January 12, 2020

She Said

Here at home, we subscribe to a few newspapers and magazines, but I often feel like it isn’t enough.

Book cover of She SaidThe truth is that good journalism costs money, and that’s not something we think of very often. It’s easy to read an article online and forget about the immense amount of work that went into writing that piece, and because of that ease, I know I’m guilty of not always giving journalism its due.

She Said, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s recounting of how they broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, is striking and sobering because of the subject matter of the book, and also because of just how seminal their reporting was to launch a movement. It is especially poignant, however, as an exposé on how journalism actually works, and how much time, effort, and frustration goes into reporting a story of this magnitude.

The book—simple, direct, detailed, and weighty—can be hard to read because the subject matter is so horrific. It is, however, important to read because of the truth it unveils:

The United States had a system for muting sexual harassment claims, which often enabled the harassers instead of stopping them. Women routinely signed away the right to talk about their own experiences. Harassers often continued onward, finding fresh ground on which to commit the same offenses. The settlements and confidentiality agreements were almost never examined in law school classrooms or open court. This was why the public had never really understood that this was happening. Even those in the room with long histories of covering gender issues had never fully registered what was going on.

Because of the reporting done by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, that system that kept harassment hidden came to light. Because of their journalism, and the incredible journalistic work done by people all around them, we are able to take action on some of these hideous abuses.

She Said reminds us all that journalism is an important, worthwhile endeavour that can change the world. And that we all need to do more to support that work.

I’m off to subscribe to a few more news magazines, now.

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