Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Daily News Meeting

Hey Folks,

I'm writing not in my capacity as the union guy right now, but just as a fellow colleague with news of a meeting that's going to be held Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. Evan Pondel and I are going to be talking about a couple of new features we cooked up, "Behind the Scenes" and "My Story" that anyone can pitch in on. The former focuses on unusual jobs, such as the blade sharpener for the Kings, and the latter tells the tales of the unique people who make up the Valley.

Anyone's welcome to attend, whether you're a reporter or any other job, we'd love to get your feedback. We'll take suggestions for more stories, tell you how to contribute your own, and come up with ideas for similar features going forward. This is all part of the ongoing plan to remake the Daily News and keep it fresh-- unlike some past initiatives, however, these aren't top down edicts. They're good ideas that'll bubble up from folks like you who make up the newsroom.

Hope to see you there-- if you can't make it but are interested, gimme a call at 818-713-3738 tomorrow and we'll either find a way to teleconference you in or provide info afterward.


Where: Woodland Hills, Zebra lounge
When: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 3 p.m.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Sunday Night Check-In

Hey Gang,

Nothing major to report on the union front at the moment, but a few things floating out there that bear mentioning. So without further delay...

Thanks to everyone who paid your November dues-- I think I've got nearly everyone now, but if you missed me, you can still hand 'em in before Wednesday's meeting.

Speaking of that, hope you'll all be able to join us at the White Harte on Wednesday after work for a little year-end relaxation and celebration. We'll talk a little business, then move right into the important stuff like eating, drinking, toasting and arguing. Though my choice of tie, at-times-enthusiastic prose or taste in music invariably ends up becoming the source of ridicule, I still enjoy those evenings mightily and will be happy to serve as the table's whipping boy. Good times, folks.

In other good news, Dean Musgrove reports that our friend and colleague Hans Gutknecht is back on the recovery trail from his bout with pneumonia. While it initially had him pretty sick, I have it on good authority that he was able to pull a stunning martial arts reversal, then literally beat up the pneumonia, sat on its handcuffed back and lectured it about how foolish and naive it was... wait, no, that's what he did to me last time I tried to explain my views on politics to him. Well, whatever the case, get well soon, dude-- we miss both your shooting and your evil sense of humor.

And finally, for those of you who missed it, Rachel led a very productive and informative session on cultural reporting last week. Those of you looking for insight on how to approach stories-- or any work, for that matter-- from a different mindset oughtta talk to her, 'cause she's got a wealth of information. Thanks for spreading the gospel, Rach, we all need more of that around here.

That'll do it for now... now back to that stack of Christmas cards. Sigh...


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Happy Hour

Hey Guys,

So we've made it through another eventful year at the Daily News and, boy, have we got plenty to celebrate. So, since it's been awhile since we've gotten together, let's all meet up after work on Wednesday, Dec. 14, and hang out.

I know some of y'all will be coming in for the company holiday lunch at noon, so why not stick around and enjoy some recreation after work? From 6 p.m. until 8ish, we'll be at the White Harte in Woodland Hills, enjoying some fine food, drinks and camaraderie. So come one, come all and enjoy in a little companionship. The info's below, hope to see ya there...


White Harte Pub
(818) 224-3822
22456 Ventura Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday Round Up

Howdy Folks,

Once again, I've foolishly picked a dinner that takes what feels like three days to cook, but that does afford me the opportunity to get caught up on my union emails. Thanks to all who gave suggestions for the ways to spend the training money the DN's dangling-- lots of good ideas that would be a boon to everyone. I passed them all along to Melissa and would be happy to keep suggesting if you've got additional thoughts.

Something happened this week that merits passing along to the rest of you. A situation came up where a staffer got into an argument with a manager, which escalated into a heated exchange in the middle of the newsroom. Both sides ended up getting reprimanded, so the union was called on to represent the employee-- don't forget, this is a right we all have, to make sure things don't get out of hand. And in this case, everything ended up working out fine.

Remember this, guys. Whatever the issue, we are always there to serve as your advocate. Just because someone's a manager doesn't give them the right to treat you with disrespect, nor should you ever have to put up with someone who doesn't act professionally. If you ever have a concern, tell me and we'll do our best to get it fixed immediately. And if you ever feel that you're going to be disciplined for something, whether you think it's justified or not, you always have the right to have a union representative present. It doesn't matter when or where it happens, just to be on the safe side, you should always have someone to speak up for you.

In situations like that, we speak to the management on equal footing. We can't be told to shut up, we can't be sent away, we can't be punished for raising our voices-- almost always, it works out so we can talk things through peacefully. But if not, we'll yell and scream all we need to protect you. Don't let yourself get stuck in a bad situation-- we're here to get you out.

But enough of the rabble rousing for one evening and on to the always pleasant subject of Happy Hour. It's been awhile since we've hung out, so let's figure something out for next week to toast to the end of 2005 and relax outside of work. I'll get you a day and location ASAP.

That's all for tonight, my friends. Thanks for listening and lemme know if you need anything.