The media today: The ‘Weinstein effect’ goes global

In the four weeks since Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the Harvey Weinstein story open, the impact of their reporting has rippled around the world. Last week, I wrote about the reverberations from that initial October 5 story on news organizations in the US; Yesterday, two of my colleagues expanded the map.

CJR’s Jon Allsop and Karen K. Ho analyzed coverage and spoke to journalists in 11 countries in a preliminary attempt to gauge the impact of the “Weinstein effect” in newsrooms around the globe. They found several instances in which “powerful men in media have been named by women driven to speak out either by coverage of the Weinstein allegations or by one of the powerful social media campaigns—like #MeToo—that followed it.” But in other areas, conversations about sexual harassment and abuse are still taking place behind closed doors and in private digital forums.

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In the UK, for example, a frequent contributor to Vice and The Atlantic, a columnist at GQ, and a sports presenter at the BBC have been either fired or suspended as a result of allegations that surfaced over the past month. For journalists in some countries, however, accountability for workplace misconduct and sexual harassment remains elusive. “We’ve been having these conversations for years and nothing comes of it,” South African freelancer Shandukani Mulaudzi told Allsop and Ho.

Back in the US, the latest development in the Weinstein fallout is the resignation of Michael Oreskes, NPR’s top editor, in the face of mounting harassment allegations. Oreskes, who is also a CJR board member, apologized for his behavior, saying he takes “full responsibility.” In an exemplary example of reporting on your own company, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly pressed CEO Jarl Mohn about the organization’s response to complaints about Oreskes’s behavior, questioning whether allegations had been taken seriously enough when they were reported. NPR media reporter David Folkenflik also did admirable work on a difficult story.

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While Mohn claimed that NPR had taken all allegations of misconduct seriously, there were reports of newsroom dissatisfaction with the company’s response. CNN’s Brian Stelter spoke with nine NPR staffers who “believe Mohn did not take the Oreskes harassment accusations seriously enough.” The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, who initially reported on allegations against Oreskes, followed up with a story about anger in the NPR newsroom over the perception that management knew about allegations against Oreskes but didn’t act until those reports were made public.

Below, more on the “Weinstein effect” in the US and around the world.

 

Other notable stories

  • The New York Times’s Mike Isaac reports from DC on the harsh message that lawmakers sent to Facebook at the same time the tech giant was reporting another set of blockbuster financial results.
  • Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo looks at the pro-Trump drift of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. The paper’s op-ed section has been at odds with reporting from the news side in the past, but a former Journal editor told Pompeo that recent attacks against Special Counsel Robert Mueller represent “a different level of crazy.
  • WWD’s Alexandra Steigrad reports that Condé Nast will close Teen Vogue as part of a move to cut 80 jobs and lower publication frequency at several titles.
  • For a “failing” newspaper, The New York Times sure seems to matter to the president. Trump called the paper’s Maggie Haberman yesterday to refute reports that he was angry over Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
  • Recode’s Edmund Lee and Rani Molla report on positive financial results for The New York Times, including a 30 percent jump in digital revenue from subscriptions and online advertising.
  • The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple takes on Tucker Carlson: “master of misdirection.”

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Pete Vernon is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.