#AJESuccessStories: Devising a trolling survival guide to prepare graduates for a professional life on social media

Research by a University of Worcester lecturer on the impact of internet trolls on journalism and democracy has been featured in a new academic book.

Anti-social Media? The impact on Journalism and Society includes a chapter by principal lecturer Claire Wolfe based on interviews with journalists and students publishing material online.

The AJE member, who recently stepped down from our executive committee, piloted her research at one of our conferences.

She said: ”The AJE provides a great base for aspiring researchers to get feedback on their work in a positive environment. I have found this incredibly supportive.”

Book contributors include other leading academics and industry experts like Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of ITV plc, Baroness Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General and former Director of Liberty and Phil Harding, former editor of BBC Radio Four’s Today.

Claire Wolfe, also a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy, said: “There is a danger that, unless we prepare our students to cope with the challenges of engaging with the public through social media, they will become fearful of expressing themselves freely.”

She has devised a guide for students to help prepare them for work in the media sphere and to provide them with the tools to help them develop good practice when involved in online discourse. She is developing another version for those working in the media.

Speaking at the London launch was Gina Miller, who suffered a barrage of online abuse after winning a court action when challenging the government over its right to implement Brexit without parliamentary authority. She has also added a postscript in the book.

The book, published by Abramis academic publishing, was launched at the Frontline Club, London, a hub for those involved in international affairs and independent journalism.

Claire also presented a paper on the same theme at the club, the venue for the annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics Annual Conference.

She teaches on the BA (Hons) Journalism course, which has strong industry links and achieved a 100% employment rate for students graduating in 2017