Reporters who flip commentary about other people’s news stories want above-market wages and other protections from their employers.
In short: Gawker writers are people too, dammit. They’re really not just soulless humans out to ruin lives and destroy humanity. (Whatever you do, do not think about Justine Sacco.)
In a post on the site this week, reporter Hamilton Nolan explained why he’s all for it and said the purpose is not to shit on their employers.
“Nobody is seeking to hurt this company, or plunder it for all it’s worth, or find a way to attack the people that run it,” he wrote. “We’re just trying to make it a bit more functional, and a bit more fair.”
Mike Elk, a senior labor reporter for Politico who’s finally been allowed back into the Rosslyn newsroom after a few months of working at home after he announced that he was organizing a union, had this to say about the possibility of Gawker joining a union. (He officially announced the time away was because they were accommodating his PTSD.)
“It’s great,” he told The Mirror. “I think the folks at Truthout really started a movement among younger reporters when they unionized a few years ago. In These Times unionized last year and got their first contract. The Chicago Reader unionized recently and we got a union drive on here. Since I have announced the union drive here, I have been getting all kind of phone calls from folks who really want to unionize. I think we are going to see more and more people unionize now that people have stood up at Truthout, at In these Times, at Politico, and Gawker and said they wanted a union and didn’t get fired.”
Perhaps Gawker will consult with Elk on the matter?
Lowell Peterson, executive director of Writers Guild of America, has issued the following statement regarding Gawker Media:
“The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has a long history of representing writers and others in broadcast news, and we have been at the forefront of organizing digital media. We welcome the opportunity to work with the writers at Gawker and its affiliated web sites – men and women who are dedicated to crafting stories that elucidate and entertain. Like all professional journalists and storytellers, these writers deserve a voice on the job.
“The way people write, produce, distribute, and consume news and information is changing in fundamental ways. The WGAE knows the union and its members must be active, alert and creative in responding to (and shaping) this transformation.
“Gawker has long stood as a leader in digital media thanks to the skills, dedication and foresight of its staff, who have decided to take an active role in building solid, sustainable careers.”