Current Issue Summary

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2018

After the Takedowns, What’s Next?

The explosion of accusations of sexual harassment and assault have had the effect of shortening the careers of a number of men prominent in media, industry, and the arts.  Whether these are career-ending events – as they have been for some accusers – remains to be seen.

So what’s next, now that the dirty secret of inappropriate professional behavior, or much worse, is now part of the national conversation?  Will we see meaningful, long-lasting change?  More swift and sensitive corporate responses to troubling behavior?  Better protection for accusers?

This analysis explores all the variables involved in getting us to a better place: hiring better men; bringing “the whisper campaign” out into the open; empowering HR departments; rebalancing risk-reward ratios of filing a complaint; fixing the entrenched pay gap; changing the frat house office environment; and dealing with backlash.

‘Power Shift’ Summit Considers Harassment in Media, Challenge of Reporting

The Newseum Institute in Washington convened a gathering January 10 of journalists, activists, scholars, lawyers and others eager to find solutions to sexual harassment by media professionals, and to also hear from journalists who have exposed transgressions with the help of victims who have stepped forward.

Clips from the day-long panels and discussions at the Power Shift Summit are available at http://www.newseum.org/2018/01/10/the-power-shift-summit-is-over-but-the-work-is-not/.  A written report is forthcoming.

Especially compelling was a discussion among journalists who wrote about errant media executives and the women who agreed to tell their stories about them.  Among the sensitivities is the necessary reliance on anonymous sources and the public’s skepticism about them – the asymmetry of the person accused of wrongdoing being identified and the concealment, in many cases, of the accuser’s identity. The discussion, by panelists and members of the audience, is first-rate, putting listeners in the shoes of reporters trying to get sources to go on the record and the negotiations with those who understandably felt it was too great a risk – and appreciating the guts of those who decided they would go public.

Newsmaking About Abortion: Fraught Inside and Outside the Newsroom

While previous research has examined the content of news on abortion, this analysis by Gretchen Sisson, Stephanie Herold, and Katie Woodruff explored the process of newsmaking on abortion, examining how journalists understand their role in and experience of covering abortion.

They recruited journalists with experience reporting on abortion through listservs for progressive and feminist reporters. Thirty-one participants, with experiences at 75 diverse media outlets, completed in-depth, open-ended interviews. The difficulties journalists described when reporting on abortion were often rooted in abortion stigma and the political polarization around the issue. This pattern was true even for reporters who worked to counter abortion stigma through their reporting. Their research article appeared in Contraception, http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(17)30401-8/fulltext

Research in Depth Trolling in Trump’s Twitterverse: The “Woman Card” as Enthymeme by Joan Faber McAlister

Research in DepthBeauty Ideals and Media: Constructing the Ideal Image for Nigerian Women through Music Videos by Aje-Ori Agbese

CommentWomen Journos: Rising in Reputation But Not Everywhere by Sheila Gibbons

Plus Book Reviews and News Briefs!

Media Report to Women has hard copies of back issues dating to its founding in 1972 and PDFs from more recent years. Indispensable for research!