JSafe app empowers female journalists to take action in threatening situations

Beta testers needed

The new app JSafe was built to help female journalists fight against harassment, bullying and assault to get journalists help they need when they find themselves in threatening situations.

Once inside the app, users can document incidents by uploading the attacker’s email or social media handles. The app also allows users to store any photo or video evidence they might have and indicate the level of threat they are experiencing.

The journalists can also request a follow up for resources from the Coalition for Women in Journalism whether it’s to seek out a lawyer, therapist or other assistance, says Kat Duncan, interim director of innovation at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Duncan says she came up with the idea for the app after a long discussion with other female journalists about the abuse and harassment they often face online and in the field.

“As technology advances, so do the opportunities and methods of harassing female journalists,” says Duncan. “Female journalists overwhelmingly face more harassment and assault than male journalists online and in the field. I wanted to help journalists combat this and get them the resources they need to help them be safe and taken care of when these incidents happen.” 

She recruited the help of the University of Missouri College of Engineering to develop the app and the Coalition to manage the app after it is launched.

The Coalition works with hundreds of women reporters and has tried various techniques to support these reporters when they face harassment, says Kiran Nazish, founding director. These techniques have included working with social media companies in attempts to get them to remove content. They also try to document as much of the bullying content as they can, however, this can be time consuming and a challenge to keep up with news stories once they’ve fueled trolling, she says.

“With the app we are hoping we can equip journalists to be able to track these trolls and difficult correspondence with the social media populace in an organized manner,” said Nazish.

Duncan is now seeking folks who would be willing to beta test JSafe as she seeks to improve it before it is officially launched, she says. Fill out this form, if you’re interested in testing the app.

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