Poynter seeks newsrooms to participate in pilot project fighting online harassment

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

This project is Funded by the National Science Foundation, and involves a team of researchers, 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 led by Dr. Rebekah Tromble, a noted expert on digital platform accountability and best practices for combating online harms. Pointer’s PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan is also a member of the core team.

The project’s intent is to create a system for response to online harassment that is grounded in experience and meets the needs of a wide range of marketing. Participating newsrooms will be asked to follow guidance for best practices using their existing staff and management structures, advised by the Expert Voices Together team.

Newsrooms will then provide feedback on the practicality and effectiveness of the suggested program. Financial compensation of $5,000 will be provided to each newsroom for their participation.

The ideal applicant will be a small to medium-sized newsroom with managers who have already identified their staff’s safety and well-being as a key priority, but are looking for practical ideas to handle both spontaneous and coordinated campaigns of online harassment.

To apply, please send a brief letter that includes a short description of your newsroom (size, target audience, types of TV) and why you are interested in the project. Please email letters of interest by Wednesday, May 4, 2022, to Erin Sedita, Expert Voices Together’s project manager, at esedita@gwu.edu. Finalists will be contacted for interviews by May 9.

The Expert Voices together team hopes that participants will gain useful insights into how to address online harassment in their own newsrooms, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge for both the journalism industry and other professionals in a wide array of fields facing similar challenges with online harassment.

In addition to Tromble and Holan, the Expert Voices Together team includes Kathleen Searles, assistant professor of mass communication 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 the anti-harassment civil society organization Right To Be; Ana Velasquez, Right to Be’s program and communications associate; Jill Dimond of social justice web development co-op Sassafras Tech Collective; and Kristina Wilfore, co-founder of #ShePersisted.

About The Pointer 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 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at 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 produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology, and the business of news. Poynter is the home of 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 senior citizens. The world’s top missions and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual investors, documentarians, and broadcasters. This work builds public about journalism, media, the US First Amendment, and awareness that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.

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