Wednesday, March 5, 2008

City council's concern appreciated

The following are comments made by long-time P-T reporter and union activist Joe Segura in response to the Long Beach City Council's agenda item regarding the cuts in coverage and staffing at the Press-Telegram :

"Honorable Mayor and Council Members, my name is Joe Segura and I'm with the Southern California Media Guild, CWA Local 9400. I want to express our deep appreciation for your time and concern about the local newspaper ... I'm sorry, I mean ... the new Torrance Press-Telegram.

The Guild's on-going efforts to bring about stability to the newsroom have been repeatedly shot down by Denver-based MediaNews, with on-going cuts in staffing and resources that crippled efforts to improve local coverage.

There has been little — if any — regard for the product delivered to our loyal readers, or for our workers or editors. The loss of our managing editor and publisher is the latest slap in the face and all pretense of delivering local news has been abandoned. With the on-going cuts since the Press-Telegram was sold in 1997, production costs have shrunk and profits have been pumped to Denver.

We have only ten newsroom reporters to cover five major beats and the state's fifth largest city and nineteen communities. Needless to say, the task is difficult, especially since it now appears that the company is taking measures of busting our union. This will make it almost impossible for us to earn a living wage. There will be more journalists taking jobs elsewhere, undermining efforts to bring about stability to our local news delivery system, which is shifting to the Torrance Daily Breeze and the Orange County Register.

Our publisher and managing editor have been laid off, leaving the future of this publication in the hands of people who don't reside in this community and have few ties to it.

'The job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable' [wrote] Mark Twain, but it seems management has lost sight of this important role."

Related: City Council hopes its vote will stop Press-Telegram's corporate "death spiral" — The District Weekly

Photo by laid-off photographer Kevin Chang

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like the readers of these postings to know that even though I work in Torrance, I (and several other people here) LIVE in Long Beach and care very much for the city, the PT and what's happening to the newspaper industry in So Cal.