Introduction: Peer Support Mechanisms
For journalists targeted with online abuse and harassment, colleagues who have endured similar experience can be an important source of strength and as well as knowledge regarding how to best cope with the attacks and their potential consequences. Newsrooms should foster possibilities for journalists to speak about harassment with their peers so as to develop networks of support and solidarity.
Peer support can consist of both formal and informal mechanisms. Formal mechanisms are those that are implemented by the media outlet as official structures within the organization. Informal mechanisms describe various measures that are implemented at different levels within the media outlet, in some cases arising “organically”, and that seek to create a broader community of support.
Participants in formal mechanisms should receive specific training to allow them to effectively carry out their role. In addition, the effectiveness of informal support is greatly increased when all actors within the newsroom have received training on coping mechanisms for online harassment.
Develop a formal network of staff members in the newsroom who are available to listen to the experiences of their peers who have been targeted with online abuse and walk them through ways of coping with the effects. Ideally, staff members who participate in these schemes should have specific training on how to perform a [...Read More >
Editors should be encouraged to create opportunities to discuss the issue of online harassment in group settings. Examples can include: – “Coffee talks” in which journalists from the newsroom or from other media outlets share their experience of coping with online harassment over coffee.Read More >
The purpose of a mentoring programme in this context is to assign a more experienced journalist in the newsroom to mentor colleagues with less experience, especially those who are new to the newsroom or who have not previously covered certain divisive topics. On the one hand, mentors should help mentees become aware of online abuse [...Read More >