The new role involves supporting all Reach colleagues through online abuse incidents as well as leading efforts to prevent further abuse
Working as a journalist and editor for regional titles’ online and video sections, she then moved over to the journalism department at Leeds Trinity University, where she undertook a PhD thesis on the impacts of digital tools on news production and journalistic identity at local UK news publishers.
Speaking about her new role, Whittington said: “Online abuse is an endemic issue which has increased significantly over the past decade. Journalists are vilified online on a daily basis simply for doing their jobs, with types of abuse ranging from personal attacks to hate crimes.
“Not only does this cause harm to the victims of abuse, but it also causes harm to the audience witnessing it. It is time these issues were addressed and by leading the way and creating the position of Online Safety Editor, Reach is taking an important step in doing just that.
“In my role I aim to support staff facing online abuse and harassment and I also want to address the issue externally, by working with platforms and audiences to prevent and protect.”
Reach group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley added: “I’m so pleased to welcome Rebecca to the team and take the next step in making the internet a safer place for journalists across the industry.
“As Reach continues to grow and recruit more young journalists than ever before, it is absolutely essential that we lead the way to create a safer online environment for our people and our readers.”