Noblesville deputy mayor to Gannett: Work in good faith with members of the Guild

Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Star Newspaper Guild is in contract negotiations with Gannett. We’ve asked our community to submit letters of support as we try to reach a fair deal. You can read about Gannett’s attempts to downgrade our health care, and their decision to withhold merit raises while we are in negotiations.

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Dear Gannett:

I’m writing this letter in support of the highly talented people from the Indianapolis News Guild who produce the Indianapolis Star each and every day. Yes, people. I know their names. I read their bylines before I dive into each article. I know a few of them personally because they live in our community and our professional lives have at times crossed paths. However, most I’ve never met in person. Still, I know them by the quality of their work, and it’s this quality that defines the Indianapolis Star.

As the deputy mayor for a medium-sized city in Central Indiana, I depend on the Indianapolis Star to help deliver information to residents of my community, and to share our success stories with readers both near and far. I want people to read the truth about what’s happening here and the good work that’s taking place. But, yes, not every story is a positive one. I value the accountability that solid journalism demands of our public officials and community leaders, for the facts behind the stories that take hours to uncover, write and report on in a balanced manner – not to mention the additional effort required of them to garner online clicks and social media shares.

I recently became aware of the contract negotiations between Gannett and members of the Indianapolis News Guild after the Star’s investigation into the allegations surrounding a government official. I stand with IndyStar journalists because the work they perform serves a vital role as watchdog within our democracy that cannot be fully served by bloggers, advertisers and my friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s thanks to a free press and the hard work of Star staff that local citizens can be better informed about such issues.

My concern is what effect the new contract will have on the quality of the Indianapolis Star when we lose the very people readers like me have come to admire and trust. By refusing merit pay raises and reducing contributions to some employees’ health care over others within Gannett, the professionals whose work we know and respect will start to disappear from the pages of the Indianapolis Star.

Please work in good faith with members of the Guild so a fair contract can be achieved, and so the vital work of IndyStar journalists with their years and in some cases decades of experience can continue.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Steve Cooke
Deputy Mayor
City of Noblesville

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