Why are we running this project?

More than half of all people use social media to keep up to date with news. But journalism on social media is a whole different beast from traditional media: Clicks, likes, shares, and dwell time have become common currency on social platforms, which all too often results in indiscriminate posts intended just to generate and hold readers’ attention. 
It is not at all uncommon for the media to perpetuate racist stereotypes and narratives with their choice of words and images in their reporting, not least in their coverage of marginalized groups and socio-political topics like refugees or immigration. This is exactly where the BetterPost project comes in.

What are our goals?

BetterPost aims to play a role in good journalism on social media and achieve hate-free comments sections, with the ultimate goal of fostering greater attention, awareness, and knowledge of racism on social media. Workshops and recommendations for media professionals as part of the project aim to improve media reporting on topics relating to the immigration society and encourage anti-racist coverage.
The knowledge gained from monitoring and analysis should shine a light on specific links between media coverage and racist language in the comments section. This in turn should prove a useful starting point in opening up the conversation with large national media outlets about the potentially hate-inducing impact of their social media work. That said, the aim is not to give media professionals a good slap on the wrist for their mistakes, but rather to identify real-world action points at structural, content, and stylistic level. 
Consideration is also given to challenges outside of the editorial structure, such as platform algorithms. Here, workshops aim to remind editorial staff of their responsibility in the wider societal context and to raise their awareness of hate in their comments sections with an eye to powersharing. Any form of discrimination against those affected by racialized discourse limits civic participation. Accordingly, BetterPost has made it its mission to strive for media coverage that is both critical of racism and free from discrimination in order to counter racist hate online. As such, it aims to help build a diverse, democratic culture of debate, prevent hate on the web, and improve civic participation. 


How does the project work?

The project starts by generating knowledge about the relationship between the language used by editorial teams in social media posts and racism in the comments. Based on this information, the project leverages consulting and workshops to give social media professionals a grounding in anti-racist journalism on social media.
The first step sees social media posts from large national media outlets on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook analyzed and examined to determine whether the posts use (potentially) racist language. Next, the comments on the post are examined for everything from terms with racist microaggressions to extremely hateful statements. This results, among other things, in statistically measurable correlations between the posts and the comments. 
The second step involves examining how these correlations come about and what can be derived accordingly to foster anti-racist journalism on social media. Here, the viewpoints of those affected have a central role to play, with analysis focusing on the perspectives of self-organized (post)migrant and BIPoC groups in partnership with academics, data analysts, and journalist groups. 
Workshops with media professionals provide a platform to discuss the findings from media monitoring and analyses in order to include the working conditions of media professionals, identify challenges and opportunities, and derive recommendations for action.
But the project does not end with monitoring and analysis. The findings are translated into consulting and awareness-raising services before being taken to the editorial offices of media outlets. The reasoning here is that it takes sharing ideas with editorial teams to make an impactful stand against hate on the web. 


Who are the target groups?

The findings from this monitoring work as well as the recommendations derived therefrom are aimed at all media professionals, including social media editors, community managers, or editors-in-chief. 

Where is the project run? 

The project analyzes editorial teams across Germany and advises media outlets nationwide.

Who organizes and supports the project?

BetterPost is a project from the Neue deutsche Medienmacher:innen (New German Media Professionals) as part of the Kompetenznetzwerk gegen Hass im Netz (Skills Network against Hate Online). The network is a point of contact for any questions about hate online, while the Neue deutsche Medienmacher:innen contribute their expertise on journalism and anti-racist reporting.

The Neue deutsche Medienmacher:innen is a voluntary association that campaigns for more diversity in journalism. As the largest nationwide NGO of journalists, we advocate for anti-discriminatory reporting and diverse editorial teams. The BetterPost project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth as part of the “Live Democracy!” federal program, with co-funding from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.