Thursday, March 30, 2006

Please Join Me...

Hey Gang,

... in welcoming our newest member. It gives me great pleasure to share with you that Darlene Alilain of the newsdesk has joined our ranks. Based on the fact that she's an extremely cool person, likes They Might Be Giants and until recently lived in the extremely cool city of San Diego, this would be good enough news, but there's an important detail to take note of.

Prior to Darlene, it's been years since we've had a member of the news desk in our membership. This has long been a major hole in our strength as a group, because we were too reporter-centric. So while it's great that we've got her on board-- and she'll make a great addition to our efforts-- we've gotta keep going. This union must represent everyone it possibly can, getting voices and opinions from every department and every office, so keep spreading the word, my friends. We've made tremendous progress in the last few years, so let's keep it going.

That's all for this evening-- I'm going to be out of the office on Friday attending the Western District Council meeting of The Newspaper Guild and bringing them up to speed on what we've been up to at the Daily News. If you need anything, talk to Kerry Kandel or feel free to grab me on my cell phone at 310-562-4315.

Thanks for your time,

By the way, thanks to everyone who made it out to El Torito on Sunday. The nachos were so-so, but it was great to hang with y'all. We'll have to do it again soon.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sunday... and the Return of the Rogue Cop


Just a reminder that if you're looking for a little fun on Sunday afternoon that you can drop by El Torito next to the office (corner of Oxnard and Canoga) for drinks and snacks at the union-sponsored happy hour. We'll be there from 1 'til 3 p.m. or so-- hope to see you there (otherwise it's gonna be a long drive for some nachos for me).

And as another exciting evening note, our good friend Mr. Jauron's posted the latest update to his online graphic novel, Sgt. West, Though the subject matter's not for the faint of heart or easily offended, it's pretty darn interesting. If you get a moment at home (this would definitely fall into that popular "Not Safe For Work" category of Internet fare), check out the latest adventures of the scheming sergeant and the seamy side of the San Fernando Valley.

See ya round...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sunday: Free Food, Free Drinks and Especially Exciting Conversation

Hey Folks,

So we usually get together and hang out "after work." And as good a time as we generally have, after work only captures part of us-- y'all in sports usually get left out and if you're not in Woodland Hills, it's a pain to come down to some bar by the office. So we'd like to try something new.

If you're free on Sunday, come join us for a little union happy hour at a different time. For the sake of convenience, we'll just hit the El Torito next to the office at the corner of Oxnard and Canoga. I'll show up 'round 1 or so, hopefully we'll see some of you in the next couple of hours. Either swing by on your way to work, drop by on your day off, stroll over on your lunch hour... drinks and appetizers are on us.

When: Sunday, Mar. 26, 1 p.m.
Where: El Torito
What: Another Fabulously Entertaining Union Happy Hour
Cost: Absolutely free
Questions? Call Brent at 310-562-4315

Hope to see ya there,

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Night Round-Up: B-Ball, Organized Labor and Good Ol' Journalism

Hello, My Friends,

I hope that this e-mail finds you all well and warm on this nippy Sunday evening. Many thanks to those of you who made it to Pickwick on Wednesday night for some camaraderie and chips. The decor's a little too upscale and they don't serve mushy peas, but given some time, it could return to its previous scuzzy glory.

I've got a hodgepodge of issues to discuss this time around, so let's start with a fun one: Regardless of whether you entered Josh's NCAA pool, you've gotta read his daily updates, which are nothing short of hilarious. It's almost enough to make up for the fact that my bracket's lingering down at the bottom 10. Almost.

Now, onto more serious news, I need your help for suggestions to pass along to the national union. As part of its overall efforts for 2006 to improve itself, CWA has adopted what it's calling Resolution #1 to make itself as useful as possible for members in the future. If you'd like to respond directly, go to and request a log-in. If you'd prefer to send your stuff to me, shoot me an email and I'll pass it through.

And of course, that always goes for our unit, too. If you ever have ideas on how to improve what we do at the Daily News, let us know and we'll consider what you've got to say.

That's all for this evening, I think. More to come soon...

Thanks, as always,

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Man Moves Along

Hey Guys,

If you didn't see the previous messages, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you and good luck to our friend and colleague Dan Laidman, who's moving onto Copley News' city hall bureau-- it's gotta be the shorter commute that lured him away.

Within days of joining the Daily News, Dan was a union member, attending meetings and providing support as we got going with the contract negotiations. And on top of that, he's been a great reporter and a heck of a fun guy to work with in the last nine months or so. It'll hurt to see a good guy like him leave, but we'll all wish him well in his latest endeavor. Congratulations, pal, and don't forget your old Daily News friends when you move... next door.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Put Your Hands Together...

... for Mr. Hans Gutknecht.

Yes, that's right, our friend, colleague and occasional member Hans has been named Photographer of the Year by the Press Photographers' Association of Greater Los Angeles for the second year running. Check out his work here:

Now it's easy to say, hey, he won last year, how hard is it to do twice? Well, let's consider these factors... first off, Hans and all the Daily Newsers are up against the LA Times. Not only do they have all the fancy-dancy gear, they're getting two months to work on stories and get sent all over the world. Hans and his contemporaries usually have a few days to shoot, if they're lucky and have to find their stories from Downtown to the Antelope Valley. Sure, that's fertile ground, but not quite the same as traveling to Iraq or El Salvador.

But even more impressively, Hans was also out of commission for six weeks this year, cruising around with an oxygen tank and some blue lips. Yes, even with the handicap of double pneumonia, he still beat out the competition. Looking at his stuff, you get the feeling that he could show up at an assignment without a camera and still get a great shot out of it. Even if he didn't have a pen, he'd turn in a rendering of the scene using ketchup, a french fry and a napkin, then head off to do it again with a fire, a portrait and a sports photo in the space of an hour.

So maybe that's exaggerating things only slightly, but you get the point. Hans exemplifies what we should all aspire to-- making the best with what he's got on hand and always doing fantastic work no matter the circumstances. We should all congratulate him and learn from his example.

Alright, enough yakking for one night. See you guys on Wednesday...


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Dues and a New Destination for Wednesday Night

Good Sunday Evening to All,

So I just wanted to update everyone on the latest on the automatic dues deduction-- we are truly, actually, finally on the verge. Vicki and the folks at local 9400 have worked out a deal with the Building Trades Federal Credit Union where we can open accounts free of charge to deposit our dues in-- once it's fully ready to go, I'll get you all the necessary info and paperwork so you can handle it in the way that works best for you. For March and April, I'll be road-testing it with my own dues, just to work out any kinks and as soon as that's online, we'll make the switch.

In the meantime, however, if you wouldn't mind mailing in your checks to the local-- thanks to everyone who's already done so. As a reminder, it's 2.25 times your hourly wage, made payable to CWA 9400. Mail them to CWA local 9400, attn: Vicki Di Paolo, 7844 Rosecrans Ave., Paramount, Ca. 90723.

And speaking of those dues, Alex Dobuzinskis asked the quite reasonable question of where those dues go and how they're spent. So we asked Vicki to run down the appropriate numbers, which she's having charted right now. As soon as I get those, I'll pass them along to everyone.

As the final point, in light of Val's message, heck, let's head back to good ol' Pickwick for our Wednesday happy hour. As much as I enjoy the White Harte, I'm interested to see if the rebuilt pub has the grungy charm of the original. So on Wednesday, let's meet up at 21010 Ventura Blvd. (between DeSoto and Canoga) and welcome back our old haunt around 6 p.m. or so.

Hope to see y'all there...


Saturday, March 11, 2006

You're Hired

Hey Gang,

Man, we're on a roll-- two weeks, two new members. On this frigid Saturday night, I'm glad to announce that we've got a new cohort in our struggle for truth, justice and better journalism-- Mr. Brad Greenberg of the metro desk has signed up to join our not-so-little crew. Please join me in a warm welcome for the young man who not only landed a first person story, but a picture of himself on Page 1 today. Not bad for a new hire-- the only time I've only gotten my un-altered picture in the paper was when I was unable to duck fast enough when on assignment at the mall a few years back.

If you missed it, go back to and check out his piece on his unsuccessful attempt to land a spot on "The Apprentice," which is an entertaining read. And while navigating around the Web site, see, his stunning 90-inch take on the murder of model Kimberly Pandelios. That's the kind of story I wish I coulda written.

So welcome, dude-- you're just the kinda guy we need. Thanks for your support, we'll look forward to working with ya.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Double Shot of Good News

Hey Gang,

Ahh, how I love to only have good things to write about. It does present me with the conundrum, however, of which one to begin with, as they're both important. Let's go with the rarer of the two...

... which leads me to ask for your congratulations to Kerry Kandel, who's undergone the training to be certified by Local 9400 as a steward. Over the past few years, she's been an integral part of this union, both as part of the rank-and-file, on the Contract Committee and, most importantly, bargaining our current contract. We would not be where we are today without both the tireless support of her and her husband Jason. As she joins me as a steward, we all owe her our appreciation and support.

And while we're in a congratulating mood, please join me in saying thanks and welcome to our newest member, Jill Painter of the sports department. As a five-year Daily Newser, she's lent a byline to just about every sport in town. Amateur or pro, on gridiron, hardwood or diamond, she's covered it all-- and to top it off, she's a heck of a nice gal, too. In short, just the sort of member we need. Welcome to the club, Jill, we're glad to have you along.

So while we can take heart in both a new steward and a new member as signs of a strengthening union, we've gotta also see both as a call to do more. While I'm thrilled to have Kerry's help, that still leaves two of us for 104 employees to represent-- we're going to need to bring in more people, more departments and more viewpoints in coming months. As we figure out how to expand this to have more leadership and more involvement, we'll be coming to you guys for help.

The same goes for growing the membership. Though we've gotten much better in the last year or so, we're still short on members who aren't reporters or photographers. We need more copy editors, more layout folks, more support staff. This union belongs to everyone in that newsroom and each bureau-- we've got to keep pushing so we represent them accurately.

But even as I write that, I can feel a lot better because I know we'll actually be able to do it. As Kerry can attest, when she joined, we could have membership meetings at a single lunch table and just hoped for the best as we reached out to the newsroom. Today, we've got the support of a huge swath of the room and will endeavor to reach even more. With your help, we'll get there.

So with that in mind, let's have the first of a few meetings on Wednesday, March 15 after work. That'll just be a happy hour, where we can kick back and talk about the fun side of this noble profession of ours. We'll follow that up with a Sunday afternoon get-together on March 26 (which my calendar tells me is Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom, if any of you need to plan accordingly)for those of you who can't make a night-time rendez-vous. After that, we'll shift back into organizing mode.

The labor movement has its challenges these days, both nationally and locally, but in front of that backdrop, we're moving forward and getting better. Keep up the fine work, my friends, and thank you for all that you do.

Thanks for your help,