Ann Landers, who writes the advice column said: "I've been in the newspaper business for 25 years. I've never been sexually harassed. And I'm disappointed."
There was a big laugh from the large crowd at the afternoon session of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, indicating that the embargo on a sense of humor when dealing with "Sex, Sexism and the Sexes," as this panel discussion was called, has been lifted.
In a meeting that once could have been heated, Landers, flanked by columnist Ellen Goodman and Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, discussed the problems of marriage, children, sexual harassment and corporate responsibility both in and out of the newspaper business.
Said Goodman: "After 10 years, we get treated just like men. This is bad news. We haven't changed the way institutions treat men."
Quinn, who is married to Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive editor of this newspaper, listed a variety of problems that greet couples who work for the same newspaper. Overall, however, "it's an overwhelming plus," she said.
Questions from the crowd dealt with day-care centers, newsroom stress and night assignments conflicting with family responsibilities. Landers made her joke about harassment in response to a question about a recent statement by anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly that harassment is not a problem for a virtuous woman.