The Writers Guild of East America, the largest union of creative professions in the United States, is shedding more members from the online journalism profession. It will not provide assistance to online editors wishing to form a syndicate at this time. According to the board, there’s quite a bit of growth from that angle.
This rapid growth has “dramatically changed” the ratio of journalists versus other freelancers, according to the Writers Guild. The Writers Guild represents not only journalists, but mainly writers (screenwriters) and media professionals who have worked in film, television and radio.
In recent years, the Syndicate has helped unite many online editorial offices. It started at Gawker Media in 2015, the first online US newsroom where journalists formed a syndicate. Gawker Media went bankrupt after an expensive lawsuit, but it’s on its way back.
In the ensuing years, assistance was provided to unite the editorial teams at Vox, HuffPost, and Hearst. According to the board of directors, that’s too much for the organization and is relevant now.
The announcement of the break is not without controversy within the Writers Guild, according to trade site Poynter. The press release was followed by statements from other board members who disagreed with the break and pointed the finger at journalists, who would distract the union from other tasks and depend heavily on the union’s budget.
If you Tweet embed Member received a “Statement from the WGAE Board” today regarding re. Our union approach to organization. Here are some important comments about that from some of us on the board, please read on: pic.twitter.com/vFCoc4qEDh
– Hamilton Nolan 29 July 2021
Some prominent members are also outraged by this interpretation.
I’d love to be a proud paying member and a representative Tweet embed Only to see a famous member of the council say he doesn’t want digital media workers in our union just for hypothetical reasons pic.twitter.com/ZmHlowFR0Y
– Sarah David (@SaraQDavid) August 1, 2021
Poynter says the union does not respond to questions. Board elections will follow in August, over which a directional battle may now erupt. More at Poynter
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