3.1 Warm-up activity (10 – 15 mins)

  1. The trainer recaps some of the things learned the day before
  2. Optional: the trainer uses an ice breaker activity from the extra materials section


  • Get the participants ready for the lesson.

Materials & resources

3.2 Exploring the journalist profile & well-being (50 mins)

  1. The trainer reminds participants of content from day one, when they looked at threats and risks. 
  2. The trainer tells the class that they are going to expand on some of the topics from the first session, but focusing on the workplace.
  3. Working alone, the trainer tells them to write down things they find challenging about the workplace. The trainer can give an example, such as online harassment.
  4. Participants fill out post-it notes with as many issues as they want. The trainer then asks them to come and post them up on the wall in any order. The trainer should ensure issues such as workplace or online harassment are included.
  5. Participants are encouraged to look for patterns in the content and move the post it notes around to reflect this. 
  6. Participants watch a video of a woman journalist talking about the well-being issues she faces as a result of her job. Trainer asks participants to watch and take notes. Do they have similar issues?
  7. The trainer asks the class to sit in a circle and reflect on the issues that came up during the session. The trainer leads a group discussion around coping strategies and encourages participants to share what strategies they use.


  • Get participants to see that they are not alone with the challenges they face, and that others are also going through similar things.
  • Participants start to think about how their work presents unique challenges and how that impacts other areas of their lives. 
  • Participants discuss and share strategies they use for coping.
  • Introduction to the section on online harassment.

Materials & resources

This section has been created working with materials from the IREX SAFE training curriculum.

The trainer should facilitate a smooth transition between this section (3.2) and the next section (3.3). The idea is for journalists to see how online harassment is a well-being issue and is a direct consequence of someone doing their job as a journalist.

3.3 Group experience of online intrusion or harassment (45 mins)

Trainers should include context-specific examples in this section

Participants may not want to share experiences and that is valid. People who do not want to share personal experiences could speak about well-known examples of harassment of journalists in their countries.

  1. The trainer puts participants into small groups and tells them that they are going to be talking about issues related to online harassment. The groups are encouraged to brainstorm different types of online harassment. 
  2. The trainer encourages feedback shared on the board. 
  3. The trainer elicits the following if not mentioned:
    • Harassment/sexual harassment & stalking
    • Misappropriation of image
    • Account hacking
    • Impersonation
    • Doxxing
    • Self-censorship
    • ID fraud
  4. The trainer puts participants back into groups to discuss what types of online harassment are more common in their country/region. The journalists should also discuss when abuse is more likely to happen, for example during an election period or after publishing a story. 
  5. Feedback to the group. The trainer can provide an overview of global trends in online harassment here.


  • Build participation and trust. 
  • Participants understand that online intrusion/harassment is not only happening to them.
  • Gain understanding of common trends in online abuse in the region.
  • Participants see that online abuse can be categorised, which helps them understand how to document and report it.

Materials & resources

  • Post-it notes
  • Whiteboard/ flip chart

Optional extra resources

3.4 Preparation before an attack I (75 mins)

  1. The trainer explains that preparation is key when it comes to limiting the damage of an online attack.
  2. One of the first steps is thinking about the type of story and the online risks associated with it. The trainer also explains that a journalist’s individual profile can also be a factor, including the fact that they are a woman but also if they have previously been attacked online.

Understanding trolls and how they think and work

  1. The trainer picks out some of the types of online attacks mentioned in the previous task. For example impersonation or doxxing, and asks the journalists how and where online harassers can find information about the person they are harassing.
  2. The participants give feedback. The trainer then asks whether the journalists are aware of what information is available about them online and where it is. The trainer tells them that limiting access to their online information can be key to better protecting themselves.

Carrying out a self-doxxing activity

  1. The trainer tells them that one way to know what information is online is to carry out a self doxxing exercise. The trainer then asks the journalists to take out their devices and get ready to look themselves up online.
  2. Individually participants should look themselves up online using different search engines and also checking photos and videos. They should note down what information is available on them and where it is stored.

The trainer can ask participants to do this in pairs if the pair feel comfortable research the other and vice versa. This will depend on the dynamic of the group.

  1. Participants should be put in pairs to discuss the information they found before feeding back to the class.
  2. Participants state whether they had found anything unknown or uncomfortable.
  3. The trainer should tell participants that the amount of data someone has online is a personal choice. But it is a good idea for journalists to know what data is available about them and where it can be found.
  4. The trainer asks participants to write down five things they will do to clean up their online profile.
  5. Feedback to the group.

Online harassment and physical security

  1. The trainer asks the journalists how they currently assess physical security risks that may come from online harassment. For example, by keeping track of accounts that regularly harass them
  2. Journalists give feedback to the class as a group.
  3. The trainer should elicit answers and also add other ways to assess physical security risks, including:
    • Accounts that regularly harass
    • An increase in violent language and threat of physical violence from accounts that regularly harass
    • Personal details, such as home address or phone number, start to be circulated online
    • Images of the journalist and/or images of her family start to be circulated online.
    • Information about the current location of a journalist starts to be posted online.
  4. The trainer tasks the journalists what steps they would need to take to better protect themselves.
  5. The participants work in pairs to discuss and then the trainer facilitates feedback to the class in a circle.
  6. The trainer writes up advice on the board, including
    • Speaking with editors about the harassment

Journalists may not have the support of their newsroom or editor, especially if they are freelance. If this is the case then the trainer should focus the conversation on the importance of creating a support network that can assist in times of crisis. How to create this support network will be covered in the next session.

  • Speaking with others about the harassment, including family and friends
  • The importance of mapping where they think threats are coming from
  • Creating a plan, if possible with the assistance from editors, about what to do in case of a physical threat
  • Planning for relocation if home address is circulated online
  • Contacting a lawyer
  • Thinking about contacting the authorities if safe to do so
  1. Feedback to the class.


  • Be given practical steps that participants can use to prepare for an online attack.
  • Understand how others obtain information about them online and the risks that come with that.

Materials & resources

  • Internet
  • Laptop or other device
  • Pens
  • Whiteboard/ flip chart
  • Projector

Optional extra resources

3.5 Preparation before an attack II (60 mins)

Building a community

  1. The trainer explains that having both an offline and online support network is key, not only for counteracting online abuse but also for the well-being of the journalist.
  2. The trainer puts the participants into small groups and asks them to talk about what they currently do when facing online harassment. Who do they talk to? Do they let their editor know? The trainer appoints a member of the group to give feedback to the class.
  3. The trainer tells participants that they will now look at some best practice measures for creating a community both online and offline.
  4. Working in pairs, the trainer asks the participants to look at the case of a journalist who is suffering online abuse. They should think about practical steps the journalist should take to build her support community. 
  5. The trainer monitors as the activity is being carried out and provides support. The trainer then asks the groups to prepare to present their ideas to the rest of the class.
  6. As groups present, the trainer writes up the best practices on the board in different columns, including offline support, newsroom support, online support. The trainer also adds other best practices that the participants may have missed. 
  7. After the exercise is finished, participants give feedback about the exercise and whether they feel they will start to build their own support communities. 


  • Participants think about the options available to them when it comes to building different types of support networks.
  • Participants understand how a support network can be beneficial.

Materials & resources

3.6 During an attack (40 mins)

  1. The trainer hands out post-it notes to each participant and asks them to write down adjectives that describe how they feel when they are being attacked online. Participants are then asked to come and post them up on one of the walls in the classroom. They are encouraged to look at other post it notes to see if others have similar feelings.

Participants may not wish to write down their own personal feelings here or they may not be experiencing online abuse. If this is the case, they should be asked to imagine what it feels like to get online abuse and write down these feelings.
The trainer should also tell participants that there will be a psychologist available to speak with them if they require over the next two days.

  1. The trainer manages feedback to the class.
  2. The trainer brings up the topic of documenting an attack and asks whether others have done this. The trainer then elicits why someone would document an attack and why this would be useful. 

Documenting an attack

  1. The trainer speaks with the participants about what they think would be important in terms of documenting an attack. Why is it important to document it? Who are they going to report it to?
  2. The trainer puts the participants into small groups and asks them to note down what information would be useful when it comes to documenting an attack. 
  3. The trainer elicits feedback to the class and writes up information on the whiteboard. 
  4. The trainer focuses on the issue of screenshots and the information they should document. The trainer shows an example of a useful screenshot. The trainer then shows an example of a spreadsheet used for documenting abuse.
  5. The trainer lets participants know that there is a documentation template available for them to use on the Totem course Know your Trolls


  • Participants learn what initial steps to take when being abused online.
  • Participants learn what information is needed and is useful when documenting an attack.
  • Participants understand why documenting an attack can be useful.

Materials & resources

  • Post-it notes
  • Pens
  • Whiteboard/ flip chart
  • Projector and laptop
  • Screenshot of an example of online abuse (where possible a regional example)

3.7 Risk Assessment (20 mins)

  1. Participants complete the risk assessment section: ‘you and your work as a journalist’
  2. Brief feedback 


  • Participants are able to apply teachings from this class into practical real-life situations.

Materials & resources

3.8 Wrap up (10 mins)

  1. The trainer puts the class into a circle and asks them to reflect on two things they have learned during the day. The trainer asks what one change they will make as a result of something they have learned.


  • Participants reflect on learning from the day.

Day 3 – Journalism and online risk

Total duration: 5 hours and 15 minutes


This training day looks at how journalism as a career brings certain risks. It creates a safe space for women journalists to discuss the stress and danger they may be facing because they work in the media. The day also focuses on online abuse and the psycho-social and physical issues that can arise as a result of online attacks.  The sessions provide journalists with practical guidance on how to better protect themselves before and during an attack. 

We recommend that this training day is accompanied by a psychologist or experienced trainer on well-being and trauma.


By the end of this training day, participants should be able to:

  • Take practical steps to manage their online profile and better protect their data
  • Learn how to create both online and offline support networks 
  • Learn how to document abuse effectively 

Digital safety preparation

Journalists are advised to take the Totem course on Know your Trolls in advance.

Curriculum Resources

For this training day, we have developed specific materials and activities to accompany the curriculum. You can find all resources of day 3 here.