A couple who own a business sent this heartfelt letter to Publisher George Hearst. We are sharing it with their permission.
Dear Mr. Hearst,
We lived and worked in Albany until buying land and starting a small vineyard/winery near Ithaca NY in 1982. Thus we have been following the Albany Newspaper Guild discussions about salary, seniority and outsourcing issues.
We hope you can resolve this satisfactorily for all because the TU is a respected newspaper and probably wants to continue to be so. But to respect an employer and thus do an exemplary job for that employer, employees need to be valued – paid well and be reasonably secure in their jobs – if they are doing the job they were hired to do. From articles we read in the TU we believe that your current staff reporters care about what they do and have insight that comes from experience.
The editor of a weekly group of papers here (Finger Lakes Community Newspapers) recently told me that she has more staff than the daily Ithaca Journal. That Gannett paper ‘let go’ local reporters who covered local news—to ‘save money’. Now the IJ draws its news from other sources (and we can get that anywhere these days) and is paying the price of lack of respect (thus readership) and fewer ads. So they’ve lost money!
The FLCN editor points out that the FL Community Newspapers is thriving because they have enough senior staff reporters who live in and love their community so consistently provide dependable coverage of local news – as well as selected news from beyond. People want to read ‘local news’ thus advertisers can target local customers. When outsourcing provides inconsistent, superficial and scant local reporting readership and ad revenue suffer.
You have a difficult ‘road to travel’ needing knowledgeable reporters to cover not only local tri-city news but also our amazing State Government. So we look to you to continue a high level of consistent reporting and hope you are seriously listening to the needs of your senior reporters. They have given the better part of their lives to make the Albany Times Union a leader.
People are our most valuable asset in our businesses.
Jim and Carol Doolittle