The staff of the Springfield News-Leader will now have a seat at the table with a united voice.
A vote of the staff returned a unanimous result for the formation of the Springfield News Guild. The decision will allow the staff to gain some control over the operations of the local newsroom despite being owned by Virginia-based Gannett.
“Today, the staff of the News-Leader took a major step forward in our effort to preserve and strengthen local journalism in Springfield,” education reporter Claudette Riley said in a statement. “Now the hard part begins as we bargain in good faith to forge a fair contract.”
The next step for the News Guild will be negotiations with the News-Leader’s parent corporation for a contract. According to a statement released Friday by the News Guild, they seek to put “journalists back at the center of how Springfield’s newspaper works.”
“Communities are stronger when they have watchdogs looking out for their best interests,” News-Leader reporter Katie Kull wrote on Twitter. “Newspapers are stronger when their workers have a seat at the table.”
The Guild in their statement praised Gannett’s supervisors, calling their response “open and respectful.”
“This was a big step for us – and a much-needed step,” columnist Steve Pokin said in a statement. “Now, we look forward to finally having a voice at the table on how we are treated by our corporate owners and advocating for the resources the News-Leader needs to fulfill its mission of covering local news.”