The editorial team’s reaction to online attacks is exceptionally important. The measures taken in those cases include:
Ensuring organizational, psychological and legal support: as editorial staff, you should designate and thoroughly train a person to whom the attacked journalists may turn, should the need arise. This employee should be responsible for situation assessment (which can be very difficult for the victim), preparing a strategy to deal with the attacks and then implementing it. If your editorial team can afford to introduce such rapid response system, it might be beneficial to pitch that idea to journalists’ or publishers’ associations and convince them to apply it on an inter-editorial scale. This could take form of a helpline, where people could receive help from experts. Journalistic organizations are also a useful forum for sharing experiences and good practices concerning cyberbullying.
Publicly defending journalists: the editorial office should introduce a policy of supporting the team members who were attacked on the Web and encourage other journalists to do the same. You must analyze the circumstances first – while the proposed solution may be effective in cases of brutal, coordinated of mass cyber violence, in less hostile instances it may only serve to further publicize the issue.
Media Under Fire: When ‘Fake News’ Becomes a Label
President Donald Trump does not hesitate to call the biggest American media ‘fake news factories’. This strategy of separating oneself from inconvenient realities and discrediting a journalist revealing them is employed all around the world, including Poland. Instead of demanding corrections or starting libel suits (where you have to substantiate your accusations and fulfill formal requirements), a politician simply has to go on social media and accuse a journalist of spreading ‘fake news’. In the US, over 400 editorial offices got involved in an initiative started by the Boston Globe newspaper and published articles protesting Donald Trump’s attacks on media.