It’s time to hold editors accountable for harassed news workersI also get shall we call them “negative comments.” and all a ton of spam comments
If you are an editor, publisher or general manager, what, if anything, do you do when employees, especially women, are harassed online?
By: Michael Bugeja
November 25, 2020
Like many professors, I follow journalism graduates on Facebook to keep up with their achievements, and recently came upon a disturbing post that inspired this column. An alumna received a signed message from a reader who called her “a f—— idiot” and told her to “go and f— yourself, b—-.”
Jessie Opoien, opinion editor for The (Madison, Wisconsin) Capital Times, broke journalism convention by sharing the offensive message. That same convention asks news workers to ignore slurs and threats, promote their work on social media, and focus on their assignments instead of their detractors.
That’s a prescription for PTSD, especially for women journalists.
In October, Ms. Magazine ran a article titled, “Online Harassment, Physical Threats: The Cost of Reporting for Women Journalists,” emphasizing these points:
The article concluded:
- In the first half of 2020, some 25 organized troll campaigns targeted women journalists, up from 17 cases during the same period last year.
- By publication time, there had been 267 attacks and threats against women journalists.
- Many of these attacks focused on appearance or sexuality, including death and rape threats, as well as incidents of doxing in extreme cases.
- Women of color were 34% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive tweets.
- Black women received racist messages in addition to being addressed in sexist or profane slurs.As trolling often falls into the gray zone somewhere between freedom of speech and online anonymity, we believe that a real, honest conversation with actual journalists who experience online abuse firsthand, is crucial to get some more clarity and sense of solidarity.Solidarity is fine. What isn’t is journalism convention.
A man, by any other name, (or dress or "presentation"), is stilts [sic] man.And it seems like a conservative group latched on to a blog where I wrote about a trans woman in Maine and I am getting a series of comments that uses her deadname and male pronouns.
The Poynter article ends with,
Trolls have power without consequence. It’s time to give them a taste of their own toxic medicine.I believe in not feeding the trolls.