Journalists of Lawrence Journal-World: ‘We’re forming a union’

Sept. 28, 2020 – The journalists at the Lawrence Journal-World announced Monday they are forming a union to fight for the future of local news in Douglas County, Kan.

They are calling themselves the Lawrence Journalism Workers Guild and asked Ogden Newspapers to voluntarily recognize the United Media Guild local of The NewsGuild-CWA as their representative.

“Since the late 1800s, the people who make up our newsroom have delivered accurate, timely and important information to our community. Over the past decade, several significant changes have put that mission at risk,” they wrote.

Dwindling advertising and subscription revenues resulted in numerous layoffs and cutbacks to the newspaper’s coverage.

The sale of the Journal-World to Ogden Newspapers has resulted in more cuts, which are noticeable to readers and detract from the mission of informing the community, union organizers said.

“Despite having a billionaire owner, the company’s actions have not demonstrated a true commitment to quality journalism or adequate support of the people who produce it,” they said.

Workers said they are unionizing in order to “have a seat at the table and to protect our community’s interests when decisions are made about its local news source.”

They are seeking fair compensation for increasing workloads and to be able to afford to live and raise families in the community they cover.

“We are organizing to rededicate this newspaper to the words in its mission statement, including ‘accurate and fair news reporting,’ ‘safeguarding the rights of all citizens regardless of race, creed or economic stature,’ and ‘sympathy and understanding for all who are disadvantaged or oppressed.’”

“Reliable local news is more important now than ever. A global health crisis is changing our community, showing no signs of abating.

“Misinformation spreads at frightening speeds, easily going unchecked. And people around our community and country are raising their voices, fighting to create a better world for all who live in it.

“We are organizing to ensure that the Lawrence Journal-World is there to cover our community at this pivotal time and grow with it into the future.”

Follow the Lawrence Journalism Workers Guild on Twitter @LJW_Guild.