Sign In

Documentary of Online Threats Against Female Journalists Debuts in United States at Women’s Journalism Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Dr. Michelle Ferrier
(850) 599-3379 (o)
michelle.ferrier@famu.edu

A Dark Place chronicles European journalists during and after attacks

Williamsburg, Va. -- The documentary, “A Dark Place,” which provides a sobering look at the online violence and threats against female journalists in Europe, made its United States debut at the Journalism & Women Symposium during the JAWS CAMP on September 20-22 in Williamsburg, Virginia to an audience of more than 100 women journalists and educators. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication and the founder of TrollBusters, worked with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the International Press Institute, to secure the exclusive screening.

The documentary, produced by the OSCE and IPI, is part of the Safety of Female Journalists Online campaign b(#SOFJO), launched in Europe in 2017 to bring awareness to member states to the ways in which online violence and threats impact the lives and work of female journalists. The documentary received critical acclaim at film festivals across Europe.

Ferrier conducted a question-and-answer period after the screening and followed up with a workshop the next day on digital safety practices for journalists.

JAWS President Mira Lowe praised the film. Lowe added “The attempt to silence the voices of women journalists via online harassment and threats is a growing threat in our society. The documentary “A Dark Place” reminds us that attacks on women in journalism are attacks on press freedom and democracy.” Lowe added, “The safety of women journalists must be a priority of news organizations and J-schools, where the majority of students are female. JAWS is committed to this issue to keep women safe while doing their jobs. Thank you to OSCE, IPI and Dr. Michelle Ferrier for allowing JAWS to screen this important work for its members and for focusing our collective attention on violence against women.”

Ferrier fielded questions regarding activity in the United States and around the globe. She shared with educators about how to prepare and protect student journalists who often come under attack. According to recent research by Ferrier, nearly one-third of women journalists have considered leaving the profession because of the online harassment and threats they face in their daily work.

“Online harassment is real and has lasting consequences on the individual and the news enterprise and can quickly move offline,” Ferrier said. “As the documentary clearly shows, women remain resilient in the face of these attacks. However, being under attack can leave a female journalist ‘in a dark place’.”

“Online harassment is real and has lasting consequences on the individual and the news enterprise and can quickly move offline,” Ferrier said. “As the documentary clearly shows, women remain resilient in the face of these attacks. However, being under attack can leave a female journalist ‘in a dark place’.”

LINK TO TRAILER