It is late December, 1969. We are in the Editorial Department of a fictional national news magazine called News of the Week. The news coming across the teletype machines is reporting the outbreak of violence at a free concert held at Altamont, CA. Four people would die and scores were injured. We may not have realized it at the time, but the 1960’s were not going out on a high note.
So begins the Amazon Original Series called Good Girls Revolt. Actually, the opening credits feature video and still images of New York in the late 1960’s. The Rolling Stones song Gimme Shelter was the accompanying music.
Managing Editor Wick McFadden (Jim Belushi plays Wick) has just called the entire editorial staff into the room. He proceeds to read the lead paragraph of what was to be a cover story.
McFadden: This piece hit the bull’s-eye.
Researcher Nora Ephron steps forward: That was me…he did do a court story. I rewrote it.
McFadden: Girls do not do rewrites
Ephron: Why not?
McFadden: That’s simply how we do things here. We have rules, protocol…
Ephron: Those rules are dumb. If the copy is good, it’s good.
McFadden: Young lady. You might not want to make waves; lest we have doubts about our decision to hire you.
Ephron: But you just said my rewrite hit the bull’s-eye. That was your word..bull’s eye
McFadden noticing that every one in the room is listening intently…Why is is everyone standing around? Back to work. [Looking at Ephron] You too dear…
Ephron: This is ridiculous… I quit!
That was Grace Gummer as Nora Ephron.
And in that minute and four-second clip from Episode One, we have the substance of Good Girls Revolt. This was the sixties and while there were women in the workplace, at this magazine, the women weren’t reporters or editors – they were called Researchers. They assembled files of information for the reporters. They fetched coffee, made copies, did the filing, wrote captions for the photos, and the all the rest of the grunt work that went into creating a published piece in News of the Week Magazine. But the reporters, they were the ones that got the by-lines, the fame, and of course, the higher pay.
If you think that News of the Week might be a thinly disguised company name for Newsweek Magazine; You’d be right. You see, this dramatic series is based on a real story. Some 46 female employees of the magazine filed a complaint in 1970 with the EEOC charging the management with systemic discrimination against them in the practices of hiring and promotions.
This series is based on a non-fiction book by Lynn Povich called The Good Girls Revolt. Povich herself was one of the women who was a party to this historic lawsuit.
The case was handled by Eleanor Hughes Norton, here played by Joy Bryant. As stated above, the events of the series take place in December of 1969 through March 23rd of 1970.
It was on that day, that the formal complaint was filed with the EEOC, and a press conference was held at the ACLU headquarters in Manhattan.