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How To Practice Sensitivity When Newsrooms Cover (And Experience) Sexual Harassment And Assault

Laurent Cipriani
Women talk during a debate as part of a demonstration to support waves of testimonies denouncing cases of sexual harsassment on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Women are protesting under the #metoo banner in the wake of mounting allegations against powerful men.


The Washington Post reported this week that two women made claims against NPR's senior vice president of news Michael Oreskes regarding nefarious actions he took nearly two decades ago while at a previous job with the New York Times. Since then, more allegations and six other accounts have come to light. Oreskes resigned, but NPR CEO Jarl Mohn told staffers on Thursday that he let them down by not acting sooner. 

NPR is not alone. From filmmakers Harvey Weinstein and James Toback to celebrity chef John Besh and actor Kevin Spacey, the picture is becoming clear: men in positions of power sometimes take advantage of women. 

Here in Pittsburgh, journalists and city council members are working  to bring the city’s attention to the safety of people here. Outgoing City Council Member Natalia Rudiak introduced legislation that created a Gender Equity Commission to conduct the city's first intersectional gender analysis. Meanwhile, local and regional journalists are turning the spotlight on the Pittsburgh restaurant industry, one of the city’s largest job providers, and the state of Pennsylvania's capitol, asking what it means to be vulnerable in the workplace.

Joining the program are The Incline’s MJ Slaby, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Melissa McCart and freelance writer Kim Lyons.

90.5 WESA's Megan Harris and Virginia Alvino Young also join with Angela Couloumbis regarding her experiences covering the state capitol for The Philadelphia Inquirer and NPR media critic David Folkenflik.


Later in the show:


Pennsylvania's opioid-related deaths jumped by 37 percent last year from 2015, and they don’t seem to be slowing down. As big drug busts continue, state attorneys general, including the commonwealth's Josh Shapiro, are filing lawsuits against drug makers and distributors. Counties, too, are joining the fight.
Talking about whether progress is being made are Susan Baldridge, an investigative reporter for LNP Media in Lancaster, and Kirstin Kennedy, crime reporter for the Beaver County Times. Reporter Rich Lord also joins to discuss his latest Post-Gazette series examining the opioid crisis in Pittsburgh's fifth-largest neighborhood, Carrick. 

And finally:


Gov. Tom Wolf signed most of the revenue bills needed to balance the state’s $32 billion budget on Monday after almost four months of negotiations. The plan relies almost entirely on borrowing and internal transfers to erase a previous $2 billion shortfall, and its current version legalizes online gambling with another $1.5 billion borrowed against the state’s Tobacco Settlement Fund.


The Post-Gazette's Liz Navratil explains the new budget plan and what it could mean for next year.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

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