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.
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.
Members of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, CWA 34070