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“Just a little bit of cheeky ribaldry”? Newsroom discourses of sexually harassing behaviour
journal contributionposted on 2007-03-01, 00:00 authored by Louise North
This paper is concerned with how Australian print news media journalists, male and female, remember, talk about, experience, acknowledge, condemn, and/or deny sexually harassing behaviour in the newsroom. A total of seventeen in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight male and nine female journalists in late 2003 and early 2004. The interviewees ranged in age from 19 to 56 and differed in levels of industry experience. The interviews were not set up to specifically discuss sexually harassing behaviour in the newsroom; however it was a theme that arose in seven of the interviews about newsroom culture, my broader PhD project. The female interviewees make clear their encounters are constant reminders of how their bodies do not "fit" and/or where and how they do fit in this occupation. This is the case, even though some women do not use the term "sexual harassment" to describe the behaviour that clearly constitutes it under Australian government legislation. The two male journalists interviewed who mentioned harassment talk about it in defence of accepted office behaviour, or in passing about procedural business policy. The use of the term "sexual harassment," or lack of its use, also tells us about the place of feminism and/or feminist inspired government legislation in journalism's occupational culture. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.