NEW YORK, NY – Having journalists working for a news organization with decent wages is in the public’s best interest. In the the world of news reporting having a union shop works best. This is were reporters have a voice at work and employees negotiate a union contract while news and information is disseminated to the public every day.
Newsrooms around the country are being taken over by corporate buyers having les interest in journalism and more in profits. The owners – many of them hedge funds – slash newsroom staff, cut benefits, and sell the assets to gain income rather than report on real news. Unfortunately, journalists tend to be very aggressive in covering their beats, but not in preserving union jobs.
Journalists at the Denver Post made headlines by publishing a blistering editorial against its new owner, Alden Global Capital, calling the firm “vulture capitalists” for eviscerating the city’s daily newspaper. Staff was cut over fifty percent while subscription rates were raised. Readers were getting much less while charged much more.
The Times Union in Florida was purchased by GateHouse Media, and the company cut staff shortly afterward. The newsroom staff has plunged from 100 to 40 in the past five years – which makes it hard to adequately cover the sprawling city of Jacksonville. Again the goal is investment rather than covering community news.
With the downsizing of newspapers, unions have almost disappeared in the newsroom. The industry has changed dramatically with most news appearing online. News media startups are poping-up in every community and city. This is now a golden opportunity for traditional union organizing to take place in the world of online news.