Writer's strike best-covered strike ever because of new media
by Chris Roush
David Robb, a former labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, writes Tuesday how the recently settled writer’s strike in California was covered better than any other labor action because of new media.
Robb wrote, “A Google search of ‘writers strike’ turns up 770,000 hits — seven times more hits than ‘steel strike,’ the next highest, and 20 times more than ‘actors strike.’ ‘Steel strike’ gets 110,000 hits, followed by ‘teachers strike’ with 92,400 hits; ‘railroad strike’ (60,500); ‘airline strike’ (36,000); ‘stagehands strike’ (32,900); ‘mine strike’ (30,100); ‘actors strike’ (29,700); ‘newspaper strike’ (25,100); ‘air traffic controllers’ strike (24,600) and ‘coal miners strike’ (24,600).
“Ironically, all this strike coverage comes at a time when labor reporters are becoming extinct at the old media.
“There was a time when nearly every major newspaper in the country had a labor reporter, but today they are a vanishing breed. According to a recent Newspaper Guild report, labor reporting is a beat facing ‘near extinction.’ Over the past 60 years, union membership nationwide has declined almost every year, from a high of 33% in 1948 to only 12.5% today. And the number of reporters who call themselves labor reporters has sunk with it.
“But in Hollywood, nearly everyone’s in a union, and thousands of industry workers are in two or more unions and guilds. And in Hollywood, labor reporting is still a valued beat.”
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