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sick-out in Fall River?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by keef spoon, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. keef spoon

    keef spoon Member

    Rumor has it that, as GateHouse Media tries to break the union at the Fall River Herald-News, employees there are planning a sick-out.

    GateHouse looks like a real scary group. They've had all employees at Fall River and the other southeastern N.E. papers they bought re-apply for their jobs on applications you'd expect to fill out at McDonald's (no clips, resumes, interviews, etc.), and have told employees that there will be layoffs and that the "lucky" ones who remain hired can expect a much lower pay scale.
  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I know a few people there. Sent off a couple of emails to see if they know anything about the situation.
  3. GateHouse has got a lot of folks nervous.
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Where is Fall River and how big is the newspaper?
  5. TheCommish

    TheCommish New Member

    I was recently rejected for a position at one of the Gatehouse papers in Mass., and now I'm glad they passed on me. Found this Web column on the state of employees of Gatehouse in the state ... made me shiver.

    GateHouse Grumblings Grow
    By David Scott
    Boston Sports Media Watch

    Just as GateHouse Media Inc. continues to snatch up papers, word is filtering into Shots about just how ugly the takeovers are becoming locally.

    The daily papers appear to be those most immediately affected by last year’s purchase of the Community Newspaper group from the Boston Herald (and other local broadsheets and tabs that were scoffed up).

    It would seem that the GateHouse Way is tightly tied to the bottom line and the worker bees are starting to stir.

    We’ve previously chronicled how the regular, nightly sports editors must now dedicate an extra hour of time to posting all the print edition’s stories to the web (at the end of what are already 12 hour-plus days for many of the editors/writers). Now, further news of deeper cuts, cost-saving and employee-disrespecting are coming to light.

    Some of the papers and associated websites feeling the weight of the GateHouse door, include: The Enterprise (in Brockton), the Daily News Transcript in Framingham, The MetroWest Daily News, also in Framingham, The Milford Daily News, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, and the Daily News Tribune
    in Waltham.

    Shots has been told by separate editorial staffers that he Brockton Enterprise is to be eliminating most (if not all) of it dedicated pro sports coverage. The Enterprise will, instead, pick up the Patriot Ledger’s pro sports content. (There are even rumors of a grievance being filed on behalf of the editorial union members to protest the decision which signals a clear intention to trim staff.)

    Beyond that, Shots is also told that the Enterprise is moving to a “universal copy desk, where news editors will be editing sports copy and vice versa," said one of Shots’ GateHouse inhabitants. “Sportswriters who work the desk on non-game days will be editing town meeting stories. . . and that (strategy) is also a possibility for the Ledger.”

    Take that as advance warning if the name of, say, Mike Krzykewski ends up looking like “Sheshefski” in a future BC game story. Likewise, if some Town Manager finds his name going from “Lemnios” to “Chelios,” the reasoning will most likely be that a sports guy was editing the Conservation Commission meeting story.

    If that’s not ridiculous enough for you, the Ledger still does not have a full-time sports editor per se, as Mike Loftus has been wearing that hat, in addition to his Bruins beat fedora. Other writers at the Ledger - Mike Fine, for example, are expected to handle two of the city’s most labor-intensive beats (the Red Sox and Celtics). The Humble One, Ron Hobson – even in semi-retirement – may be called in for some janitorial shifts if he’s not careful.

    It’s a complete joke and “morale” (the newsroom equivalent of “body language”) is at an all-time low. And that’s saying something, considering the predominantly miserable assemblage of bitter, cynical people we're talking about!

    This is all not going to end well, we can guarantee you that. The GateHouse properties are going to go through some strife, that’s seems evident. But just as scary is that the Herald continues to be plagued by a constant aura of uneasiness. The paper's website’s development and evolution is taking longer than necessary and the impending loss of content-sharing with the former CNC papers is going to make a noticeable difference across the board.

    If the question is where would you rather be right now, at the Globe, the Herald or the GateHouse Group?, your answer would have to be: “In another industry.”

    Shots maintains that, ultimately, the Globe is going to be best place to be as long as the New York Times maintains committed to fixing the screw-ups of the past decade. But all bets are off if one of the new media companies like Google, Yahoo! or a dozen other NM dabblers decide to partner with any of the three combatants.

    . . . Do we even need to get into how woefully inadequate the websites of most of these papers remain? It would be one thing if the shift to the web and condensing of resources was resulting in better web coverage and presentation – as of this date, there are few indications that will be the case at the also-ran GateHouse properties. The picture emerging is one showing only a few of the myriad websites remaining, under one umbrella – likely the Wicked Local parasol.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Talked to a friend who said he's heard nothing there about a "sick out." He also said it is his understanding that Gatehouse is better to its employees than JRC was and that while there might be some belt tightening there, it won't affect editorial.
  7. Bob_Jelloneck

    Bob_Jelloneck Member

    Lies, lies, I tell you.
  8. happygirl

    happygirl Member

    1. How can it NOT affect editorial when staffers are being taken off the pro beats and copy editing is being done by a universal desk? In the case of Brockton, their readers will have to now read writers from Quincy with whom they're not familiar (although some would count that as a blessing). News-siders are totally ignorant about sports. I can't imagine them editing sports copy and knowing details that dedicated sports copy editors would know.
    2. By the way, to the guy who never heard of Fall Rivers, are you serious? It's a large city in the Southeast corner of Mass.
  9. I'm slightly amused to see everyone take David Scott's piece as gospel. He's been run down pretty good on this very board but now his word is gold? I like reading Scott and always assume that if he has an axe to grind or a dog in the fight that he makes that conflict of interest very clear. I'm just amused to see him used here (on the J-board) as a primary source.

    I also think many here could learn from his example. He stopped working at the Smith-Corona plant and got into word processing.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    oh yeah, hey, fuck, THAT fall river. yeah, shit, when i think of the east coast, i come up with ny, philly, washington and fall river.

    i'm guessing he was serious he didn't know where a 20k paper was located.

    BTW - if it's so damned obvious, why would you refer to fall river as fall rivers? just askin'.
  11. happygirl

    happygirl Member

    "BTW - if it's so damned obvious, why would you refer to fall river as fall rivers?"

    Relax. it was just a typo.
  12. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    I'm with Tom Petty here.

    Poll 100 people who don't live in Mass., and how the hell many of them would know
    Fall River?
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