'We are teaching students an almost radical idea -- that journalists deserve to be paid fairly for their work,' said Rebecca Rosen Lum, president of the Guild.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 27, 2014
Leaders of Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, announced plans Wednesday to expand the union’s innovative “Bay News Rising” program for student journalists to include an 8-week summer training program and school-year internships for 2014-2015.
Launched in 2012 and repeated last year, the Guild-sponsored program is backed by members of the journalism faculty at San Francisco State University and the SFSU Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism.
Critical staff and other resources are contributed by the San Francisco-based Media Workers Guild and its parent union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Initial financing came from the Berger-Marks Foundation.
The program is designed to encourage renewed interest in serious, professional-grade reporting on labor, workplace issues, women’s rights and other social justice topics while teaching students to demand fair treatment in the workplace.
Those participating in the Bay News Rising program are expected to become student members in the Guild Freelancers unit. They are paid a weekly union-approved stipend and freelance fees for any published work. Students are asked to form a “bargaining unit” at their first summer meeting, elect their own bargaining representatives and negotiate their own terms.
“We are teaching students an almost radical idea -- that journalists deserve to be paid fairly for their work,” said Rebecca Rosen Lum, president of the Guild and a founder of the union’s 4-year-old Guild Freelancers.
“Despite all you hear about layoffs and exploitation of freelancers, we are working journalists and students standing together to defend decent compensation and quality standards in our profession,” she said.
“Labor reporting, once a specialty at almost every big city daily, is in danger of becoming extinct, along with the idea that journalists deserve to be paid at all,” said Carl Hall, the Guild’s executive officer. “We want to bring back our historic mission of ‘comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.’ And we want to make certain we uphold our core values of independent, unbiased reporting.”
Rosen Lum will serve as manager of the program, overseen by the program’s founder and director, Guild administrative officer Kat Stewart Anderson. Anderson was inspired to help journalists after reading a UC Davis study about the decimation of the newspaper industry. “My gut told me that we are in serious trouble in a Democratic society if we lose our newspapers and serious, in-depth reporting along with them. So, I looked for a way to make a difference, and supporting students’ success in journalism seemed like a good start. We hope to see these students become progressive, hard-hitting reporters.”
About 10-12 students will be accepted into the summer program. Recruitment will begin next week. Applications may be entered online. The first summer program meeting will be May 27, 2014. Meetings continue on Tuesday and Thursday evenings through the eight weeks. Supervised work assignments and meetings with mentors continue throughout the program.
Students are paired with professional mentors recruited mostly from the Guild’s own ranks. The program includes weekly “newsroom” meetings, outside speakers and visits to local Bay Area news organizations.
The school-year paid internships are being created to support one or two deserving college journalists in the 2014-15 academic year. An application form and eligibility criteria will be announced end of this summer.
Students produced a short video about the program last year. More details are available at the Guild website mediaworkers.org.
Pacific Media Workers Guild Kat Anderson, 415-298-1335; kanderson(at)mediaworkers(dot)org