A regional daily editor says female journalists are “bearing the brunt” of online abuse aimed at those in the industry after herself being targeted in a social media attack.
In an editorial published this week, Laura took aim at social media, describing it as “a modern day equivalent of the Wild West”.
In the editorial, she revealed she had been subjected to personal abuse about her age and gender and questioned whether greater online regulation should be brought in.
Laura, pictured, wrote: “Last week I unwittingly found my credentials being called into question because of my age on social media.
“I often get asked about stereotypes when it comes to women – especially those who are career driven. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to avoid aspersions being cast on your character when you’re a blonde/pink haired, petite female.
“So as I go to bed this evening and lather on the face cream to beat the wrinkles and shrug off a minor comment about my age, there will be others who simply struggle to shrug off negative comments like it is water off a duck’s back.”
In the piece, Laura called for greater regulation and accountability when it comes to tackling what she described as the “cesspit” of social media.
Speaking to HTFP, Laura added: “My brush with the unpleasantness of social media isn’t in itself unusual nor – perhaps, some might say – noteworthy however, it is symptomatic of something much more deeply disturbing in society at the moment.
“It was only last month that members of my reporting team came under vicious attack from all corners on social media following the story which dominated the national and international headlines of the little boy pictured on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary.
“Journalism and journalists are under attack and I would argue that women, more so than men, are bearing the brunt of this on social media.
“We are in an age where keyboard warriors can easily tap out a comment about age, gender and appearance without a second thought for the impact those words can have.
“Many of the comments I’ve had since from females in the public eye have backed this up. Why are we in a position in this modern day and age when women’s opinions and status are called into question with the need for validity?
“More needs to be done to ensure that people are safe from harm online. But the one thing we can do, and must do right now, is to call this issue out for what it is and hope that the positive noise we generate can drown out the negativity.”
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner has also exposed a recent case in which its journalists was subjected to foul-mouthed abuse.
The Examiner reported a fortnight ago how restaurant owner Simon Frewin had texted reporter Andrew Robinson to call him a “pathetic c**t” after the paper ran a story on a zero food hygiene rating he had received from Kirklees Council.
After being initially contacted by Andrew, Mr Frewin had blamed a broken boiler for the rating and described Epicure as “the best restaurant in the town centre”.
But, after the story was published he sent the abusive text and then replied “go f*** yourself” in response to a further question about the broken boiler. HTFP has approached the Examiner for further comment.