Poynter is seeking newsrooms to participate in a pilot project to combat online harassment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 21, 2022) – The Poynter Institute and George Washington University are inviting small and medium-sized newsrooms to apply for a pilot program to address and reduce online harassment of journalists. The Expert Voices Together program uses evidence-based research to develop a best practice program to respond when journalists are threatened, abused or harassed online.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation and includes a team of researchers, journalists, civil societyety organizations and technologists dedicated to improving our information ecosystem.

Expert Voices Together is based at George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics and is led by Dr. Rebekah Tromble, a well-known expert on digital platform accountability and best practices for combating online harm. Poynters PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Drobnic Holan is also part of the core team.

The aim of the project is to create an experience-based online harassment response system that meets the needs of a wide range of journalists. Participating newsrooms are asked to follow best practice guidelines and leverage their existing staffing and management structures, which will be advised by the Expert Voices Together team.

The newsrooms then provide feedback on the practicality and effectiveness of the proposed program. Each editor will receive financial compensation of $5,000 for their participation.

The ideal candidate is a small to medium sized newsroom with managers who have already identified the safety and wellbeing of their employees as their top priority but are looking for practical ideas to manage both ad hoc and coordinated online harassment campaigns.

To apply, please send a short cover letter with a brief description of your editorial team (size, target audience, types of journalists) and why you are interested in the project. Please email prospective letters to Erin Sedita, Expert Voices Together Project Manager, by Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at esedita@gwu.edu. Finalists will be contacted for interviews by May 9th.

The Expert Voices Together team hopes attendees will gain useful insight into how to deal with online harassment in their own newsrooms and contribute to the development of knowledge for both the journalism industry and other professionals in a variety of fields facing similar challenges stand online harassment.

In addition to Tromble and Holan, the Expert Voices Together team includes Kathleen Searles, Assistant Professor of Mass Communications and Political Science at Louisiana State University; David Broniatowski, Associate Professor of Systems Engineering and Management Systems at George Washington University; Emily May, co-founder and executive director of anti-harassment civil society organization Right To Be; Ana Velasquez, Right to Be program and communications staff; Jill Dimond of social justice web development cooperative Sassafras Tech Collective; and Kristina Wilfore, co-founder of #ShePersisted.

About the Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and public discourse in the 21st century. The Poynter faculty teaches seminars and workshops at the institute in St. Petersburg, Florida and in newsrooms, conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website provides 24/7 coverage of media, ethics, technology and the news business. Poynter is home to the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network, and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters, and seniors. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to teach and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentary filmmakers and broadcasters. This work creates public awareness of journalism, media, the US First Amendment, and discourses that serve democracy and the common good. Learn more at poynter.org.

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