Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely briefs press about El Diario on Aug. 19.
Local and Unit News
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 24, 2014
Bad internships are like ill-fated summer romances: You go into them with an open heart and all the hope in the world, only to find out after three sizzling months they were using you the whole time.
I’ve been fortunate in my fledgling career — and my love life — to steer clear of these summertime abusers. But like almost everyone working in journalism, I endured my fair share of harrowing situations while I was still figuring out which end of the pencil was up.
In the hopes of finding comfort in shared misery, I sent out a few tweets yesterday looking to hear about your worst internship stories. Here’s what you wrote back, on Twitter and through email:
@Poynter I interned all summer, they hired me to freelance after. Then the company went under and they only paid half of what they owed me
— Annie Johnson (@anneejohnson9) October 24, 2014
— Mary Beth Mosley (@MaryBethMosley) October 23, 2014
@Poynter Did an internship where I was tricked into running a web mag. My "boss" plagiarized content and would ask me what our purpose was.
— Dawn Cherie Araujo (@Dawn_Cherie) October 23, 2014
@Poynter had to contact HR 4-5 times. Last time I mentioned harassment and then they moved me to another department and another office
— Jakob Dorph Broager (@jdbroager) October 23, 2014
@Poynter When I left the station, The Intern was watching TV with his feet up. When I came back, he was asleep. Do better than that, kids.
— Luke Rollins (@LukeARollins) October 23, 2014
Steve Rhodes wrote in with this story about receiving a cold welcome when he arrived for his first day of work:
When I arrived from Minnesota for an internship at the New Haven Register in the summer of 1988, I did as instructed and walked up the city desk on my first day to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m the new summer intern,” I said. The editors looked at me and each other and then one said, “What intern?” Apparently the managing editor of the paper, who hired me, hadn’t told anyone I’d be arriving. I was dispatched to a bureau in the middle of nowhere to basically rot for the summer. At least I survived longer than the managing editor, who was fired midway through my stay there.
Poynter reader Robin Roger sent these stories from her business reporting internship at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
I was so nervous/excited on my first day, that I got to the parking garage 30 minutes early. I walked around the building a bit before realizing that I was supposed to park in another garage to get reimbursed. When I made it back to the original garage, I realized I had locked my keys in the car, and my car had been blocking the entrance to the parking garage for 15 or 20 minutes! Needless to say the guys at the garage weren’t happy with me. I called a locksmith, and they were there in minutes to extricate my key. I ended up being only 5 minutes late to my first day on the job, but I was a sweaty, nervous mess, not the calm, cool collected intern I was when I first arrived.
This one is more directly related to reporting:
I was sent out to interview customers of a locally owned pharmacy that was being bought by the Eckerd chain. The Eckerd folks didn’t want me interviewing in the store, so I was approaching people in the parking lot. I didn’t get a lot of cooperation, and one woman who seemed very suspicious even asked me “How do I even know you’re with the newspaper?!” I realized at that point I had rushed out the door, forgetting to bring my hangtag ID, so I had no proof that I worked for the paper. I never left the office again without it.
And one more:
When China changed the way it links its currency to the U.S. dollar, I was sent to a Walmart parking lot to interview customers about how this might affect them. I had to take this very complex economic concept, explain it to people in a Walmart parking lot and then ask them how it might affect their purchasing decisions. It was a longshot at best. I got comments like “I buy all my underwear at Walmart, and I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else.” I got stuck in rush hour traffic for hours, and ended up having to call in the quotes I had gathered. I was also asked to purchase items made in China for a photo to go with the article, and when I came back with a wide variety of items, I was told by the editor that that’s not what he was looking for. He wanted me to bring back the “cheap plastic crap” that they make. I had to tell him they make a lot more than that! I ended up getting to share a byline on the front page for the story, so that made it all worthwhile.
Former Buffalo News intern Brandon Schlager wrote in with this stemwinder about driving through a blizzard to interview for his internship:
My story takes place in January 2014. To appreciate the importance of the setting in relation to the narrative, you must first understand that January in Buffalo inherently means lots of ice, plenty of cold and, well, you know … snow. Buffalo sometimes gets a worse rap for its weather than it deserves, but this particular winter lived up to (and probably exceeded) the stereotypes — two blizzards in a two-month span, the first of which made its way into town late on Jan. 6.
The next morning, Jan. 7, is when I was scheduled to interview for an intern position. I remember waking up, ignorant to the warnings heeded by weathermen the night before. And with no one having called to postpone the interview, I stubbornly set out on my trek to the newsroom in downtown Buffalo (I am from a Buffalo suburb about 15 minutes away), paying no mind to the 30-50 mph winds and the minus 28 degree wind chill that came along with it.
The snow is hardly a deterrent for Buffalonians when it comes to driving. Navigating the flurries becomes second nature in time. So no big deal. The drive was a bit trickier than usual, but I made it to One News Plaza with 15 minutes to spare, proud of my punctuality. I won’t soon forget the look I received when I told the receptionist I had arrived to interview for an internship.
She said something along the lines of, “You could have been two hours late and I don’t think anyone would have blamed you for it.”
When I met with my interviewer, he was quick to share that the newsroom was particularly hectic because many of the reporters couldn’t make it into the office that day. They were stuck at home.
Twelve to 18 inches of snow fell before Jan. 7 ran its course. The Sabres-Hurricanes hockey game scheduled for that night was cancelled. It was the first technical blizzard in Buffalo in 20 years, since 1993. Another one followed in March. We had a great run.
Long story short, the interviews went well, I got the position and enjoyed a great (and sunny) summer with The Buffalo News.
Do you have any terrible internship stories you’d like to be included here? Send me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll add it to the article.Read more
October 24, 2014
Canada won’t allow its journalists to print Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, because she was a victim of child pornography. That ban extends to advertising, too, one of Parsons’ family members has found, even if an ad only includes what could be considered an oblique reference to the court case that invoked the publication ban.
Rehtaeh Parsons died last year, and last month a young man pleaded guilty to taking a photograph that led to her being bullied and tormented. But Nova Scotia media could only refer to the plea as being in conjunction with a “high-profile child pornography case.”
Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, tried to place an ad in Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Chronicle Herald, the largest newspaper in the province, to make the connection between the conviction and his niece. But the paper refused, concerned such an ad would violate the publication ban.
“I was pretty disappointed,” Jim Canning said. “We just wanted to say ‘Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.’ That’s it. We would have been fine with that.”
Rehtaeh Parsons’ case attained worldwide notoriety last April, when she committed suicide after months of cyber-bullying. Her ordeal began after a photo got shared of her leaning out a window puking while a boy penetrated her from behind.
She claimed she was raped by this boy and three others, but the boys say the sex was consensual and occurred at an alcohol-fueled party.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia investigated the matter for several months but never seized the boys’ cellphones and didn’t speak to the accused for 10 months. When the police finally took their evidence to the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, the Crown Attorney that reviewed the file refused to prosecute because she didn’t think the likelihood of a conviction was high enough.
After Rehtaeh’s death, her mother, Leah, turned to social media to tell her daughter’s story. The hacker collective Anonymous got involved and intense pressure from them, the public, and the provincial government prompted the police to re-open the case.
New evidence turned up and was given to Halifax police, who laid charges in August 2013 — but not for sexual assault. They charged two boys: one with production and distribution of child pornography and one with distribution of child pornography.
There is a statutory ban on the naming of victims in child pornography cases in Canada, yet the media continued to name Rehtaeh Parsons until April 2014, when Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Jamie Campbell ordered the ban. Rehtaeh’s parents opposed the order, as did Alex Smith, an Ontario Crown Prosecutor brought in to handle the case.
Four Nova Scotia media outlets hired lawyer Nancy Rubin to fight the ban, but Campbell said the statute gave him no leeway. Because the law protects the victims of child pornography, he was not prepared to forge a ruling that could be misconstrued in the future.
Martin Herschorn, Nova Scotia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, and Lena Metlege Diab, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, said they couldn’t promise to not prosecute any journalists who broke the ban until it was violated.
That presented media outlets with a perfect Catch-22: The media couldn’t name Rehtaeh Parsons, and the only way to create a legal path to use her name in covering this case was for a journalist to break the law.
Rehtaeh Parsons’ parents openly flouted the ban. They started a social media campaign and made T-shirts and buttons with the slogan “Rehtaeh Parsons is her name.”
But no mainstream Canadian media followed, which is why Rehtaeh Parsons’ uncle, Jim Canning, took it upon himself to try to place an ad in The Chronicle Herald.
He sent the paper the copy he wanted in the ad:
Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.
She was raped at 15.
She was bullied and died by suicide at 17.
And then we banned her name.
The Chronicle Herald objected to the last line referencing the ban and asked Canning if he would remove it. He said yes, and then the ad got reviewed again.
“They were still too worried about it, even though basically at this point it’s just saying her name,” said Canning.
He said the advertising executive he was speaking with told him “it’s kind of implied that you’re talking about the ban,” Canning said. “I thought that was just ridiculous.”
Chronicle Herald Associate Publisher Ian Thompson told me it was purely a legal issue for the paper.
“We got advice to say that we would be in violation of the ban if we ran that ad,” Thompson said. “We would have been happy to run the ad, but we don’t want to run afoul of the law.”
Days after rejecting Canning’s ad the Herald ran a story by The Canadian Press on Oct. 1 in which it named Rehtaeh Parsons.
“We’ve run her name many times, but it’s in the context of that particular court action where the ban comes into play,” Thompson said.
When asked how the wire story about an anti-cyberbullying curriculum was different than the ad proposed by Canning, Thompson said when it comes to the law “there are often gray areas, and that’s why there are lawyers.”
Put simply, the Herald asked these questions when considering Canning’s ad: “Would it be seen by the court as an attempt to overcome what Judge Campbell had said and was this an attempt to do from the back door what the court said you can’t do in the front door?” Thompson said.
Toronto lawyer Brian Rogers says you have to consider Jim Canning’s intent, which Rogers says is to get around the ban.
“I can appreciate that some people may scratch their heads and wonder about the distinction, but it is one,” Rogers said.
Rogers stressed that he wasn’t prepared to second-guess the advice the Chronicle Herald received, but he does understand the basis on which they made their decision.
“It’s clear that the intent of the ad is to subvert the ban, whereas the other is an article talking about cyber-bullying legislation,” he said.
He also agreed that the words in the ad, which echo those in the social media campaign by Glen Canning and Leah Parsons – an open defiance of the ban – would also be a factor worth considering.
“This is by no means a simple black-and-white situation and you would take into account all kinds of factors,” Rogers said. “It’s really a matter for the client to decide what risk they are prepared to take. There are circumstances in which clients are more prepared to take risks than others.”
In this case, The Chronicle Herald decided it wasn’t prepared to take the risk.
“Lawyers are always going to take the most risk-averse approach to most things, so the advice isn’t surprising,” Jim Canning said. “But when you make business decisions or moral decisions, you don’t just solely base it off of what your lawyer tells you or no one would ever do anything.”
Two Chronicle Herald journalists, Selena Ross and Frances Willick, shared a national newspaper award for their investigative work into the Rehtaeh Parsons case, so it’s unfortunate that their coverage has been hampered by this ban.
“I do personally hope the ban won’t be enforced and that we can get away from this stilted, ineffective coverage,” Ross said.
Thompson said, “Rehtaeh Parsons’ name will appear in our newspaper again – obviously.”
It’s a name that carries power and brings weight to any discussion about sexual consent, cyber-bullying or suicide prevention, Canning said.
“I think the name is important, just like my brother [Rehtaeh's father, Glen] does,” Canning said. “I just wanted to kind of make a statement: ‘Don’t forget her.’Read more
October 24, 2014
This year, editors at The Boston Globe noticed that they shared something important with Hollywood’s biggest night: three directors, all trained at nearby Harvard University, each got Oscar nods for documentary filmmaking.
That got the paper’s attention. Globe editors had known for awhile that New England was a hotbed for documentarians, with big names like Ken Burns and Errol Morris calling the region home. The arts staff, under film editor Janice Page, had long discussed expanding the paper’s coverage of documentary filmmaking; now they had a newspeg.
Now, a few months later, The Boston Globe is rolling out a red carpet of its own for the region’s filmmakers and cinephiles. On Thursday, the paper announced GlobeDocs, a bid to celebrate the city’s nonfiction film scene. The initiative, headed up by Page, will include a series of free screenings (at least one every month) at independent theaters throughout Boston that will include panel discussions with filmmakers and industry experts. The paper is currently working to identify advertisers to sponsor the screenings, said Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan.
In an effort to become a hub for the film community, The Globe is also planning to put on a film festival sometime in 2015 and has begun a fund “to support up-and-coming filmmakers,” according to a release announcing GlobeDocs.
In the weeks leading up to Thursday’s announcement, the paper was already beefing up its documentary coverage. Earlier this month, The Globe began devoting a full page of its Sunday arts section to nonfiction film. The paper brought aboard Peter Keough, the former film editor of the now-defunct Boston Phoenix, to anchor the section; he writes a weekly roundup of the region’s documentary news called “Doc Talk” and asks a prominent movie-lover for recommendations in a feature called “Documania.”
Close watchers of The Globe will notice this isn’t the first time the paper has invested in specialized coverage of the city. This year, the paper rolled out two standalone sites — BetaBoston and Crux — to chronicle the startup and Catholic communities, respectively. In June, the paper added a Friday print section, “Capital,” dedicated exclusively to politics coverage. And there will likely be more specialized verticals to follow, Sheehan said.
The homepage of Crux, The Boston Globe’s new vertical for Catholic news.
And as with the other new initiatives, The Globe is planning to kick off GlobeDocs with a live event — in this case, a screening of “The Irish Pub,” featuring a discussion with director Alex Fegan moderated by Globe columnist Kevin Cullen. This echoes other launch events held for verticals like Crux and Capital.
The business thinking behind these live meetups — from next year’s film festival to events the paper’s has been putting on for years — is to position The Globe to become a convener of the community in addition to its chronicler, Sheehan said. The events, which build and showcase the verticals’ respective audiences, have the potential to indirectly drive revenue by making them more attractive to advertisers.
“Newspapers were traditionally experienced in someone’s hand, something someone read,” Sheehan said. “At their best today, newspapers are something that bring people together.”Read more
October 24, 2014
I remember a day back in the 1980s when I first met a person who I thought had AIDS. I was sitting at the front desk of the old storefront building of the Poynter Institute when a tall gaunt man entered through the glass doors and approached me with a question. I have forgotten his question, but I do remember being frightened by his appearance.
He had several lesions on his face, the kind that people got after their immune system had been compromised by the AIDS virus. I did not reach out to shake his hand, my usual gesture, but babbled some reason to direct him out of the building. I am not proud of this. I just want to establish my credentials as someone capable of panicky, irrational fear.
About a decade after that meeting, 1996 to be exact, I published a month-long series in what was then the St. Petersburg Times called “Three Little Words.” It told the story of a seemingly normal Midwestern family in which father died of AIDS. I learned a lot during the reporting and writing of that narrative. The most important lesson: Be not afraid.
I learned, for example, that HIV was much harder to contract than I had originally thought. Turning back the clock a decade, I could have shaken hands with that man that came into Poynter; I could have embraced him like a brother; we could share a meal without fear of infection. It would have been different if we had shared a needle to shoot up drugs or if we had engaged in anal intercourse.
There is that phrase. Anal intercourse. The one that so many news outlets were afraid to use, paralyzed by their inhibitions over what was possible to publish in a “family newspaper.” So they resorted to euphemism: “the exchange of bodily fluids.” As a result of such squeamishness, I believe that ignorance was spread and that lives were lost.
In addition, we unleashed a decade of hate and discrimination. Two groups felt it most harshly: poor people of color who looked – in the eyes of suburban whites – to be drug addicts; and gay men, all of whom were suspected of dangerous sexual practices with dozens if not hundreds of partners.
While my series on AIDS was running, I was invited by Times sports editor Hubert Mizell to appear on his morning radio talk show. A couple of prominent athletes had been diagnosed with the disease, and Mizell thought the conversation would have news value. I remember one phone call from a hockey fan who said he would no longer attend games because he might become infected with the AIDS virus. We looked at each other, puzzled. Here was his rationale: hockey players get into fights along the boards and if they bled, their blood might splatter into the stands, infecting fans with AIDS.
I can remember my response years later, almost word for word. “Yeah, you might die as a result of attending a hockey game, sir. You might get hit in the head with a puck!”
I am no expert on Ebola, just a concerned American and writer who has been following a lot of the news coverage. Much of it has been very good. But even the best, most cautious, most nuanced coverage, I fear, has a hard time gaining traction.
Journalists, medical professionals, political leaders, people of reason and good faith everywhere must remember that we are fighting one of the most powerful forces in human history: the narrative of the leper. To be called, even metaphorically, a leper means that you are someone who is despised and feared. You will wear a bell around your neck. At your approach, people who fear you will stone you or put you in quarantine to die: leper colonies. Only holy men and women – Jesus, Damian, Mother Teresa – owned the moral courage to comfort the afflicted.
To move from the sublime to the ridiculous, even our popular culture reinforces the ignorant fear of infection. Exhibit A: the zombie. How many thousands and thousands of cinematic zombies have had their heads cut off, their brains blown out, or their bodies torched? If I lived in Zombie Land, that, no doubt, would be my reaction, too. Why? Because if I am bitten, I will become infected, and, after infection, I will join the legions of the living dead. At their core, most horror stories are allegories about disease.
There is another old narrative that has raised its ugly head, one that I have known as a boy, but existed much longer than that. It is the story of Darkest Africa, and it expressed the worst fears of a privileged white race. As great a literary artist as Joseph Conrad succumbed to it in his novel Heart of Darkness. In this narrative, the Dark Continent is a place of primitive and pervasive dangers, where wild animals abound and dark-skinned humans engage in barbaric practices such as cannibalism. Even the cartoons of my youth played out versions of this theme.
I do not believe the irrational public fear of Ebola would be nearly as great if the disease had not come “out of Africa.”
So there is a lot of work to do, my brothers and sisters in journalism. The more we learn, I will predict, the more reason and proportion we will bring to the process. It took me a decade to overcome my fear of AIDS. I know we can do better than that.
When I began this essay, my plan was just to compare Ebola to AIDS. That move led me to something much deeper, the narratives of the despised leper and the primal fears of the Dark Continent. Fear of disease has always been linked to the enemy, the scapegoat. In Shakespeare’s time, the English called syphilis the “French disease.” European Christians blamed the Black Death on Jews, even as they would eventually carry diseases, such as smallpox, to the inhabitants of the New World.This is the mythology of disease. We blame its transmission on people we despise.
In many cases, it is the role of the journalist to point the public’s attention to things they should be afraid of: that hurricane brewing in the Gulf; air bags that blast shrapnel onto drivers; that sinkhole near the bridge. But there is another – I am tempted to say more important – role. That is to take corrosive fear, the kind that leads to prejudice and hate, and apply the disinfecting light of cool reason and reliable informationRead more