Friday, July 18, 2008

The setting Sun

We took our information campaign to the desert today with a visit to the The Sun in San Bernardino. It was great to meet Sun employees, and we'd like to thank everyone we had a chance to speak with.

We'll go back soon, but in the meantime, if we missed you and you'd like to reach us, please feel free to send us an email at lbguild9400@gmail.com.

Inland Group's VP of Operations John Wartinger came outside to stand guard in the parking lot as we handed out flyers and talked with employees from the street. After 20 minutes of IE heat he moved closer, so we decided to introduce ourselves and say hello. That led to a short but interesting discussion. Everyone was polite but our conversation was at times lively, at times informative, and at the end, more than a little sad.

Mr. Wartinger said he doesn't believe The Sun needs a union because the paper is doing everything it can for its employees. Mr. Wartinger, a self-described former long-time typographical union member himself, expressed his faith in MediaNews, saying that everything the company has done by utilizing a smart business policy has been good for their newspapers and their employees. But he doesn't seem to believe that will be enough.

According to him, journalism isn't just facing a challenge — "It's dying."

We respectfully disagree. The fact that newspapers can still find an audience, much less continue to turn a profit, despite egregious cuts to both staffing and content, demonstrates just how vital quality journalism is and continues to be. There is still no replacement for the daily newspaper as a source of local community news, and people will always care deeply about the events that shape their day-to-day lives.

We're always interested in knowing what management is thinking, but our goal is to hear from the workers. We're glad to have talked with those we did. After all, we're interested in your ideas and concerns. So if you have thoughts you'd like to share, please pass them along.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait, so the guy in charge doesn't think there's any future? He has zero faith in his industry, his company, and his own product?

Looking at how the inland papers have been managed, that actually explains quite a bit.

LBC said...

Dying?

Why does it have to be always about big profits?

What about journalism serving the community, busting crooked politicians, businessmen, cops (or whoever), recording the athletic triumphs, comforting the afflicted and so forth?

Why do they insist on treating their journalistic talent in such a mediocre fashion?

When will a MediaNews executive finally stand up to Singleton's banality - or at least stand up for their staff?

Everyone appears to be simply racing to meet the quarterly budget - forget the future.

It's a very frustrating mentality indeed....

and thanks for letting me rant....

Nero said...

Wartinger's comment that journalism is "dying" is typical of the myopic mentality of mid-level and upper management at many newspapers. Journalism isn't dying. Quite the contrary, it's stronger that ever. It's just the field is evolving and metamorphasizing, and old-school tools like Wartinger are too slow to catch up.

Anonymous said...

There's a maxim kicking around in various quarters that I kinda agree with:

Right now, there's never been a better time to work in journalism. It's just a shame that it's also the worst time ever to be a journalist.

Got that?