How Newsrooms Are Changing After Sexual Harassment Allegations

“If you can’t think differently about this problem, it’s never going to go away.”

November 27, 2017 8:53 am
Charlie Rose
Charlie Rose attends New York Magazine's 50th Anniversary Celebration at Katz's Delicatessen on October 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

From Charlie Rose at CBS Morning to Glenn Thrush at the New York Times, major media outlets are cleaning out their office drawers (and coat closets) as allegations of sexual harassment continue to mount; A new Politico report points out that something needs to change, and fast.

“Two of the three major broadcast networks, the leading cable network, the second-leading cable network, the top public-radio network, and the nation’s most prestigious newspaper have all confronted the same problem: A prominent figure accused of behaving inappropriately,” Politico’s Jason Schwartz writes. “They [including Politico] are grappling with how to better communicate and reach out to employees as the news business faces a wave of revelations of inappropriate behavior.”

For many outlets, Schwartz writes, this means falling back on already established policies and regulations in the workplace, including anonymous hotlines or an ombudsman. But is it enough? Debbie Dougherty, a communications professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in sexual harassment, told Schwartz that those two actions — firing the perpetrator and reminding employees about existing policies — are the first steps, but there’s more to do.

“That’s usually the first thing people do, they focus on those two things. And then they’re going to find that doesn’t resolve their situation and they’re going to hopefully start looking for broader answers.”

She continued, elaborating on where to find those answers: “Bringing in experts, listening to them, really grappling with this problem, thinking hard about it differently. I know these sound sort of vague and fuzzy, but if you can’t think differently about this problem, it’s never going to go away.”

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