Introduction: Communication should start with a top-down approach
It is imperative for media organizations to establish clear policies around online harassment and communicate them to all staff members. Communication should start with a top-down approach, i.e., top editors and managers must make the “right noises” and offer visible assurances to all journalists that the organization takes online harassment seriously and will stand by those who are targeted. Editors and managers should also take and be seen to take steps to understand from journalists the types of attacks that they are facing and to normalize discussions about those attacks.
Importantly, newsroom communication and exchange around online harassment cannot be a one-off event. The media organization must provide regular reminders about its commitment to protecting journalists and the possibilities for reporting attacks and and stay in regular contact with journalists about the evolving nature of harassment. Look for convenient ways to do so: for example, editors and managers should consider putting information about reporting systems in their email signatures for internal emails.
Create an easy-to-access section within the media outlet’s intranet with information about the company’s policies on online harassment and the tools and protocols that the company has created to deal with the issue. Best practices The BBC features in its intranet educational films regarding trauma experiences in the field, where journalists discuss different traumatic stories [...Read More >
Distribute an anonymous survey within the newsroom to take stock of the impact of online harassment and the efficacy of measures in place to combat it. Such surveys allow editors and management to understand the scope of the issue: How many journalists are targeted in online attacks, how their work has been affected, how strongly [...Read More >
Establish regular meetings between social media or audience departments and journalists to carry out a “health check” related to journalist’s work on social media or engagement on online comment sections. Social media editors and heads of audience can help journalists understand patterns behind online attacks and who might be behind them.Read More >
Regularly speak about online abuse in editorial meetings. One way for editors to raise the issue is simply to informally ask whether any journalists have recently been targeted.Read More >
Send an email to all staff making clear that the media organization takes online violence very seriously. This measure is important to build confidence in the newsroom.Read More >