Now we are seeing a new generation of women pursuing professional goals. She draws upon the strength of those who have sacrificed for her to have better opportunities. In turn, she learns not to succumb to intimidating tactics meant to steer her off course. Instead, she measures her leap over them.
On Sept. 12, Jeff Fager was fired from his longtime as the executive producer of the prestigious Peabody and Emmy Award-winning CBS program “60 Minutes.”
CBS News President David Rhodes stated Fager violated company policy. More specifically, CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reached out to Fager for his response to allegations that he had groped or touched CBS employees at company parties. Admitting that his language was harsh, he responded by texting her, which she took as a threat. Others agreed.
Picture it. Fager, a 63-year-old man, was the former Chairman of CBS News who joined CBS News the year before Duncan was born. He maintained his power position after allegations were made against him by former and current CBS employees in July.
As his text read: “Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me, and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up, that will become a serious problem.”
She had no reason to doubt him.
More times than people want to acknowledge, oppressed women and men attempt to stand up against the injustices done to them but are silenced by one mechanism or another. It is in that space of being unheard where inaccurate conclusions are drawn. People assume that “all is well” when in fact sickness becomes contagious.
Duncan, at the age of 35, would not be silenced. Her job was that of investigative reporting. She understood that her role served a bigger purpose. Bravely, she stood against intimidation and change happened.
She began her career in TV journalism in 2005 at WETM-TV in Elmira, N.Y., where she worked as an anchor and reporter. In 2007, she received a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for “Best Spot News Coverage.”
In 2008, Duncan received a local Emmy Award in the “Best Morning Show” category for her winter storm coverage. Her coverage of a plane crash near Buffalo that killed 50 people contributed to the station winning two national Edward M. Murrow Awards in 2009.
Duncan then spent three years at KYW-TV, a CBS-owned station in Philadelphia. There, she earned fame and respect from the Associated Press for a series of reports on disabled adults who were held captive in a social security scam.
She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work, and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists honored her in 2012 by giving her the Journalist of the Year Award. She joined the news services at CBS News in 2013.
A force in her own right, Fager had failed to see Duncan as a respected colleague. If the allegations against him are true, this would not have been the first time he had made this error regarding a co-worker. Sadly, Fager represents too many.
Oftentimes, there are people positioned to support her if she shares her experience. As he stated, “There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me.” Think for a minute of those harmed trying to keep their jobs.
Duncan’s courageous example means more than she may know. All she wanted to do was her job. Even in the face of intimidation, she did it well.