Journalism and online harassment with Rosemary Barton, Fatima Syed and Mark Blackburn
This episode is an audio version of a special live taping of Wonks and War Rooms, in partnership with uOttawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society, where Elizabeth is joined by a panel of journalists to tackle a tough topic: online harassment of journalists and what it means for our democracy.
Rosemary Barton is the Chief Political Correspondent for CBC News; Fatima Syed is a reporter for the Narwhal and host of Canadaland podcast The Backbench; and Mark Blackburn is the social media and online producer at APTN. Elizabeth and the panel look at different types of online negativity, the motivations behind harassment and attacks, and the impacts of weaponizing media. They also talk about different ways of managing online harassment, and how to balance their responsibilities as journalists with protecting themselves as individuals.
- Off the top, Rosemary and Elizabeth mention the day of the live event was not exactly a slow news day. Here’s why.
- This topic brings a bunch of terms that get jumbled together: harassment, abuse, toxicity, negativity, incivility, hate speech, intolerance. This Public Policy Forum report provides a framework for thinking about harmful communication online.
- Fatima talks about “chilling effects” that online harassment can have on journalists. Here’s a report from earlier this year about these kinds of impacts, published by The Canadian Journalism Foundation and the Canadian Association of Journalists.
- Also, last fall IPSOS ran the first Canadian survey on online harassment against journalists and media professionals, which showed it is “prevalent and pervasive.” Here are the results.
- Rosemary and Elizabeth discuss trolling and how it has changed over time. This article by Silvio Waisbord looks at the specific impact trolls have on journalism.
- Rosemary mentions that the pandemic has been a turning point for journalism. This special issue of Digital Journalism has a collection of articles on all the ways that COVID-19 has impacted the work of journalists over the past few years.