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The European Investigative Journalism Conference - arranged by Arena for Journalism in Europe.

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Thursday, December 2 • 10:00 - 16:00
Masterclass: Dealing with digital harassment

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Many journalists experience digital harassment because of their work. It ranges from harassing comments on social media to direct threats and coordinated campaigns to intimidate the journalist. It takes its toll: Many who are affected by this feel insecurity, stress, and depression, and it may in the long run lead to self-censorship.
The International Press Institute (IPI) has developed an extensive material to meet and deal with digital harassment over the last years, and we are very happy for the cooperation to present this to the Dataharvest participants in a masterclass, aimed at both individuals, teams and newsrooms.
This masterclass will teach you how to deal with the harassment. We will look at the typical types of threats, where they come from and when and how campaigns are organised. We will talk about your possibilities as an individual – how can you approach the problem analytically, understand the nature of the threat and make an action plan. How do you get in control, and who can you turn to for assistance?
Newsrooms should also have a strategy for dealing with online harassment of their staff and be ready to counter it. This should involve both the editors, the SoMe people, the IT staff and others, so the everyday environment is safe and there is a protocol in place when the attacks come, aimed at an individual or the newsroom as such.

Program for the day:
10:00 Welcome
10.15 – 11.30 Building an action plan to mitigate the emotional and professional impact of online hate. Session hosted by Javier Luque.
In this session we will introduce some of the tactics used to silence and intimidate independent reporters and discuss the best strategies to address them. We will do so using an analytical approach that will provide both journalists and media managers with unique tools to first analyse the attack and, second, to assess the potential impact on the reporter, and finally, adopt the best approach to combat the attack based on limited resources.

11.30 – 11.45 Short break

11.45 – 13.00 Protocol for newsrooms and the Guardian’s experience. Session hosted by Becky Gardiner.
Becky Gardiner is the author of the pioneering research “The dark side of Guardian comments” and helped to develop the first guidelines to address online harassment at the Guardian, one of the first newspapers worldwide to develop such protocol. Gardiner will also present measures developed by IPI for newsrooms to tackle online harassment and disinformation campaigns targeting the credibility of the journalists and news outlets. These measures draw from interviews with more than 110 editors, journalists and community managers conducted over working visits to 40 newsrooms across Europe, as well as additional expert meetings and focus groups with legal experts, civil society representatives and academics.

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 15.15 Investigating smear campaigns and disinformation targeting journalists: Case study – Daphne Caruana Galizia. Session hosted by Caroline Muscat.
One of the measures to counter smear campaigns is applying your journalistic skills to investigate coordinated attempts to discredit your work and create an atmosphere where trolls feel entitled to intimidate you. We will present the investigation that The Shift carried out in Malta into the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, looking at how secret Facebook groups worked to dehumanise and isolate her. The research became an important evidence into the landmark Public Inquiry into Daphne’s murder finding that “the State has to shoulder responsibility for the assassination […]”

15.15 Closing remarks

avatar for Trine Smistrup

Trine Smistrup

Program director, ARENA for Journalism in Europe
Trine is the program director of Dataharvest and co-founder of Arena for Journalism in Europe. She has spent decades in and around journalism as a reporter, sub editor, editor, and mid-career trainer. She has worked with European collaboration since the early 1990s and was involved... Read More →

avatar for Caroline Muscat

Caroline Muscat

Managing editor, The Shift News, Malta
Caroline Muscat is the founder and Managing Editor of The Shift, an online investigative news portal. She was the former News Editor of The Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta. Her main area of focus is corruption. She contributed to and co-edited the book, ‘Invicta: The... Read More →
avatar for Becky Gardiner

Becky Gardiner

Goldsmith University, London
Becky Gardiner has been a journalist since 1990, working mainly as an editor in both print and digital media. She has held several senior editorial posts, most recently comment editor at the Guardian (2010-14). During her 16 years at the Guardian, she held a number of other posts... Read More →
avatar for Javier Luque Martinez

Javier Luque Martinez

Head of Digital Communications, International Press Institute
Javier Luque is the Head of Digital Communications for the International Press Institute, where he coordinates advocacy and communication on IPI’s digital platforms. He has worked on online hate against journalists and media organisations since 2014. His research on this topic has... Read More →

Thursday December 2, 2021 10:00 - 16:00 CET