Journalists are increasingly reporting that online harassment has become a common feature of their working lives, contributing to experiences of fatigue, anxiety and disconnection from social media as well as their profession. Drawing on interviews with American newsworkers, this study finds at least three distinct forms of harassment: acute harassment such as generalized verbal abuse, chronic harassment occurring over time and often from the same social media users and escalatory harassment that is more personalized and directly threatening. Women journalists said they especially are experiencing chronic and escalatory forms of harassment. Journalists also discussed a perceived lack of systemic efforts on the part of news organizations to address such harassment, leaving journalists to search for preventative and palliative coping mechanisms on their own. Such labor may be driving journalists’ disconnection from social media as well as the profession of journalism and highlights a growing need for news organizations to address harassment as a systemic, rather than individual, issue. The mental health and well-being of journalists may depend on such action, especially at a time when more journalists are reporting fatigue, burnout, and a desire to exit the profession.
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- mental health
- news organizations
- social media