Guild Reporter

James Risen Wins Guild's Herbert Block Freedom Award

The Newspaper Guild-CWA is proud to announce that the Herbert Block Freedom Award will be presented to embattled New York Times reporter James Risen, who has risked his own freedom to protect the principles that are essential for a truly free press. James Risen did what great journalists do,” TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said. “He dug for information, developed sources who trusted him and ultimately exposed some of the hard truths behind the war on terrorism. Without jeopardizing national security, he told Americans what their government wouldn’t. That is his job, the job of all journalists. And we are all better for it.”

Journalists' Letter to Obama Criticizes Lack of Transparency

Journalism and open government groups, including The Newspaper Guild-CWA, are accusing the Obama administration of failing to uphold the president’s stated commitment to “an unprecedented level of openness in government and transparency.” In a July letter to Obama, the organizations reminded him of his inaugural pledge “to bring a new era of openness” to federal government. Instead, the letter says, the administration has “engaged in a form of censorship by attempting to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”

New 'Right to Report' Blog Key to First Amendment Project

Retired New York Times reporter and former Guild officer Lena Williams (pictured) introduces the "Right to Report" blog, a key part of the national Guild's campaign to fight the growing threats to First Amendment rights. Whether dealing with local police, state legislatures, federal agencies or any other government office, journalists -- and citizens, who have all the same rights -- are being denied access to public records and meetings, and are being harassed and even arrested for taking photos in public. At the federal level, journalists have been threatened with prison for refusing to reveal sources, while would-be whistle-blowers clam up for fear of going to jail themselves. “Right to Report is about tracking the erosion of free-press rights, and building the strongest, most effective coalition we can to fight back," Newspaper Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. “We will make it clear that no matter how divided Americans may be politically, when it comes to the First Amendment, we speak with one voice.”

Life-Changing CPI/ABC Black Lung Series Wins Broun Award

A powerful series exposing a coal industry conspiracy that schemed to deny even meager benefits to miners suffering black lung disease has won the prestigious Heywood Broun Award, presented annually by The Newspaper Guild-CWA. The award for “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung Disease, Buried by Law and Medicine,” which includes a $5,000 check, is shared by journalists from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and ABC News. A pair of Sacramento Bee reporters and a trio of journalists at the Washington Post were chosen as Broun Substantial Distinction winners. Each team of winners will receive $1,000.  “We believe our winner truly reflects the Guild founder’s commitment to championing the underdog against the powerful, the uncaring, the corrupt,” the judges said, stressing how impressed they were overall by the quality of entries."It was inspiring to review so many examples of journalistic excellence in service to – in Broun’s words – 'the ordinary run of people.'" The awards will be presented in October. Photo: From left, judges Jim Steele, Lena Williams, Betsy Wade and panel chair Jeff Miller.

Congress Must Protect 1st Amendment by Passing Shield Law

A federal shield law is needed now more than ever, but a bill to pass one, the Free Flow of Information Act, has been withering in Congress since 2007. But the Guild, SPJ and dozens of other organizations are turning up the heat, as journalists are being subpoened and even threatened with jail for doing their jobs, most notably New York Times reporter and Guild member James Risen. Part of the problem in passing a bill is defining who exactly is a journalist. No one questions that Risen is. But do freelancers and bloggers get the same protections? Right now it's a legal quagmire. Illustration courtesy of FreePress.net.

NY Times' Risen Vows to Continue Fight to Protect Source

Lena Williams, a retired New York Times reporter and Guild leader who will be helping the Guild cover press freedom issues, follows up on the news yesterday that the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Times' reporter James Risen. The appeal sought to stop the federal government from forcing Risen to reveal a source. Risen faces jail if he refuses, which he says he will continue to do. Having exhausted his legal appeals, the Justice Department is now Risen’s court of last resort., Williams writes. The hope is that the DOJ will listen to the judicial reasoning of Judge Roger Gregory who disagreed with the Fourth Circuit on Risen’s case, writing: “The majority exalts the interests of the government, while unduly trampling those of the press, and in doing so, severely impinges on the press and the free flow of information in our society.”

Busy Multi-Council Meeting Keeps Members on Their Toes

Sixty-two Guild members from across the country, from union veterans to and brand-new local officers, convened in Orlando last weekend for a busy agenda of workshops and presentations, from training on bargaining under the Affordable Care Act to a discussions about activism as Guild members, stopping  workplace bullying, growing the Guild and much more. Based on his own and members' reviews, "I think it was a huge success," Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. 

Join Us in April for Guild's Multi-Council Meeting

(UPDATED March 10 with overlow hotel information.) Learn, network and brainstorm at the Guild's 2014 Multi-Council meeting near Orlando, April 11-13. We'll explore the Guild's new growth fund, exchange plans and ideas for making our locals, our union and our movement as strong as possible, and we'll learn new bargaining strategies -- such as negotiating health care under the Affordable Care Act. We're looking forward to seeing you there! Story updated March 10, 2014, with overflow hotel information.

Fed Up and Pumped Up: Rallying for Fairness in Manchester

Manchester Newspaper Guild members and allies turned out in force Sunday morning to show Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid that his callous contract “final offer” is beneath contempt. About 60 picketers, 40 of them Guild members, marched and leafleted out side the newspaper’s annual sports banquet at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in downtown Manchester. “It was awesome,” local President Norm Welsh said. “I’m not sure we’ve ever had a better turnout, even when we had twice the membership. We know we got the publisher’s attention." Check out campaign's "Where's the Fairness?" website.

Secretary-Treasurer Carol Rothman to Retire at Year’s End

Lunzer: ‘It's Hard to Imagine Doing This Work Without Her’

Carol Rothman, secretary-treasurer of The Newspaper Guild-CWA since 2008, announced today that she will retire at the end of 2013. “Carol has brought reason, balance and conviction to her position. It is hard for me to imagine doing this work without her,” Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. Photo: Rothman at the Guild's booth at the 2013 Free Press conference in Denver.

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