Social & Digital Coffee Break: let's amplify the experts
4 min read

Social & Digital Coffee Break: let's amplify the experts

When two trade publications hit the headlines, and some worrying insight into the experience of female journalists online.
Social & Digital Coffee Break: let's amplify the experts

When the BMJ and the HSJ hit the front pages

One of the things that has heartened me a little during this hell year has been some of the big nationals starting to amplify the voices of specialist journalists, rather than just ripping off their stories. And so it's good to see today that two specialist publications are all over the mainstream news sites  because they came together to call for a reversal of the UK's Christmas policy for Coronavirus:

Today, in the first joint editorial for 100 years, The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) and the Health Service Journal call the Christmas relaxation “a major error” that would wipe out 20 years of progress in bringing down waiting times.

Quite a few of the national write-ups have failed to do the decent thing and actually link to the editorials, so I've done that for you:

Covid 19: Christmas relaxation will overwhelm services
To protect the NHS, the UK government must abandon plans for household mixing Since the UK’s first lockdown in March, the government has had one (perhaps only one) consistent message—protect the NHS. Now, with the number of hospital patients with covid-19 again on the rise, and a third wave almost …
Government must stop household mixing this Christmas: a joint call by The BMJ and HSJ
Since the UK’s first lockdown in March, the government has had one (perhaps only one) consistent message - protect the NHS, write Alastair McLellan of HSJ and Fiona Godlee of The BMJ.

The pandemic is a story where it is genuinely time for the mainstream, non-specialist reporters to stop hogging attention and use their incredible platforms to focus the attention on the expert reporters who understand and can report on the topics in great depth. This sort of co-operation between non-competitive parts of the industry would do wonders for the general trust levels in journalism, if done well.

But it will require a massive mindset shift — and possibly letting go of some rather over-inflated egos…

You are who you follow

More grist for the trust mill: some interesting analysis of which accounts BBC journalists choose to follow:

What the BBC can learn from its journalists’ use of Twitter | Tom Mills
In the first quantitative study of 90 BBC journalists on the platform, we examined to whom reporters pay most attention, says sociologist Tom Mills

Harassed for being a female journalist on the internet

This is troubling but, sadly, not unexpected reading:

An alarmingly high number of women journalists are now targets of online attacks associated with orchestrated digital disinformation campaigns. The impacts include self-censorship, retreat from visibility, an increased risk of physical injury, and a serious mental health toll. The main perpetrators? Anonymous trolls and political actors.

73% of respondents had experienced inline violence, but an even more worrying 20% said they'd experienced offline violence in incidents whose root was online. Facebook was the least safe platform, interestingly.

And, if the basic human decency of supporting women through this isn't enough for employers, there's a significant impact on productivity of those impacted by harassment — with 2% leaving journalism entirely.

Online violence, fueled by disinformation and political attacks, deeply harms women journalists
This research was co-written by Julie Posetti, Nermine Aboulez, Kalina Bontcheva, Jackie Harrison and Silvio Waisbord. An alarmingly high number of women journalists are now targets of online attacks associated with orchestrated digital disinformation campaigns. The impacts include self-censorship,…

Tool of the Day: Typefully

A great wee tool for composing tweets and Twitter threads without all that noisy tweeting going on in your eye line:

Typefully
Write great Twitter threads.
  • 🧑🏾‍💼 New features for Facebook Group admins (who need all the help they can get, as they're doing a lot of unpaid labour in keeping Facebook free of misinformation).
  • 📱 What's the new iPhone capable of when used with Filmic Pro and a gimbal?
  • 🦉 I read this, and all I can think of is how specialist journalism failed to provide spaces for people like this to connect, so more of our share of attention bleeds away elsewhere.
  • 🚑 I'm not convinced that getting a paramedic fired because she made some money on the side with a salacious OnlyFans account is in the public interest. It's clearly a story — but decisions like this don't engender trust.
  • 👩🏼‍⚕️ The WSJ doubles down on that eye-rolling piece that Dr Jill Biden should drop the “Dr” because she has a non-medical PhD. My wife has a PhD in immunology, but is not a medic, and I saw how much time, effort and intelligence went into getting that. This is just embarrassing.

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