The Front Page: Power in Unions

Issue 27: Some good news, as a treat.


For the first time in company history, Condé Nast has agreed to a contract with unionized employees.

If ratified by union members, the deal will benefit staffers at the New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Ars Technica, some of which threatened to strike last week. Some highlights of the contract include a ban on NDAs related to workplace discrimination and harassment, guaranteed severance packages, and a salary floor increase to reach $60,000 by 2023.

Though it has not always been the case in recent years, collective action from union staffers and backers proved effective. More than 170 freelancers agreed to hold the line in event of a strike, and last week’s protest at Anna Wintour’s townhome represents only a fraction of the work done by employees in the midst of layoff scares, racism at multiple Condé Nast publications, and, most recently, reporting which miscategorizes the New Yorker’s writers, leaving room for uninformed infighting that distracts from industry-wide issues.

Unionized employees at WIRED—also a Condé Nast company—are still fighting for a contract after their certification last year. You can show your support on Twitter or send a letter to wiredunion@gmail.com.


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Q&A: Sana Saeed and Abdallah Fayyad on U.S. media coverage of Palestine

Over 500 staff writers, freelancers, and former reporters have now signed a letter simply titled: “An open letter on U.S. media coverage of Palestine.” 

Several folks from The Objective signed the letter, but we spoke to Sana Saeed, a Host and Senior Producer at AJ+,  and Abdallah Fayyad, an opinion writer and Editorial Board member at The Boston Globe, to ask about why they signed it. 

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. You can read the rest here

Gabe Schneider: Can you talk a little bit about the letter and why you signed it?

Abdallah Fayyad: I think that U.S. media has consistently failed on this issue in particular, in giving their readers the full context that they need to learn. And also have consistently failed in holding the powerful to account when it comes to this struggle in particular. So I think, as Sana [Saeed] said, this is an extraordinarily important letter. And thanks again for covering it. I think the lack of coverage of this letter in the mainstream press outside of Fox News also kind of proves its point. Despite the fact that it has this massive assortment of journalists, from people across newsroom ranks and from newsrooms across the country like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The LA Times, et cetera, et cetera. So that's ultimately why I signed this.


A bit more media

Minimizing harm
On Tuesday, the Associated Press announced it would stop naming suspects in minor crimes. The AP says it will also refrain from linking to external articles where a name or mugshot is published. This decision comes after similar efforts from the Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, and Houston Chronicle, among others, as news organizations take steps to prioritize community over clicks. 

Hyphen Media agrees to change name
Following heavy backlash, Hyphen Media will be changing its name. Reappropriate reports that the podcast company asked to meet with representatives of Hyphen Magazine, an unaffiliated publication that was founded in 2002 and “has consistently elevated discourse around Asian American identity,” a mission which Media appears to have appropriated. 

Introducing The Zenich Cooperative
A group of journalists in their twenties and thirties have launched The Zenith Cooperative, a community for emerging writers to “ask questions, creatively experiment, and ultimately grow as writers and thinkers alongside a group of like-minded peers.” Applications for six-month mentorship terms open this month.

How to improve NPR
Since its founding half a century ago, National Public Radio has done little to improve internal inclusivity and diversity, writes Tina Pamintuan. As a result, NPR fails the “public” audience it was created to serve. Pamintuan’s “three-point prescription” for station leaders includes consulting audience members and donors, addressing generational change, and creating “safe” leadership positions for women of color.

Photojournalism’s sexual harassment problem
“Those in power must ask themselves what role they played in allowing this to happen.” For the Washington Post, Alicia Vera shares—again—that she was sexually harassed by photojournalist David Alan Harvey when she was 23, and stresses the importance of addressing sexual harassment within the industry at large. Though Harvey was removed from Magnum Photo’s board in March, he still runs a magazine and mentors early career photographers.

“No award given” 
In a route not taken since 1973, the Pulitzer Prizes did not give an award for Editorial Cartooning this year. Three finalists were announced, but none received a majority vote from the Board. “This feels like it’s an insult to the entire profession,” said Ruben Bolling, one of the finalists, in an interview with Poynter. In a statement, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists asked the board to refund entry fees to those who submitted work.


What’s happening

*$$$ denotes a paid event. What events should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to contact@objectivejournalism.org.

  • 4 days until … ONA Career Day. Attendees don’t need to register for the Online News Association’s conference in order to access this free event for “job, higher ed and fellowship opportunity seekers.” 

  • 5 days until … America’s Racial Reckoning: What Nonprofits and Their Funders Should Do Next, a free briefing presented by the Associated Press, The Conversation, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

  • 7 days until … the inaugural NLGJA Student Conference. ($$$) Members can attend for free, and non-members can sign up for $25. The two-day virtual convention includes “networking sessions, informational breakouts and an Internship & Career Fair with top recruiters.”

  • 12 days until … Shining a Light on Global Mass Incarceration: Trauma Ethics in Prison Reporting. In this webinar, panelists plan to discuss trauma informed journalism and challenges of reporting on incarceration.


And finally, a few resources

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | JournalismJobs.com | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | StudyHall XYZ | Opportunities of the Week ($)   

How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook

If you’re a new reader, you can subscribe here. As always, if you like what you’re reading, forward this to a friend (or your boss). This issue is by Holly Piepenburg with editing by Curtis Yee.

Want to get in touch? Email us at contact@objectivejournalism.org.

Thanks for reading. We’ll have more for you soon.