Labor reporting

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  1. Jon Lansner / The Orange County Register says:

    Is “labor reporting” just about unionized workers? Clearly there are plenty of juicy “workplace issues” to cover these days.

    Jon Lansner

  2. Mary Jane says:

    As far as I know labor reporting isn’t much of a beat at most newspapers, as you pointed out. From my experience we usually only write about labor issues when there is breaking news or on Labor Day. Even then the stories are superficial. It’s rare that any substantial investigative reporting occurs about labor issues, but these are the stories we really should be writing given the trends in American business. Most people I know are working all the time — nights, weekends, days-off and holidays. And their employers are EXPECTING them to do it. I read a book a few years ago called The Overworked American that really put the issues in context. Think about the revised version of that book and what it would say today with increased technology, cell phones, PDAs, laptops… We never really get away from work, and the media isn’t doing a good job of raising awareness or reporting the consequences. With declining labor union membership, nobody is really pushing it either. I just wonder how much more Americans can work.

  3. Amanda says:

    Maybe this is just my idealistic nature talking; but day after day we sit in class and discuss so many issues that are so important to the American public but no one ever reports them. And if they are reported it’s as Dr. Pardue pointed out, superficial. Sometimes I feel like it’s futile to even want to be a reporter with an agenda of wanting to educate the public or even change the world for the better. Especially since it seems like all I’m going to end up doing is reporting either the AP or whoever’s agenda I end up working for.

  4. Brad Skillman says:

    Baruch College’s Graduate Business Journalism program *is* offering a course in labor reporting this fall — Covering Labor and Management (I know because I’m teaching it). That said, it appears to be the only one of its kind in the country, precisely for the reasons that others have espoused.

    Yet, I fear that we ignore this area at our peril. Perhaps organized labor doesn’t have as much foothold as it used to (and for various reasons, it likely never will). But workplace issues continue to be an important part of the news, whether or not someone is part of a union.

    The ongoing saga of the auto and airline industry, Wal-mart, outsourcing white collar jobs, the earnings schism between CEOs and workers — all are topics rife with possibility.

    (Usual disclaimer applies — my comments are my own and represent neither the AP (my day job) nor Baruch)

    Brad Skillman

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