Thursday, June 7, 2007

At the LA Daily News, a Guild-Company partnership that can work

With the recent and on-going newsroom purges, it's no wonder editorial employees worry about their future and the future of journalism. The old media model is out. The new media model is in development. The barriers between print and the web must be torn down as newsrooms restructure themselves in an effort to stop their steady decline into irrelevance. In the meantime, newsrooms are shrinking as corporate demands increase.

The truth is journalists have always risen to the challenges to their craft. They can now, too.

An example of how editorial employees are digging in to meet the challenges of a new media world where no blueprint for saving the industry has yet to be found, staff at the Los Angeles Daily News have jumped in feet first. In response to an LADN memo to staff yesterday announcing part of a strategy to reconfigure how the paper gathers and delivers its content (online and in print), Guild member Brent Hopkins, appointed to a task force to help develop new strategies for change, wrote on his blog to his coworkers:

Ever since I came here as an intern, we've always been the understaffed, underfunded, under-equipped underdog. And while I'd love that to change, we're always going to be that way-- and we're going to find a way to make that our advantage. While we don't have the resources of our larger competitors, we've got an incredible array of minds, great work ethic and an ability to think beyond the way things used to be done."
I know that change is hard and frightening, but it's something that we're going to have to do. And that's why the union's here, as well-- to ensure that as we change, we do so fairly and equitably. The members of this union have stepped up to be the newsroom leaders in recent years, so I'll expect them to continue to lead the way by speaking up with their best ideas and looking out for their colleagues. With their guidance, we have nothing to fear as we change for the uncertain times ahead.
While newspaper executives talk about industry change, they continue to operate under the broken model of tying staff size and news hole to subscription and advertising revenue. The job cuts have resulted in less revenue and fewer readers willing to pay for information. A great example of Guild members working to save the industry from itself is happening right now at the Los Angeles Daily News and at

(end of post)

No comments: