Reporters' Committee has mobile app for emergencies

Posted September 3, 2013

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has launched RCFP FirstAid, a mobile application that gives reporters in the field immediate access to legal resources, particularly in situations where newsgathering or access may be stymied. If reporters need more help, the app also provides an instant connection to the Reporters Committee website and its 24-7 media law hotline.

RCFP FirstAid is available free for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. To find the app, users can visit the Apple, Google or Amazon app stores or search them for "Reporters Committee". Visit our own app page for more information.

“This is the app every working journalist needs,” explained Reporters Committee Interim Executive Director Gregg P. Leslie. “It will be useful to all types of journalists, from beat reporters at major news outlets to independent bloggers who are covering the news in their neighborhood.”

Users can view legal topics covering: Gathering the news; Court access; Public meetings; Public records; Reporter's Privilege; and Libel. Within each category, users can narrow in on their particular need. For example, under Court access, they will find access information including juror questionnaires, arrest records, pretrial records and more. Many of the questions also include state-specific law if the user has selected one or more states.

In addition to direct access to the Reporters Committee's main hotline by phone and email, the app will connect reporters to special local hotlines in Tampa and Charlotte that will be in operation for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Just as importantly, journalists can suggest new topics for the app through a "Feedback" button, so that the content can continue to evolve to meet the needs of reporters on the street.

The RCFP FirstAid app is made possible by a gift to the Reporters Committee from the Stanton Foundation. The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, a pioneer of the television industry, who built CBS into a broadcasting powerhouse during his 25 years as its president. Among Stanton’s myriad contributions to CBS and the broadcasting industry, he ensured that television was used as an instrument of civic education, and he was a determined and committed defender of free speech and the First Amendment.

About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.