The #MeToo movement has found its way into the halls of the NAB Show. And show organizers say now is the time.
A group of five speakers will explore the issue during today’s Main Stage session “Media Creation & Coverage in Today’s Evolving Industry.”
“We are planning a candid conversation around how our panelists—who work in many different arenas across the TV and media landscape—see the evolution of our business culture,” said Melissa Grego, CEO of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society, who will moderate the panel.
The reality is that the movement has shaped social dialogue across myriad aspects of society. It’s begun to change conversations in media companies, big and small. It’s begun to change the way those media companies go about covering the #MeToo issue itself.
A report released in 2018 by the Women’s Media Center found a significant change in the way media cover stories about women and harassment: articles on sexual assault are up more than 50 percent, with coverage working to dismantle the longstanding assumption that women should somehow be faulted for inciting their own sexual harassment.
The study also found that the #MeToo movement has amplified other key issues that affect women, from reproductive health to wage inequality.
Media coverage offers an “opportunity for a new transparency and permanent changes aimed at greater equality and power for women,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, when the report was issued.
During the session, Grego will lead discussion about how the #MeToo conversation will be a launchpad for a larger discussion on diversity, inclusion, equal rights and culture in Hollywood. Show organizers felt it was vital to include those conversations this year.
“Given the timeliness of the #MeToo movement and the cultural change that is occurring in the entertainment industry, we felt we would be doing a disservice to our production and content creator communities if this wasn’t addressed in some capacity on the Main Stage,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president of Conventions & Business Operations for NAB. “This is an incredibly important subject.”
Grego said the group may dive into the impact of what gets reported, how much has yet to be revealed, the stakes for all involved, the potential for redemption and change, and what happens next for those directly involved in harassment or discrimination cases.
Beyond news reporting, the #MeToo movement has also attempted to shift media company cultures as those organizations grapple with how to bring about transformation from within.
As moderator, Grego plans to incorporate discussion of the impact of the news reports — including initial ones about Harvey Weinstein and subsequent reports — with the panel, which includes Shalini GovilPai, the general manager and senior director of Android TV at Google; Gloria Calderon Kellett, an creator, showrunner and executive producer on the Netflix show “One Day at a Time”; Melanie McFarland, TV critic with Salon.com; and Sheila Smith, director of photography and a Steadicam operator.
The session will attempt to unpack this unique moment, discuss what’s fair in reporting on television and media, and what efforts are being made to change today’s culture in Hollywood by promoting inclusion, diversity and equal opportunities.
The session is being produced in partnership with Hollywood Radio & TV Society.