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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.

• The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma produced Let's Talk: Personal Boundaries, Safety and Women in Journalism, a 12-minute video designed as a newsroom conversation starter. It features interviews with nine leading journalists about their own experiences and best practices.

• The Dart Center also published this tip sheet about maintaining boundaries with sources, colleagues and supervisors.

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 notified when there is a training in your area.

• The Newseum released a report, “The Power Shift Summit Report: Ending Silence and Changing Systems in the Media Industry,” that identifies seven key Power Shift Principles, lessons learned from the summit about workplace imbalances that protect the powerful and intimidate and silence others, especially young women. (Press release)

• 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.

• For more than 40 years, The National Women’s Law Center has championed for policies and laws that help women and girls achieve their potential throughout their lives — at school, at work, at home, and in their communities.

TIME’S UP is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, the movement envisions nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.

The Personal Injury of Workplace Bullying: With so many people working so hard, it is easy to see why so many Americans complain of stress. What is impossible to understand is why so many American workers are also subjected to workplace bullying and personal injury.

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

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