A wave of union-organizing has swept over the digital media industry over the past three years. One by one, journalists employed by the once-scrappy start-ups and venture-capital darlings of the Internet have banded together to negotiate collectively.
Writers and editors at Slate have voted nearly unanimously to green-light a strike, escalating tensions between the digital publication and its newly unionized employees. Slate’s editorial employees authorized the potential strike by a vote of 52 to 1, according to a spokesman for the Writers Guild of America – East, and are now weighing when they may walk off the job.
After years of painful, protracted decline, the Los Angeles Times has recently descended into chaos: There have been three editors-in-chief in less than six months; the publisher has been put on leave for prior sexual harassment allegations; and the newly unionized staff already fears that the owner is trying to bust up their union. Mistrust is high, morale low. The ultimate fate of the paper is an open question in the newsroom.
Jim Kirk, the former publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, will take over as editor in chief. He will replace Lewis D’Vorkin, whose tenure roiled the newsroom.