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“You can Run, but You Cannot Hide!” Mapping Journalists’ Experiences With Hostility in Personal, Organizational, and Professional Domains

Signe Ivask , and Angelina Lon
Journal Article published in 2023
Our study describes how hostility reaches journalists and their reactions to the experiences. Semi-structured interviews with 18 Estonian journalists were conducted in 2021 from June to December. We divided journalists’ experiences into personal, professional, and organizational domains. One key observation is that journalists cannot avoid work-related hostility, even when off-duty. In addition, as one journalist receives hostility in a myriad of ways, there is a necessity for a multilevel approach when teaching about coping with or preventing unnecessary hostility from reaching journalists. Our mapping can be used when preparing students for occupational hazards or developing journalism curricula.


We conducted 18 semi-structured interviews with reporters working for the Estonian writing press (print, online, and converged newsrooms). Most journalists cover news beats and opinion-eds; some work for the investigative newsroom from time to time. We do not have more precise statistics for writing press journalists we focus on in this study. There are 11 female and seven male journalists in the sample. The experience varied from 2 years to more than 20. Most journalists (14 of 18) have experience in other newsrooms, not only the one they work for now. The ages of the journalists in the sample varied from 23 to 46.

Main Findings

The results and their categorization show the complexity of how hostility reaches journalists. It also sheds light on why it is challenging to protect journalists. What is more, our study shows that one journalist usually faces hostility in a myriad of ways, not only one. Our created graph summarizes who is hostile toward journalists and what means they use to send journalists hostility.
Research focuses:
Physical, Psychological, Digital, Legal
Methods used in research:
Interviews, Qualitative content analysis
Countries of research focus:
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