The fall and possible rise of labor coverage in US media


Longtime labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (now retired) wrote a piece for The Atlantic earlier this year headlined “Why the Media Started Caring About the American Worker Again,” with some of his reflections on the recent shifts in the media’s coverage of labor issues. Here are a few selected highlights:

I’m still worried about the state and fate of labor coverage—it’s mostly absent on television news, and, as media organizations continue downsizing, it may be one of the first things to go. Nonetheless, I am considerably less concerned than I was eight or so years ago.
But ever since the Great Recession began in late 2007—thank you, Wall Street—the news media have devoted far more attention to workers. More and more reporters and editors concluded it was important to cover what was happening to workers—how they were being thrown out of their jobs, foreclosed upon, forced into part-time work, strong-armed into accepting wage freezes, relegated to long-term unemployment. The media’s interest in issues like these has remained high long after the recession ended, partly because the downturn opened the eyes of many reporters and editors to the plight of the American worker—and their eyes remain open. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that editors see that these stories often attract a lot of readers.)

Beyond that, three recent movements have helped ensure more coverage of worker issues. Occupy Wall Street pushed the issue of income inequality into the national conversation…

More recently, the Fight for 15 movement has pushed the issue of low-wage work onto center stage…

The other movement that has spurred more coverage of labor is the Republican Party’s offensive against public-sector unions.
Despite all this, many labor stories remain badly undercovered. To name just a few: how the increasing use of volatile, ever-changing work schedules creates havoc in employees’ lives; the crazy, exhausting, and often dangerous hours that the nation’s truck drivers work…


August 13, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 95


Topics: Big Ideas in U.S. Reform – Guaranteed Incomes vs Job Creation; Higher Education Reform. Iraq analysis. People: Bill, Persephone, Nate. Produced: August 10, 2014.

Discussion Points:

– Big Idea: Should government guarantee minimum incomes or guarantee jobs? What is the purpose of employment?
– Big Idea: What is the government’s proper role in reforming and regulating higher education?
– Iraq: How far should the current U.S. intervention go?

Part 1 – Income vs Jobs:
Part 1 – Guaranteed Incomes – AFD 95
Part 2 – Higher Ed Reform:
Part 2 – Higher Ed Reform – AFD 95
Part 3 – Iraq Intervention:
Part 3 – Iraq Intervention – AFD 95

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links
Segment 1

Vox: A guaranteed income for every American would eliminate poverty — and it wouldn’t destroy the economy

Segment 2

Slate: The Dangerous Conservative Idea for Making College Cheaper

Segment 3

AFD: Questionable complaints from Baghdad
AFD: Analysis of Mosul Dam, Mount Sinjar, U.S. Airstrikes
AFD: Who are the Yazidis at Mount Sinjar right now?
AFD: ISIS rolls back Kurdish forces in Iraq. What’s next?


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