NBC political analyst Mark Halperin was fired in October after numerous former ABC co-workers accused him of sexual harassment.
But that was just the beginning of the story.
Some of the accusers reached out to each other on Facebook and WhatsApp. The conversation merged into one centralized Facebook group. Then the women started to hold conference calls and met in person, discussing how to change the culture in newsrooms across the country.
We are “all united together,” Eleanor McManus told CNNMoney after one of the calls on November 21.
The group contacted some of Charlie Rose’s accusers after Rose was fired in late November by CBS and PBS.
As the #MeToo movement has grown, this support network has grown, too. Its private name was “The Silver Lining.”
Now it’s becoming public. A group of 15 women are forming a coalition called Press Forward. They announced it through interviews and an appearance on “Megyn Kelly Today” on Wednesday — the same day Time magazine gave its Person of the Year distinction to people who have come forward to report sexual misconduct.
McManus, who wrote a CNN.com op-ed in October about being harassed by Halperin, is helping lead the group.
“As current and former female journalists from ABC, NBC, CNN, and CBS we have come together through shared experiences and we have developed plan of action,” McManus told CNN on Wednesday.
“It’s time to move the needle forward and create a safe work environment for all women in the workplace, beginning with the newsroom,” she said. “This is about women finding their voices, and companies understanding the shameful power imbalance that has been in place way too long.”
Other participants in Press Forward include Lara Setrakian, who spoke to CNN’s Oliver Darcy about her experiences with Halperin, and Emily Miller.
Last week, when Matt Lauer was fired by NBC after an employee alleged sexual misconduct, Miller hinted at the effort in a tweet.
“I’m working with other victims to develop a plan to make real and lasting change,” Miller said. “We have a strong team of women lawyers, organizational consultants and of course reporters. We are working daily on this.”
Press Forward wants to elevate women in newsrooms and help stop abuse in the workplace.
Its mission statement reads: “We need to advance how news organizations protect their journalists from unprofessional and illegal behavior, and abuses of power. We need to create a culture where women journalists have a meritocratic chance to rise on their talents. Our newsrooms need to be a place where both men and women can do their best work.”
In the next six months, the group will produce what it calls a “detailed research study on what it takes to build a better news environment.”