A project of Democracy Fund

April 2, 2021

Local Fix: How to Protect Yourself From Online Harassment



Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key questions in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: Transgender Day of Visibility

In recognition of this week’s International Transgender Day of Visibility, don’t miss the valuable resources created by the Trans Journalists Association. TJA has a go-to style guide, best practices for trans-friendly workplace policies, and recently shared a roundup of reporting from its members. Bookmark and follow them. Also this week, the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBTQ+ Task Force announced a new scholarship in honor of trailblazing trans journalist Monica Roberts to help future Monicas find their way and lead in the industry. Find information on how to support TJA’s work here and to support NABJ’s Monica Roberts LGBTQ+ Task Force Scholarship here.

Online Harassment Protection

“Writers, journalists, and other vulnerable users have, for too long, endured relentless abuse on the very social media platforms that they need to do their jobs. It’s time for technology companies to step up,” a new report on online harassment from PEN America reads. The report outlines the actions social media companies should take to protect users, especially people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+,  women, and/or religious or ethnic minorities. Structural changes are needed, but in the meantime there are steps that companies and people can take to protect themselves online after their own experiences being targeted. “I never want anyone to feel as alone as I did in that moment,” writer Talia Lavin shared in an interview with journalist Lyz Lenz. Lenz and Lavin’s tips include using a service like DeleteMe to scrub information about yourself from the internet. Newsrooms should pay for this service for their employees, Emma Carew Grovum pointed out. Other leaders like Dr. Michelle Ferrier of Trollbusters and the teams at the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists have shared many other tips over the years that we’ve linked to in the Fix before. Find those resources and more below. But most importantly, remember that you’re not alone and there are a lot of people ready to help.

Have a good weekend,
Teresa, Christine, and Areeba
@gteresa, @heres_christine, @areebashah_

The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which supports promising new experiments redefining the public square in ways that make it more digital, participatory, and inclusive. The Fix was started by Josh Stearns and Molly de Aguiar. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund. You can find a full list of the organizations here. Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.