USA Today Column

There aren't many 'Stranger Things' than what women put up with in the newsroom

By Julia Wallace and Kristin Grady Gilger

Our daughters wanted to know: “Were newsrooms really like that in the 1980s?”

They had binged on Season 3 of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” and they thought one of the strangest things of all was the way the all-male editors treated intern Nancy Wheeler.

As an earnest Wheeler flutters about the newsroom trying to fit in, the editors make sexist jokes, call her Nancy Drew, turn down her obviously good story suggestions and complain when a sandwich she delivers doesn’t have mustard on it.

Yes, women put up with a lot back in the 1980s. They still do.

Over the past two years, we have interviewed nearly 100 women who made it into leadership roles in newspapers, broadcast and digital news outlets since about the 1980s. Their stories are funny and sad and hair-raising — often at the same time. MORE