Session 2 | Prevention: putting systems in place to minimise impact
What does good preventative practice looks like?
1. Create a culture of safety in the news-room around online harassment
- Many journalists report that online violence is not taken seriously – particularly women and journalists from marginalised groups.
- Surveying staff is a first step – repeat this regularly.
- Establish clear reporting lines.
- Training and communication are essential.
2. Who will respond?
- The importance of having a team (or very skilled individual) in place before attacks occur.
3. Risk assessment
- The importance of Pre-emptive risk assessments, and what these might look like.
4. Digital securitysupport
- Most effective if it is in place BEFORE an attack.
- As a minimum, all journalists should be offered digital security training aimed at protecting their devices, communications and personal data, all of which could potentially be compromised as part of an online attack.
5. Community building online
- A poorly managed community can be a source of online violence.
- But if you spend time and resources on fostering a constructive community online, your audience can become an important line of defence against attacks.
- For this reason, a newsroom that chooses to encourage audience engagement must think holistically about the kind of community they want to build, and the kind of engagement they want to foster, and then use technology to help them do this.
- You will need clear and robust community standards, and these need to be readily available to your audience.
Worksheet: Towards a New Protocol. Prevention
This worksheet is a template that guides you on some of the elements that are required to build systems to prevent the toll that online abuse takes on journalists
A thorough, well-developed strategy to moderate user comments is necessary to prevent some of the attacks and create a community that protects your reputation
Interview with experts: Audience Moderation
As part of the Ontheline project, IPI has interviewed experts active on the media field. This link leads to some of the interviewees on audience moderation
Creating a culture of safety in the newsroom that encourages journalists to report online abuse is essential to preventing the emotional and professional toll on journalists as well as self-censorship.
Preventing and managing the impact of online harassment requires the cooperation of various actors within the newsroom. Everyone has a part to play.