From the California Media Workers Guild, comes news of negotiations at the San Jose Mercury News concerning our “changing, online media world.”
Check out a clause from the current contract below – it explains a lot.
Meanwhile, up in San Francisco, writer John King seems to be doing a fine job taking photos to illustrates his points.
Ask yourself, how do these rules serve the reader?
Anyway, welcome to the 20th century:
“ARTICLE VI — JOB LIMITATION
(a) A reporter shall not do the work of a photographer, and a photographer shall not do the work of a reporter, nor shall the members of the editorial department perform duties outside the editorial department, nor shall employees of other departments do editorial and news work. This shall not be construed to prevent the employment of reporter-photographers for special work after agreement with the Guild, which agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld. Provided:
(b) Combination reporter-photographers may be employed outside Santa Clara County, but shall be limited to no more than two (2) in any one bureau. Within Santa Clara County, combination reporter-photographers may be employed only as follows:
1. Two designated combination reporter-photographers may be assigned to the South County bureau, and may use cameras only south of Coyote.
2. One designated Venture (outdoors) section reporter, including the wildlife writer, may use a camera south of Coyote on subjects to appear only in the Venture section.
3. The Inquiring Reporter may use a camera for head shots which may be reproduced only in the Inquiring Reporter column.
4. On a voluntary basis, cameras for the purposes of head shots only may be used by reporters when outside of the main office. Application of this subsection shall not be a direct cause of a reduction in force of staff photographers.
(c) The Travel Editor may use a camera outside of the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey; to illustrate travel articles only.
(d) In the graphics department, graphic editors and photographers may be interchanged for temporary periods; provided that their competency shall be judged only on their designated primary skill, and that they shall not do the work of reporters or other newsroom employees.
(e) A combination reporter-photographer shall not be required to be proficient in both skills. Competency shall be judged only on the designated primary skill.
(f) Online outside salespeople (online sales team and one (1) online classified recruitment sales representative) only may carry lightweight point-and-shoot digital cameras. Their photographic work shall only be used in online publications. Affected employees shall not be judged by their photographic skills.”