LUNZER: WHAT’S IN A NAME? WHY IT’S PAST TIME FOR ‘NEWSGUILD’

December 23, 2014
In 1995, when only 14 percent of Americans had internet access, I purchased the web domain name “NewsGuild.org.”

I was convinced that local Guild leaders would vote to drop “paper” from our name at our next meeting. I was wrong. Delegates had strong and passionate feelings about “newspapers,” almost as if bracing against the tidal wave of change headed toward their industry and careers.

Twenty years later, it is past time. It is inevitable. We are media. We are content producers. Ink may be in our blood but it is no longer essential to our survival. That is why a resolution to change our name to “NewsGuild” will be offered at our sector conference in January. Based on reactions at regional conferences this fall, I expect it to pass.

We are rightfully proud to be long associated with newspapers and their investments in and commitments to quality journalism. Yes, hedge funds and other distant owners have hurt those investments and commitments, but it is still true that most news stories and investigative journalism originate with newspapers.

Most stories—but not all—as this year’s Heywood Broun awards illustrate. The top Broun award was shared by the online Center for Public Integrity and ABC News for a phenomenal joint investigation into a coal industry conspiracy to deprive sick miners of medical benefits.

ABC’s Brian Ross accepted the award saying how honored he and the producing team were to receive the award from The Newspaper Guild — even though “we don’t think of ourselves as newspaper people.”

But “In this day and age in journalism, we’re all really one,” he added, all of us sharing the latest technology “to tell important and big stories.”

Members of the Guild’s Executive Council were struck by Ross’ words. They may have never heard anyone say that our name limited journalists from identifying with the Guild.

Our goal isn’t to preserve print — as hard as it is for many baby boomers to imagine a day starting without coffee and the morning paper, emphasis on paper.                     Our mission is to preserve quality journalism and good jobs. On the best of days, this is a challenge. It is even more difficult if we are limited by our name.

Our new name will continue to be linked, proudly, with the Communications Workers of America. CWA is a good case study for us. Our parent union began as the National Federation of Telephone Workers but reorganized in 1947 as the Communications Workers. The name didn’t limit CWA to telephone and telecommunication work. Instead, a forward-thinking organization was born that 50 years later was a natural fit for newspaper and broadcast workers, interpreters and all kinds of customer service representatives.

As the fight for a reliable business model continues for news organizations, the upheaval and uncertainty for workers brings evermore urgency to our work. It’s critical that journalists and other media workers looking for help don’t come across “The Newspaper Guild” and be discouraged by our name. We believe “NewsGuild-CWA” will make a difference.

Unfortunately, journalists are far from the only newspaper workers being hurt as technology forever changes, or kills, jobs. A brazen misassumption in the early years of the internet was that the web would have little effect on newspaper advertising.

No one predicted Craigslist, let along Google, Facebook, and the myriad other high-tech means of separating revenue from content. Google is particularly infuriating to me, so far removed from its “Don’t Be Evil” beginnings. Today, it is a multi-billionaire parasite, using its wealth and power to gain more wealth and power while fighting against compensating the content creators they exploit.

“Tell us to stop searching your sites,” they tell news organizations that complain. I think it’s time for publishers to call their bluff. Some in the media have fantasized about a separate search engine or portal, where visitors would either pay for content up front or advertising revenue would be returned to the content creators. I’m not sure why no one is seriously talking about this yet. Like our name change, it’s past time.

The irony is that even Google needs us to succeed in our fight to save paid journalists and journalism. Well researched, accurately reported, reliable information is the common denominator, whether we’re talking about a search engine’s profits or our democracy’s survival.

NewsGuild-CWA plans to be part of those conversations for many years to come.

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Save the CBC, Stop the TPP: A Call to Action in 2015

110520_ohanlon_200x270By Martin O’Hanlon
President, CWA/SCA Canada

Making New Year’s predictions is risky business.

Last January, I predicted the worst would be over for newspapers in 2014 and things would start to improve.

Well, I may have been half right.

The last year, like the last decade, was not kind to the media industry. We saw more deep and damaging cuts at a number of employers, with the CBC and Halifax Chronicle Herald hardest hit.

In Halifax, a proud and vibrant newsroom was stunned and battered by deep cuts that came with no warning, empathy or delicacy.

At the CBC, we are losing hundreds of colleagues and unless we get a government that will provide adequate funding, the survival of our public broadcaster is in doubt.

As we begin 2015, I remain confident that things will improve, but we can’t just sit back and hope. We must stand up for jobs and journalism, and we must build a movement for social and economic justice. After all, if we don’t, who will?

Each of us has a part to play and once again, I am asking every member of CWA Canada to do something – even just one small thing – to help as we launch two new campaigns.

The first, the “Save the CBC” campaign, is already gearing up under the direction of our biggest local, the Canadian Media Guild.

The goal is to make quality public broadcasting a ballot box issue in this year’s federal election.

For years now, the CBC has been starved of the funds it needs to fulfill its federally legislated mandate.

The Harper Conservatives, while scared to kill the CBC outright, have not been shy about showing their disdain for public broadcasting. Unless they change their position, or unless we have a new government committed to public broadcasting, the CBC will fade away.

That unthinkable prospect would be a huge blow to Canadian culture and it would mean the loss of CBC News, with far fewer journalists to keep an eye on government, politicians and corporate power brokers.

That’s bad for society and democracy and we can’t let it happen.

So what can we do?

Over the coming weeks and months, we will use email, Twitter, Facebook and workplace posters to let you know how you can help.

It could be:

•    Attending a Save the CBC rally

•    Signing an online petition

•    Joining our Facebook page

•    Retweeting Twitter posts

•    Telling your local MP that the CBC matters to you

Our second campaign is to stop Canada from signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive “trade” deal being negotiated behind closed doors.

The TPP isn’t really a trade agreement at all – it’s a cozy arrangement that would give corporations unprecedented new international powers and it’s being negotiated with plenty of input from corporations and almost no involvement from elected officials, never mind labour leaders or environmental experts.

The TPP would have a major impact on Canada, yet almost no one is talking about it. We must change that.

Under the TPP:

·       Foreign corporations would be able to challenge Canadian laws (environment, safety, etc.) bypassing Canadian courts and going directly to closed-door international tribunals that could override Canadian sovereignty.

·       Canada would lose thousands more jobs as companies move production overseas, particularly to Vietnam where garment workers earn just 50 cents an hour.

With both the CBC and TPP campaigns, we have to build a movement, working with other progressives, including community organizations, social groups, student activists, environmentalists, religious leaders – anyone with whom we can find a common interest.

Again, over the coming months, we will use email and social media to let you know how you can help.

One person and one act at a time, working together, we can make a difference.

Let’s each do our part in 2015 to protect quality jobs, defend quality journalism – and make Canada a better place.

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Black Press purchases Island newspapers in deal with Glacier Media

Source: timescolonist.com

Glacier Media Inc. has sold its Vancouver Island Newspaper Group to Victoria-based Black Press.

Black Press takes operational control of that group on March 2. That includes Cowichan Valley Citizen, Nanaimo Daily News and Alberni Valley Times.

The sale does not include the Times Colonist.

– read the entire story here

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News Leader Pictorial staff on strike in Duncan

Source: cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Twelve employees at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial newspaper in Duncan took to the picket lines on Monday in a dispute over proposed changes to their pay structure.

The strike is about blocking the implementation of a two-tier wage system by management, said Unifor Local 2000 representative Peter McQuade.

Right now, employees’ wages increase over time through a classification system. Management is trying to eliminate the top wage classifications for any new employees coming in, McQuade said.

Employees voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action.

McQuade said it was possible the paper would not be able to put out an edition for Wednesday. He had no indication when the strike might be over.

Calls to the News Leader Pictorial’s editor and publisher were not returned Monday morning.

– See more at: http://www.cowichanvalleycitizen.com/news/news-leader-pictorial-staff-on-strike-in-duncan-1.1632965#sthash.QdORmcda.dpuf

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United Way Kick Off 2014

uway_c_200-150x150Good Morning All,

Today is the kick off to our 2014 employee campaign for United Way. Our goal this year is $23,000.

 Please take a moment to check out the link “Your Donations at Work” below.

 As in past years, we’ll be holding a daily draw prize for those who donate. The prize table is located near the reception desk. I’ll be around with pledge forms today.

 Pledge forms can be returned to me or placed in the United Way bucket located in or near your department.

 For first time donors, please check out CRA’s information on the Super Credit: 

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/txtps/2013/tt131216-eng.html

 

United Way – Your Donations at Work : http://youtu.be/rgwd-dZ1k3Y

 

Thank you in advance!

 

Candace

2014 Employee Campaign Chair

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