WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Sexual Harassment in the Newsroom

Dec 12, 2017

Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and Mark Halperin are among the journalists who've lost their jobs after being accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace (such allegations have also affected the NPR newsroom).  The Shop Talk panelists discuss the issue during this week's program.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said she’s glad women are feeling comfortable enough to speak out about a problem that’s existed for a long time. She hopes the stories they share lead to long overdue changes in the news industry, which she said is still dominated by men.

Crighton said she’s experienced sexual harassment on the job, especially at places where she was the only woman in the newsroom.

Crighton found it ironic that Lauer recently interviewed Bill O’Reilly, who lost his job this year amid sexual harassment complaints. She said Lauer asked O’Reilly questions that he could have been asking himself.

Panelist Will Buss said allegations of sexual harassment in the newsrooms needed to come out and he praised the brave women who’ve come forward with their stories. 

Buss said every newsroom he’s worked in required employees to take annual sexual harassment training.  He wondered whether the big-name journalists who’ve been fired ever received training – or if they paid attention during such training.

Buss, Crighton, and panelist Rich Egger are currently employed by Western Illinois University, which requires workers to complete sexual harassment training every year.  Crighton and Egger said they were never asked to take the training while working in commercial broadcast news. 

Egger said the cases involving Lauer, Rose, and Halperin are all examples of abuse of power.  But he added sexual harassment can also involve those who are not in positions of power.

Egger wondered if the developments of the past few months have their roots in the women’s marches held around the nation the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who’s also been the subject of sexual assault and harassment complaints.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.