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We are the New York area workplace advocate for people in the news business, and that includes some of the best journalists in the country.

The Newspaper Guild of New York represents more than 3,000 employees at New York area-based news organizations, as well as a few non-news organizations.

Since its launch in 1934 by crusading columnist Heywood Broun and others, the Guild has been the voice in the workplace for practitioners of big-city journalism and employees in advertising, circulation and other related areas. It started with newspapers, but today the Guild’s reach extends to workers in all media.

Guild members at Time Inc. were nearly unanimous on Oct. 10 in voting down a management contract offer that would have enabled to the company to outsource the jobs of more than half the journalists at its key magazines.
Time Inc. Guild members vote down management offer on Oct. 10.

Time Inc. Guild members vote down management offer on Oct. 10.

Guild members at Scholastic consider a new contract at a meeting on Sept. 19 before voting unanimously to ratify it.
Scholastic Guild members consider new contract at Sept. 19 meeting.

Scholastic Guild members consider new contract at Sept. 19 meeting.

Guild negotiators review Thomson Reuters opening proposal on Sept. 10.
Guild negotiators review Thomson Reuters opening proposal on Sept. 10.

Guild negotiators review Thomson Reuters opening proposal on Sept. 10.

Guild officers and members were among the thousands of union members who marched in the New York City Labor Day Parade on Sept. 6.
Guild contingent gets ready to join 2014 NYC Labor Day Parade on Sept. 6.

Guild contingent gets ready to join 2014 NYC Labor Day Parade on Sept. 6.

Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely briefs press about El Diario on Aug. 19.
Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely briefs press about El Diario on Aug. 19.

Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely briefs press about El Diario on Aug. 19.

    Local and Unit News

    RELEASE: Guild members nix Time Inc.'s 'final' contract offer

    October 10, 2014

    TIME INC. - After months of negotiations between the Newspaper Guild of New York and Time Inc. on a new contract for more than 200 newsroom employees, Guild members turned down the company’s so-called final contract offer in a nearly unanimous vote.

    Guild schedules member vote on Time Inc. contract offer

    October 3, 2014

    TIME INC. - The Guild will hold a meeting on Friday, Oct. 10 for members at Time Inc. to vote on a contract proposal that company managment representatives have described as their "last, best and final” offer. The package still would enable management to subcontract up to 60 of the slightly more than 200 Guild-represented, journalism-related jobs in the company, as well as another 100 temporary jobs.

    Hudson News adds lockers for Port Authority employees

    October 3, 2014

    HUDSON NEWS - After discussions with the Guild, Hudson News management has agreed to install 24 new lockers at Port Authority Bus Terminal, and to replace the worn out uniform shirts of employees who request it. Management also said that Port Authority-based employees must clock out and back in for their breaks, in addition to the starts and ends of their shifts.

    Times targets 100 in newsroom buyout; bonus for veterans

    September 30, 2014

    TIMES - Times management is offering all Guild-covered Newsroom and Editorial Department employees with at least five years of service a buyout that would be its richest package ever for veterans with at least 20 years under their belts. Management said the buyout offer, which followed discussions with the Guild, is aimed at cutting 100 Guild-covered and nonunion workers from the staff.

    Industry News

    Journalists struggle to balance reporting on Ebola with HIPAA

    October 17, 2014

    A medical staff member, right, watches as others in protective gear escort Nina Pham, left, from an ambulance to a nearby aircraft at Love Field, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Dallas. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died of the same virus. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

    A medical staff member, right, watches as others in protective gear escort Nina Pham, left, from an ambulance to a nearby aircraft at Love Field, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Dallas. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died of the same virus. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

    Journalists covering the Ebola story are struggling to find a balance between patients’ rights, the public’s need to know what is going on and the uncomfortable feeling that innocent people caught up in this story will be “marked” for life.

    A little more than a week ago, Nina Pham was a nurse who was helping to care for a Liberian man who was dying from Ebola in a Dallas hospital. This week, she showed up on a YouTube video, lying in a hospital bed recovering from the virus herself. 

    Carolyn Mungo, WFAA-Dallas News Director

    Carolyn Mungo, WFAA-Dallas News Director

    WFAA-TV News Director Carolyn Mungo, a frequent guest faculty member at Poynter, told me that she worries about the long-term effect being linked to the Ebola story will have on Pham and so many others.

    “When health officials said that Thomas Duncan (the first Ebola patient to die in the United States) could have exposed several children who attend Dallas schools, the school system alerted parents at those schools. Parents wanted to know which classes the children attended,” Mungo said. “The school system cited privacy concerns and would not identify the classrooms. But the parents pointed out that when there is a lice outbreak, the schools send home notes naming classrooms. They wanted to know why this potentially more serious alert provided less information.”

    That was just the beginning of the privacy concerns that would arise.

    “The police released a name and a photo of a homeless man who Duncan might have come into contact with. They just wanted to talk with the man, but we had to decide how much we would spread the man’s name and picture. Eventually we chose to show his picture and not name him, then when police found him and talked with him and found out he was not sick, we quit using the photo,” she said, but Mungo agreed that the images probably do still exist online somewhere.

    “Mr. Duncan’s family is quarantined right now and will be for a few more days. We know where they are but we have chosen not to report that,” Mungo said. “There has been a lot of pressure from the public for officials to say where the family was moved. Our concern is where can this family go to start over? They have been branded, they may be forever linked with this virus.”

    Then there was the tough call about whether to name the deputy who stopped by a medical clinic saying he was feeling sick and that he had been inside Duncan’s apartment. The response was overwhelming.

    “People showed up at the clinic in hazmat suits. One of our people noticed the license plates of the man’s car and we traced the plates. We realized that a few days before, we had interviewed him as he complained that he had been sent into the apartment without protective gear.” Mungo said, “Because he had talked with us on camera, complaining about not being protected, we made a decision to use his name and image. He chose to go public before and that became a big part of our decision.”

    Journalism v. HIPAA 

    A health story of national proportions like the Ebola story pits the role of journalism against HIPPA rules. HIPAA (American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) restricts patient information to doctors, direct caregivers, insurance companies and others expressly named in the Act.

    A top medical ethicist says the law allows some leeway when a national health crisis is involved, but those loopholes do not apply to journalists.

    Dr. Arthur Caplan

    Dr. Arthur Caplan

    “There is a clause about ‘contact tracing’ that lets public officials not directly involved in the patient’s care to get information,” said Dr. Art Caplan, head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Even when an otherwise private health matter becomes a national concern, the medical community has to use some common sense about HIPAA. The public may need to know where the infected person went, who else may have been exposed.”

    The Health and Human Services website gives similar advice, “the Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information without authorization for specified public health purposes.” In fact, HHS says, there are several HIPAA exemptions.

    The Privacy Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information, without authorization, to public health authorities who are legally authorized to receive such reports for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability. This would include, for example, the reporting of a disease or injury; reporting vital events, such as births or deaths; and conducting public health surveillance, investigations, or interventions. See 45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(i). Also, covered entities may, at the direction of a public health authority, disclose protected health information to a foreign government agency that is acting in collaboration with a public health authority. Covered entities who are also a public health authority may use, as well as disclose, protected health information for these public health purposes.

    When Thomas Duncan died from Ebola in Texas, the hospital where he was being treated pointed out that patients can “opt in” or “opt out” of allowing their information to be released to journalists or others who call the hospital asking about the patient’s condition. A patient can even restrict who knows if a person has been admitted at all. And even hospital employees who are not involved in a patient’s care cannot go pawing through a patient’s records. Two hospital employees in Nebraska were fired for looking through Dr. Rick Sacra’s records when he was being treated for Ebola.

    MedPage Today interviewed Michelle De Mooy, deputy director for consumer privacy at the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, who helped sort out what is an is not private in times of a national health concern:

    So “when the hospital workers in Nebraska looked at the records of the doctor with Ebola, they still violated HIPAA, but when the ‘hospital’ officially announced the negative test results of a deputy sheriff in Dallas who was tested for Ebola, they did not,” she toldMedPage Today in an email. “My guess is their explanation for publicly announcing this would be to keep the community from panicking.”

    HIPAA privacy rules would allow hospitals to release general information about a patient without releasing the person’s name, Caplan said.

    “The public should know where the infected person traveled, who else could have been exposed, for example.”

    Mungo said even when people on the periphery of the Ebola story volunteer to be named and interviewed, she urges them to be thoughtful about the long-term effect of being on TV.

    “We heard from a man who was on the Frontier airline flight from Ohio to Dallas,” Mungo said. That was the flight that Ebola-infected nurse Amber Vinson flew on.

    Two schools in Royse City, Texas closed Friday because the man’s kids went there,” Mungo said.

    There is no proof the man or the children were exposed at all, but the schools closed to clean classrooms they attended and sent a systemwide alert out. Other school systems sent out alerts saying they too had children of parents on that flight. Three other Texas schools closed on Thursday.

    “Every day we face these kinds of decisions,” Mungo said. “We want to report as much specific information as we can, but we worry a lot about what lasting damage will come to the people who get caught up in this story.”

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    Why AP isn’t moving stories for every suspected Ebola case

    October 17, 2014

    On Friday, the Associated Press posted an advisory to editors about suspected cases of Ebola, which they’re hearing of more and more.

    “The AP has exercised caution in reporting these cases and will continue to do so,” the advisory reads.

    Here’s the rest:

    Most of these suspected cases turn out to be negative. Our bureaus monitor them, but we have not been moving stories or imagery simply because a doctor suspects Ebola and routine precautions are taken while the patient is tested. To report such a case, we look for a solid source saying Ebola is suspected and some sense the case has caused serious disruption or reaction. Are buildings being closed and substantial numbers of people being evacuated or isolated? Is a plane being diverted? Is the suspected case closely related to another, confirmed Ebola case?

    When we do report a suspected case, we will seek to keep our stories brief and in perspective.

    The AP issued similar guidance on October 3. My colleague Sam Kirkland wrote about it then.

    Often the fact of an unconfirmed case isn’t worth a story at all. On several occasions already, in the U.S. and abroad, we have decided not to report suspected cases. We’ve just stayed in touch with authorities to monitor the situation.

    Ebola is capitalized, just a reminder. You probably know how to pronounce it by now.

    Follow @kristenhare
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    While in Russia, two U.S. journalism teachers were hauled before a judge

    October 17, 2014

    Joe Bergantino, New England Center for Investigative Reporting

    Joe Bergantino, New England Center for Investigative Reporting

    Veteran Boston TV investigative reporter Joe Bergantino spent several hours in Russian police custody Thursday after authorities barged in on a journalism training session he and the Newsplex’s Randy Covington were leading in St. Petersburg, Russia. The two were teaching investigative reporting skills to 14 Russian TV, print and online reporters at the time.

    Bergantino said in a phone interview that he and Covington had been contracted by the U.S. State Department to teach how to interview, report and think critically.

    “We had finished teaching a workshop in Moscow and were just starting a second session in St. Petersburg, Russia when agents from the immigration service walked in,” Bergantino said from Paris. “We were taken to an adjacent room and surrounded by people asking us questions for about an hour.”

    He said the officials demanded the two Americans write and sign a statement saying what they were doing in Russia. After writing the statement, the two returned to teaching for five minutes, only to be interrupted a second time. This time the agents shut the workshop down and hauled Bergantino and Covington away.

    “This time they took us to an immigration service office and showed us a document that they wanted us to sign saying we were guilty of immigration law violations. We refused to sign it,” Bergantino said. “Then we were taken to a district court. The judge had already determined we were guilty. They initially provided an interpreter who was translating about one-tenth of what was going on.”

    Bergantino and Covington were using “targeted tourism visas,” as they said the U.S. State Department told them to do. But the Russians said they needed business visas. “Randy has been to Russia before to train journalists and used the same visa we were using this time,” Bergantino told me.

    “The judge told us we were guilty of violating immigration law and issued us a warning.”

    As far as they know, Bergantino said, they weren’t fined and they weren’t officially deported.

    “She told us we could take our scheduled flight home, but not knowing what might happen next, we took an earlier flight to Paris,” Bergantino said.

    Russian journalists interview Bergantino (photo provided by Joe Bergantino)

    Russian journalists interview Bergantino (photo provided by Joe Bergantino)

    Bergantino is still unsure what was behind the disruption and intimidation.

    “What we did hear last night is this is not from the immigration service, it is a higher level. Putin is trying to send a message if you make the Russian life difficult, we will make it difficult for you. They don’t want people from the journalists outside to come in and teach investigative reporting and stir up Russians journalists.”

    Bergantino has partnered with Poynter and me on several occasions training investigative reporters as part of his work with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, which he heads. Before that he had a long career with WBZ-TV, WPLG-TV and has appeared on many national broadcasts including Nightline, World News Tonight and Good Morning America.

    The judge did tell the Americans they could return to Russia if they get the “proper” paperwork.

    “I would go back, I love the people there,” Bergantino said. “But something tells me I am not going to get the visa they say I need.”

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    Cue the outcry — more big Twitter changes on the way

    October 17, 2014

    mediawiremorningFriday. Good morning (or good evening, if you’re reading this at night). Andrew Beaujon is back next week.

    1. Let’s freak out about Twitter changes: Sayeth Twitter: “in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy.” Noooooooo! (Twitter) | Stuart Dredge weighs in: “The difference between the two social networks is that Facebook is taking stories out of its news feed – it prioritises around 300 a day out of a possible 1,500 for the average user – while Twitter is only adding tweets in. For now, at least.” (The Guardian) | Previously: I wrote about the Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook. (Poynter)
    2. More Twitter changes: Now with audio! “Notably, Twitter is teaming up with Apple to let users listen to certain tracks and buy the music directly from the iTunes store,” Yoree Koh reports. Twitter is also partnering with Soundcloud. (Wall Street Journal) | “Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app,” product manager Richard Slatter writes in a blog post. (Twitter)
    3. The media kinda sucks at covering Ebola: Just look at how it covered #ClipboardMan, Arielle Duhaime-Ross writes. (The Verge)
    4. Liberian media really sucks at covering Ebola: The Daily Observer newspaper “has become a feeding ground of phony conspiracy,” Terrence McCoy reports. “The top three news stories on the website all allege medical professionals purposely infected the country with Ebola, ideas that have drawn the conspiratorial from across the planet.” The bad journalism is leading to a debate over press freedom in the country. (Washington Post) | From yesterday: The BBC is using WhatsApp to spread accurate information about the virus in Africa. (Journalism.co.uk)
    5. Correction of the week: Deadspin retracted its story claiming U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner didn’t actually play high school football, as he claimed, after the primary source changed his mind. “As serial collectors of media fuck-ups, we add this self-portrait to the gallery,” editor Tommy Craggs writes. (Deadspin) | Earlier, Craggs told Erik Wemple, “If you’re looking for someone to blame here, blame me for getting way too cocky about my site’s ability to prove a negative.” (Washington Post)
    6. Whisper vs. The Guardian: A damning report in The Guardian on Thursday claimed Whisper, “the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be ‘the safest place on the internet’, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.” (The Guardian) | Whisper editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman angrily denied the report, and wrote on Twitter that the piece “is lousy with falsehoods, and we will be debunking them all.” (Washington Post) | Here’s a good explainer from Carmel DeAmicis: “The two sides disagree over what constitutes ‘personally identifiable information,’ whether rough location data tied to a user’s previous activity could expose someone.” (Gigaom) | And here’s a take from Mathew Ingram, who says Whisper’s problem is that it “wants to be both an anonymous app and a news entity at the same time.” (Gigaom)
    7. American journalists detained in Russia: Joe Bergantino, co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and Randy Covington, a professor at the University of South Carolina, are in Russia to teach an investigative journalism workshop. They were found guilty of “violating the visa regime” and will return to the U.S. on Saturday as scheduled. “Russian authorities have used visa issues in the past as a pretext to bar the entry for certain individuals to the country,” Nataliya Vasilyeva reports. (AP via ABC News)
    8. Good times at High Times: Subscriptions and advertising pages are growing for “the magazine about all things marijuana” as it celebrates its 40th birthday. Dan Skye, High Times’ editorial director, tells Michael Sebastian, “I think the legalization has everything to do with the boom.” (Ad Age)
    9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Daily News (see it at the Newseum).NY_DN
    10. No job moves today: Benjamin Mullin has the day off. But be sure to visit Poynter’s jobs site. Happy weekend!

    Suggestions? Criticisms? Would you like this roundup sent to you each morning? Please email abeaujon@poynter.org.

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