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The Late Edition: The harassment in the newsroom

Posted by: | November 25, 2011 | No Comment |

Let me take you back to a time when news was not instantaneous. When news was spread by paperboys on street corners and families would learn of the happenings of the world from a piece of paper in the morning and a television set at night.

Life in the 1960’s in America, during the height of the newspaper industry, was an exciting time.

Bob Greene, who spent his early journalism career at the Columbus Citizen-Journal and Columbus Dispatch, reminisces on the wonder years of the American newspaper industry in his memoir, The Late Edition: A Love Story. In his recounts, Greene tells of working as a copyboy for the local newspaper, with high accord:

“All that sound, all that excitement, the motion, the raised voices, the clatter, the sense of something being put together on the fly. I had never seen anything like it. I was in love. I had to be there.”

In an interview with NPR, Greene spoke about life at the Columbus Citizen-Journal and how the experience was instrumental in forming his later career in journalism. His infatuation with the paper was inspiring and inciting.

With all the points of interest that Greene speaks about, I found myself drawn to one more than the others: the treatment of women in the workplace.

I knew of the gender inequalities from shows like Mad Men and from watching movies set in the same time period but in reading the first hand accounts, it struck a different chord and made it more personal.

Greene recounted the struggle that women had working in a male dominant environment. Women were not treated equally as men and had to deal with obscene mistreatment in the form of howling and whistling whenever a woman would walk in. Greene said:

“It was how the men there reacted to women—apparently it was a tradition. I would hear in later years from women who worked at newspapers around the country, that they

had endured it, too. It’s somewhat astonishing, to recall it now: a time when a young woman coming to work each day at a newspaper knew that, on certain floors, this was what would await her.”

What was interesting to me was women would receive this treatment up until at

least the late-80’s and early-90’s. I was reading, Those Guys Have All the Fun, and came across the same abuse.

At ESPN, women were and even to this day are victims of sexual harassment. In the late-80’s, anchor Karie Ross made a stand against the mistreatment. She saw that many of the young female anchors and interns were being sexually harassed and taken advantage of.

In a board meeting with administrators in attendance, Ross spoke out:
“Look, this behavior has got to stop. This is crazy. You guys can’t be doing this. Guys, you must stop sexually harassing these women. Don’t be trading edit time for a date. Quit making all the lewd comments. Just let us work in peace.”
Her bravery would bring the issue to light and would cause administrators to crack down on the abuse that was taking place within their offices.
It’s truly sickening that acts like these occur on a daily basis and those involved are not reprimanded accordingly. With scandals of sexual abuse and misconduct occurring seemingly everyday, it can be disheartening to many. But, when someone is put in a position where they feel uncomfortable and no one does anything, it is more of a tragedy.
The Late Edition was an interesting read, however, I found myself honing my attention to the aspect of sexual harassment throughout instead of other themes.

 

 

 

under: Local news, newspapers, Uncategorized
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