The Biden administration has approved $5.7 million in grant funding to George Washington University to create a program that will provide psychological care to journalists who believe they are the targets of “misinformation-driven harassment campaigns.”
The program, called Expert Voices Together, is described in the government grant database as “a socio-technical system that provides real-time support to experts experiencing online harassment.” The project’s goal is to provide journalists, and eventually other “experts,” with means of “monitoring and reporting” alleged abuse, as well as “personalized assistance with digital safety” and access to “mental health care specialists” as a form of “trauma-informed care.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) first allocated $749,222 in funding to George Washington University in 2021, and approved the project for continuation in 2022, approving an additional $5 million in taxpayer funds. Work associated with the grant is ongoing, with funding projected to end in August 2024.
The NSF characterizes providing journalists with mental health counseling as part of an effort to address the “rapid spread of misinformation” because “harassment undermines confidence in pivotal sources of knowledge and reduces expert participation in the information ecosystem.” The grant is part of a broader NSF initiative to bolster “trust and authenticity in communications systems.”
The project’s 2021 grant abstract mentions