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From The New York Times: Why The Media ‘Loves Labor Now’ - ‘At A Moment Of Political Turmoil, Economic Change & A Pandemic-Driven Focus On How We Work, Labor Has Become A Hot News Beat’

Published Wednesday, November 10, 2021
by Ben Smith/The New York Times
From The New York Times: Why The Media ‘Loves Labor Now’ - ‘At A Moment Of Political Turmoil, Economic Change & A Pandemic-Driven Focus On How We Work, Labor Has Become A Hot News Beat’

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The top story in the weekly print edition of The Chief-Leader, a publication that has long covered New York City’s Civil Servants, is often about the hottest job listing in town.

Last week, it was: “Bus Operator Jobs With MTA Starting at $23.84 an Hour.”

For years, the paper, a broadsheet founded for Firefighters in 1897, has been following the dual downward trajectories of the Newspaper Industry and the Labor Movement.

Its top Editor for the last 23 years, Richard Steier, took pay cuts in 2019 and 2020.

But in August, something unexpected happened: An entrepreneur swooped in and bought The Chief from the family who had owned it for more than a century, with a plan to transform it into a national voice of Public-and-Private-Sector Labor.

The new owner, Ben August, is an unlikely steward of a publication whose nearly 30,000 subscribers are almost entirely New York City Municipal Workers.

He made his fortune several years ago selling a human resource services company he had built.

Since then, he has devoted himself to his vineyard in Napa Valley and a non-profit group that investigates who really wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

August believes it was probably Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford, and named a wine, Earl 17, in his honor.

August is also passionate about the subjects covered by The Chief.

Asked why he had bought the paper, he said: “Labor is underrepresented, Organized Labor might be making a comeback, and I would like to fan those flames if at all possible.”

August and Steier said they would publish a new stream of National Labor coverage early next year and August said he hoped to eventually double the paper’s staff, which now stands at three Reporters.

His timing is good.

Gallup reported this Fall that more Americans approve of Labor Unions than at any time since 1965 and Democrat President Joe Biden’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) looks far more sympathetically on their fights than did Republican President Donald Trump’s.

A tight labor market has also shifted leverage toward workers.

“Buoyed by shortages in labor and supplies that leave employers more vulnerable and frustrated by what they see as unfair treatment during the (Coronavirus) Pandemic, Workers are standing up for a better deal,” said Noam Scheiber, who covers Labor for The Timeswrote recently.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report, Go To: www.nytimes.com/2021/11/07/business/media/labor-unions-media-coverage.html

 

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