Lack of labor reporting hurts the economy and society
Two university professors write in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix that a lack of reporting about labor issues hurts society.
Andrew Stevens and Charles Smith write, “There was a time when even local papers and television stations had sufficient resources to invest in robust newsrooms and beat reporting. Today, the Toronto Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh is one of the few remaining examples of a reporter tasked exclusively to the issues of ‘Work and Wealth’ in Canada. Historically, business reporting was balanced with seasoned labour reporters, who examined workplace environments, workers, and their unions. Major dailies reported on labour conventions and sent reporters to union meetings to learn about workplace issues. The likes of Conrad Black, vertical corporate integration, and technology-induced industry disruption have hollowed out newsrooms. This lean reality is all-too apparent in some of the early media coverage of the CRC-Unifor Local 594 lockout in Saskatchewan’s media landscape.
“In our research, some of which has examined media coverage of every major labour dispute since 2000, we have found that coverage of the strikes or lockouts rarely delved into the nuance, history, or rationales behind these struggles. Jumping from story to story, often overworked, and lacking experience with covering labour disputes, reporters can be forgiven for struggling to keep up with rapidly-changing developments in the world of labour relations. Too often, press releases from all sides became ‘facts’ and unproven allegations too easily become headlines. Beat reporting is one solution.”
Read more here.