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Updated: 20 min ago

Layoffs at Providence Journal Include Veteran Columnist

3 hours 14 min ago
Ian DonnisSeptember 2, 2014Rhode Island NPR

Layoffs are underway at the Providence Journal, as part of New Media Investment Group's acquisition of Rhode Island's statewide newspaper. The layoffs include the paper's longtime metro columnist, Bob Kerr, 69, and were implemented by the ProJo ahead of the closing of New Media's purchase of the Journal. New Media Investment Group is the corporate parent of GateHouse Media. Kerr, a Guild member,  says he was called into a meeting by the ProJo's human resources department before noon, "and of course I knew what that meant. It wasn't warm and fuzzy. It was pretty cold and abrupt. It was just explaining the severance package and, no explanation as to why, of course. I was just told it was a GateHouse decision. After 43 years-plus, I was out of there in about 10 minutes." 

NewsGuild Members March in Labor Day Parades Nationwide

6 hours 49 min ago
Janelle HartmanSeptember 2, 2014NewsGuild-CWA

 

 

We're rounding up our locals' Labor Day activities and would love to feature your Guild’s weekend photos from parades to picnics. In Springfield, Illinois, members of the United Media Guild unit at the State Journal-Register not only marched in their city’s parade, they were its Grand Marshal. UMG members in Rockford, Illinois, also marched, as did members of the Buffalo Guild (pictured above). “We had a great turnout this year of about 30 people. Some brought their children, so we had a very nice contingent on a beautiful day,” Buffalo President Henry Davis said.

 

In Illinois, the Springfield & Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council chose the Guild unit at the State Journal-Register to serve as Grand Marshal of the Springfield parade. “We were honored to lead dozens of union locals in the parade to highlight our struggles to negotiate a first contract with GateHouse Media,” Unit Chair Dean Olsen said.

 

The Guild unit, part of the St. Louis-based United Media Guild, used the parade to “kick off what will be a series of efforts designed to ramp up the pressure on GateHouse officials to do the right thing at the bargaining table,” Olsen said. Show your support by following the unit on Twitter and “liking” it on Facebook.

 

Members of another UMG unit in Rockford, Illinois, where tough bargaining is also underway with Gatehouse, proudly turned out for their city’s parade. Find Rockford on Facebook.

 

We know more of you marched, picnicked and otherwise celebrated Labor Day. We’d love to add you to this page. Email Janelle, Guild communications, at jhartman@cwa-union.org with information and pics.

NewsGuild Members March in Labor Day Parades Nationwide

7 hours 31 min ago
Janelle HartmanSeptember 2, 2014NewsGuild-CWA

 

 

We're rounding up our locals' Labor Day activities and would love to feature your Guild’s weekend photos from parades to picnics. In Springfield, Illinois, members of the United Media Guild unit at the State Journal-Register not only marched in their city’s parade, they were its Grand Marshal. UMG members in Rockford, Illinois, also marched, as did members of the Buffalo Guild (pictured above). “We had a great turnout this year of about 30 people. Some brought their children, so we had a very nice contingent on a beautiful day,” Buffalo President Henry Davis said.

 

In Illinois, the Springfield & Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council chose the Guild unit at the State Journal-Register to serve as Grand Marshal of the Springfield parade. “We were honored to lead dozens of union locals in the parade to highlight our struggles to negotiate a first contract with GateHouse Media,” Unit Chair Dean Olsen said.

 

The Guild unit, part of the St. Louis-based United Media Guild, used the parade to “kick off what will be a series of efforts designed to ramp up the pressure on GateHouse officials to do the right thing at the bargaining table,” Olsen said. Show your support by following the unit on Twitter and “liking” it on Facebook.

 

Members of another UMG unit in Rockford, Illinois, where tough bargaining is also underway with Gatehouse, proudly turned out for their city’s parade. Find Rockford on Facebook.

 

We know more of you marched, picnicked and otherwise celebrated Labor Day. We’d love to add you to this page. Email Janelle, Guild communications, at jhartman@cwa-union.org with information and pics.

How the Supreme Court Helped Union-Buster George Pullman

8 hours 25 min ago
Ian MillhiserSeptember 2, 2014Think Progress

In a piece adapted from the forthcoming book, "Injustices: The Supreme Court’s Nearly Unbroken History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted," ThinkProgress.org looks at one of America's wealthiest men ever, George Pullman, and how the railroad baron in the late 1800s used his power to destroy unions and slash workers' pay. Along the way, the Supreme Court sanctioned his actions and, "In the coming decades, the courts would become the arch-enemies of labor." From the injunction against the Pullman Strike to the imprisonment of activist Eugene Debs, the Court sided with corporate interests and "struck down laws intended to prevent employers from overworking their employees and laws guaranteeing workers’ right to organize and form unions. They declared the minimum wage to be an affront to the Constitution. And they doomed a generation of young laborers to a childhood toiling in coal mines and cotton mills. Few institutions inflicted more suffering on more Americans than the Supreme Court of the United States, and American workers bore much of the brunt of this suffering."

Bezos Won't Even Talk to Washington Post About Post News

8 hours 56 min ago
Jack MirkinsonSeptember 2, 2014Huffington Post

Jeff Bezos may own the Washington Post, one of America's leading news organizations, but that doesn't mean he has to actually talk to the journalists at newspaper. Bezos kept up a dubious practice of refusing comment to the journalists he pays when it was announced on Tuesday that he had replaced the Post's publisher, Katharine Weymouth, with former Politico executive and Reagan administration official Fred Ryan. Given that Bezos has owned the Post for little over a year, and that he was severing the paper's last ties with the storied Graham family by ousting Weymouth, the news was not insignificant.

Kaiser Foundation Grant Helps Chicago Trib Cover Obamacare

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 11:13am
Robert FederAugust 29, 2014RobertFeder.com

A $30,000 grant from Kaiser Health News, part of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is helping defray the salary of a Chicago Tribune reporter covering Obamacare. Wes Venteicher, who’d been a TribLocal suburban reporter since June 2013, recently shifted to the Chicago Tribune consumer watchdog and investigative reporting team as a full-time reporter covering the Affordable Care Act and consumer health issues. The Tribune is one of at least six major newspapers across the country to receive funding from the nonprofit Kaiser news organization, which says it is “dedicated to filling the need for trusted information on national health issues.” Chicago Tribune Editor Gerry Kern said, "Stories are controlled solely by the Chicago Tribune, which assigns, edits and determines their news play,” Kern said. “Neither the foundation nor the news organization assigns, edits or otherwise controls the news stories Chicago Tribune produces as part of this arrangement."

Wyoming, Iowa Court Rulings are First Amendment Victories

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:40am
Lena WilliamsAugust 29, 2014NewsGuild-CWA

 

 

State courts in Iowa and Wyoming this month have upheld the media’s right to open court proceedings and to photograph court cases. The rulings, though local in scope, are major First Amendment victories for journalists and media organizations.

 

The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Aug. 12 that an Eighth Judicial Court judge “erred” when he closed the courtroom and sealed the court file in a 2012 sexual assault case involving a juvenile victim. As the media sought information, the court went so far as to deny the existence of the case file.

 

Circuit Judge I. Vincent Case Jr. claimed that Wyoming statute required the closure of records and proceedings in sexual assault cases to hide the identities of both victim and defendant.

 

The Casper-Star Tribune, the Wyoming Press Association, Associated Press and several other news organizations challenged the ruling in district court and won. The Wyoming Attorney General’s office appealed to the state Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Court ruled that Judge Case overstepped, violating the First Amendment by closing the courtroom and the file.

 

“The statute only applies prior to the filing of information or an indictment in district court,” the court wrote in its ruling. “Once that determination is made, the circuit court either binds the defendant over to district court, or dismisses the case altogether.”

 

Jason Adrians, editor of the Star-Tribune, called the court’s decision “a victory for transparency in Wyoming.”

 

The paper’s editorial board wrote, “We hope the decision sends a statement in a state where both courts and many law enforcement agencies struggle to understand they can’t arbitrarily redact names in public documents of which they’re stewards. Law enforcement should take note: State law favors openness, not arbitrary redactions and closed records.”

 

Jim Angell, executive director of the Wyoming Press Association, said the ruling would make it easier for journalists to do their jobs. “That’s why we do these things,” Angell told the Associated Press. “We do these things because we’re guardians of the public’s knowledge of what’s happening around them.”

 

In another victory for the public’s right to know, an Iowa district judge last week reversed a decision that barred a photojournalist from publishing photos from a hearing of a local mayor accused of sexual abuse. 

 

Jerry Blue, a photographer for the Fayette County Union in West Union, Iowa, had been publicly scolded by Judge Joel Dalrymple for taking photographs in the courtroom without advance permission and for not wearing credentials. Dalrymple issued a noncompliance order against Blue and warned him that publishing the photos could result in Blue and his newspaper being held in contempt of court. 

 

The paper’s owner, Community Media Group, wrote a letter protesting the ban, saying it violated the revised rules of media coverage of Iowa courts that specifically allow audio and visual media coverage.

 

Anelia Dimitrova, an editor and spokeswoman for Community Media Group, said Judge Richard Stochl made a decision to allow what were legitimately gathered photographs to be used. “I think the people have a right to know, especially when the defendant is a public figure,” Dimitrova told AP.

 

While the rulings are a cause for optimism about freedom of the press, they are yet another indication of a growing number of government attempts to restrict press freedom by censoring, harassing or barring journalists from doing their jobs.

 

Since the 1964 Supreme Court decision in New York Times v Sullivan affirmed a distinct role and need for distinct protections for journalists, courts have generally been hostile to claims of journalistic principles and rights. Greater protections are now found under freedom of speech than freedom of the press. The decisions in Wyoming and Iowa are steps in the right direction toward restoring the basic principle of press freedom as a legal right and not merely an objective in regulatory and constitutional design.

 

GlobalPost Staff: What James Foley Meant to Us

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:11pm
David CaseAugust 28, 2014GlobalPost

Why would he do it? Why would he put his life at risk? Why would he subject his adoring friends and family to the anguish of knowing he could end up dead — especially after he had come so close to it already? In Jim’s case, it was about altruism, about telling the stories that needed to be told. In the words of Bishop Peter A. Libasci who spoke at his memorial service, Jim risked his life “so that we may open our eyes.” He was appalled by the suffering across the Middle East, and particularly in Syria, where many thousands had died by the time he was captured. “He cared deeply about his colleagues and the stories he was covering,” says Bouckaert, who became a close friend after working to get Foley released from the Libyan prison. “Journalism is a world with a lot of testosterone and machismo, and Jim was the exact opposite.” Photo from GlobalPost site: James Foley reporting in Tripoli in August 2011.

'We're Living in a Golden Age of Investigative Journalism'

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:43pm
Anya SchiffrinAugust 27, 2014The Nation

In our world, the news about the news is often grim. Newspapers are shrinking, folding up, or being cut loose by their parent companies. Layoffs are up and staffs are down. That investigative reporter who covered the state capitol—she’s not there anymore. Newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune have suffered from multiple rounds of layoffs over the years.  But despite a long run of journalistic tough times, the loss of advertising dollars, and the challenge of the Internet, there’s been a blossoming of investigative journalism across the globe from Honduras to Myanmar, New Zealand to Indonesia. Woodward and Bernstein may be a fading memory in this country, but journalists with names largely unknown in the US like Khadija Ismayilova, Rafael Marques, and Gianina Segnina are breaking one blockbuster story after another, exposing corrupt government officials and their crony corporate pals in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Costa Rica. As I travel the world, I’m energized by the journalists I meet who are taking great risks to shine much needed light on shadowy wrongdoing.

Business School Dean Wonders Why Unions Get a Bad Rap

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:43am
John T. DelaneyAugust 27, 2014Huffington Post

In a Labor Day column honoring workers, University of Pittsburgh business school Dean John T. Delaney wonders why more of them don't understand the value of unions. "It is not unusual for faculty in business schools and other university programs, such as economics and hospitality management, to suggest that unions are 'bad,' despite the extreme inequality that didn't exist in the United States when unions were strong, Delaney writes. Yet, "unions have failed to generate political support to change labor laws in ways that would help workers and promote more equality. I've always found this interesting. I believe that it is connected with the general desire of Americans to support entrepreneurship and innovation. But why do workers support a theoretical view over a pragmatic approach that would put more money in their pockets?"

Young Journalist Fights to Pull Herself, Mom, Out of Poverty

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:20am
Danielle ParenteauAugust 27, 2014Bay News Rising

My mom and I live in a 100-square-foot single-room occupancy hotel in downtown San Francisco. We get by on about $14,000 per year. There are those in public office who hold that people who live in poverty or receive government aid want a free ride. The truth is much more stark. The ride heads one way: to desperation and dependency... At $265 a week, our rent alone costs nearly $14,000 a year, leaving us next to nothing for food, clothing, transportation and textbooks. We pay $64 each month for the storage unit in Anaheim where we left most of our things before moving to San Francisco. Most of our cash flow comes from the financial aid I receive as a student at San Francisco State University, where I am a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in philosophy and religion. I took out student loans to pay our rent. Photo: Danielle Parenteau stands in the door frame of her 100-square-foot studio she shares with her mother. Photo by Sara Bloomberg.

Bonding by Email: My Long Correspondence with James Foley

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:58am
Evan HillAugust 27, 2014The Atlantic

Evan Hill only met James Foley once in person, but for years Hill, co-founder of a Middle East news blog, corresponded with Foley via Gmail. It started when Foley asked if Hill would be interested in publishing some of his work. "In those first days, we talked about how to survive as a self-funded—or more accurately, non-funded—journalist with a passion for the Middle East. Jim was someone who seemed to be making it happen. He had embedded with the Indiana National Guard in Iraq the year before and was planning to embed in Afghanistan in a month. His goal was the same as all of ours: to make it. It's a comment on the vicissitudes of the journalism industry that a guy like Jim ever had to “pitch” a kid like me to get a story published on a blog that didn’t pay and had only a small readership, but that's the way it was, and still is, and Jim approached it with the unflagging enthusiasm that seems to have been his trademark."

Obama Blasts Afghans for Expelling New York Times Reporter While DOJ Continues to Pursue Risen in US

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:21pm
Peter ScheerAugust 26, 2014Huffington Post

To its credit, the Obama administration was quick and forceful in its condemnation this week of the Afghan government's expulsion of New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who had angered the Karzai government by reporting that high-level Afghan officials were considering bypassing electoral procedures to establish an interim government--in effect, to stage a coup. But the United States' full-throated support of journalistic independence abroad may be unconvincing to at least one journalist at home. I'm referring to James Risen, another New York Times reporter who, ironically, is facing contempt of court sanctions and possible imprisonment for defying the U.S. government in the same way that Rosenberg defied the Afghan government.

How a NY Times Reporter Changed Starbucks' Scheduling

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:56pm
Lisa PollakAugust 26, 2014Nieman Storyboard

Few pieces of journalism — let alone narrative journalism — effect change in a matter of hours. But that’s what happened with “Working Anything but 9 to 5,” by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times. A rare combination of intimate narrative and exposé, Kantor’s Aug. 13 story followed a tumultuous month in the life of Jannette Navarro, a young single mother struggling to make ends meet as a Starbucks barista. Through Navarro’s experiences, Kantor revealed the troubling ways that the scheduling software used by Starbucks and other low-wage employers wreaks havoc on working parents’ lives. Starbucks announced that it was reworking its scheduling policies the morning after Kantor’s story was published. Pulitzer-Prize winning feature writer and radio producer Lisa Pollak talked with Kantor about how she found and reported the story, as well as her reaction to its impact.

What Happens When Journalists Become the Story?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:53am
Alyssa RosenbergAugust 26, 2014The Washington Post

Journalists recently have found themselves in the unusual position of becoming the subject of news stories rather than the people telling them, from arrests in Ferguson to the brutal execution of James Foley in Syria. In both cases, the treatment of journalists crystallized evolving conflicts for wide audiences. But there was discomfort, too, a sense that when journalists become the story, something has gone wrong in the practice of the profession. I think it is absolutely true that media figures react particularly strongly to the mistreatment of our own, amplifying cases that are not necessarily different from the violence or injustice suffered by other civilians. But stories like these can be sadly clarifying. The treatment of journalists in wartime or at scenes of protest and civil unrest is a test of whether the people they are covering share some basic values and views of what is taking place.

A Lesson for Police: Tell the Public Everything, Immediately

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 2:59pm
Bill McClellanAugust 25, 2014St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On a Saturday in April 2001, an unarmed 19-year-old black man was shot and killed by a white police officer in Cincinnati. Protests turned into riots and stores were looted. The city’s reputation was trashed. Peter Bronson wrote a book about it. Last week, he wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal about lessons learned. The No. 1 lesson was this: “Tell the public everything immediately.” Not providing information immediately gave people the perception that the police were hiding something, Bronson wrote. Too bad he couldn’t have been advising authorities in Ferguson.

Lunzer Statement on Release of Journalist Theo Curtis

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 12:19pm
Bernie LunzerAugust 25, 2014NewsGuild-CWA

Newspaper Guild President Bernie Lunzer today issued this statement on the release of American freelance journalist Theo Curtis (pictured), who was held for nearly two years in a Syrian prison run by an affiliate of Al Qaeda. 

"The release of American journalist Theo Curtis brings us a small measure of hope for all journalists who are currently either being held, or are working in harm's way. We remain concerned that in so many current conflicts journalists have become pawns, used or killed for someone's political agenda. Journalists continue to try and tell the stories so that the truth can win out and so that differences between peoples can be resolved. They deserve everyone's admiration and support."

Drilling Industry Pushes CO Paper to Fire Energy Reporter

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:01am
David O. WilliamsAugust 21, 2014Government Executive

Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, Colorado's Garfield County is home to more than 10,000 active oil and gas wells and is the top natural gas-producing county in a state that’s sixth in the nation. It’s controlled by a three-member board of county commissioners that over the years has drawn heated criticism from community activists, some politicians, environmentalists and everyday citizens who feel too much power is ceded to the oil and gas industry. That debate came to a head earlier this year with the firing of a longtime journalist who covered the industry and claims he was forced out by pressure from both the board of county commissioners and industry officials.

Reporter Reviewing Public Records Kicked Out of Courthouse

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:50am
Ginny LaRoeAugust 21, 2014The Times-Picayune

A Times-Picayune reporter was kicked out of the New Orleans criminal courthouse under threat of arrest Wednesday while he was reviewing public records filed by indicted Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, who is seeking re-election amid a lawsuit and criminal prosecution that put in doubt the future of her seat. Told to leave the court clerk's office, McClendon promptly moved to a hallway, where a sheriff's deputy told him to leave the courthouse. "The deputy, while polite, said I would be arrested unless I left the building," McClendon said. "After speaking with an editor, I complied." Courthouses are open to the public, and the elections documents McClendon was reviewing are public records. Neither Morrell nor the sheriff's deputy stated a reason as to why McClendon was being ordered to leave.

From Missouri to Syria, Journalists Are Becoming Targets

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:41am
Ravi Somaiya & Christine HaughneyAugust 21, 2014NY Times

Islamic extremists beheaded a freelance reporter, James Foley. Another American journalist is next, they warned. In Iran, Jason Rezaian, a reporter for The Washington Post, was snatched by men waving an arrest warrant in late July. He has not been heard from since. In Afghanistan, Matthew Rosenberg, a reporter for The New York Times, was ordered expelled from the country because government officials did not like his stories. In America, journalists have been hit with tear gas and held by the police, with little explanation, while covering protests in Ferguson, Mo. At the Justice Department, prosecutors have aggressively prosecuted leaks to journalists and employed eavesdropping techniques that have chilled the relationship between reporters and their sources. In a series of interviews on Wednesday, reporters, editors and those who monitor the freedom of the press described a harsh environment for reporters both at home and abroad, complicated by changes in the way that journalists work, and a change in the way they are viewed by both governments, and the public.