Day of the Dead — More newspaper journalists take low-level buyouts

Mick Gregory

A Day of Action by Newspaper Guild — More of a farce than show of force.

Like Ford workers, journalists have become a bottom-line problem, which is quite a comedown from being members of “The Fourth Estate,” lamented a former newspaper journalist.

Yesterday, journalists and others in the newspaper industry held a so-called “Day of Action.” In frigid Minneapolis/St. Paul, the event was coordinated by the merged union I’ve wrote about earlier, the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America.

St. Paul Pioneer Press had 21 journalists quit the paper last week after accepting “chump change” buyouts from the paper’s new owner, MediaNews Group of Denver.

A rally Monday outside the Pioneer Press called attention to the danger that newspaper cuts are creating for democracy.
Both locally and nationally, journalism jobs are disappearing and newsroom staffs shrinking. That much has been widely reported.

Left unanswered is how downsizing of the news media, the so-called Fourth Estate of politics, will affect public life. Twin Cities media workers of all kinds raised precisely that point Dec. 11, when they gathered outside the Pioneer Press building downtown St. Paul. And we have a photo of a group of some 20 concerned newspaper employees hoding black balloons.

Black Balloons“Who is going to ask the questions if the newsroom is gutted, if we aren’t here?” asked Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, one of a handful of speakers to address the crowd lined up along the sidewalk in front of the newspaper’s headquarters.

MediaNews ended up with the paper after San Jose-based Knight Ridder was purchased by Sacramento-based McClatchy, which purchased the Star Tribune from the Minneapolis-based Cowles family in 1998.

Why do these dozen or so journalists think their jobs are more important than the thousands of computer and auto workers who have been right sized?

12/11/06
Dayton, OH
Dayton TNG-CWA members, community supporters and retirees will rally at 12:15 outside the Dayton Daily News offices.

12/11/06
Knoxville, TN
The Knoxville Newspaper Guild is spearheading a gathering of area journalists at noon, Dec. 11, on Market Square, the center of downtown Knoxville. TNGers will distribute fliers, carry signs and spread the message to the public to “say no to cutting the jobs of journalists!”

12/11/06
York, PA
Members of TNG-CWA Local 38218 in York, Pa., will hold a “Festivus” Celebration on Stand Up for Journalism Day, Monday, Dec. 11. The “holiday” was famous by the “Seinfeld” sitcom and includes a “airing of grievances” that union members say is very appropriate at the York newspapers since workers have been bargaining for a new contract since July 2005.

Members will celebrate outside the York Daily Record.

12/11/06
Washington, DC
Members of TNG-CWA Local 32035 at the Catholic News Service will stand for one minute of silence at 11 a.m.

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4 thoughts on “Day of the Dead — More newspaper journalists take low-level buyouts

  1. Interesting how these yahoos think that the public should come out and picket in their behalf – where were they when other professions were taking a hit? Ah…nowhere. These folks need to get over their belief that they lead privileged lives. They, like everyone else, are expendable if they don’t contribute to the continuance of the company they work for. A hard lesson to be sure, but one that most of us know up close and personally. Now it’s their turn. I won’t hold out any hope that any of them will suffer and personal humility and have any epiphanies about the fact that their fate may actually have something to do with THEM.

    😉 WC

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you WC. They really think that their is a Fourth Estate. The self annointed, “journaliti” really do think they hold some kind of privilaged class rank. At some point they may even ask the Democrats for a government protection. They really don’t understand what a free market and government by the people means. They don’t seem to see a conflict of interest in joining a union that supports only Democrats.

    The “journaliti” are being downsized because they are easily replaced with wire copy from AP and Reuters, plus stories from their “brothers and sisters” at other papers owned by the same chain of newspapers. They generally despise their own advertsing sales staff who convince the ma and pa retailers that newspapers are their best advertising buy and the circulation managers who keep the declining subscriptions from a total free fall with constant promotions and boiler room call centers offering half price deals.

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