After Wisconsin: ‘Taking the Pulse of the Labor Beat’

Joe Macaré

Mike Elk, Kari Lydersen and Steve Early, joined by John Nichols of The Nation, assess the state of labor journalism at the National Conference on Media Reform

At this past weekend’s National Conference for Media Reform in Boston, three regular contributors to Working In These Times joined Granville Williams from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and John Nichols of The Nation for one of the conference’s most timely and well-received panels. Conference attendees from around the country — many of them unionists, some probably nursing hangovers — gathered Sunday morning to hear some of the country’s most prominent labor journalists take the pulse of the labor beat.”

Watch the video above, which was broadcasted live on satellite TV by our friends at Free Speech TV, to hear Kari Lydersen talk about the 2009 Republic Windows & Doors occupation that she covered in her book Revolt On Goose Island; Mike Elk complain that too many editors (and progressives) find labor struggles boring; and Steve Early describe American unions’ self-inflicted PR wounds.

Their talks and the lively discussion that followed illustrate what Working In These Times is all about: covering the struggles for workers’ rights from the point of view of workers, without being afraid to criticize elements of the labor movement itself.

Plus: Williams on the state of labor journalism in the United Kingdom, and Nichols on how and why the New York Times got the Madison story wrong. You’ll also hear each panelist’s suggestion for how to improve labor coverage in the media. (Elk’s suggestion is particularly good.)

Williams summed up, We’ve left lots of questions unanswered, but at least we put labor back on the agenda.”

Joe Macaré is a writer, editor and development and communications professional, originally hailing from the UK and now residing in Chicago. His writing has appeared at In These Times, TruthOut, AlterNet, Dazed and Confused, The Times, Plan B and Stylus. He has appeared on WBEZ radio and Chicago Newsroom to discuss his extensive coverage of the Occupy Chicago movement.
Brandon Johnson
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