Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tribune cuts, we bleed

As part of their community outreach campaign, Guild members at the Baltimore Sun created a video ("Tribune Cuts, We Bleed") last week to protest Tribune's continued dismantlement of Baltimore's paper of record by slashing 100 jobs there. The rally and production and distribution of the resulting video is concerted activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

In his e-mail to staff announcing the worst newsroom cuts in years, Sun publisher Timothy A. Ryan wrote, "In August, 2008, The Sun redesign will debut giving readers more of what they want ..."

More of what they want? Sun staffers don't think readers will get what they want or more of it, so they're using their collective voice to tell the community what's really happening to their hometown newspaper. Video voices:

"The Guild has been here fighting this company day in and day out to try to prevent these kind of losses. But we have owners who don't care, owners who don't care about you and don't care about this community."

"As the world becomes more global, this paper is becoming more local. As America is beset with increasingly serious and complex problems, our distant corporate owners are turning us into a tabloid full of press releases ... we're desperate for paid subscribers but we're trying to bring them in by offering less. It's not going to work. It's wrong and I want no part of it."

" We've always been the news leader in Maryland ... we're right up there in the state house and we provide people with the news that they need about their elected officials, about what's going on in their communities and we just won't be able to do that job ... Seventy-five cents for a paper that's going to run bigger pictures to hide the fact that people who should be sitting in those seats won't be here to help grow the paper."

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