ASU launches ‘Women, the Media and the Workplace’ speaker series

Friday, January 12, 2018

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has created a new speaker series focusing on the critical workplace issues impacting women in the media.

The four-part series, “Women, the Media and the Workplace,” features leading female journalists from ESPN, NBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, along with leaders and experts across the profession. Topics include how to handle sexual harassment in the workplace as well as how women and men can change the culture that allows sexual misconduct to happen.

The first talk, scheduled for Jan. 16, features Rebecca Corbett of The New York Times, Stephanie McCrummen of The Washington Post and Olivia Messer of The Daily Beast on their reporting of the national scandals that include Alabama politician Roy Moore, film producer Harvey Weinstein and others.

“Women, the Media and the Workplace” was developed by Julia Wallace, the Cronkite School’s Frank Russell Chair, who was a top media executive and the first female editor-in-chief of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Our students will be the future leaders of the media,” Wallace said. “These in-depth conversations about gender will better prepare them so they can lead the charge in ensuring workplace safety and equity in newsrooms and more.”

According to Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan, the speaker series was the result of ongoing conversations over the past several months with students and faculty on how to provide students with the information and resources needed to be safe in the workplace.

The series comes amidst numerous reports of sexual misconduct in the media, entertainment, political and corporate worlds. In November, the Cronkite School rescinded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism given to Charlie Rose in 2015 following detailed reports of sexual harassment by Rose.

“We owe a commitment to the young women and men in our school to provide them with the knowledge to help them make a positive impact on our profession,” Callahan said. “We look forward to these powerful talks from a remarkable lineup of speakers.”

The “Women, the Media and the Workplace” talks are open to the public and start at 7 p.m. in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. The complete schedule is below.

“Women, the Media and the Workplace” Schedule

Jan. 16: “Sexual Harassment: What It Took for Journalists to Break This Story”

A talk on how leading journalists uncovered and reported on the recent sexual harassment scandals. Panelists include:

• Rebecca Corbett, assistant managing editor at the New York Times, who edited the Harvey Weinstein story
• Stephanie McCrummen, the national reporter at the Washington Post, who broke the story on Roy Moore, the U.S. Senate candidate accused of assaulting young women
• Olivia Messer, reporter for the Daily Beast, who exposed sexual harassment at the Texas Legislature in 2013 for The Texas Observer, one year after graduating from college

Feb. 27: “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What to Do When You Encounter It?”

Advice for people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace and for the women and men that hear about it. Panelists include:

• David J. Bodney, partner in the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP, who has extensive experience working with newsrooms on sexual harassment and hostile work environments
• Melissa Forbes, vice president of public relations at LaneTerralever in Phoenix, who says just because you’re entering the heavily-female PR world, don’t think you won’t face sexual harassment
• Mi-Ai Parrish, the Sue Clark-Johnson Professor in Media Innovation and Leadership, who exposed a state legislator’s inappropriate comment to her while she was publisher of The Arizona Republic
• Sarah Spain, a reporter, columnist and radio host at ESPN, who took on vicious sexist trolls in an award-winning video “More than Mean”

March 20: “What Women and Men Can Do to Change the Culture that Allows Sexual Harassment”

A discussion on how to change the culture that fosters sexual harassment and the tough challenges for media. Panelists include:

• Anita Helt, the general manager of ABC 15, who leads the highly-rated ABC affiliate in Phoenix
• Retha Hill, director of the New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, who has written about the challenges African-American women face
• Lara Setrakian, CEO and co-founder of News Deeply, who as one of the accusers of political commentator Mark Halperin wrote about the need to change the way TV news views and treats women
• Chrys Wu, a media tech innovator, who is the product strategist for Matchstrike and co-founder of Write/Speak/Code, a conference for women developers

April 10: “Beyond Sexual Harassment: What It Takes for Women to Succeed in Media Today”

A discussion of important issues, such as pay equity, balancing life at work and home, and making sure you’re taken seriously in the workplace. Panelists include:

• Karen Bordeleau, former senior vice president and executive editor of The Providence Journal, who was named one of the most powerful women in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly
• Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean at Cronkite and longtime newspaper editor, who is working on a book on women leaders in journalism
• Rashida Jones, senior vice president for specials at NBC and MSNBC, who has quickly moved through the ranks at one of the country’s top news organizations
• Jennifer Kaplan, owner of Evolve PR and Marketing, who says focusing on relationships is the key to success
• Mike Wong, director of career services at Cronkite, who places and tracks the school’s alumni