Current And Former Journalist Create Organization To Protect Women From Harassment And Improve Workplace Culture In Newsrooms
WASHINGTON - A group of current and former TV journalists have created a bold initiative called “Press Forward,” an independent and nonpartisan effort to stop sexual harassment and assault in local and national newsrooms, ensure safe working environments for women and men and create positive culture change in media.
Press Forward was formed by a group of women who have been victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault by prominent and powerful male TV journalists during the #MeToo movement that swept society. As multiple accusations about Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and other powerful journalists have surfaced, the founders of Press Forward have come together to find solutions to prevent harassment and assault, protect journalists and create respectful newsroom environments.
“Our goal is to create a safe and fair working environment for women and men, where we can all do our best work. This is for all of us – our colleagues in the news business, the future journalists to come and, foremost, the readers and viewers we serve,” said Lara Setrakian, a cofounder of Press Forward and the CEO of News Deeply, a digital media company.
“This is for our daughters – so they can enter their careers with the level playing field we thought we had when we went to work. The movements #MeToo and #SilenceBreakers are a call to change the status quo,” said fellow cofounder Dianna Pierce Burgess, a former ABC News producer and currently a communications executive in London.
Press Forward plans to analyze, study and report on best practices and drive a range of ideas about how to create a better working environment. The group will ultimately publish a blueprint with guidance for national and local media organizations. As an independent initiative, Press Forward is in a unique position to provide an unbiased, all-encompassing report, with recommendations for future newsrooms and corporate work environments. Press Forward also seeks to educate journalists about their rights and responsibilities, filling a vacuum that has long been needed in the media industry.
Press Forward is being incubated as a component fund within the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
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Press Forward is an independent group of current and former journalists committed to designing a better way forward for the news industry. This is a pivotal moment in time, a moment for us to redefine not only how we address sexual harassment in the workplace, but also how we build stronger and healthier working cultures. The old way of doing things has hurt our colleagues, impaired our news organizations and hampered our ability to serve the public.