I am a photographer. Or, at least on the good days I feel confident saying that. I delight in documenting the raw energy and hope of the social movements of our times. When I don’t have a camera in hand, I still dream in light, shadow, color, lines, angles, and faces. And, just to complicate things, photography is also one of the several ways I pay the bills.Read More
By Patrick Cochran
A revolution is taking place in digital media. Workers at the companies that produce the material you read during work, share on Facebook, and comment about on Twitter are unionizing, and changing the Internet landscape.
It all started in the spring. For years there had been some chatter about unionizing at popular websites like Vice, Gawker, and Buzzfeed. Online writers like Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan championed the cause in their writing, but it wasn’t until April that the issue came to the forefront.
“There were a lot of reasons to join a union,” Nolan said. “Even though we have a high level of job satisfaction here, there were still issues with things like salary structure, and having a formal system for raises instead of it being ad hoc. Some of us have been through layoffs before, and after the recession we went through them here, so it is important to have a union to protect the workers.”
On April 14, Gawker’s front page ran a Nolan-written declaration, “Why We’ve Decided to Organize,” telling readers that the Gawker staff was in the beginning stages of going union. Because of Gawker’s self-described “radical transparency ethos” they decided to post all the company’s internal discussions about the process.
By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Perhaps more than other journalists, freelancers require and benefit from a wide and ever-expanding range of skills. A freelancer’s schedule might encompass producing materials for a nonprofit organization, launching a blog and reporting a deep-dive story with graphic and video components. One of the many benefits of membership in the Guild Freelancers, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, is access to training.
Whether you’d like to learn Final Cut Pro or Podcasting, InDesign or conversational Japanese, you are eligible to take these and many more courses through Lynda.com, an online company offering thousands of video courses in software, Web design, photography, business skills and many more subjects. Our parent union, the Communications Workers of America, pays for its members to upgrade their skills on Lynda.com.
Lynda.com is a bit complicated to navigate. But the wide variety of courses presented by experts more than makes up for the difficulty.Read More
Takele Gobena of Seattle, Washington, who drives full time for Uber and part time for Lyft, says he gets the short end of the stick. “I earned $2.64 after all expenses in 2014,” he said. His last full-time job as a dispatcher at Seattle Tacoma Airport paid $9.47 an hour.Read More
By Erasmo Matinez
A rare thing happened in June. Eight journalism students started an internship that required a significant amount of writing – but they were not expected to work for free. Instead, they had a chance to earn wages and bargain for their pay with an employer. In just three hours on a late spring evening, they hammered out a deal that covered working conditions, attendance requirements, and most importantly, how much they would be paid for producing articles and photos.Read More
The U.S. Senate is expected tomorrow to pass the so-called fast-track bill that would sharply reduce Congress’s constitutionally prescribed advise-and-consent role in effecting this country’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other foreign-trade pacts.Read More
Former Bay Area newspaper reporter Sara Steffens was elected secretary-treasurer Monday of the Communications Workers of America, second in command at one of the biggest labor unions in the country.Read More
More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of interviews after her idea took root, "Wrestling with God," Barbara Falconer Newhall's book about faith and doubt, has landed in bookstores and is garnering praise.Read More
• Some teachers/writers recommend writing every day, 7 days a week to keep the material at the top of your mind. It's important to have some designated time that is set aside for your creative writing -- as opposed to your freelance journalism. The most important thing is to get seated at the computer.
• Either submit your manuscript to a bunch of agents or a bunch of publishers. It's usually best not to mix it up. Also, self-publishing is nifty, but your first choice is definitely having a publisher.
• It is very common for writers to want to be done with a manuscript (or proposal) when it isn't really ready, so they send it off, thinking the agent or editor will help them give it a final shape. But editors and agents don't do that anymore. They will move on to the next manuscript that is ready. Publishers, like newspapers, have neither the time nor the budgets they once had.
• However, you can go to writers conferences and pitch your partly finished book to agents and editors to get some feedback and tips – and maybe even an invitation to submit the proposal when it's ready.
• Classes, conferences, writing groups, and such are invaluable. Classes in creative non-fiction are helpful for newspaper journalists wishing to write a book. Check out the classes at Book Passage, UC extension, city recreation departments, the Writing Salon, the Writers Grotto, Community of Writers at Squaw (and other residential conferences).
Bottom line? “If you want to write a book, do it!” Barbara says. “It's very rewarding. It makes you grow as a writer and a person. It lets you leave your mark. And if you have something big to say, it's a great way to say it. And it's just lovely to hold your book in your hand.”
– Barbara Falconer Newhall
By Will Carruthers
Alexander Mullaney was wavering between staying at City College of San Francisco or bailing to become a firefighter like his father when he enrolled in a class with editor, publisher, and trailblazer Juan Gonzales. That clinched it: Mullaney would stay in school and study journalism.
That was in 2005, and Mullaney, now the publisher of the Ingleside-Excelsior Light, still consults with his mentor, as do many other former students.
Gonzales “forges life-long relationships,” says Mullaney.
On an evening in mid March, admirers packed into Randy’s, a popular Ocean Avenue bar, to see Gonzales accept a certificate of recognition from Mayor Ed Lee for his 45 years of service as a journalism teacher, department chair and publisher.
“It’s been a fun ride and it’s not over yet,” Gonzales said to a cheering crowd of about 40 members of the journalism community, many his former students.Read More
Dear Guild Brothers and Sisters,
You will be asked, at the joint meeting of the Executive Committee, Representative Assembly and General Membership on Feb. 21, to vote on whether our Local should be permitted to take public positions on political issues.
And if you vote in the affirmative, you’ll then be asked to decide if our Local should call on Congressmembers representing states and districts in our geographic constituency to vote against legislation giving the President fast-track authority to approve U.S. participation in the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) involving nations on the Pacific Rim.
Many of our journalist members argue that speaking publicly on political issues violates professional ethics.Read More
News broke last night that Lenovo has been shipping laptops with a horrifically dangerous piece of software called Superfish, which tampers with Windows' cryptographic security to perform man-in-the-middle attacks against the user's browsing.
Follow this link to read the story from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Read More
Touch-screen users of the world, unite! Just ask Social Movement Technologies, a non-profit that teaches progressive groups and labor unions to improve their social media skills.
SMT recently signed a one-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Pacific Media Workers Guild that will give the company’s freelancers a contract and the protection of a union, an agreement that may be the first of its kind in the U.S.
“This MOU is a significant achievement for our local,” said Carl Hall, executive officer of the PMWG. “Joining us is a big step toward helping non-traditional workers who need a voice at work, job security, benefits and protection from unfair discipline.”Read More
As they attempted to cover the recent protests in Berkeley concerning the killings of unarmed black men in several states, media members were physically attacked by members of the Berkley Police Department. The following letter has been sent to Berkeley city officials.
The independent media workers of Guild Freelancers, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild (Newsguild-CWA Local 39521), condemn the outrageous attacks on working journalists by police in the East Bay. We unreservedly support the exercise of First Amendment rights in pursuit of the public's right to know.
Chair, Guild Freelancers
Click below to read the open letter: SPJ NorCal responds to reports of police force used on journalists in BerkeleyRead More