Journalists of Dallas Morning News, Al Día win big, vote union

Oct. 16, 2020 – The journalists of Dallas Morning News and Al Día won a decisive victory on Friday, with 75 percent voting in favor of forming the Dallas News Guild. The 84-28 vote made them the only unionized newsroom in Texas. (But probably not for long! The Fort Worth NewsGuild announced a union campaign on Thursday.) Continue reading “Journalists of Dallas Morning News, Al Día win big, vote union”

Two wins in one day: Markup Union receives voluntary recognition

Oct. 16, 2020 – Staffers of The Markup, a nonprofit digital publication that covers the ethics and impact of technology on society, announced Friday that they have formed Markup Union. It was the second union victory of the day, following an overwhelming vote by the journalists of the Dallas Morning News and Al Dia to form the Dallas News Guild. Continue reading “Two wins in one day: Markup Union receives voluntary recognition”

Despite extinction-level threat to journalism, ‘Paths Forward’ Town Hall offers hopeful solutions

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was posted on SaveTheNews.org on Oct. 1, 2020.

Oct. 2, 2020 – A panel of news industry “big thinkers” offered an array of hopeful solutions to the crisis facing local journalism and issued a stirring call to action at a NewsGuild Town Hall on Sept. 30.

The threat is clear:  One quarter of the nation’s newspapers were eliminated in the 15 years before the pandemic. Over the previous decade, the number of newspaper journalists declined by half, mostly at state and regional news outlets. The ad revenue that sustained the news organizations migrated to Facebook and Google and hedge fund ownership now dominate the industry. COVID-19 raised the crisis into an extinction-level threat: We’ve lost more than three dozen newspapers and dozens more have moved to online-only.

The panel featured:

  • Penelope Muse Abernathy, author of the “News Deserts” reports that quantify the stunning loss of news coverage across vast swaths of America, and identify some of the key drivers of the crisis.
  • Steven Waldman, co-founder of Report for America and author of the landmark 2009 report for the Federal Communications Commission, “Information Needs of Communities.”
  • Victor Pickard, a professor at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, where his research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, and government policy around media.

Excerpts from the event are Town Hall are below.

Embrace Journalism as a Public Service
“Embrace the idea that being a local journalist is a public service profession. None of us went into it for the money. Increasingly, we have to re-embrace that, state it with pride, and really view ourselves as a service to the community.” ~Steven Waldman

“One of the encouraging things is that trust in local media is still much higher than in national media. As a journalist, you tend to put a ‘wall’ between you and your community. But we have a role to build those communities and inform our democracy.” ~Penelope Muse Abernathy

“There is value to journalism that goes beyond profitability. We don’t only have bookstores. We also have public libraries. We have to get to that place in journalism.” ~Steven Waldman

Democratize Our Newsrooms
“We have to make sure owners aren’t public in name only, but truly owned by the people who live in those communities. We need to democratize our newsrooms, and ensure that they look like the communities they serve.” ~Victor Pickard

“Do we have to rely on billionaires to fund journalism? There’s something not quite right about that, but I think about philanthropy in a bigger sense. The community must support journalism. In addition, there has to be a government role.” ~Steven Waldman

Hopeful Solutions
“There’s carrots and sticks: we can offer incentives to have owners donate outlets to nonprofits. The stick is that government antitrust policy can take up ‘localism’ as a public policy value when considering mergers—may not hurt competition, but they hurt the community.” ~Steven Waldman

“If you look at a community that has lost a newspaper, they’re often very poor. That has real implications. How do we begin to address getting money to support that public good?” ~Penelope Muse Abernathy

“One of my first calls for our Save the News effort was to Sen. John Boozman, a now-co-sponsor of the Local News and Emergency Information Act. Republicans, too, realize that the New York Times can’t parachute in to cover local issues in those more rural states.” ~Jon Schleuss

“There has been a newfound appreciation for the 4th Estate. I think there’s a growing concern about [its loss]. Right now there’s a consensus, across the party spectrum, about saving their local institutions. Now is a rare opening to dream bold ideas.” ~Victor Pickard

 

 

Kenosha, WI: A shrinking newsroom, doing more with less

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Sept. 28, 2020, on  SaveTheNews.org.

But when community members gathered for a prayer service on the shores of Lake Michigan a few days after Blake was shot, the only reporter present was from the local paper, the Kenosha News.

Continue reading “Kenosha, WI: A shrinking newsroom, doing more with less”

Town Hall Sept. 30 – Saving The News: Paths Forward

Sept. 24, 2020 – The business model that sustained American journalism for roughly 240 years is collapsing and The NewsGuild must be part of the solution. So join us for a panel discussion with some of the leading thinkers on the state of the news industry in America and how to build a sustainable future for our work.

Guild members: Register here by 5 p.m. to join NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss at 7 p.m. ET Weds., Sept. 30, for “Save the News: Paths Forward.” Guild members who register through Zoom will be able to ask questions via chat. The panel also will be streamed on Facebook. Continue reading “Town Hall Sept. 30 – Saving The News: Paths Forward”