Journalists need systems and training to help them fight online abuse
This is worth a read from my colleague Olivia Solon about being on the receiving end of abuse as a journalist: “A normalization of violence: how cyberbullying began and how to fight it”
One of the things that fundamentally irks me the most is that people can spend weeks sending me messages telling me to kill myself or that I’m a nonce but then if you reply “Oh do f*** off” suddenly they clutch their pearls and it is my problem for generating a “Guardian journalist behaving unprofessionally (again)” story for someone.
Ultimately, of course, the tactic is all about gradually chilling the free speech of journalists whose views the abusers don’t agree with, to gradually try and erode your confidence in writing about certain topics, to make you over-reach for equivalence that gives their racist or sexist views greater creedence.
Or it’s just about wasting your time. I treasure, under IPSO regulation at the Mirror, having an email exchange with our lawyer about whether the phrase “whiny man-babies” in this article constituted discriminatory language. Yep, a whiny man-baby complained to the press regulator in the UK that using the phrase whiny man-baby in an article about whiny man-babies whining because some characters in a film were going to be women breached the editorial code.
I think media orgs need better processes to deal with these organised complaint campaigns and hate groups, and better training for staff to spot and deal with this kind of harassment-based astro-turfing.
The good news? They are never ever going to shut me up.