OLD Media Moves

Biz media ignoring labor news

February 17, 2010

Randy Shaw writes on BeyondChron.com, an alternative online daily in San Francisco, that the nation’s business media have been ignoring some major labor stories in recent weeks.

Shaw writes, “One reason that I write so frequently about labor activism is that the mainstream media has largely abandoned this entire area of news. The past month alone has seen NUHW’s landmark victory at Kaiser, the Teamsters victory at Continental, solidarity between IBEW and UNITE HERE in rallies in Las Vegas, and between NUHW and UNITE HERE in Southern California protests, yet all only garnered local coverage.

“The reasons are many. Few newspapers still have a regular labor reporter, with those like Phil Dine at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Steve Franklin at the Chicago Tribune now gone without being replaced. The Washington Post no longer has a reporter covering labor exclusively, nor the Boston Globe, nor the Detroit papers.

“The rare stories that editors allow to go forward are increasingly assigned to business reporters, who lack the knowledge of labor issues and must tread carefully to avoid alienating the corporations they regularly cover.

“The absence of labor reporters is a symptom of a larger media trend that now sees union activism and elections as deserved only of local coverage, while corporate news wins national attention. So the New York Times reports on Disney’s public relations event in Orlando, Florida is reported by, while UNITE HERE’s far more newsworthy event at Disneyland gets only local press.”

Read more here.

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