Now in the News: NY Times Union Says Over 1,000 Journalists Will Walk Out Next Week

December 9, 2022

NY Times Union Says Over 1,000 Journalists Will Walk Out Next Week

More than 1,000 union employees at the New York Times have pledged to walk out if the news publisher does not agree to a complete and fair contract by Thursday, according to a tweet by the union on Friday.

The NYT NewsGuild has sought wages that “keep up with inflation” as well as to preserve and enhance health insurance and retirement benefits that were promised during hiring, according to a letter signed by 1,036 members. “We will walk out and stop work for 24 hours, on Thursday, Dec. 8, if we do not have a deal for a complete and equitable contract by then,” the letter read.

The members of the union are also asking for remote work flexibility among other demands. A NYT spokesperson said “while we are disappointed that the NewsGuild is threatening to strike, we are prepared to ensure The Times continues to serve our readers without disruption,” adding that the company’s current wage proposal offered “significant increases.”

Earlier in March, a group of nearly 600 tech employees at the New York Times voted to unionize as the company faced claims it unlawfully interfered with labor organizing

Gannett Initiates Another Round Of Layoffs, Cutting Its News Division By 6%

Gannett started another round of layoffs Thursday, just four months after the company terminated hundreds of employees. The layoffs, which will continue into Friday, are part of Gannett’s efforts to cut its news division staff of 3,440 by 6%. That amounts to roughly 200 layoffs.

News division head Henry Faure Walker first warned journalists about impending layoffs on Nov. 17. He wrote in an email to staff that Gannett’s news division costs are too high and that the company needed to enter the new year in a “stronger economic position.” Gannett is the largest newspaper chain in the country with more than 200 dailies.

Faure Walker’s November email mentioned that Gannett was taking “similar actions” in its other divisions. Spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton confirmed Thursday that other divisions are also undergoing reductions, but the majority of individuals impacted during this week’s cuts are part of the news organization. She declined to answer questions about which papers and positions have been affected. “While incredibly difficult, implementing these efficiencies and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility will continue to propel Gannett’s future,” Anton wrote in an emailed statement.

Journalists started to receive notices Thursday morning. Among those affected were reporters at flagship paper USA Today and producers working on Gannett’s digital optimization team.

Gannett intends to eliminate all of its DOT regionals, according to an email the company sent to the Atlantic DOT Guild, the union representing producers on the Atlantic team. Though the teams will not be dissolved until Dec. 9, Gannett has already started laying off DOT employees. Fifty of 125 total employees were notified Thursday that their positions had been eliminated

New Zealand Plans Law To Require Facebook, Google To Pay For News

The New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds.

Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets. “New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online,” Jackson said. “It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it.”

The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party’s majority is expected to pass it.Australia introduced a law in 2021 that gave the government power to make internet companies negotiate content supply deals with media outlets. A review released by the Australian government last week found it largely worked

America’s Newspapers Receives Support From The SNPA Foundation

The SNPA Foundation has announced that America’s Newspapers is the recipient of a $10,000 grant to help fund a national newspaper audience survey. The survey results will provide a detailed look at the expansive audience that newspapers deliver, and the critical position that newspapers hold in their markets. This information will be available to anyone in the industry, with detailed marketing components from the survey supplied to members of the America’s Newspapers Association at no charge.

Dean Ridings, CEO of the newspaper trade association America’s Newspapers, said, “We are excited and grateful for the support of the SNPA Foundation. Part of the research will cover the public’s view of public notices, which we think will provide excellent support for newspapers’ retaining public notices. America’s Newspapers Board of Directors believes this research is so important that ten board members have contributed to this important project.”

“We are thrilled to help America’s Newspapers,” said PJ Browning, the chair of the SNPA Foundation. The SNPA Foundation looks for unique projects like this, which can be scaled to help newspapers across the country. This worthy project does an excellent job of fitting our mission and the vision of the original founders of the SNPA Foundation.

The SNPA Foundation considers funding requests for programs and initiatives that support educational opportunities for the advancement of newspaper industry leaders, the creation of sustainable business models, and the technology that supports the advancement of the news eco-system.

The SNPA Foundation is especially interested in seeding projects that may start “locally,” but include the possibility of scaling to a national level; that have a broad impact on the public; or that enrich the racial diversity of professional ranks by drawing more talent into the newspaper industry.