|It’s been a busy…and brutal year for TrollBusters and the work we do and for journalism more specifically. Here in the United States and around the globe, journalists navigated triple threats — the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests around the world, and national elections and infectious misinformation that challenged us to do our work differently.|
With a $100,000 grant from Democracy Voice, TrollBusters expanded our training and workshops to students, journalists and media workers. TrollBusters partnered with Hearken/Election SOS project collaborators who worked together since Fall 2019 to design projects to support democracy here in the United States and support journalism in informing and educating the public. So much great work by organizations supporting our right as citizens to vote, filling critical community information needs, and protecting journalists online and off.
Back in Fall 2019, TrollBusters partnered with Hearken/Election SOS develop strategies for addressing what was already a challenging election season (to put it mildly). We brainstormed strategies to help do journalism work differently this presidential election cycle. TrollBusters and my team provided training to journalists and provide election coaching and support to students and journalists navigating the triple pandemics of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and the election season here in the United States. We provided critical monitoring of political coverage and the reporters. I conducted election research around online attacks and judged critical global grants on COVID-19, information and technology. TrollBusters deflected and amplified attacks on journalists and journalists of color. We trained and educated and supported hundreds of students and professionals this fall (and over the past five years) on safety practices in this digital age. And for some of us (me), we navigated all this while being Black and under attack in online and physical spaces…and sometimes in our own newsrooms and with our own colleagues.
Yet, here I am. TrollBusters is still here.
In the five years that TrollBusters has been supporting media workers online, we’ve recognized that the platforms won’t protect us, the laws won’t save us, nor will our employers have our back. We are the heroes we’ve been waiting for, the ones who will save ourselves.
We’re building our squad to provide you with the tools, education, support and coaching to stay the course and stay safe. Join us in 2021 as a supporter, champion, peer advocate, and leader as we unleash a hedge of protection to keep us safe in these trying times. We will continue to support journalists amidst all of the daily challenges to speak truth to power.
Dr. Michelle Ferrier