Category Archives: General

Letter: Indiana AFL-CIO expresses support for IndyStar workers

We at the Indiana AFL-CIO believe that a strong labor movement is essential for an equitable society. In today’s economy, the rich keep getting richer. We believe that it is the workers who generate that wealth who should reap the benefits.

Which is why we are declaring our support for the workers of The Indianapolis Star, represented by the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, CWA 34070.

As an organization, we represent nearly 300,000 hardworking Hoosiers across several industries: steelworkers, teachers, electricians, grocery store employees, plumbers, construction workers, and many more. We know the value of solidarity. We know what we can achieve when we stand united.

We were dismayed to hear that the Star’s parent company, Gannett, has been withholding pay raises from their hardworking employees. We were likewise disappointed to hear that Gannett is trying to downgrade the union’s health care options.

We call on Gannett to stop these shameless tactics and to enter into a fair and just contract with IndyStar workers.

Only then will the company have demonstrated its commitment to its readers and customers.

Sincerely,
Brett Voorhies
President

Read more about our fight:

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Local journalism needs local journalists: Tell Gannett why you support IndyStar journalists

Last week, IndyStar journalists resumed negotiations with Gannett. We asked them to come to the table with a fair deal. (You can read more about our fight here and here.)

We are not discouraged, but we did not reach an agreement. Negotiations continue in early August.

We recently asked you to share the moments that IndyStar journalism moved you. Many of you mentioned our watershed investigation of child sex abuse at USA Gymnastics. You mentioned our reporting of the recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Indiana’s attorney general, our series on the notorious, violent crew led by Richard Grundy III, and our response to the school shooting in Noblesville.

More broadly, you told us how our arts and entertainment coverage helps you navigate the culture of Indianapolis, how you’ve been impacted by our visual journalists, and how our columnists continue to find ways to move you.

But there’s one thing almost everyone agreed on. Here it is, in your words:

Supporting local journalists is critically important. National news definitely has its place, but there are always stories that don’t apply to most of the country and have a hyper-local target audience. Local news allows people to get news about the place where they live.

Local journalists are a crucial part of any community. They deliver information about our city, schools, twin, environment, politicians and government. We stay informed, thanks to them, which allows us to make good decisions. And most importantly, they hold leaders accountable and uncover truths.

We need local journalists to keep us informed about local events and challenges. People who live here trust others that live here.

Local journalists know this community, what’s happening here, and what’s important to people here. Community pride (and subscriptions) come from local coverage. National and international news is available online from a number of sources. The local paper should be more than a regurgitation of news people have already heard.

Because local journalists are involved in the community you live in. They see your world. They see your problems. Your passions. They tell you the truth about what is happening to you and why. They tell you how you can make a difference.

Local journalism ensures the proper documentation of the activities of local and state governments, which has a profound and direct impact on the citizens therein. Local journalism ensures that our stories, the residents, are told, and are given a voice via journalism.

As we said in a letter delivered to IndyStar management last week: We live here. We don’t fly in every so often, like Gannett’s lawyers do. We have a vested interest in Indianapolis because this is our community, too.

Our negotiations with Gannett resume in early August. Your continued support means so much to us, and helps show our corporate owners that we deserve a fair deal and that we have the support of our community.

We need your help.

So please, consider changing your profile photos to our support image (found here), or share your own reasons why you #SupportIndyJournalists on Twitter or via this survey: https://goo.gl/forms/4nPkdYu2wkSSLTPy2. Better yet, tell our executive director Ronnie Ramos why you support us. Email him (ronnie.ramos@indystar.com) or Tweet him (@RonnieRamos), our company account (@indystar) and our corporate owners (@Gannett).

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Here’s what you need to know about last week’s negotiations

For the last few weeks, we’ve been asking you to support us as we prepared to return to the bargaining table with Gannett last week.

If you’re unfamiliar with our fight, you can read about how Gannett is paying less for Guild members’ health care than it is for other employees, or how the company is withholding merit raises to try and force us into signing a contract.

Here’s what you need to know about last week.

We did not reach an agreement. While last week’s meeting did not discourage us, we also were not able to reach an agreement.

We’ll be back at the table in early August. Gannett’s lawyers will return to Indianapolis so that we can once again attempt to find a resolution.

We still need your support. Dozens of IndyStar readers have shown their support. We can’t thank you enough, but we still need your voices.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Change your profile picture. 
  • Tell Gannett why they should give us a fair contract. You can tweet them @Gannett, or email our executive editor Ronnie Ramos (ronnie.ramos@indystar.com) to tell him why we deserve a fair deal. You can also tweet him @RonnieRamos and our company’s account @indystar.
  • While you’re at it, tell us what IndyStar means to you. Check out this handy survey.

And as always, thank you for your continued support. It means the world to us.

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We want to be treated with basic respect: An open letter to Gannett.

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Yesterday, members of the Indianapolis News Guild delivered the following letter to Ronnie Ramos, the Star’s executive editor, and Ginger Rough, senior news director. It was written in the spirit of finding common ground and respect at the negotiating table later this week.

Dear Ronnie Ramos and Ginger Rough:

You have a hard-working, talented stable of journalists at The Indianapolis Star.

It’s evident during awards season, when we collect piles of hardware from APME, SPJ, IRE and APSE.

It’s noted by Star and corporate management, who routinely laud us for meeting and surpassing audience goals or hand us the Gannett CEO special citation.

It’s reinforced in the buzz of the newsroom, when we launch newsletters and champion search-engine optimization; when we host podcasts and appear on broadcasts; when we lead nuanced discussions in our Facebook groups; when we hit the streets to manage Best Things; when our work’s findings are echoed in the halls of the City-County Building, Indiana Statehouse and Congress.

And it’s most obvious in times of uncertainty and pain: When parents stay glued to their phones as we swiftly deliver accurate and timely updates about a school shooting or when we shine a light on secret statehouse investigations.

We have done this — all of this — while fiercely trudging through the external forces that threaten our livelihoods: a dwindling staff, unpredictable algorithms, evolving reader behavior, changing expectations, attacks on journalism. And attacks on journalists.

For the last six months, we’ve done all this while knowing that Gannett is contributing less to our health care than it does for non-guild members. While knowing that rather than reward our hard work, our company is bullying us by withholding merit pay raises as a bargaining chip.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t want it to be this way. And we don’t think you, Ronnie or Ginger, want it to be this way.

None of us fly into Indianapolis every year or two.

We live here. Our homes can be found from Noblesville to Greenwood, in Irvington and the Old Northside. Our children walk the school hallways here. We join our friends by volunteering at nonprofits. We lock arms with our neighbors as we seek to build this community. We carry The Star’s values as we embed ourselves within our neighborhoods.

So please understand: We want to be treated with basic respect. Your own celebration of our work should be proof enough that we deserve this. And if that’s not enough, scroll through Facebook or Twitter to see what our community thinks.

Don’t force an unnecessary fight on merit raises. Don’t downgrade our health care. Instead, join us in quickly agreeing to a contract that is fair and just.

Reward and celebrate the hard-working, talented journalists inside your newsroom.

Then let’s get back to serving our community together.

Sincerely,

Members of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, CWA 34070

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Meet Daniel Bradley, vice president of the Guild

Daniel Bradley, a vice president for the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, began working for The Indianapolis Star part-time in 2004 while attending Butler University. He was hired full-time in 2006. 

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1) Why are you in the union?

Given layoffs and other cutbacks in the newspaper industry, it is important for employees to organize and collectively support their own interests. As an officer, I appreciate the responsibility that comes with the position of representing my co-workers.

2) What could newsroom management do to be more friendly to journalists?

Hiring and filling empty desks should be a top priority of management. Filling positions will allow us to better serve the community, and also help lighten the workload of our over-stressed staff and improve morale. Also, in the age of people recklessly throwing around the phrase “fake news,” it is especially important for management to support the journalists on staff and be transparent with the public and explain how much we value accuracy.

3) What should they stop doing?

Valuing shareholders more than journalism (and journalists).

4) Name one journalist who inspires you to do your job every day.

Not to cop out on an answer, but it is impossible to pick one. I never cease to be impressed and inspired by the journalists I know at The Star and those I read in other publications.

5) What is one piece of career advice you’d give to a young journalist just starting out?

Read widely on many topics. You will be more versatile as a journalist, and you never know when learning a new topic will open new professional opportunities.

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