The Industry Standard for Safety Training (ISST) is a model curriculum for journalist safety training. It is the result of a consultation process involving stakeholders from the news media industry and not-for-profit journalism organizations seeking to build consensus around minimum standards. It provides a list of essential journalist training modules alongside a recommended methodology for their delivery. 


The ISST originated from a white paper created by Vaughan Smith, co-founder of the Frontline Club, which he presented to the first ACOS Alliance Annual Safety Meeting in December 2016. The paper invited news organizations, trainers and training companies to support a standard baseline curriculum for hostile environment training. Following initial support, the Frontline Club, in partnership with the ACOS Alliance and the Frontline Freelance Register, launched the ISST initiative at a meeting of safety training stakeholders in October 2018. 



Safety training is an essential practice for journalists working on challenging stories. However, the absence of industry-wide standards on safety training left both journalists and media outlets at a disadvantage: discouraging journalists from investing in their own safety skills, while making it difficult for news organizations to assess whether a journalist had completed a course that met all their safety requirements. 


This confusing situation disproportionately affected freelance and local journalists, who were unable to assess the quality of training courses or gain access to those recognised by news organizations.


The ISST breaks down training modules and methodology into core subjects and essential aspects required to meet baseline industry standards, plus supplemental subjects that are relevant to the needs of individual assignments, contexts and course participants. 


The curriculum is reviewed regularly by a steering committee to take into account the changing nature of news coverage and its associated risks.

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