Saturday, February 29, 2020

Gretchen Carlson: Fighting for the Right to Speak

Full Disclosure:   years ago, Gretchen Carlson and I worked in the same newsroom at WCPO in Cincinnati.

Every so often there's a cause that anyone concerned with basic human rights has to support.  Gretchen Carlson, the woman who successfully sued Roger Ailes and won a 20 million dollar settlement, is leading one such cause.

Gretchen cannot talk about what Roger Ailes did to her because she signed a non-disclosure agreement, an NDA.   She also could not sue Fox News because her contract included a mandatory arbitration clause, meaning she could not take Fox News to court.  Now, through her nonprofit Lift Our Voices, Gretchen is working to ban both.  Any reporter, actually any citizen, should ask their politicians if they support Gretchen in her cause.

Should women (and men) have a right to speak about being sexually harassed in the workplace?  Should they have the right to take an employer that tolerates sexual harassment in the workplace to court?   Because in broadcast newsroom after broadcast newsroom and in lots of other workplaces they don't have those rights.  They can't talk.  They can't sue.  Please, anyone who has a contract requiring mandatory arbitration, please email a copy to  Thank you.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Newsroom's Sacred Cow - College Athletics

The headlines across the country when it comes to higher education are dismally similar:  states are cutting budgets.  And in a state like Ohio, universities face a dwindling student population.   And it's the students' tuition, room and board that brings in the money.

At university after university there's one area that loses money big time, and it something reporters seldom question:  athletics.   Listen to economist Andrew Zimbalist, co-author of Unwinding Madness:  What Went Wrong With College Sports and How to Fix It, and an expert on the economics of college sports.    Only a handful of universities make money; most lose a bundle.   It's time reporters start questioning university presidents and the university's priorities.   Why do universities continue to promote a sport medical science has documented causes brain damage and that at most schools loses a lot of money in this age of record student debt?   Why aren't reporters asking the questions that need to be asked about college athletics?  When journalism fails, bad things happen.