AP Photogs and Journos Withholding Bylines; World Somehow Survives

AP Logo

No, it's a not a story from the Onion. It's AFP reporting on the actions of Associated Press photographers and journalists:

US news agency staff stage 'byline strike'

Journalists and photographers at the US news agency the Associated Press (AP) are withholding their bylines to protest management's stance in contract talks, their union said.

"Staffers recognize the tough times, but they also understand that quality journalism at AP means attracting and retaining the best employees," Tony Winton, president of the News Media Guild, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Guild said AP reporters and photographers were withholding bylines and personal equipment "in protest over the news agency's proposals that would threaten job security, dramatically raise medical costs, and freeze wages." 

Yeah, that'll show em.

A later excerpt from the same AFP item:  

.....  The Guild said there has been agreement on a handful of articles, "but the sides remain far apart."

It said management had proposed a wage freeze in the first year of a two-year agreement, followed by a two percent increase the following year.

The Guild said it had opened with a 10 percent wage increase proposal, "but has indicated flexibility at the bargaining table."

Besides withholding bylines from stories and photographs, the Guild said some employees "planned to withhold use of their personal vehicles, cellphones, and other equipment, while others were 'working to rule.'"

So it seems that in addition to playing Name That Party with AP stories that either fail to mention or belatedly mention the party affiliation of Democratic politicians in trouble, we will also be temporarily playing Name That Journo.

Will anyone really care? Roger Simon at Pajamas Media has the best answer to that question:

News service reporters are not even as well known as bloggers.  I mean whose names are more famous to the general public at his point -  Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin and (yikes) Markos Moulitsas or [insert any Associated Press writer here]? 

In fact, one might argue that blogs such as NB have done more to make individual AP reporters famous/infamous than just about anyone else. 

More seriously, if you ever wondered why militant union actions get favorable coverage from the wire services, it's because many of those who gather and report the news are fairly militant union members themselves. 

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.