broadcast news the Newsletter for sag-aftra broadcasters // vol.1 // issue 1 // FALL 2012
news in brief
ournalism is in a state of flux. We have digital journalists, Backpack journalists, bloggers, even journalists on Twitter covering “all the news that’s fit to print” in 140 characters or less. Does all of this affect our SAG-AFTRA members? You bet it does, and at times it can seem almost impossible to keep up.
Detroit Hosts PSC Talk // The SAG-AFTRA Detroit Local presented an educational seminar about personal service contracts. Using real-life examples from across the country, common legal provisions in these contracts were translated into layperson’s terms, followed by a question-and-answer period. Media Reform focus of panel discussion // A screening of the documentary SAVE KLSD: Media Consolidation & Local Radio and a panel discussion highlighted a media reform event hosted by SAG-AFTRA San Francisco. Localism issues discussed included voice tracking, cross-assignment between TV and radio, the reduction in the number of hours of local news, joint ventures, news sharing and outsourcing of news. Stations in Peoria Ratify Contract // Members of the SAG-AFTRA Peoria Local ratified a new contract with Granite Broadcasting, operators WEEK TV and WHOI TV. The contract is the result of a difficult negotiation process that has lasted for almost two years and will run until October of 2015.
Chicago Hosts Conference // SAG-AFTRA Chicago hosted a broadcast conference on April 21 at DePaul University that included members of sister unions and news organizations, including IBEW and the Associated Press. Panel topics ranged from personal service contracts to legal rights in the workplace to social media.
PhotogS OK SAG-AFTRA // News photographers at KFOR in Oklahoma City have elected to be represented by SAG-AFTRA.
Media Convergence and Why It Matters
As has been noted by media theorist Clay By Jack Speer // Shirkey in Here Comes SAG-AFTRA Washington-Baltimore Local Board Member Everyone, in the past, “… when it was easy to recognize who the publisher was, it was [also] easy to recognize who the journalists were … now that scarcity is gone.” There is no journalism license, after all, and the blurring of the lines with the emergence of new technology is not just a problem for print So if anyone can now carry out some of the reporters, it’s affecting broadcasters as well. technical functions of journalism, what sets us apart? I believe the answer is the ability to Communication theorists have likened the produce content backed by serious reporting, emergence of the Internet and digital media fact checking and sourcing. There may not be to Gutenberg’s printing press and the dawn of a “journalism license,” but there is more than television. No one is clear where it is taking ever a need for someone to explain it all and put us, what’s next, and perhaps most importantly, it into context for viewers and listeners. That is which applications will survive. Also unanswered where professionalism matters. is whether the newspaper industry as we have known it — words on paper — will be able to As a result, it’s incumbent that we remain open weather the intense changes now roiling the to working with new technologies across a industry. And it’s not just the newspapers. As I variety of different media platforms. To some mentioned previously, these industry changes in our profession, the term “convergence” has are affecting broadcasters as well. For example, become a dirty word. We need to rethink that. the iPhone many of us carry around in our When two things come together, the popular pockets can be used to gather definition of convergence, it often creates a third audio in the field. It can also thing that is new and distinct from what came take pictures and record HD before. That’s where our members need to be. video. This level of technology, because it formerly cost a lot, The Broadcast Steering Committee was limited to radio, TV and meeting should continue this discussion in film professionals. Now an Los Angeles. It is important we have a voice 11-year-old can make a movie, and that we take an active role in shaping how record a song or anchor a the new technologies are used, both by our version of the nightly news. employers and by us. • speer
message from catherine brown
ello and welcome to the national broadcast newsletter. It is an honor to serve as the national vice president, Broadcasters for SAG-AFTRA. Writing about creating our new union to meet the needs of a diverse membership turned into a challenge in itself, as my workplace began a transition of its own.
My favorite quote about newsrooms is, “The only constant is change.” The workplace personnel change and new work assignments are not unlike what’s happening as we develop a better union. Our challenge is to ensure that SAG-AFTRA is forward-thinking and responsive to our members. Thank you for the opportunity to serve and collaborate with you to improve our union. Catherine Brown, National Vice-President, Broadcasters
message from joe krebs
’m honored to welcome you to this first issue of Broadcast News, the SAG-AFTRA newsletter dedicated to informing the membership on issues that affect those of us who work as broadcasters in television, radio and new media. I hope that you will find these newsletters timely, informative and interesting. They are one more way to continue to communicate with each other, something essential to keep all of us abreast of what’s going on in broadcast shops across the country. We need to know that. We need to stay in constant touch. One important role we have, as broadcasters in the new union, is to make sure that our voices are heard and that our concerns are acted upon. We will certainly benefit from the increased leverage of a 165,000-member union. And I firmly believe that the effectiveness of this new union for broadcasters — just like the effectiveness of any community — will depend upon our participation, our getting involved and taking an active part in the life of this endeavor. The structure is in place. Our new union’s constitution provides for a national broadcast vice president as one of the 10 national officers. The constitution also establishes a National Broadcasters Steering Committee — made up of members from every Local with broadcast contracts — and mandates that it meet face-to-face at least three times a year. All of us ought to feel free to get to know and communicate with our broadcast vice president and members of the Broadcasters Steering Committee. Let them know what our concerns are. Let them know how the union can better serve its members. But, beyond that, we, as broadcasters, need to get involved and stay involved at the Local and national level. We need to run for office, get others to run for offices or positions on the Local executive boards and as delegates to the biennial conventions — the first one coming up in September of 2013. And we need to talk — and listen — to each other. I hope you’ll find this wonderful new resource, Broadcast News, as a way to do that. Joe Krebs, Chair, Broadcast Steering Committee 2
message from mary cavallaro
t’s my pleasure to welcome you to the first issue of SAG-AFTRA’s Broadcast News, a newsletter for our broadcast members across the country. This publication is a direct result of our new union’s commitment to dedicate the resources of the SAG-AFTRA Communications Department to provide valuable information to better inform this distinct and important category of members.
SAG-AFTRA’s mission is firmly rooted in the history, strength and vision of AFTRA and SAG. Our new union has been tasked to be a stronger voice for our members working in traditional broadcast and new media. The employment landscape continues to change, bringing both opportunity and challenge. SAG-AFTRA members working as television and radio journalists, announcers, hosts and commentators are being asked to deliver more content to multiple platforms. Your union is addressing issues related to new media and our ever-changing industry, including compensation, workload concerns and the terms of personal employment contracts. The expanding opportunities of new media cannot be addressed without a serious focus on protecting the interests of those doing this work. I hope you enjoy this inaugural issue. Your SAG-AFTRA staff looks forward to continuing to serve your interests. Should you have a question or require assistance, please contact our Broadcast Department at: (800) 638-6796 and email@example.com. Mary Cavallaro, Assistant National Executive Director, News & Broadcast
SAG-AFTRA Debuts at National Journalism Conventions
he new union of SAG-AFTRA made its debut this summer at three of the biggest journalist conventions in the country: the National Association of Black Journalists, UNITY and the Excellence in Journalism Conference, the latter of which combines the national conventions of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
KGO-TV REPORTER AND SAG-AFTRA MEMBER DAVID LOUIE visited with ANED of NEWS & BROADCAST MARY CAVALLARO at the Excellence in Journalism conference.
The SAG-AFTRA booth was up and running at each of the convention expos, featuring magazines, information on the News & Broadcast and EEO & Diversity departments, as well as a new Union Plus benefits brochure and updated union swag, including pens and reporter notebooks. SAG-AFTRA staff provided counseling, fielded questions, reviewed personal services agreements and offered information on a variety of important issues.
At the SPJ/RTDNA Excellence in Journalism conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., SAG-AFTRA organized an evening cocktail reception hosted by member Don Gould in honor of Bob Edwards, who was selected by SPJ as a 2012 Fellow of the Society. The reception had a wonderful turnout and was a chance for conference attendees of all ages to learn more about SAG-AFTRA.
Edwards was among a panel of experts who discussed the career of legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow in the live premiere during the convention of The Kalb Report hosted by Marvin Kalb.
The panel also included New York Times managing editor Dean Baquet, CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty and Murrow’s son Casey Murrow. Edwards is the author of the 2004 biography Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism and the 1984 recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award. •
Learning the Hard Way: Equipment Insurance By Bob Butler // SAG-AFTRA National Board Member have been a radio reporter for a number of years. I own all my own equipment: laptop, recorder, microphone, mic stand, numerous cables and all the other things you would need to cover news anywhere in the world.
On May 1, I was working the morning shift. This was, of course, May Day and Occupy demonstrations and marches were held across the nation. I left my work bag with most of my equipment in the news car. Someone on the march saw my bag in the back of the car and, well, you can guess the rest. I now had to replace everything. Because I owned the equipment, the company’s insurance did not cover it. My general manager offered to help but, in the end, my homeowners’ insurance covered most of my loss. Of course I had to complete a police report to document the loss
and send it to my insurance company. It helped that I had pictures but, even then, I learned that not everything was covered. For instance, anything that I used for work, such as my recorder and microphone, were not covered. I learned the hard way that it’s important to take stock of the equipment you use. If you own your own equipment, I highly recommend taking pictures and check the replacement cost of all your equipment. Additionally, check with your general manager to see what kind of insurance they provide in the event of a break-in to a news vehicle and if personal equipment is covered. If not, learn what assistance your station would provide in the event of loss. Also, check your homeowners’ insurance policy to see what type of coverage is offered as well. And for those working out of their own vehicle, check the insurance policy for that car to see what is covered. It’s important to be prepared.
Bob Edwards (R) with SPJ Immediate Past President John Ensslin
member News Bob Edwards was honored on Sept. 22 as a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the highest honor bestowed by the society on a journalist. Edwards was honored for his “extraordinary contributions to broadcast journalism.” In his acceptance speech, Edwards spoke of what SPJ means to him and this country: “advocacy, open records laws and open meeting laws that are so important to the transparency of government, which not only helps us do our jobs better, but it’s important to this country in what we hope to be an informed electorate.” Len Dawson, a sportscaster at KMBC-TV in Kansas City, was honored with the 2012 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. He received the award prior to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3. Longtime SAG-AFTRA member and former steward Gail Pennybacker signed off of the D.C. airwaves for the last time on July 20, 2012. Pennybacker has been covering local, national and international news on Channel 7 for more than 26 years. On June 2, retired political reporter Hank Plante received the 2012 Stan Chambers Award for Extraordinary Achievement from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association. Plante was one of the first openly gay TV reporters in the country, from the time he began a career in TV journalism 35 years ago. Detroit member Huel PerkiNS was honored on April 21 with the Work in the Spirit of Diversity award from the Wayne State University Journalism Institute for Media Diversity. 3
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inside MEDIA CONVERGENCE // Jack Speer discusses media convergence and why it matters to SAG-AFTRA broadcast members.
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list of contracts approved by the Executive Committee since April 2012 (In alphabetical order): • AFTRA National Agreement Regarding Benefits (Washington/Baltimore) • KCBS-AM (San Francisco) • KCTV-TV (Kansas City) • KETV (Omaha) • KGW (Portland) • KIRO I (Seattle)
• KIRO II (Seattle) • KRTH-FM (Los Angeles) • KQED-FM (San Francisco) • WBAL-AM & WIYY FM/AM (Washington/Baltimore) • WCAO-AM (Washington/Baltimore) • WCBS (880) (New York) • WEPN/ESPN (New York)
• WETA (Washington/Baltimore) • WHLI-AM/WKJY-FM (New York) • WIL-FM (St. Louis) • WINS (New York) • WJKM-FM (Chicago) • WPHT-AM (Philadelphia) • WTOP-FM/WFED-AM (Washington/Baltimore)
The Weingarten Card. Don’t Leave Home Without It! Don’t let a meeting with management get out of hand. If you’re called in to explain why something went wrong, stop and think about your Weingarten Rights. By presenting this card to management, YOU may have the right to stop a meeting until your steward, assistant steward or a Local rep arrives to accompany you. 4
“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined, terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I request that my shop steward or union officer be present at this meeting. Until they arrive, as is my right under a U.S. Supreme Court decision called Weingarten, I choose not to answer any questions regarding this matter.”