The Front Page: Online Harassment

It’s Friday, April 8th.

Get The Objective in your inbox every week.

Even as more reporters are sharing the prevalence and effects of the online harassment they face, certain white, male journalists can’t keep themselves from joining in on the attacks.

Following an MSNBC segment on online harassment, journalists Josh Barro and Glenn Greenwald dismissed the abuse experiences shared by reporters Taylor Lorenz and Kate Sosin.

“This is embarrassing,” tweeted Barro, while Greenwald elected to call attention to the possibility of “bigoted threats and attacks” on his own person.

And while harassment is never acceptable, it’s particularly disingenuous for white reporters to gaslight and downplay the harassment faced by their own colleagues by playing up their own negative experiences.

If that wasn’t enough, the interview itself prompted new smear campaigns against Lorenz, and MSNBC misgendered Sosin during the segment. The Los Angeles Blade reports that Sosin and The 19th* (where Sosin works) repeatedly asked the network to fix the problem. 

After many requests, MSNBC reportedly removed the video from YouTube yesterday (though the package is still live on its website). Regardless, had the segment been framed appropriately, it’s possible that the degree of harassment Lorenz and Sosin endured may have been lessened. 

The sad irony of the situation is evident: A segment meant to draw attention to and condemn online harassment invited attacks due to irresponsible language, editing, and promotion.

If journalists are going to spotlight the harassment happening to their own coworkers, they must recognize that increasing visibility of these issues is not enough: They must actively work to ensure these attacks don’t have ground to stand on.

When journalists are harassed, newsroom leaders have a responsibility to support them. The Media Manipulation Handbook’s tips are a good place to start (and were shared by Lorenz, herself).

This issue is by Holly Rosewood with editing by Curtis Yee.


A Bit More Media

Q&A: Curtis Yee — Last week, we spoke with our Newsletter Editor Curtis Yee, whose journalism philosophy is partly informed by a background in human-computer interaction. Yee also explores some of the shortfalls of reporting on evangelicalism and potential paths forward. Check out the full conversation here.

Black News Channel — Last week, it was announced that Black News Channel would be closing its doors, just two years after its founding. Juwan Holmes breaks down the conditions (low ratings, gender discrimination, and polarizing editorial standards, to name a few) that led to the shutdown, for Mediaite

How secrecy sustains the wage gap — Emma Carew Grovum writes that, in order to make hiring and retention equitable, organizations must employ at least one form of salary transparency. Outside the newsroom, tweeting your own current or former salary can also contribute to closing the wage gap. 

De Colores Radio — In a feature with Scalawag magazine, Eva Arreguin shares the common goal present in both her professional and personal life: upending white supremacy. As a founder and host of De Colores Radio, Arreguin explains how the collective celebrates culture and unpacks systems of oppression with humor and an impressive guest list. 

Bye, BBC — In the last year, more than a dozen women of color have left the BBC, reports Variety. Current and former staffers point to racism and sexism at the corporation, from stalled promotions to unclear standards on employees’ political views. As more staffers allegedly plan their departures, Variety also notes that a majority of the departures came from the company’s news and D&I departments. 

Disability Matters — To help journalists and newsrooms better serve the disability community, Hannah Wise created a toolkit for newsrooms. Funded by the Reynolds Journalism Institute Innovation Fellowship, Wise’s guide includes both advice for improving coverage and making journalism more accessible.


Stay Up To Date 

0 days until … The International Journalism Festival. The free festival lasts until Sunday, April 10. If you’re not in Italy, sessions are posted online.

1 day until … Cafecito with NAHJ Student Committee. National Association of Hispanic Journalists student members are invited to join this free, virtual networking event tomorrow. 

4 days until … Solutions Journalism 101. Register for this training if you’re interested in learning about key steps in solutions journalism and the organization’s Solutions Story Tracker. 

What else should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to


A few more resources

For your portfolio website: If you identify as a journalist with a background historically underrepresented in journalism, Authory will provide you with a free one-year account to back up your articles (a $96 value). 

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | Opportunities of the Week ($)   

How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian Pacific America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook | SPJ Race & Gender Hotline | AMEJA Media Resource Guide

Our stories are funded by readers like you. 

The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.

Become a sustaining member of The Objective!

Help us examine systems of power and inequity in journalism

We’ve refined our mission and we have a plan to shift the way journalism is done — but we need 33 sustaining members to put it into action. Will you join us today?

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top