David Uberti of Columbia Journalism Review writes about the increasing number of media outlets interested in covering the labor beat.
Uberti writes, “‘There is no firm line that separates labor from anything else,’ said Josh Eidelson, a former union organizer who now covers labor for Bloomberg Businessweek. ‘I don’t think it’s possible or productive to distinguish between what’s a labor story or education story or LGBT story…Labor, broadly speaking, is a huge part of American life, so publications should put a lot of resources toward that. And that’s more important than making sure they specifically dedicate someone to the beat.’
“A number of nationally focused news organizations have indeed hired journalists to focus on the American workplace — a wide-ranging topic, to be sure. The Huffington Post assigned a reporter to it starting in 2011, and Politico launched a four-person labor team in October. The New York Times’ replacement for Greenhouse, ex-New Republic staffer Noam Scheiber, started in late February. BuzzFeed is also in the process of hiring a labor reporter, business editor Tom Gara said.
“‘There are a lot fewer people covering the topic than there used to be, and because of that, hiring a reporter could potentially have a higher return for us,’ he added, noting that much of his site’s audience is in the beginning or middle of their working careers. ‘We thought having a person on that beat will give us an opportunity to incrementally advance these [workplace] stories.’
“Far more media outlets have added labor coverage from elsewhere in the newsroom. The Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis has become a leading voice in the online conversation, even though she also covers housing policy. The Boston Globe created a ‘workplace and income inequality’ beat last spring, and the Los Angeles Times has produced compelling work on issues such as the West Coast ports labor dispute in lieu of a dedicated beat writer.”
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