Chances are that you got into journalism because you love it. You wanted to tell great stories or be a part of the process that brings great stories to readers. You’d prefer to just be left alone to do your job. We get that.
The reality is that the business of journalism is being redefined almost on a daily basis, requiring journalists to adapt and evolve while also maintaining the credibility of a craft whose underpinning is as old as the First Amendment.
The questions ahead, though, are how will journalism be redefined and — in the face of corporate run media — how can journalism still be a viable livelihood? The Guild is keenly interested in answering those questions.
The Guild is the collective voice for good journalism and good journalists at The Indianapolis Star. Our jobs are more complicated than ever before. Most of us perform the tasks that once belonged to three or four people. For journalism to be done well, there needs to be a livelihood in it, a decent career, where we as journalists can earn a decent living, grow our skills and serve the community.
At times, the noble goals of our profession run up against corporate greed and shortsightedness in ways that demand a counterbalance. The Guild is here to be that counterbalance, to speak truth to power — and remind the people in the executive offices that journalism is about serving readers and challenging our community to be better. We’re here to remind them that to get that job done it takes talented people who are paid decent wages, have affordable health care and who work in an environment that’s sustainable and, yes, enjoyable.
For nearly a century, the Guild has been the voice of workers in the ear of management. We’ve nurtured and protected the contract — a living, if imperfect, document — that outlines the basic principles of a decent workplace.
We know that your career is your own. We are thrilled when our members earn individual promotions and pay increases for their good work. But we also know that the Star doesn’t always recognize the important role each person plays in the operation or how valuable those contributions truly are. That’s why we advocate for better pay for everyone.
We are also here as your advocate should your relationship with management become troublesome. Our goal is to help you be the best employee you can be and to ensure that management respects your rights. We know it’s in the best interest of all of us — and the future of good journalism — for everyone to be effective in their job. But we also don’t want the company to treat workers simply as if we are liabilities on a spread sheet.
At present, the Guild represents around 40 full-time journalists, photojournalists and producers. Around 90 percent of our people support us through paying dues, one of the highest membership rates of any NewsGuild local in the country. Our members see the value in what we stand for and what we do. And honestly, they’ve seen what Gannett is capable of. We’ve heard from Gannett workers at sites where there is no Guild, and they are envious of what we have. They have no one to stand with them, or stand for them.
One of the challenges for the news business is to get people to pay for content online. Some people want it for free. They don’t respect what it costs to do good work. The Guild faces a similar challenge. Paying dues is a choice. Fortunately, the vast majority of our workers want to support the cause and know that, without that support, we couldn’t exist. We hope you will see that, too.
You can join by filling out two simple forms. It will take five minutes. One is a membership form. The dues deduction form tells payroll you feel it’s so important to take a stand that you’re willing to set aside a small portion of your pay (0.8 percent) for the cause. Think of it as an investment in your future, and that of good journalism in Indianapolis. Just fill out the forms and return them to a Guild officer.