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8/23/2004

Overtime Takeaway - Journalists Failed

The Bush Overtime Takeaway is a disgusting abuse of power, but I'm not going to write about all of that. Instead I want to talk about how the journalists failed in covering this issue and how it is something that directly affects them.

One of the jobs that is clearly defined for reclassification is that of journalists. No longer will non-editorial reporters be classified as hourly employees, instead they will be listed as salary employees.

Throughout the past 30 years reporters filed lawsuits in order not to be overworked and abused by publishers and media corporations. Some were working 80 hour work weeks and not receiving any form of overtime pay. A sweeping change happened from these lawsuits and almost every state adopted journalist protection in the labor laws.

Did they forget their history or was it control by huge media owners? No matter what happened, the media went to sleep on this issue.

For one year the internet, labor unions and workers have been buzzing about this issue. Little or no coverage came from reporters about this issue that was to impact every worker in the United States. One would have thought such a monumental topic would have became immediately a headline in every major newspaper and lead story on the nightly news, but it did not. Reporters especially should have rallied to covering this issue since it was their asses on the line too.

Today, the first day of the OT changes, everywhere I turned people, newspapers and TV news was covering the story. A little too late folks, you should have been giving Americans a chance to weigh on the issue a year ago and given enough time for the people to take action before it started.

I have my own opinions of what has happened to reporters, especially in small market newspapers. Many are unskilled in covering legislative issues, while others feel their readers would not be interested in reading about such matters. This type of thinking is killing the press. What happened to the press being the voice of the people? I agree many readers do not want to hear about anything bad, but this is NEWS. Preemptive news reporting is part of the game and more reporters should learn this. Reporting government affairs is crucial and important for informing readers, its not something reporters and news agencies should chose not to do because they don't know how....learn how!!!!!

I realize much the blame could be right-wing gatekeeping of publishers, editors and media owners, but reporters should have tried other ways to work these stories in. From personal experience, news briefs often go undetected by publishers and having readers write letters to the editor about the topic have helped get stories in to conservative publications. What I am trying to say is there were ways around this.

Journalists, you have failed America. Stand up and take part of the blame. Its not going to fix anything, but at least take accountability for your actions.

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