The Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, is reaching out to the next generation of journalists to help them prepare for self-employment and arm them with the information they need to advocate for themselves and their fellow workers.
The innovative mentorship and training program is called Bay News Rising, organized by local president and program manager Rebecca Rosen Lum and project director Kat Anderson. The local hopes to ignite serious reporting on labor, workplace issues, women's rights and other social justice topics by students, and teach them how to receive fair treatment and fair pay on the job. Like many workplaces, American newsrooms are changing as the percentage of freelance and temporary workers grows.
Students from four universities participate in Bay News Rising.
With a grant from CWA and the Berger-Marks Foundation, the local selected 11 college students out of a pool of applicants from the graduate school of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, City College of SF and Oberlin College for the nine-week summer program. Each student was paired with a "media mentor," all of whom were professional journalists and union members.
The students began by organizing themselves and negotiating an agreement with "management," the Guild local leaders, that covered working conditions, student publication fees and a student freelance rate.
They heard from 16 journalism trailblazers and veterans, including longtime New York Times reporter Cynthia Gorney, Frontline and ProPublica investigative reporter A.C. Thompson, and David Weir, founder of the Center for Investigative Reporting. The group also met with TNG-CWA acting secretary/treasurer Sara Steffens.
Check out baynewsrising.org, where the students' articles and other information about the program are posted.