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The News Hole

Current Mood: Disgruntled

Posted 10/4/2006

On Sept. 26, the following letter appeared on the media blog Romenesko, a compendium of "media industry news, commentary, and memos," compiled by Jim Romenesko (view the original posting). The letter was signed by 100 Sun newsroom staffers and handed over to Dennis FitzSimons, CEO of The Sun’s corporate owner, the Tribune Co., when he visited Baltimore recently.

    Sept. 26, 2006

    Dear Mr. FitzSimons,

    Welcome to Baltimore!

    This is a wonderful city with a rich history that includes The Sun, a newspaper that has been published since 1837 with a legacy of excellence that we hope to continue. To do that, we need your help.

    We need you and your colleagues in Tribune management to understand that the way to provide a viable product in the information age that is the 21st century is not to cut back on the essential resources of this institution.

    We stand with our colleagues at the Los Angeles Times, both management and workers, in saying to you that you cannot cut your way to prosperity, that sometimes you have to make the tough decisions and forgo short-term returns for long-term gains. You need to maintain and increase your investment in these newspapers if they are going to make a successful transition to the new age of journalism that is upon us.

    We also ask that you respect those of us in Baltimore who have made this a successful and profitable cornerstone of Baltimore life for these many decades. You did not do this in 2003 in the negotiations with the Guild for a new contract. You spent $3 million of your shareholders’ money to launch a blitzkrieg on your employees that included the disruptive presence of so-called "replacement workers" training in our building, as well as the demeaning comment at the bargaining table that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun does not have a "high performance culture."

    A well-run company does not spend its money attacking its loyal employees. No one wants The Sun to be successful more than those of us who work here, who raise our families here, who have invested our careers in this institution. We ask that Tribune treat those of us who work here with the respect we deserve and make sure that The Sun has the resources it needs to maintain the quality that has allowed it to thrive.

    Either that, or sell The Sun to someone who will.

    Sincerely,

    The Sun unit of the Newspaper Guild


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