First and foremost we must strengthen our community of workers through joint efforts and communication. We do this already. The Guild has created several chain councils in the last three years and will create a council dedicated to workers gaining their first contract.
We must be willing to try novel strategies as we are currently doing with filings at the SEC. But everything we do has to include members and mobilization. Legal actions and other things have no value if our members don’t feel that they’re a part of them. Members must feel that their actions are making things better. (See my attached piece on the Tao of Leadership.)
We will use the electronic communication tools we use now, Slack, Twitter, Signal and Facebook – to name a few. But those only supplement our efforts that must involve members talking face to face. There is never an alternative for that. It builds power and trust. We continue to fund strategies from the core union for all of these. The Guild leads within CWA in the number of fund requests made, but we are also precise and efficient in how we use money.
We also know that the news products that will survive have a direct connection to their communities. When you look at the best performing news products you see that connection. This happens locally and nationally. But a product cannot take it for granted anymore.
We also must work with allies. The larger work of protecting and strengthening media is not something we can or should do by ourselves.
That’s why we promote the idea that all of our members should join allied groups, like the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association of LBBTQ Journalists (NLGJA), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the ACLU, NAACP, Jobs with Justice (JwJ) and more. These are all groups that fight for credible, trusted journalism.
And we will continue our work on the Hill. Yes, having a political strategy that supports laws that protect the industry is something we have to pursue. Current discussions about the future of Facebook and Google could not be more important to our industry. These are fairly new Goliaths that suck up most of the new revenue and add very little back in the way of content or good media jobs. We’re also fighting for the Journalist Protection Act. Make no mistake – journalists are at risk in the current over-heated political environment.
But all of these strategies involve people working together. It also means getting away from our keyboards to talk with others. We need to go to the meetings and do the hard work. We must be in the streets when necessary. It also means caring about other people’s issues when they need help. There’s a reason that labor is a movement. Witty attorneys are great. Good negotiators are critical. Smart organizers are needed. An experienced president matters. But in the end it’s all of us together building the future of media and building the Guild.