Worcester Newspaper Guild Letter

Glad to see that the Worcester Newspaper Guild took my advice and wrote their own letter to the New York Times Company.

(Next time, you can send me the press releases in addition to the larger media outlets.  I personally think the T&G should become employee-owned.)

Update — as T notes in the comments, Lee Hammel spoke with Emily Rooney today (mp3), starting at the 19:30ish mark. 

Some quotes:

“We were unhappy to read about it, given what we’ve been offered over the last four years” [regarding bonuses at NYT Co., 20:45ish]

“We’ve been in negotiations — the contract expired in 2007, and we’ve been in negotiations ever since, and they have been very steadfast in saying that they will not give us any pay raises.  But on top of that, … they’re stripping away many other rights that we had and many other benefits, or they want to do that, and that’s why we’re in negotiations.”

Regarding health benefits: “They want to take away the clause that says ‘substantially equivalent,’ so that they could give us virtually any health plan at all.  There would be no limit on what they could take away.  Similarly, they … could charge us as much as they want for those benefits.”

Rooney asks what the T&G newsroom could do if Sulzberger and Robinson gave them $1mil of their bonuses.   Hammel notes that the bonus means that Sulzberger essentially doubled his salary, and that that bonus could have paid for approximately 75 employees at NYT Co.

Regarding cutbacks at the paper: “We’ve had to make some very, very difficult choices … there’s been a tremendous loss of space; there’s not as much space to write stories…the stories are shorter and there’s fewer of them.”

“There are fewer things we can do, there’s fewer things we have space to do, and there are fewer people to do them.”

Rooney asks about the Telegram’s plans to charge for some online content.  He didn’t know enough of the details to be able to comment.

Rooney: “Is it still valuable, to be a newspaper guy?”  (after a brief dismissal of news that one can glean from the web)

Hammel: “It’s the best job in the world.  I love it, and I’ve done it for 38 years.  …If you don’t have the space to run your stuff, and you don’t have enough people to go out and gather it, it’s hard.”

There was an interesting discussion of the NYT Co.’s opinion of their guild around the 26 minute mark. 

Good for you, Lee!  Call me when your paper is interested in enlisting citizen journalists for news gathering!

3 thoughts on “Worcester Newspaper Guild Letter

  1. t-traveler says:

    Reporter Lee Hamill joined Emily Rooney at noon today to discuss the letter.

  2. W. Will W. says:

    Girl you’re ahead of the curve!
    But employee owned?
    Awww come on Nicky, that’s just plain dumb.

  3. Jim May says:

    The mystery is: what took so long for the Telegram to charge going online? The cost of delivery of service is 1/100th of a daily paper at your door, but a large chunk of the population still isn’t online. So who will look out for them when the newspapers go away?

    The challenge to “bricks and mortar” newspapers will be to maintain relevance for the rest of this century. Now would be the time for the T and G, centralmassnews.com or some other media entity to OWN the local Worcester readership base.

    No one in the traditional newspaper industry–to my knowledge–jumped on Internet fast enough. As I point out in my “High Fiber” series in ICT, advertising will begin to appear on smartphones soon as wireless broadband of serious caliber expands exponentially everywhere. So what is a serious journalist to do in the face of a challenge that even Thomas Jefferson didn’t foresee?

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