NPR is offering its political reporters optional threat-awareness training before they cover GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: 'I'm going to see how smart' voters are Are you racist? Let's look at your position on voter ID. Hillary Clinton will be a president for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders MORE’s campaign events, according to The Washington Post.
The program typically prepares journalists for risks including riots, shootings and even terrorist attacks, the newspaper reported.
“[They deal] with the stress of covering a very demanding story for a long period of time,” spokeswoman Isabel Lara added. "We make the training widely available to newsroom staff whether they work internationally or domestically.”
Lara refused to comment on how many NPR reporters had enrolled in the training, which features 90-minute sessions typically lasting over a few days.
They traditionally acclimate journalists with tense environments including active crime scenes, violent protests and war zones, the Post reported.
Frank Smyth, executive director of Global Journalist Security, told the newspaper he is unsurprised a news outlet might seek services that organizations like his provide for covering Trump’s public appearances.
“This violence is a serious concern, and it has the potential to escalate and develop a momentum of its own that could lead to serious injury of journalists,” he said of the outspoken billionaire’s campaign events.
“In other words, I am more concerned about the kind of climate this could help unleash than the level of violence against journalists we have seen to date,” Smyth added, noting that no news organization had sought hostile-environment awareness training from his business so far during the 2016 cycle.
Trump’s campaign has frequently wrestled with violence boiling over at its events.
One protester was repeatedly punched and kicked last weekend, for example, as police were escorting him out of a Trump rally in Tucson, Ariz. Another demonstrator was punched in the face under similar circumstances during a rally earlier this month in North Carolina.
Police arrested suspected attackers in both cases, with Trump repeatedly saying that his campaign does not condone any violence.
Critics argue that the businessman is stirring up tensions, however, noting how Trump has predicted “riots” if he is kept from the Republican presidential nomination despite his lead in delegates.