CPJ welcomes Lucy Westcott as emergencies director

New York, October 7, 2021–As threats to journalist safety worldwide persist, the Committee to Protect Journalists is pleased to announce that Lucy Westcott has been named CPJ’s emergencies director. In the role, Westcott will oversee the organization’s Emergencies team, which provides comprehensive, life-saving support to journalists and media workers at risk around the world through up-to-date safety and security information and rapid response assistance.

“Lucy is stepping into this role at a time when journalists globally are increasingly working in environments where daily threats are considered the norm, rather than the outliers that they should be,” said Robert Mahoney, CPJ’s deputy executive director. “We are grateful to have Lucy leading our emergency efforts, helping support journalists so they can do their jobs as safely as possible.”

Westcott started at CPJ in 2018 as the James W. Foley Fellow. During her fellowship, Westcott focused on safety issues for women and non-binary journalists in non-hostile environments. As CPJ’s James W. Foley Emergencies research associate, she reported extensively on journalist safety, and assisted with the creation of safety resources for journalists globally. She has played a prominent role in shaping CPJ’s response to crises in places like Syria and Venezuela, and in developing proactive safety resources for journalists covering elections in countries including India and South Africa. Amid the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Lucy was on the ground in Qatar helping Afghan journalists and their families who had been evacuated there for onward resettlement. Prior to joining CPJ, Westcott was a staff writer for Newsweek, where she covered gender and immigration. She has reported for outlets including The Intercept, Bustle, The Atlantic, and Women Under Siege, and was a United Nations correspondent for the Inter Press Service. 

“In my time reporting around the world, including at CPJ, it’s concerning to see just how dire the safety situation is for journalists today. It’s also heartening to see the courage of those who risk their lives to bring us the news,” said Westcott. “I look forward to strengthening CPJ’s ability to help journalists globally, and to work firsthand with my colleagues and journalists around the world on ways to better protect them.”

Wescott’s years of experience on issues of journalist safety and emergency support are a valuable asset as CPJ responds to a growing range of threats to the press. In recent months CPJ Emergencies has confronted a wave of new challenges, including the ongoing crisis for journalists in Afghanistan, record numbers of journalists imprisoned globally, the spread of increasingly sophisticated surveillance and spyware technology, as well as a proliferation of threats to journalists covering protests and elections.

Learn more about CPJ Emergencies and the team’s safety resources for journalists here. Find a full list of CPJ staff on our website.