Online Harassment-Related Resources for Journalists
Legal Defense Hotline: Call 1-800-336-4243 to reach a 24/7 hotline staffed by attorneys with the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Women’s Law Hotline: Get legal information, referrals and emotional support via a secure app, or get connected to legal and advocacy resources specific to your state
Legal Considerations from PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual: Includes guides on how to report harassment to legal authorities, how to document online harassment, and legal resources for journalists and writers.
Without My Consent: Has legal resources and information related to nonconsensual pornography, but this support is applicable to other types of online harassment.
Emergency Funds for Journalists
These organizations offer grants and emergency funding for journalists with legal, cybersecurity or other crises-related needs.
International Women’s Media Foundation Emergency Fund: Provides grants, relocation assistance and/or legal aid for female journalists facing threats and crises related to their work. Fill out this intake form to request assistance.
Press Freedom Defense Fund: Provides legal support for journalists, news organizations, and whistleblowers targeted by powerful entities for their work.
Society of Professional Journalists’ Legal Defense Fund: Provides journalists with legal or direct financial assistance for enforcing public access to government records.
PEN America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund: Emergency fund for professional writers in acute financial crisis. Depending on the situation and need, the Fund gives average grants of $2,000. Eligibility guidelines can be found here.
Gene Roberts Fund for Emergency Assistance: Assistance program that dispenses emergency grants to journalists in distress worldwide. Call the Committee to Protect Journalists at 212-465-1004 for more information.
Online Resources for Journalists
Threat Model from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Engage in risk assessment specific to your needs to protect yourself from electronic surveillance
PEN Field Guide to Online Harassment for Journalists: Includes strategies and resources that writers, journalists, their allies, and their employers can use to protect and respond to online abuse.
Women Media Center Speech Project: Features tools and resources to help women in media respond to emergency situations, as well as links to guides and organizations that can offer support against online abuse.
International Women’s Media Fund: Organization that provides safety training, byline opportunities, and emergency support tailored to female journalists and photographers around the world.
Trollbusters: Invites users to report online harassment, and offers coaching, reputation repair services, and digital security courses for journalists.
Heartmob: Invites users to report and document online harassment across platforms and seek desired support. Includes online guides to technical and social media safety, self-care, and legal and organizational defense.
Information and Research on Online Harassment for Journalists
- Into 2020: The State of Online Harassment in a Post-2016 Election World (OnlineSOS)
- U.S. Press Freedom Tracker (Freedom of the Press Foundation)
- Tipsheets and Links (Investigative Reporters and Editors)
- Speech Project (Women’s Media Center)
- Online Harassment of Journalists: The Trolls Attack (Reporters Without Borders)
- Women Journalists and Online Harassment (Center for Media Engagement)
- Online Harassment 2017 (PEW Research Center)
- Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe)
- Online Harassment, Digital Abuse and Cyberstalking in America (Data & Society)
Representation and Advice
These organizations offer legal advice, referrals, funding and/or representation for people facing harassment online.
Carrie Goldberg, PLLC: N.Y.-based law firm offering legal services and information for victims of cyberstalking, online extortion, nonconsensual pornography and other forms of online abuse.
Yale Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic: Provides advice on news gathering rights and civil litigation services.
Legal Aid: Offers financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans by providing funding to 133 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. Find legal aid in your area here.
National Crime Victim Bar Association: Provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.
National Women’s Law Center: Works to protect and promote equality and opportunity for women and families across sectors, and recently established the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to connect those who experience sexual misconduct with legal and public relations assistance.
These guides explain how to pursue a legal case, and include links to additional resources for victims of online harassment.
Something Can Be Done! Guide from Without My Consent: Contains strategies, tips and resources developed by digital abuse lawyers for pursuing a legal case related to nonconsensual pornography. Strategies can be applied to other types of online harassment.
Know Your Rights Guide from HeartMob: Offers step-by-step strategies for creating a legal (civil or criminal case) for victims of online harassment.
Recommended Digital Security Guides for Journalists
Use these resources to learn how to install privacy tools, secure your online accounts, and protect yourself, your loved ones, your colleagues and your sources.
Totem: Digital security training for activists and journalists—available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Arabic, French and Farsi.
GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Journalists — step-by-step cybersecurity guide, especially useful for freelancers/independent workers.
Surveillance Self Defense Tips, Tools and How-Tos for Safer Online Communications
(Electronic Frontier Foundation): Includes step-by-step tutorials on installing privacy and security tools for different operating systems, tips on encryption, and journalist-specific information for scenarios including protecting yourself during a protest or border-crossing.
Journalist Security Guide: Technology Security (Committee to Protect Journalists): Features narrative-style guide that walks users through risk-assessment and selection of tools to protect online security. Includes tips on account protection and secure communication.
Cyber Safety and Security (PEN America Foundation Online Harassment Field Manual): Journalist-specific guide that outlines measures to prepare and respond to online harassment. Includes information on how to block, mute and report harassment, deploy supportive online communities, and protect one’s online presence from attacks.
Security Planner (the Citizen Lab): Recommended by multiple journalist-focused security guides, this step-by-step guide customizes security recommendations based on the user’s tech devices, needs and concerns.
Support and Crisis Response Helplines
Access these phone and online-based hotlines if you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, distress, domestic violence, and/or crime including sexual assault.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255: Offers 24 hour, free and confidential support, prevention, and crisis resources for people in distress and their loved ones, as well as best practices for professionals. Online chat option also available.
Crisis Text Line- Connects anyone in the U.S. who texts 741741 with a trained Crisis Counselor.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233: Connects callers 24/7 with trained advocates to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence and/or seeking resources, information, or answers to questions about their unhealthy relationship. Also offers secure online chat option.
The National Center for Victims of Crime Help Line 1-855-484-2846: Allows callers to speak to a victim assistance specialist on the phone or via secure online messaging system to get confidential referrals for help.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673: Connects callers with a trained staff member from local sexual assault service provider. Also offers an online hotline, allowing users to privately chat with trained support specialist via security-enhanced instant messaging system.
Helplines for Impacted Groups of People:
Trans, GLBT and/or people experiencing anxiety and depression can also contact the following helplines for confidential, immediate assistance.
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
GLBT National Help Center:1-888-843-4564
Trevor Project Confidential Suicidal Hotline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
Information on Stress-Management and Wellbeing
PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM ORGANIZATIONS
These organizations provide funding, research, events, resources and information that support journalists’ work, safety, and wellbeing.
- Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press
- National Writer’s Union
- Freedom of the Press Foundation
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
- International Women’s Media Foundation
- Journalism Education Association (JEA)
- Freedom Forum Institute
- DART Center For Journalism and Trauma
- Data and Society
- Knight Foundation
- Annenberg Foundation
Member Organizations By Type
These organizations offer resources, events, and information for journalists, largely based on their primary media use or beat.
- The National Press Club
- Society of Professional Journalists
- American Press Institute
- Online News Association
- Investigative Reporters & Editors
- Association of Women In Sports Media
- American Society of Business Publication Editors
- American Society of Newspaper Editors
- Associated Press Media Editors
- College Media Association
- Association of Healthcare Journalists
- Education Writers Association
- National Association of Broadcasters
- Radio-Television-Digital News Association
- Religion News Association
- Society of Environmental Journalists
- Overseas Press Club of America
Identity-Based Member Organizations
These organizations offer resources, events, and information for journalists based on their gender, race, nationality and sexual orientation.
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists
- Asian American Journalists Association
- National Association of Black Journalists
- Native American Journalist Association
- South Asian Journalists Association
- Association of Women In Sports Media
- National Federation Of Press Women
- Association for Women In Communications
- Journalism and Women Symposium
- The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative: Offers resources including legal services, an online removal guide, and a 24/7 crisis helpline (844-878-2274) for victims of nonconsensual pornography that reside in the U.S.
Without My Consent: Legal resources and information including template for evidence preservation, guide for online removal, and helpful questions to ask your lawyer.
RESOURCES OUTSIDE THE U.S.
Digital Defenders Partnership Incidental Emergency Grants: Netherlands-based organization responding to urgent security and cybersecurity needs for journalists around the world. Email email@example.com or send an encrypted email with application details for emergency grant.
Media Legal Defence Initiative: UK-based organization providing legal aid for journalists, bloggers and media outlets when cases are launched against them or whose right to freedom of expression has been violated. Applications can be accessed here.