NORTHERN Echo editor Karl Holbrook will be joining a panel of media experts to help tackle the torrent of online abuse journalists receive.

Eighty-four per cent of journalists recently reported that more needs to be done to combat abuse and a UK National Committee for the Safety of Journalists has recently been launched.

News the Government is set to introduce new laws to provide more protections will be discussed by the region’s newspaper bosses at the Society of Editors’ Virtual Conference next week.

Mr Holbrook said: “Our reporters are extremely hardworking and are committed to reporting the everyday stories of the people and organisations in the communities we serve with fairness and integrity.

“Increasingly, people are reading our stories online, sometimes after seeing them on Facebook or Twitter.

“We have noticed an unacceptable level of abuse levelled at individuals and the newspaper in our comments section and also on social media.

“Journalists are thick-skinned, but no-one should have such unpleasantness directed at them in a public forum as they go about their work.

“We are all only human and these keyboard warriors should remember that before they hit ‘send’.”

Chaired by JPIMedia interim editorial director Joy Yates, panellists will debate the topic ‘Tackling the increase in online abuse against our journalists’ place on Monday at 6pm.

Reach PLC’s audience and content director for the North-East, Helen Dalby, who edits the region’s portfolio of newspapers and websites will offer her perspective on the matter since seeing through the launch of ChronicleLive into the North East’s biggest news website.

Lee Hall, head of media and communications at Sunderland University, said: “We are seeing a rise in the abuse of journalists and public figures on social media - much of it misogynistic.

“While that doesn’t tell the whole story of the online experience, it is a stark reality young people going into the world of media must face.

“As educators we are working to equip students with the skills, knowledge and strategies to deal with the trolls and be effective practitioners.

“We stand with editors and other media bodies in calling for action to address unacceptable behaviour online.

This is a debate we need to have in public if we are to keep reporters safe and tackle the rise of misinformation.”