Harassment’s Toll on Democracy: The Effects of Harassment Towards US Journalists

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Abstract

Journalists in democratically “free” countries have faced harassment from those external to the newsroom for decades, though that has recently increased in the United States by many accounts. To assess the effects of such harassment in the United States, 32 journalists were interviewed and more than 500 surveyed about their experiences with harassment, and how it has affected their professional work. Journalists’ emotions, gender, and the frequency at which they experience harassment were predictors of affect-driven work behaviors such as avoiding interviewing someone, being less active on social media, and even considering leaving journalism. Younger journalists were also more likely to engage in affect-driven work behaviors. Harassment also affected journalists’ work attitude of job satisfaction—specifically incivility and disruptive harassment. This type of harassment is likely to decrease job satisfaction while supervisor support and larger organizational size are likely to increase satisfaction. In sum, harassment from viewers, readers, and strangers affects how journalists act and think about their work. This research adds to literature on Affective Events Theory by highlighting harassment from organizational outsiders (readers, viewers, and strangers) as an affective event with significant affect-driven behaviors and attitudes. Furthermore, there are practical implications for practitioners discussed at the end of this paper.

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APA

Miller, K. C. (2021). Harassment’s Toll on Democracy: The Effects of Harassment Towards US Journalists. Journalism Practice. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2021.2008809

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