Reporting the Gender Reckoning
In October last year, the New York Times published the first story alleging decades of sexual misconduct from Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein.
As more allegations arise – against Weinstein and others; inside and outside of Hollywood – the Times continues to play a crucial role in the evolving #metoo movement. But what were the barriers, in the media and in the broader culture, that enabled these abuses of power to go unchecked for so long?
The Times have launched a new Gender Initiative, headed by Francesca Donner, in an effort to address these barriers. The initiative is dedicated to broad and innovative global coverage of gender-related issues – including sexuality, identity, workplace rights and gender equity.
How can new media tools and techniques enable better reporting on abuses of power? What standards from traditional reporting do we need to hold onto in this extraordinary moment? How can Australian journalists translate these lessons to the local context? In conversation with Sophie Black, Francesca Donner and Matilda Dixon-Smith discuss failure, achievement and ambition in reporting gender today.
Presented with the New York Times.
‘Women have many reasons to be wary, depressed or downright terri ed of the internet. No guaranteed safe space exists for a woman online. Especially a lippy one. And yet ... as a tool for social change, the internet, to the extent that we can still refer to it as a single entity, still offers immense possibilities.’
Sophie Black is head of publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the national to writers scheme The Next Chapter, the multi-award-winning podcast, The Messenger, and the ABC RN program, Talkfest. Previously she was editor-in-chief at Private Media, where she headed up titles such as Crikey, Women’s Agenda, Daily Review and SmartCompany. In 2013, she delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as Director. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and the human rights publication Right Now.
Francesca Donner is director of the newly-launched Gender Initiative at the New York Times. In its first few months, the Gender Initiative has focused – and continues to focus – on the sexual harassment scandals breaking across the world, launching The #MeToo Moment newsletter, in response to the recent waves of news. Francesca is responsible for setting and executing the strategic vision of the Gender Initiative.
Matilda Dixon-Smith is a writer, editor and cultural critic from Melbourne. Her work appears regularly in the Guardian, Fairfax, Crikey, SBS, Vice, ABC Online, Kill Your Darlings, the New Daily and other outlets.