Resources for combating sexual harassment in the newsroom

The Society of Professional Journalists has compiled the following resources in light of the increasing sexual misconduct allegations against high-profile male journalists. These are for journalists everywhere, but especially for those being harassed, those whose employers don’t provide employee training or those colleagues who know harassment is taking place but aren’t sure what to do about it.


Demand, insist, urge and establish: Four steps for a healthier newsroom culture

SPJ National President Rebecca Baker advises journalists to:

  1. DEMAND your newsroom, no matter its size, has a sexual harassment policy on the books.
  2. INSIST the sexual harassment policy be read by every employee and acknowledged in writing.
  3. URGE your human resources department or newsroom leaders to host annual sexual harassment training for all employees.
  4. ESTABLISH a peer-support network of employees, outside the chain of command, that can be a go-to place for victims of sexual misconduct. Make sure they are trained to bring reports of sexual misconduct to those who might be able to make it stop.

Politico reports media outlets are looking at their newsroom cultures and setting up hotlines and new training procedures in response to the wave of sexual harassment claims. Women who say they were sexually harassed or mistreated by powerful men in television news have formed a support network aimed at changing newsroom culture, according to the Associated Press.

SPJ Ethics Committee Chair Andrew Seaman writes that the SPJ Code of Ethics says journalists should “abide by the same high standards they expect of others.” The Code also calls on journalists to “expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.” SPJ Ethics Committee Member Alex Veeneman says news organizations should be transparent when investigating and reprimanding employees who have been found guilty of harassment.

The American Association of University Women offers these excellent guides for employees, employers and colleagues, and an FAQ about Title VII and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission process.

The EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace recently launched a training program for employers. Sign up to be notifiedwhen there is a training in your area.

The New York Times shared evidence-based ideas for how to create a workplace culture that rejects harassment.

Learn more about what sexual harassment is and what you can do to help Press Forward change the culture in newsrooms.

Questions? Contact SPJ at (317) 927-8000 or ethics@spj.org.

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