“Learning to moderate hateful commenting”

A training concept for newsrooms in dealing with hate speech

Opinions which are often only expressed openly by very few people in real life reach a greater number of people much faster online. Notably, hate speech is spreading faster and more frequently through social networks, forums, and the comment sections of online media. Newsrooms are increasingly posed with the question of how to react appropriately.

The Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia has published a four-part training concept to support newsrooms in the training and continuing education of their staffs when dealing with online hateful commenting. This newly developed concept comprises didactic and methodological instructions and a PowerPoint presentation with a flexible layout for the workshop leaders, as well as extensive handout materials for participants. Its contents include structured specialized information relating to the dangers and potential consequences of hate speech, linguistic and content-related samples of hate speech, and online discourse dynamics. The fundamentals of community management are part of this training, as are legal conditions, virtual ownership rights, and effective moderation tactics for dealing with online communities.