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Non profit gives tips to deal with harassment

first_imgViktorya Vilk (above), manager of special projects and free expression for PEN America, speaks about dealing with online harassment. (Krystal Gallegos | Daily Trojan)Online harassment is prevalent among journalists, according to Natalie Green, PEN America’s manager of Los Angeles programs. Green and other members of PEN America spoke to students and journalists at Wallis Annenberg Hall Monday about various strategies and resources to prevent such harassment. The event was the first of three sessions on campus meant to promote open conversation about online abuse. PEN America, a nonprofit organization that aims to defend and celebrate the rights of literature and the press, began the discussion with an emotional video displaying harassment female sports journalists receive on the internet. Green said online harassment can range from hateful speech and online threats to trolling and doxing. The organization conducted a study about harassment in November 2017 surveying over 200 journalists targeted by online commenters. Two-thirds reported a severe reaction to harassment, including refraining from publishing work, deleting social media accounts and fearing safety. “We thought that we would be going into newsrooms trying to convince people that this was a problem; [instead] we would go into newsrooms and everybody raises their hands,” said Viktorya Vilk, manager of special projects and free expression for PEN America. The survey also investigated harassment regarding ethnicity, gender and sexuality. “It probably won’t surprise you that women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals are much more likely to experience more severe forms of harassment,” Vilk said. Using survey data, PEN America created an online harassment field guide which includes a manual with tactics and resources for writers, journalists and their employers. “We acknowledge that the online harassment field manual, as wonderful as it is, is really a stepping stone,” Green said. The organization emphasizes preparation for harassment to minimize repercussion. This includes heightened cybersecurity, such as covering laptop cameras and turning off geolocation. The conversation also centered on documenting harassment through screenshots and learning to report or block harassers on social media.“People will tell you there is a right way and a wrong way,” Vilk said. “There isn’t actually. There is no right way or wrong way. There is what works for you.”The conclusion of the discussion focused on the relationship between online harassment and mental health. “I thought the [presentation] was really informative on how to respond and steps you need to take if [harassment] ever occurs to you,” said Nicholas Echevarria, a sophomore majoring in sociology.last_img read more

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