The article, published in Journalism Practice , looks at the experiences of harassment of women journalists writing about technology, which are often exposed to different forms of sexist abuse. The study is based on a qualitative textual analysis of the answers given to a questionnaire prepared by the author; 102 women journalists completed it, mostly based in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
62 percent of the respondents reported experiences of sexist abuse linked to their professional activity. Abuse was carried out in a variety of forms and degrees, using both online and offline methods.
Apart from the emotional impact of harassment – which hurts, upsets, scares its targets –, abuse against women journalists has a more general impact on the quality of information. Because of the attacks they receive, many journalists resort to self-censorship, deciding not to write about some topics, or not to use certain forms and styles in their reporting. They enjoy less freedom and risk to be marginalised from the media industry, with negative consequences for quality and representative journalism as a whole.
The author adopts an openly feminist approach. She does not only seek to analyse the extent and impact of sexist abuse against women journalists, but also to look for radical strategies to fight against it. Tags:
Gender in media
Freedom of expression
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