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The Rise Of The Online Trolls

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The rise of the online trolls

A headline from the Mail Online last week about the murder of Epsom College head Emma Pattison at the presumed hands of her husband, went like this:

Did living in the shadow of his high achieving wife lead to unthinkable tragedy?

In some ways this is just normal Mail territory. If there is a way to blame the victim, to hint that if only they had been a bit-more Daily Mail like — in this case less successful than her husband — they’d have been ok, the paper will take it.

The good news, there must be some, is that reactions against this sort of stuff are getting ever more powerful.

I don’t know that women in the Mail newsroom saw this headline, sighed a collective “WTF?” and made their feelings known at the highest level, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Women in journalism have always had it harder, I think. The arrival of internet trolling made it worse.

(I get trolled, but it is because I am a Communist/a Capitalist lackey/an idiot Brexiteer/a foolish Remainer or just an idiot full stop. There’s no physical threat there.)

The Washington Post takes up the issue this week, with a piece partly about Gharidah Farooqui, who presents a TV show in Pakistan for News One.

Every move she makes is scrutinised by mobs of online observers.

She says: “I see my male counterparts — they’re also abused, but not abused for their bodies, their genital parts. If they’re attacked, they’re just targeted for their political views. When a woman is attacked, she’s attacked about her body parts.”

The Post reports on a survey of 714 women journalists in 215 countries which found that 3 in 4 suffered online abuse, which had in turn affected their careers.

The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar flags an online harm questionnaire from Women In Journalism and urges hacks to complete it.

Presumably, flaks get online trolling less than hacks. But since all of their details and usually photographs are on company websites, you can’t say they are immune.

This is the point in the conversation when a man offers suggestions and solutions.

I’ll spare you.

But a thought: Is there a link between casually sexist newspaper headlines and actual assault?

Someone should ask the Daily Mail.

Press release of the day

Residents of which cities pay the most for power and water?

Solar Panel Installation which has done the research has London top, which you might guess.

Why folk in Coventry, Leeds and Derby also get hosed is not obvious.

The company says: “While it’s clear that these particular cities face a higher risk with the rising cost of energy that is set to happen in the coming months, it’s interesting to see that there isn’t a specific region dominating the list, with cities such as Manchester from the North West and Bristol from the South West making the top 10.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Does Centrica deserve the abuse they are getting for their £3bn of profits?

2) How much does moneysupermarket think it has saved consumers struggling with utility bills?

3) Is Standard Chartered’s Asian focus presently helping or hindering its bottom line?

4) What should be done about nursery fees?


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