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Guild Reporter
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Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

Law360 Editorial Staff Overwhelmingly Votes to Join NY Guild

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 3:33pm
StaffAugust 24, 2016The NewsGuild of New York

The vast majority of the Law360 editorial staff has voted to join the New York Guild, handily defeating management’s intense three-week campaign to block the union. In ballots counted at the city’s NLRB office Aug. 24, workers at the legal website voted 109-9 for the Guild. More than 130 reporters, editors, news assistants and apprentices across the United States will be represented. “Today’s result is a testament to the passionate efforts of Law360’s dedicated journalists,” said Sindhu Sundar, a Law360 features reporter. “We’re incredibly excited for this new chapter of our history.” Photo: Victorious Law360 staffers outside New York's NLRB office.

Featured Title: With 92% 'Yes' Vote, Law360 Editorial Staff Joins NY Guild

New York Guild Reviewing Judge's Ruling on Time Inc. Impasse

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:18am
StaffAugust 18, 2016The NewsGuild of New York

Guild attorneys are reviewing and considering an appeal of a decision by a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge who rejected claims that Time Inc. management committed several labor law violations, including unilaterally imposing work rules on Guild-represented employees. The case stems from management’s declaration in the fall of 2014 that contract negotiations had reached a legal impasse, which it claimed allowed it to impose its “last, best and final” offer on employees. The Guild challenged the move and was joined by the NLRB’s Manhattan regional office, which issued a complaint. “We disagree strongly with the ruling of the administrative law judge,” said New York NewsGuild President Peter Szekely. “Under the NLRB’s procedures, all such decisions are subject to review by the NLRB’s presidentially-appointed board in Washington.”

Sarasota Herald-Tribune Newsroom Takes Steps to Join Guild

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 12:09pm
StaffAugust 17, 2016The NewsGuild-CWA

 

SARASOTA, Florida — The newsroom staff of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sarasota Herald-Tribune took a major step today to form a union that will advocate for top-quality journalism and the interests of readers amid a changing newspaper industry.   "The Herald-Tribune newsroom takes pride in providing a voice for Sarasota and its neighbors," said Elizabeth Johnson, an investigative reporter and staff member for three years. "Negotiating a good contract will allow us to preserve and continue the quality journalism we've given our community for more than 90 years."   Reporters, photographers, copy editors and other employees in the Herald-Tribune newsroom signed cards stating their desire to be represented by The NewsGuild-CWA. The cards, filed today (Wednesday) at the Tampa regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, will trigger an NLRB-monitored election by Herald-Tribune staff members in the next 20 to 40 days.   If a majority of those voting support the Guild, the Sarasota newsroom will join the Lakeland Ledger as the only unionized newspaper newsrooms in Florida and the first to unionize in the Sunshine State in modern memory. The Ledger's newsroom staff voted 22-3 on Aug. 11 to form a NewsGuild-affiliated union. Since then, preparations have begun for negotiations to hammer out the Guild's first labor contract with the Polk County newspaper.   Both newspapers are owned by GateHouse Media, a company based in Pittsford, New York, that is one of the largest publishers of newspapers in the country. Both newspapers have endured significant cuts since their purchase in January 2015 by GateHouse, which is part of the publicly traded New Media  Investment Group.   The Sarasota newsroom's unionizing campaign comes after the loss of at least 16 employees through layoffs and other downsizing by GateHouse.     "We're making this move because we owe our community the kind of journalism that has earned the Herald-Tribune two Pulitzer prizes over the past five years," said Billy Cox, a Herald-Tribune reporter since 2006. "We have a newsroom environment that has supported 'impact journalism' for years, but our corporate culture fails to financially support the dedicated staff members who produce that work."   Cox noted that many members of the staff have gone without raises for more than eight years. Before being acquired by GateHouse, the Herald-Tribune was owned by The New York Times Co. and then by Halifax Media.    The Herald-Tribune was a Pulitzer finalist in 2008 and 2010. It won journalism's top award in 2011 for an investigation into the state of home insurance in Florida. The Herald-Tribune received the Pulitzer for investigative reporting this year for a collaborative series with the Tampa Bay Times on Florida's mental hospitals.   The Herald-Tribune has a daily circulation of 73,700 and a Sunday circulation of 94,800. The NewsGuild would represent about 40 people in the newsroom.   Tom Lyons, a columnist and staff member for 24 years, said the unionizing effort does not indicate dissatisfaction with local management. Workers' concerns focus on the paper's out-of-town corporate owner, he said.   "We have had a good relationship with local management," Lyons said. "We prize that relationship, and we have especially valued the leadership of our executive editor, Bill Church."   A mission statement drafted by supporters of the unionizing effort (see attachment) says workers "understand the Herald-Tribune is a business and want to do our part to make sure it remains successful, respectable and sustainable."   The statement adds: "We give our community a voice, and we deserve one, too. Journalism is honorable and worth fighting for. If we cannot stand up for ourselves, we certainly cannot stand up for anyone else. A good contract will let us do just that."

UMG Mourns Loss of Past Local President Robert Steinke

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:09am
Jeff GordonAugust 15, 2016United Media Guild

During his two decades at the helm of the St. Louis Newspaper Guild, Robert A. Steinke built one of the strongest and most enduring local unions in The NewsGuild. He represented workers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the St. Louis Labor Tribune, the St. Louis Review and KSDK-TV with distinction from 1968 until his retirement in 1988. Steinke died Aug. 10.

12 Guild Units Ratify Three-Year Contract with Digital First

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 9:43am
StaffAugust 15, 2016Digital First Media Workers

Twelve Guild bargaining units nationwide have ratified a tentative agreement with Digital First Media, culminating a seven-month campaign for the first pay increase in years. Under the new contract, workers will receive an across-the-board raise of 3 percent in the first year. In years two and three, leaders of the 12 bargaining units will bargain wage re-openers jointly with DFM management. Some employees hadn’t seen a raise in as long as ten years.

Featured Title: 12 Guild Units Ratify Three-Year Contract with Digital First

Lakeland Ledger Becomes First Florida Newsroom to Organize

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 7:39am
StaffAugust 12, 2016The NewsGuild-CWA    Lakeland Ledger journalists and Guild supporters Gary White, John Chambliss and Kevin Bouffard.    LAKELAND, Florida -- Journalists at The Lakeland Ledger voted overwhelmingly Thursday to form a union, becoming the only unionized newsroom staff in Florida.   The 22-3 vote by the staff of Polk County's daily newspaper means The NewsGuild will represent The Ledger's newsroom employees as they bargain their first labor contract with the paper's owner, GateHouse Media.   "Not only is Thursday's action a historic moment for journalism in Florida, I'm confident it is a positive step for The Ledger," said Gary White, a Ledger reporter for 14 years and a leader in the organizing drive.   "This landslide vote sends an unmistakable signal that employees demand to have a voice in critical decisions that will determine how The Ledger responds to the challenges of an industry in transition," White said.   Bernie Lunzer, president of the international TNG-CWA, said, ""This is a significant step by journalists in Lakeland to have a positive role in the future of their jobs and the news industry."   With a daily circulation of 45,900 and Sunday circulation of 61,000, The Ledger becomes the only paper in Florida, and the first in modern memory, to have a unionized newsroom. Thursday's election was administered by the National Labor Relations Board and required only a simple majority of those casting ballots for a union to be approved. Talks between the NewsGuild and GateHouse to hammer out a first contract for Ledger employees are expected to begin in a few months.   White and another Ledger reporter, John Chambliss, said it has been more challenging for The Ledger to serve readers since GateHouse acquired the paper in January 2015. Since then, at least 21 newsroom employees have been laid off, and at least six other unfilled positions have been eliminated. In addition, the paper's Winter Haven bureau, which produces stories for GateHouse's News Chief newspaper, has gone from four employees to one.   "Unionization introduces democracy into the workplace, giving the employee a voice in their working conditions," Chambliss said.   The Ledger also has struggled to retain experienced journalists when newsroom employees have gone more than eight years without pay raises.   "The hard-working and dedicated staff of the newsroom wants The Ledger to continue its important mission of informing Polk County residents," White said. "We welcome a new role in collaborating with the company to establish journalistic and financial success."   Chambliss, a 15-year veteran of The Ledger's reporting staff, said newsroom employees "look forward to working with GateHouse on a new contract."   He said the staff's interest in unionizing, expressed through 88 percent of workers voting to be represented by the Guild, "has nothing to do with our local leadership" and instead is focused on GateHouse.   GateHouse Media, based in Pittsford, New York, is one of the largest publishers of newspapers in the country. It is part of New Media Investment Group, a publicly traded company.   A mission statement drafted and signed by newsroom employees interested in affiliated with The NewsGuild, formerly known as The Newspaper Guild-CWA, says they "recognize that The Ledger is a business, and we want it to succeed. For that to happen, newsroom employees need a role in how The Ledger is operated. A good contract will give us that essential voice."  

Lakeland Ledger Journalists Overwhelmingly Vote to Join Guild

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 5:37pm
StaffAugust 11, 2016The NewsGuild-CWA  Journalists at The Lakeland Ledger voted overwhelmingly Thursday to form a union, becoming the first unionized newsroom staff in Florida.   The 22-3 vote by the staff of Polk County's daily newspaper means The NewsGuild-CWA will represent 25 Ledger employees as they bargain their first labor contract with The Ledger's owner, GateHouse Media. Ledger employees have not had a raise in eight years.   The Ledger, with a daily circulation of 45,900 and Sunday circulation of 61,000, becomes the only paper in Florida, and the first in modern memory, to have a unionized newsroom. Thursday's election was administered by the National Labor Relations Board. The campaign was assisted by Special Assignment organizer Melinda Fielder and lost-time organizer Dean Olsen.

Law360 Fighting Workers' Campaign to Join New York Guild

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 9:14am
Dave JamiesonAugust 4, 2016Huffington Post

The legal news service Law360 is aggressively fighting their workers' attempt to join the New York Guild, hiring the anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis to try to block the union drive. Roughly 130 Law360 employees in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, and others in remote locations, will vote on Guild representation later this month, but not before they are forced to attend anti-union meetings. "According to one employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the site’s journalists were told that they would sit through as many as four such meetings before the election. Although they were not explicitly called mandatory, employees were 'strongly encouraged' to attend the meetings.'There is a strong anti-union backlash coming from management,' the employee said. 'The message is coming through the anti-union consultants.'"

UMG to Gatehouse: Cuts, Union-Busting Hurting Newspapers

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 12:26pm
Shannon DuffyJuly 29, 2016United Media Guild

The United Media Guild shares a letter that the local's business representative, Shannon Duffy, sent recently to Mike Reed, CEO of the parent company of Gatehouse Media. "We are concerned about the future viability of the Peoria Journal Star, State Journal-Register, Rockford Register Star and the Pekin Daily Times in the face of eternal wage freezes and newsroom cuts. Excessive cost-cutting is taking a heavy toll in the workplaces where the United Media Guild represents journalists. That is taking a toll on the news product which, in turn, will cause premature loss of readers and advertisers. This is troubling to our members who love their craft, their newspaper and their communities."

12 Guild Units Reach Tentative Three-Year Accord with DFM

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 1:16pm
July 28, 2016Digital First Media Workers

Leaders of 12 Guild bargaining units reached an unprecedented tentative agreement with Digital First Media today, including the first across-the-board pay increase many DFM workers have seen in years. The bargaining was conducted during an ongoing revenue squeeze and threats of job cuts throughout the newspaper industry. At DFM, management’s outsourcing of jobs has been a key issue, as have Guild efforts to win enhanced severance terms for any workers facing layoff. The tentative agreement reached today will be presented to members for separate ratification votes in each of the bargaining units, in most cases during meetings to be scheduled by August 15. Nationally, the terms of the proposed three-year deal include a 3 percent pay increase for all bargaining unit members in the first year of the agreement. Photo: Local Guild representatives sign the joint agreement in Denver.

 

Featured Title: 12 Guild Units Reach Tentative Three-Year Accord with DFM

WashPost Series Spurred by Freddie Gray Wins Broun Award

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 2:36pm
Janelle HartmanJuly 27, 2016The NewsGuild-CWA

Washington Post reporter Terrence McCoy has been named this year’s winner of the Heywood Broun Award for his outstanding 2015 investigation into lead paint poisoning and structured settlements, a probe that began as he looked into the life of the late Freddie Gray.

The Heywood Broun award, chosen by a panel of journalists, is presented annually by The NewsGuild-CWA and includes a $5,000 prize. The award honors the best of journalism in the tradition of Broun, a crusading New York City columnist who fought for the underdog, exposed injustice and righted wrongs in the early to mid-20th century.

Freddie Gray died in Baltimore police custody in April 2015, sparking more than a week of protests. The Post’s McCoy began looking into the young man’s difficult life, leading to a series, “Freddie Gray’s Life a Study on the Effect of Lead Paint on Poor Blacks.”

 McCoy learned that Gray was one of tens of thousands of Baltimore residents who had suffered lead poisoning, leading to permanent disabilities. That led McCoy to explore the “structured settlements” that many victims received.

“As he delved into the circumstances of Gray’s life, McCoy also exposed the predatory businesses that have grown up around these structured settlement programs and the lax regulatory oversight that allows them to profit off some of this nation's most vulnerable citizens,” the panel of journalists judging the contest wrote in their report.

The judges said McCoy’s reporting was very much in the tradition of Broun, as the reporter peeled back “the layers of the institutional racism that plagued not only Freddie Gray’s short life, but of those who have grown up in Baltimore’s poor black communities.”

 The judges noted that McCoy was harassed and threatened as he pursued the story, but ultimately produced a series that led to substantial reforms aimed at protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

 Two entries were chosen as substantial distinction winners, awards that come with a $1,000 prize. A team of four Associated Press journalists, Esther Htusan, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Martha Mendoza, were honored for their acclaimed investigation, “Seafood from Slaves.”

“Few journalism investigations can claim credit for freeing 2,000 human slaves, but that’s what happened when the Associated Press exposed severe labor abuses against poor men from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos who work in a multi-billion dollar fishing industry that supplies seafood to American supermarkets and restaurants,” the judges said.

The judges chose CNN for the second substantial distinction award for “The Secret World of Government Debt Collection,” a CNNMoney investigation. Judges praised journalists Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken for bringing “a largely unknown problem to light with their investigation of how state and local governments contract out bill and debt collection to private businesses.” 

The series “is a superb piece of journalism that brought increased scrutiny to a practice that badly needs it,” the judges said.

Comprising the panel were judges Brian Bonner, Lauri Lebo and Michael Pointer, with retired New York Times reporter Lena Williams serving as chair. Bonner has been chief editor of the Kyiv Post, Ukraine's English-language newspaper, since 2008 after working 30 years for American newspapers. Lebo is a journalist and author of The Devil in Dover, who now works as an advocate for public schools for the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Pointer was a longtime reporter for the Indianapolis Star before joining the communications team at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last year.

The panel reviewed more than 70 entries, work produced and published during 2015. The awards will be presented at a dinner and ceremony in October.

“The phrase that came to mind more than once was: ‘The reports of the death of journalism are greatly exaggerated,’” the judges said. “Clearly, journalism is very much alive and well and the heart of Heywood Broun beats on in the work of this year’s many talented journalists’ entries.” 

The full judges' report is here:

REPORT OF THE 2015 HEYWOOD BROUN AWARD COMMITTEE:

While reading the many excellent journalistic entries, the phrase that came to mind more than once was: “The reports of the death of journalism are greatly exaggerated.” Clearly, journalism is very much alive and well and the heart of Heywood Broun beats on in the work of this year’s many talented journalists’ entries. Any one of them would have been a worthy recipient of the Heywood Broun Award.

         After much deliberation, the judges’ panel chose Washington Post reporter Terrence McCoy’s series, “Freddie Gray’s Life a Study on the Effect of Lead Paint on Poor Blacks.”

         In the wake of Gray’s death in police custody in Baltimore, which sparked more than a week of protests, McCoy began digging into the tragic events of Gray’s life in a series of powerful articles.

         What he found was that Gray was one of tens of thousands of Baltimore residents who had been poisoned by lead paint as children, leading to permanent disabilities. As part of what is known as a “structured settlement,” Gray received a monthly check from a 2008 lawsuit.  

         As he delved into the circumstances of Gray’s life, McCoy also exposed the predatory businesses that have grown up around these structured settlement programs and the lax regulatory oversight that allows them to profit off some of this nation's most vulnerable citizens.

         In the end, McCoy peels back the layers of the institutional racism that plagued not only Freddie Gray’s short life, but of those who have grown up in Baltimore’s poor black communities.

         McCoy was harassed and threatened as he pursued the story. Many of his sources feared repercussions. The series directly led to passage of substantial reforms “aimed at protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

As the #blacklivesmatter movement continues to protest unjust treatment involving police departments across the country, the Washington Post series shines a light on the depth of the roots of injustice. 

         The judges’ panel chose two other outstanding entries as recipients for the substantial distinction award.

         Few journalism investigations can claim credit for freeing 2,000 human slaves, but that’s what happened when the Associated Press exposed severe labor abuses against poor men from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos who work in a multi-billion dollar fishing industry that supplies seafood to American supermarkets and restaurants. The 18-month investigation by four AP journalists won the 2016 Pulitzer-Prize for public service reporting and led to publication of an e-book, “Fishermen Slaves.”

         One powerful excerpt: “The slaves interviewed by the AP…said the captains on their fishing boats forced them to drink unclean water and work 20 to 22 hour shifts with no days off. Almost all said they were kicked, whipped with toxic stingray tails or otherwise beaten if they complained or tried to rest. They were paid little or nothing, as they hauled in heavy nets with squid, shrimp, snapper, grouper and other fish.”

         The series, “Seafood From Slaves,” showed the complexity of tracking supplies of fish and other seafood from catch in Southeast Asia to their final destinations on the plates of consumers.

         The largest immediate impact was to free some of the most desperate and isolated persons in the world—marginalized humans that most people, governments and journalists ignore.

         The articles also drew renewed public commitments from many businesses and government officials involved in the food chain to crack down on human rights abuses and pay attention to working conditions of laborers in the industry.

         It also contributed to raising awareness of the need to ensure that, in this globalized economy, everyone -- from consumers in rich countries to government regulators in poor nations and private industry titan -- has a moral obligation to ensure basic humane working conditions.

         The United States, for instance, toughened its laws banning the import of slave-produced goods.

         The second substantial distinction award goes to CNN, whose reporters and editors brought a largely unknown problem to light with their investigation of how state and local governments contract out bill and debt collection to private businesses.

         The practice is a classic case of unchecked government power. It puts a strain on hard-working Americans, including military members serving overseas. CNN told their stories and held the powerful accountable when they told us about a Texas law firm whose partners made millions of dollars on the process.

         “The Secret World of Government Debt Collection” is a superb piece of journalism that brought increased scrutiny to a practice that badly needs it.

 

Brian Bonner

Lauri Lebo

Michael Pointer

Lena Williams, chair

Washington-Baltimore Guild and CASA de Maryland Rally Support to Prevent Deportation of Member

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 2:27pm
July 26, 2016

Fredericksburg mother and union member is facing deportation back to the abuse that she fled 14 years ago. Wendy Soveida Uruchi Contreras (at right), a Washington-Baltimore News Guild (WBNG) member who works at CASA de Maryland, is in deportation proceedings after being picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently. She fled Spain in 2002 after enduring years of abuse from her alcoholic stepfather. She's now married and has two young children born here in the United States. CASA is leading a campaign on Contreras' behalf, reaching out to organizations and institutions she has worked with for letters of support and on Sunday WBNG sent a letter of support to the Department of Homeland Security. Members of TNG's Executive Council also voted to send a letter in support of allowing Contreras to remain in the US. "Wendy has been a model employee at CASA fighting for the benefits of all people," wrote Guild Executive Director Cet Parks, "Wendy is a huge contributor to our American community." Metro Council Executive Director Carlos Jimenez has also sent a letter of support and nearly 500 people have already signed a petition supporting Contreras.

CJR Looks at Guild Effort to Organize at Florida Newspaper

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 4:07pm
Susannah NesmithJuly 20, 2016Columbia Journalism Review

Journalists at The Ledger, a local newspaper in Lakeland, Florida, that dates to 1924, announced this week that they have taken steps to unionize. If the drive is successful, The Ledger would be the only paper in the state with a unionized newsroom. The move, said Gary White, a reporter and one of the leaders of the union effort, comes out of “a sense of desperation” exacerbated by the actions of owner Gatehouse Media, which bought The Ledger and other papers in the former Halifax chain in January 2015. “Those of us remaining in the newsroom have seen so many people laid off, especially since Gatehouse took over, that we became concerned about The Ledger continuing as a viable newspaper,” White said.

Editorial Staff at Legal Website Law360 Seek to Join NY Guild

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:32pm
StaffJuly 19, 2016The NewsGuild of New York

The editorial staff of legal news website Law360 on Tuesday petitioned for union representation with The NewsGuild of New York with the goal of improving management and editorial practices and ensuring that employees share in the company’s continued growth. An overwhelming majority of the roughly 130 reporters, editors, and news assistants and apprentices at Law360 across the United States have signed on to the drive for Guild representation. They called on management to voluntarily recognize their union. Law360 is owned by LexisNexis Group, a subsidiary of RELX Group [NYSE: RELX, RENX].  “We are excited to welcome this talented group of legal journalists to our union, and we call on Law360 to recognize the will of the majority of its editorial employees to have union representation,” local President Peter Szekely said.

Featured Title: Editorial Staff at Legal Website Law360 Seek to Join NY Guild

Newsroom Staff in Lakeland, Florida, Takes Steps to Join Guild

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 11:20am
StaffJuly 19, 2016Florida NewsGuild  LAKELAND, Florida — The newsroom staff of The Lakeland Ledger took a major step this week toward forming a union dedicated to preserving high-quality journalism amid cutbacks and mounting financial pressures in the newspaper industry.   Reporters, photographers, copy editors and other employees in The Ledger’s newsroom signed cards stating their desire to be represented by The NewsGuild-CWA. The cards, filed Monday at the Tampa regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, will trigger an NLRB-monitored election by Ledger staff members in the next 20 to 40 days.   If a majority of those voting casts ballots in favor, the newsroom will unionize and begin working with The Ledger’s corporate owner, GateHouse Media, to negotiate a first labor contract.   If the organizing drive is successful, The Ledger, with a daily circulation of 45,900 and Sunday circulation of 61,000, would become the only paper in Florida, and the first in modern memory, to have a unionized newsroom. The NewsGuild would represent 25 to 30 Ledger employees.   “The hard-working news staff deserves to have a voice in the decisions that will determine whether The Ledger continues to exist as a valued news source and a viable business,” said Gary White, a Ledger reporter for 14 years. “In forming a union and negotiating a good first contract, the newsroom staff hopes to preserve the journalistic quality and integrity that Polk County residents have relied upon for 92 years.”   John Chambliss, a 15-year veteran of The Ledger’s reporting staff, said he and his colleagues are “deeply concerned about the direction of The Ledger under the GateHouse business model. Unionization introduces democracy into the workplace, giving the employees a voice in their working conditions.”   GateHouse Media, based in Pittsford, New York, is one of the largest publishers of newspapers in the country. It is part of New Media Investment Group, a publicly traded company.   Chambliss said it’s been more challenging to provide the coverage that Ledger readers have come to expect since GateHouse acquired the paper in January 2015.    Since then, at least 21 newsroom employees have been laid off, at least six other unfilled positions have been eliminated, and the paper’s Winter Haven bureau, which produces stories for GateHouse’s News Chief newspaper, has gone from four employees to one.   The Ledger has found it hard to retain experienced journalists when newsroom employees have gone more than eight years without pay raises, Chambliss said.   A mission statement drafted and signed by newsroom employees interested in affiliating with The NewsGuild, formerly known as The Newspaper Guild-CWA, says they “recognize that The Ledger is a business, and we want it to succeed. For that to happen, newsroom employees need a role in how The Ledger is operated. A good contract will give us that essential voice.”   FULL MISSION STATEMENT:   As future members of the News Guild, we are dedicated to negotiating a labor contract that gives journalists a voice in preserving and enhancing The Ledger as a respected, sustainable institution in the community.

For nearly 100 years, The Ledger has been a voice of Polk County. It has served the community as a government watchdog, a source of information and entertainment and a trusted part of people's lives.

We recognize that The Ledger is a business, and we want it to succeed. For that to happen, newsroom employees need a role in how The Ledger is operated. A good contract will give us that essential voice. We're proud of our work. We appreciate every day the opportunity we have to tell the community’s stories.

 

How Private Equity Found Power and Profit in State Capitols

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 1:35pm
Business DayJuly 14, 2016The New York Times

In this New York Times report, Fortress Investment Group, the hedge fund behind Gatehouse media and one of Wall Street's most powerful private equity firms, illustrates the power that private equity firms are exercising over state legislatures. "Since the 2008 financial crisis, Fortress and other private equity firms have rapidly expanded their influence, assuming a pervasive, if under-the-radar, role in daily American life, an investigation by The New York Times has found. Sophisticated political maneuvering — including winning government contracts, shaping public policy and deploying former public officials to press their case — is central to this growth. Yet even as private equity wields such influence in the halls of state capitols and in Washington, it faces little public awareness of its government activities, The Times found."

Featured Title: How Private Equity Found Power and Profit in State Capitols

Q&A: A Conversation with Retired PD Reporter Michael Sorkin

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 11:49am
Jeannette CoopermanJuly 14, 2016St. Louis Magazine

In this Q&A with St. Louis magazine, retired Post-Dispatch reporter Michael Sorkin, who was an active member of the United Media Guild, remembers some of the city's most lurid stories that he dug into with gusto. The interviewer notes that Sorkin hasn't "forgotten a single incidence of his former editors’ 'journalistic cowardice'—he’s referred publicly to the “series of mostly mean, sometimes alcoholic, or just plain weasel-like top editors who have cycled through the newsroom during past decades.”

Gannett, Nation's Largest Newspaper Chain, On Buying Binge

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 3:41pm
StaffJuly 13, 2016Media Life

There was time real newspapermen made fun of Gannett. It was the plain vanilla newspaper chain and, ugh, creator of USA Today, a compendium of factoids and lighter-than-air features. It was everything newspapers should never become. But that was a time back. Those real newspapermen are retired or dead. The internet came along. The newspaper industry crashed. Gannett is bigger, stronger. And if it ever cared what those old newspapermen thought, you wouldn’t know it. Gannett may not be the future of the American newspaper, but it’s certainly going to grab off a large chunk of that future. Or what’s left of it.

Journalists Need Innovative Ways to Cover Donald Trump

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 2:13pm
Jay RosenJuly 13, 2016The Washington Post

Writes Jay Rosen, "Trump isn’t behaving like a normal candidate; he’s acting like an unbound one. In response, journalists have to become less predictable themselves. They have to come up with novel responses. They have to do things they have never done. They may even have to shock us."

News Release: Foreign Policy Staff Votes to Join NewsGuild

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 10:57am
StaffJune 24, 2016The NewsGuild-CWA  The editorial staff of the digital and print publication Foreign Policy voted 16-1 on Thursday to join The NewsGuild-CWA. The workers will be members of the union’s Washington-Baltimore local.   “Foreign Policy’s excellent journalists report on issues that are vital to our democracy and to our understanding of the world,” TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said. “They understand that our union fundamentally understands journalism and cares deeply about the integrity of the work they do. We are proud to welcome them to The NewsGuild-CWA.”   Lunzer added that the Guild is extremely pleased that management at Foreign Policy has agreed to recognize the union and proceed with bargaining a first contract.   In organizing their new union, the workers issued a mission statement that stressed how honored they are to work for Foreign Policy and that they believe that The NewsGuild-CWA is “a natural fit” for them.   “FP is a business, and we want it to succeed as such,” they said in the statement. “A union will make the business stronger by giving workers a collective voice. We believe that guild membership will facilitate constructive, amicable, open, and honest conversations that will serve to invigorate the institution.”   The following is their statement in full:   “Throughout the journalism profession, workforces are choosing union representation. Rightfully so: Union membership has become a best practice for newsroom workers.   We are honored to work for Foreign Policy, and to contribute to its award- winning journalism. We love our jobs. That’s why we give so much of ourselves to the publication. We believe in telling overlooked stories, holding those in power accountable, and interrogating the global forces that shape nations, institutions, cultures, and our daily lives.   We are forming a union with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, Local 32035 of the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America, because it is a natural fit for FP. The Guild is the premier media union in North America, representing 25,000 journalists and other media workers. It is also an international voice for freedom of the press, free speech, and the freedom and safety of journalists around the world.   FP is a business, and we want it to succeed as such. A union will make the business stronger by giving workers a collective voice. We believe that Guild membership will facilitate constructive, amicable, open, and honest conversations that will serve to invigorate the institution.   As this process unfolds, we enter new territory for FP. We do so with optimism and conviviality, in the spirit of consensus and solidarity.”     -30-