Working in the #MeToo Era

Journalism graduate (2005) Carolyn McGourty Supple joined two accomplished journalists and activists on March 5 for Working in the #MeToo Era, a department event designed to address the issues women face in the media workplace.

Carolyn McGourty Supple presenting at Cal Poly
Carolyn McGourty Supple

Since graduating Cal Poly, McGourty Supple went on to work for ABC News, earn an master’s degree from Harvard, and co-found the Press Forward, a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative that strives to create equitable and civil newsrooms through training and research.

Joining her were Julia Wallace, the Frank Russel Chair in the Business of Journalism at Arizona State University, former editor in chief of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and co-author of “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms”; and Alicia Shepard, journalist and author, former NPR Ombusdman and Journalist in Residence at Cal Poly.

In her presentation, McGourty Supple told students her own journey in journalism led to the formation of Press Forward.

“Journalists are supposed to serve the public,” she said “and it wouldn’t make sense to have journalists holding the powerful to account but be abusing their power behind the scenes.”

Wallace was inspired by the many women she knew who were breaking barriers while excelling in media organizations. Her book follows four decades of remarkable women, many of whom started out as fact checkers and news secretaries only to become the movers and the shakers of modern media.

“These women teach us lessons about boldy navigating male-dominated organizations,” Wallace said.

Julia Wallace presenting at Cal Poly
Julia Wallace

During her session, Shepard led students through various scenarios to help them respond to possible workplace harassment. She was using materials prepared by Power Shift, a Freedom Forum initiative that promotes workplace integrity on behalf of women in the news industry.

Wallace hopes that readers will read this and ask ‘what can I do today that will make the next generation better by remembering the sacrifices these women made’. Ten years from now, Wallace wants there to be a much better conversation and awareness around harassment especially post #MeToo.

“While these efforts resonate with women,” Wallace said, “it’s not until men are a part of solving these issues and understanding equity that things will start to be resolved.”

by Monique Ejenuko

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