Mark Wollemann has been the assistant sports editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune since 1999 and been in journalism since the early ’80s.
He’s taken a leave of absence to teach writing in Bulgaria, but left this note on his way out.
In it, he discusses his feelings on the importance of the newspaper guild and how managers, he says, are not exactly on the same side as staffers:
Don’t ever think newsroom managers have your best interests at heart. I know you all know this, but they care most about producing a newspaper on a budget. They probably even find themselves making decisions that run counter to their own journalistic instincts. Therefore, each of us really must watch out for ourselves….While we, each of us, has to watch out for ourselves, the proper role of a collective is to also watch out for each other – especially our most vulnerable members. None of us should fool ourselves into thinking that we won’t one day be a part of that “vulnerable” class. When we’re young, we look at those folks who have run into troubles, health troubles, family issues or the like. They look like they’re in the way and too unproductive to be protected. But in the previous decades, those are the same people who built this guild, who have helped sustain it to this day. They have EARNED the right to have a bad week or month or year.
The Strib is currently negotiating a new contract with the newspaper guild; the current contract expires July 31.