UMG members win Pulitzer Prize

Apr 20, 2015 by

FergusonThe United Media Guild congratulates its members whose work earned the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The staff photographers covered the social unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August. The photo staff consists of chief photographer J.B. Forbes, photographers David Carson, Robert Cohen, Cristina Fletes-Boutte, Christian Gooden, Chris Lee, Huy Mach and Laurie Skrivan; and director of photography Lynden Steele; photo editor Hilary Levin; and Gary Hairlson, director of video.

“I am extremely proud of our photo staff for their coverage of the protests in Ferguson, and I am happy they have received this recognition,” Steele told the Post-Dispatch.

“From August through November, the photographers displayed an amazing commitment to covering this story. They were tireless, brave, and dogged in their reporting. At the height of the protests, eight staff photographers covered Ferguson from 6:30 a.m. until about 3 a.m. They built relationships in the community, followed leads and made great, story-telling pictures.

“The photographs capture the anger, conflict and tragedy of the events that have ripped the bandaid off of the race conversation in St. Louis, and started new conversations about policing, local government and municipal courts.”

Carson, who also serves as this Local’s vice-president, said of the award,  “It’s sad that all this stemmed from someone losing their life but our photographers did a fantastic job of making it all real for our community.  At a time when slashing photo staffs is in vogue, this demonstrates the value of professional photojournalists on a newsroom staff.”

Carson expressed his gratitude and admiration for not only his photography colleagues but for the newsroom as a whole.  “You couldn’t ask more from such hardworking professionals.  The way they responded was everything you would hope for in coverage of such a major news event.”

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Freeport and Rockford select stewards

Apr 20, 2015 by

On Sunday, April 19, members of the Rockford Register Star/ Freeport Journal Standard unit held a meeting to nominate and elect stewards.  Turnout was good, nominations were plenty and when the dust finally settled and the votes tallied, the results were as follows:

At the Rockford Register Star:

Max Gersh (steward by virtue of the unit chair position)

Brian Leaf (steward due to vice chair position)

Paula Buckner

Matt Trowbridge

At the Freeport Journal Standard:

Karen Patterson

The Guild thanks everyone who expressed interest in helping and, to those who were elected – congratulations!

Stewards are your pipeline to Guild support!  They are available if you are in need of assistance in any situation that involves your wages, your benefits or your working conditions.  They are the eyes and ears of the Guild in your workplace.

Those elected will receive training to provide them with the tools they need to perform their new roles.

 

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No buyouts planned for Post-Dispatch newsroom

Apr 2, 2015 by

A recent Post-Dispatch layoff included three Guild members in advertising-related jobs. This layoff did not extend to the newsroom, but the Guild had informal discussions with the company about potential severance buyouts for veteran journalists.

If fact, the company encouraged journalists interested in leaving to contact management within a two-week period. Several of our members expressed interest.

But then the company told our members that no buyouts would be offered. Post-Dispatch publisher Ray Farris issued this statement to employees Thursday:

“Addressing any uncertainty, we currently have no plans for newsroom staff reductions or buyout offers. I appreciate your continuous hard work and dedication to our print and digital products.”

Guild business representative Shannon Duffy, Post-Dispatch unit chair Joe Holleman, UMG president Jeff Gordon and UMG vice president David Carson met with company officials after that surprising announcement.

We encouraged the company to reconsider its position on voluntary buyouts for Guild members, particularly with bargaining for a new collective bargaining agreement set to begin in a few months.

We believe our long-time journalists have earned the buyout consideration through decades of service. We also believe the Post-Dispatch would benefit by gaining long-range cost reduction and staffing flexibility.

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