Welcome to the National Writers Union

The National Writers Union UAW Local 1981 is the only labor union that represents freelance writers.

Now, more than ever, with the consolidation of power into the hands of ever-larger corporate entities and with the advent of technologies that facilitate the exploitation of a writer’s work, writers need an organization with the clout and know-how to protect our interests. One that will forge new rules for a new era.

Combining the strength of more than 1,200 members in our 13 chapters with the support of the United Automobile Workers, the NWU works to advance the economic and working conditions of all writers.  Our members also directly benefit from the many valuable services the Union offers—including grievance assistance, contract advice, and much more—while actively contributing to a growing movement of professional freelancers who have banded together to assert their collective power.

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Special Announcements

05/25/2015 - 9:10am

Every year, the National Writers Union’s New York Chapter features four emerging poets who are personally selected by close associates of Louis Reyes Rivera. These four artists are given the extraordinary opportunity to read their original works to the accompaniment of professional jazz musicians in a prominent venue. This year on May 16, a standing-room-only audience welcomed Cesilie Anandi, Cypress Preston Jackson, Nkosi Nkululeko, and Meriam Rodriguez to the stage at the historic Nuyorican Poets Café. UpSurge! JazzPoetry Ensemble’s expert accompaniment made every word from these very talented artists even more memorable. African Voices’ Carolyn Butts and esteemed poet Layding Kaliba also received the 2015 Louis Reyes Rivera Excellence Award for Educator Artists. Nearly 100 people attended including members of Louis’s family. This year would have marked his 70th birthday.

In her note soon after the event, Meriam Rodriguez wrote “I felt so inspired after performing with the Upsurge! JazzPoetry Ensemble and for the family, peers, and colleagues of Louis Reyes Rivera that I immediately went home and started working on my next novel. I am a proud conduit for those that came before us and will continue to write in their honor. Thank you National Writers Union for all that you do!”

A former chair of NWU’s New York Chapter, Louis Reyes Rivera is considered by many as a necessary bridge between the African and Latino American communities. He received over 20 awards as well as assisted in the publication of well over 200 books, including John Oliver Killens’ Great Black Russian (Wayne State University, 1989), Adal Maldonado’s Portraits of the Puerto Rican Experience (IPRUS, 1984), and Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Crown Publishers, 2001). Just before his passing in 2012, Louis completed an epic poem, Jazz in Jail (unpublished) and translated Clemente Soto Velez’s Broomstick Station. The 2015 event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc., with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. It occurs annually on the Saturday closest to Louis’s birthday on May 19.

Photo: Cypress Preston Jackson reading to the accompaniment of UpSurge! JazzPoetry Ensemble. Credit: Krishna Yalla

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05/25/2015 - 9:06am

Finding Security in Unsafe Passages” was a half-day event for journalists that the National Writers Union co-sponsored at the United Nations in New York on May 7 to mark World Press Freedom Day and raise awareness of the International Federation of Journalist’s End Impunity campaign. According to IFJ, more than 700 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public over the past decade.

However, only one in ten cases committed against media workers during that same time led to a conviction. Jon Williams from ABC News served as moderator. Prior to his current role as managing editor for international news, Williams led crisis management teams at the BBC following the murder of one colleague by terrorists and the five-month kidnap of another, which ultimately ended with his safe return. Nearly 100 participants learned about the wide range of risks that journalists face every day. Susan Davis, NWU’s National Contract Advisor, discussed copyright issues, Frank Smyth from Global Journalist Security lead a safety demonstration, and NYU’s Charles Seife showed how confidential sources can be revealed by looking at the codes embedded in emails.

The Belgian and French Ambassadors to the UN discussed their governments’ measures to protect press freedom. Besides the IFJ and NWU, this event was organized by the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations and the Metro New York Labor Communications CouncilPEN America Center included it as part of their World Voices Festival.  The full session was webcast and archived on the UN’s website. President Larry Goldbetter and NWU NY Co-Chair Alexandria Faiz represent the IFJ at the UN as NGO representatives.

Photo: Susan Davis speaking at the UN. Credit: Jose Pinto Stephen

Link to Video:

http://webtv.un.org/search/world-press-freedom-day-side-event/4224398140001?term=world%20press%20freedom%20day

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05/07/2015 - 10:41pm

Our main phone number (212) 254-0279 to the NWU headquarters office is down temporarily due to a a manhole explosion that knocked out Time Warner in midtown Manhattan, in New York City where we are based. We hope the phone lines are operating by Friday, May 7 or Monday, May 10.

While you are on hold, please view this video, produced by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, dedicated to all the journalists who have faced threats or torture while conducting their professional duties:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCqCGTAM9gc&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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04/06/2015 - 4:57pm

WRITING A QUERY LETTER FOR FICTION

By Anita Diggs

Before you put pen to paper, you have some preliminary work to do. Make a list of at least 20 agents who might be interested in your work and why. To find them, check the Acknowledgements page of similar books, where authors usually thank their reps.
 

You can also ask other writers, and seek out agents in the pages of writing- and publishing-industry magazines. Once you have your list of 20 or more, it’s time to go online and check out their websites. What type of material are they seeking? What titles have they handled in the past?

Use your list to write a query letter to each one, addressing the agent by name. “Dear Agent” simply will not do. As someone who once sat on that side of the desk, I found this kind of shortcut lazy and insulting.

If you’re writing a novel, your first paragraph to your potential agent should provide the title, word count and genre; tell who the main character is; what the character wants; and what/who is stopping your protagonist from getting it. It also should say why you think this particular agent would be a good match.

The second paragraph describes the main character’s journey, and tells how it ends.

Include a brief paragraph about you. If you have won writing awards or your work has appeared elsewhere, mention a few particulars. If your characters are ace tennis players, and you’ve won every regional tennis championship in your area for a number of years, say so. If you have an MFA, mention it. If this is your first book, but you’re a bonafide star in another arena—for example, you wrote the screenplay for Thelma & Louise—mention that, too. 

Now for the don’ts:  Don’t tell the agent how hard or long you labored on your manuscript. Don’t mention what you have in common with one of your fictional characters, e.g. you both dig strawberries. Don’t tell the agent how long you’ve been shopping your manuscript. Don’t grouse about who in the publishing industry has done you wrong. Don’t say that your book is going to sell a gazillion copies.  And whatever you do, don’t caution the agent that if she turns you down, she will regret it someday when your name is in lights. (Although success is the best revenge!)

Remember that the purpose of your query letter is to get an agent to ask for your whole manuscript. If you get a rejection, simply approach the next person on your list. Try not to take any negative comments personally. There is a literary agent out there who’s just waiting for you to come along, so keep submitting your work. 

Conversely, if you’ve sent your book out say, 10 times, and met with repeated rejection, you might consider other avenues to publishing—self, digital, on demand, etc., which puts the power in your hands.

Anita Diggs critiques manuscripts and writes book proposals. A former senior editor at Random House, she’s the author of A Mighty Love; A Meeting in the Ladies Room; and The Other Side of the GameShe has an extensive network of literary agents, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Email her at anita.diggs@gmail.com

Image courtesy the author; bekindrewrite.com


 

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04/06/2015 - 4:55pm

A WRITING COACH SHARES HER SECRETS

Multiple Revenue Streams. You have to admit, it has a compelling ka-ching to it. If you’re thinking about opening your journalistic bag of tricks in a new arena, consider how former magazine editor Gay Edelman works as a writing coach.

NWU: How did you get your start?

Edelman: A friend, who was a therapist, asked me to work with a patient of hers who was writing a book, but had no idea how to convey her ideas.  From there I started two writing groups, which both ran for several years until I took an editorial staff job at McCalls. I entertained becoming a writing coach because so many people asked me for advice that I thought, I should charge for this! And so I started to. Since 1990, I’ve worked as a writing consultant with individuals, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits, helping them focus and hone their written materials. I’ve also conducted classes and workshops for established and aspiring writers.

NWU: How do you work with clients?

Edelman: We meet in person or on the phone. Some just need a few one-hour sessions. Others contract for more ongoing services. They may send small samples of what they’re working on for my review prior to our talking. We discuss their problems, whether it’s issues around content or their writing practice, and we set their goals together.

NWU: At what stage are their projects when they come to you?

Edelman: All stages. I’ve had people who’ve barely begun to write anything and need help creating a sustainable writing practice. And I’ve had accomplished writers who want to branch out into a new genre. Many are folks who are stuck and need to be told my signature phrase: “Just open a file. That’s all you have to do for now. Just open a file.” Little steps!

NWU: If someone is thinking of becoming a writing coach what would you advise?

Edelman: Think about what people ask you when they find out you’re a writer. Do you enjoy answering their questions? Do you like teaching people? Are you a good listener? Do you have experience or training with coaching? Are you fast on your feet, and flexible about people’s quirks and foibles? Can you always find something positive to say about someone’s writing, no matter what else you might think of it? Writers’ egos, I don’t have to tell you, are delicate. And are you prepared to do the legwork to build a practice? You’ll need to get out there and become known in various circles.

NWU: How do you determine how much to charge? And how do you set up payment arrangements?

Edelman: Coaching sessions are payable in advance by PayPal, unless other arrangements are made. $100 is in the ballpark of what writing coaches and one-on-one services providers tend to charge, as an hourly rate. If the client needs ongoing consistent support, it’s $250 a month, which is also in the ballpark of what coaches charge. If they buy three months in advance, you can give them a $50 break. As you come up with your rates, factor in what you need to live.

Gay Edelman worked for Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. She currently blogs for Thirdage.com and her own site, GayEdelman.com, and her book, The Hungry Ghost, is based on her 100-pound weight loss.

Caption: Gay Edelman and her projects.


 

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04/06/2015 - 4:52pm

ASK THE GRIEVANCE AND CONTRACT DIVISION ANYTHING

By Barbara Mende

When you need advice on a contract, or have a grievance against a publisher or client, you write to advice@nwu.org, right? Good. Keep it up. Also get in touch if you have a question that has to do with writing or with the NWU.

Want to check up on a potential agent or publisher, or see whether our database—or any public database—has a previous record of transactions? Do you have a quick question about writers’ rights vs. publishers’ rights, or about some aspect of copyright? Do you want to know about query letters or non-disclosure agreements or termination clauses? Are you curious about payment terms? Do you wonder why your royalty statement shows you’ve sold two books when Amazon says your book is a best seller? Do you know what to do when your publisher declares bankruptcy?

We can’t tackle all these questions ourselves, but often we can point you in the direction of the answer. We can’t refer you to an agent or publisher, but we can tell you where to look for agents and publishers, and how to check them out. We can’t answer legal questions or refer you to a specific lawyer, but we can advise you on how to handle your legal question. And if we don’t know about something, we can help you find someone who does. So if you have a question, get in touch. You may get the answer you’re looking for, and you can’t beat the price.

Barbara Mende is the coordinator of the Grievance and Contract Division.


 

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04/06/2015 - 4:48pm
OH THE PLACES YOU WILL GO
An Occasional Series on Travel and Writing

By Pamela K. Johnson

If you move to Los Angeles—or in my case back home to Los Angeles—do not be surprised if you find yourself writing a script. I had no inclination to go in that direction, but I do like money and recognition, and discovered that they can sometimes be found at the end of a screenwriting contest.

I once won a trip to New Mexico, where I got to shoot a short film. A spec script for the TV sit-com, The Office, won me $200 in a Scriptapalooza contest. So when I heard about the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition (for US writers), I entered in both the feature and short script categories. My feature treatment died a quiet death, but my short script, Morning Song, won me a grand prize that included $1,000, a trip to China, and the resources to make the film. The City of Beijing, which backed the contest, took about 15 people to China; financed several shorts; and awarded the feature grand prizewinner $15,000.

The idea for my short came from my first trip to China with a tour group in 2008. Our first day in that bustling city, I witnessed something that what would ultimately become the pulse point of Morning Song. Too early to check in when we arrived, we went to breakfast near a park, where I saw about 100 people under a tree singing at 7 a.m., complete with songbooks. Many retirees start their day singing, dancing, playing instruments or hacky sack, along with many other “morning exercises.”

Despite my initial lack of interest, screenwriting has proven to be a fun, unconventional way for me to tell a story. Late last year, when I decided to apply to graduate school in screenwriting, I had to come up with a 20-page sample. Though I didn’t get into the program, I kept writing and my script about African-Americans in Hollywood during World War II is nearly finished. In the coming weeks, I intend to submit it to the Nicholls Fellowship, Sundance, and Austin. And why not? The odds are long, but I’ve beaten them before.

Pamela K. Johnson is the NWUsletter editor.

Caption: Top left: Morning exercise with ribbons; filming on the streets of Beijing; clapboard. Bottom: storyboard; me surrounded by the singers in my film.


 

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04/06/2015 - 4:45pm

By Larry Goldbetter

2015 UAW Special Bargaining Convention

I just returned from Detroit where the United Auto Workers held its Special Bargaining Convention to outline the framework for major negotiations at Ford, GM, Chrysler, John Deere, Mitsubishi and many others. The more than 2,000 delegates heard from Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and NAACP President Cornell William Brooks.

This is an especially challenging time for our union as more than 50 percent of the membership is in Right-to-Work states. Also, UAW’s sacrifices to bail out the auto industry have created a two-tier wage system. Many second-tier delegates were at the convention, and are ready to fight. With the auto companies making huge profits, the UAW is determined to close the wage gap. These coming months can be critical to the future of our union and all organized labor.

Delegate Assembly

The 2015 Delegate Assembly will be held August 7-9 in NYC. The midtown Manhattan offices of the NY-area UAW Region 9A have ample room to host the event, including breakout rooms where delegates can talk and caucus over meals.

This will be a very important DA for us, with new leadership emerging on all levels. At a time when the UAW and the whole labor movement face existential threats, it can serve as a call to action for us as working people, and provide a strategy to advance the struggle of freelance writers in our rapidly changing industry.

Elections

National, chapter, and delegate elections will be held soon. Look for a call for nominations in your inbox. Sarah Forth, the election committee chair, and I are working out the final logistics and hope to have this underway within days.

The New Website

We’re very close to finally launching our site. Content is being updated, and division and chapter chairs are being trained to post to their pages.

NYS Lobby and Legislative Conference

The UAW Region 9 and 9A NYS Lobby and Legislative Conference took place in Albany, March 8-11, where we had our biggest delegation in recent memory. Dave Hill, Marivir Montebon, Esther Cohen and I were among those attending. Unfortunately, we did not receive funds to support our 501(c)(3). The money would have gone to our WorkersWrite program, where low-wage workers and public housing tenants write their stories to advance the fight to raise the minimum wage. The funds would have also supported our mentoring program for young women of color who are interested in journalism careers, and our Spanish-language writers project. During our trip, we also lobbied on behalf of such NYS UAW issues as ending tax breaks for billionaire real estate developers, making adjunct professors eligible for unemployment compensation, and reforming campaign finance. I had a good meeting with Assemblywoman Michele Titus, the new chair of the Labor Committee.

(Top Photo) Top to bottom: The UAW SBC; workers let wishes be known; Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks. (Bottom) NWU President Larry Goldbetter with Assemblywoman Michelle Titus in Albany, NY, during a budget hearing.


 

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03/19/2015 - 8:18pm

Finding Security in Unsafe Passages: United Nations Event about

Protecting Journalists’ Safety and Rights

Tickets: Free admission, RSVP required by Sunday, May 3.  Reserve your place here.

Gain an insider’s view of international efforts to promote freedom of the press and to end impunity for crimes against journalists. To mark World Press Freedom Day, this seminar will delve into the wide range of risks journalists face every day. Experts will offer safety tips, share advice for protecting sources and copyrights in all types of media, and address cybersecurity risks.

Presented by the International Federation of Journalists, the Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations, the National Writers Union, and the Metro New York Labor Communications Council.

   

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02/25/2015 - 10:00pm

By: Elizabeth A Richter

“The bottom line is that the subpoena…was a form of harassment, a brazen attempt to follow up a gag on mainstream media with threats against a citizen journalist.”

I am a working writer for the mysterious Catharine Sloper, an outspoken critic of the family court system and the proprietor of the blog Divorce in Connecticut (DiC). 

On January 2, 2015, I was on my way to New Haven, when I received a phone call that a Marshall wanted to serve me with a subpoena.  The subpoena was for a very public child custody case, Foy v. Foy. Connecticut Judge Stephen Frazzini had issued an order prohibiting the "Connecticut Law Tribune" from writing about the case and the "Tribune" responded by calling the order a first amendment violation and was supported by the Connecticut ACLU.

The DiC website had published a single article on the Foy divorce back in November 2014. That article is what stirred up all the controversy leading to my subpoena, even though my name is not on the article as the author.

In addition, the majority of the information in this article was available publically at the time it was written with content that was known to be part of the public domain. It made no sense to hold me or the website responsible for publishing news that was readily available elsewhere and that had already appeared on other websites. Judge Frazzini acknowledged this when he rescinded the restraining order against the "Connecticut Law Tribune" back on December 3, 2014.  The bottom line is that the subpoena I received was a form of harassment, a brazen attempt to follow up a gag on mainstream media with threats against a citizen journalist.

The day before the court hearing, my attorney told me that I would have to disclose my news sources or face jail.  She also said that they intended to force me to admit that I am Catharine Sloper and responsible for the content on the website.  I told her that readers and potential contributors to the blog rely on its anonymity, and that it would be unethical for me to reveal a source.  My attorney was able to engage the services of the attorney who was also representing the CT Law Tribune in their case.  Before I left her office, she advised me to bring my toothbrush to court the following day as I could end up in jail. 

I appeared in court with my toothbrush, toothpaste and other essentials. I also brought my National Writers Union membership card and press pass, identifying me as a member of the media. I passed them to my attorney, who immediately pulled out the Connecticut Statute on the media, which he had played a part in writing, and showed me how the press pass put me in a much stronger position.

My attorney submitted a motion to the court defending my rights, and gave the court the opportunity to scrutinize my NWU credentials.  At 2:00 p.m., the court said my presence was no longer required and I was free to go. The documentation I had from the NWU played a major role in keeping me out of jail.

What is really funny (or maybe not), is that my membership had actually expired.  You can be sure I’ve renewed it.

 


 

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Union News

07/27/2011 - 6:24pm

By Wendy Werris
Jul 27, 2011

In a move as significant for its breadth as its implications for the future of book coverage, the Los Angeles Times book review laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists on July 21.

Susan Salter Reynolds was with the Times for 23 years as both a staffer and freelancer and wrote the “Discoveries” column that appeared each week in the Sunday book review. She was told that her column was cancelled and will not be replaced by another writer. “I don’t know where these layoffs fit into the long-storied failure at the Times,” she said yesterday, “but these are not smart business decisions. This is shabby treatment.”

Jon Thurber, editor of the book review, explained to Reynolds last Thursday that all books-related stories will now be done in-house, and that the decision to cease eliminate non-staffers was based on his freelance budget being cut. Richard Raynard’s popular “Paperback Writers” has also been eliminated. As children’s books editor at the Times for the last several years Sonja Bolle, who most recently wrote the monthly “WordPlay” column, said, “This indicates an even deeper contraction of the business, a continuation of a process at the Times that doesn’t stop here.” Bolle is most concerned about the shrinking coverage of children’s books. “This is a great loss for readers,” she said of the elimination of her column.

Four staffers remain in the book review section: David Ulin, Carolyn Kellogg, Nick Owchar, and Thurber. In December 2009 the Times laid off 40 features writers, including Reynolds and Bolle, but brought many of them back to work part-time. “We were paid about one-third of what we had been making, and lost our health insurance,” Reynolds says. "Then two months ago we were shifted to freelance status, which meant none of us were allowed to enter the Times building.” Thurber did make an exception for Reynolds so she could come to the office to pick up the multiple review copies she received daily in order to produce her column.

When contacted, Thurber deferred to Nancy Sullivan, the Times’s v-p of communications. “This was a cost-saving move,” she said, “strictly related to our budget.” Sullivan would not provide details on the number of freelancers who were eliminated last week. “Staff writers from outside the book department will take over for those who left. We have not changed our commitment to book coverage or the amount of space the Times will devote to it.”

07/22/2011 - 4:39pm

There was a "status conference" July 19th in New York in the ongoing Federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for scanning millions of books without the permission of the copyright holders.

The parties to the lawsuit asked for more time to try to negotiate a new settlement proposal. Judge Chin scheduled another hearing for September 15th, but suggested that if the parties had not reached at least an agreement in principle by then, he would set a schedule for the case to move forward toward discovery, briefing, argument, and decision of the legal issues without an agreed-upon settlement.

Law Prof. James Grimmelmann, who spoke at the NWU's forum on the case last year, has more about the hearing in his blog:
http://laboratorium.net/archive/2011/07/19/gbs_status_conference_opt-in_settlement_in_the_wor

Earlier this year, Judge Chin agreed with the NWU and numerous other writers' organizations from around the world that the previous settlement proposal was not "fair and adequate".  But Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild (whose membership is limited to authors of books published by major publishers with substantial advances, unlike the NWU which is open to all writers) have continued to exclude the NWU and all other interested parties from their ongoing negotiations.

The NWU is continuing to monitor the case, and will advise our members on future developments.  Backgorund information incluidng the NWU's submissions to the court is available from the NWU Book Division at: http://www.nwubook.org

07/15/2011 - 5:07pm

BBC journalists in one-day strike

BBC Television Centre The BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners
for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14152795?print=true#story_continues_1>

Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over
compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of
industrial action last month because a number of World Service
journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.

The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to
radio and TV programmes.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.

Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning
as a result of the strike.


BBC journalists in one-day strike
BBC          Television CentreThe BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over compulsory redundancies.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of industrial action last month because a number of World Service journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.
The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to radio and TV programmes.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.
Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning as a result of the strike.

07/14/2011 - 4:09pm

Forty years after it was first published, the book Occupied America: The History of Chicanos has been banned, and its author, Rudolfo Acuña, widely published professor and prominent immigrant-rights activist thinks he knows why.

To Acuña, a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, it boils down to two things: numbers and control. He says that banning his book and shutting down an ethnic studies program that has been widely successful in Arizona are part of an effort to undermine social inclusion and financial uplift for Chicanos, or people of Mexican descent. Not only has his work come under fire, but Acuña has received numerous death threats from unidentifiable individuals who are at odds with his commitment to improving the system of education and living conditions for Chicanos. 

This work is very much tied to the immigration issue, which Acuña, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants, says, "puts panic in people [and makes them think] 'We're losing our country.'"

This might be why so many politicians have rallied against his groundbreaking work in Chicano Studies - an academic program he helped develop in the late 1960s at California State University, Northridge. While this initiative remains the longest running and largest such program, many others have since been established at universities across the country, and even some middle and high schools. 

Not everyone is so keen on seeing Chicano studies expand. Among the program's most vocal critics is Arizona's attorney general, Tom Horne, who has called it a sort of "ethnic chauvinism." He has also claimed that the program is "an officially recognized, resentment-based program," even though the National Education Association has shown that such curriculum instead increases interracial understanding and significantly enhances students' interest in academic pursuits. 

07/14/2011 - 4:01pm

On June 21, 2011, just before heading on to the Delegate Assembly in Detroit, 1st V.P. Ann Hoffman and I met at the Executive Office Building in Washington, next door to the White House, with President Obama's lead advisor on intellectual property enforcement and policy issues.

This meeting was a follow-up to comments on writers' difficulties enforcing our rights that we submitted in 2010, shortly after the creation of the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator: http://www.nwubook.org/NWU-ip-enforcement.pdf

The office of the IPEC doesn't carry out enforcement actions itself, but exists to coordinate the Administration's executive actions -- including copyright and other IP-related law enforcement -- and legislative recommendations such as those on future copyright "reforms": http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/intellectualproperty/

We received no response to our initial written submission, and writers' interests (especially vis-a-vis publishers and distributors) were not reflected in IPEC reports and strategic recommendations.

Accordingly, we requested a face-to-face meeting with the IPEC office. Somewhat to our surprise, we found the door wide open. (Not literally, of course -- admission to the building required not only an appointment and "screening" at the entrance to the White House compound but detailed submissions of personal information, in advance, to the Secret Service.)

We met for the better part of an hour with the head of the office, the "IP Enforcement Czar" herself, Ms. Victoria Espinel, along with four of her staff advisors she had invited to provide expertise on specific aspects of IP enforcement ranging from copyrights to international law. All had read our comments in preparation for the meeting, although they still seemed to be surprised when we began our presentation by identifying publishers and distributors as the most significant infringers of writers' copyrights.

06/03/2011 - 5:49pm

New York City June 1 - At a brief status conference this afternoon, Google, the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers asked
Judge Denny Chin for additional time to explore settlement possibilities. Judge Chin scheduled the next status conference for July 19.

There's more on the google Books hearing from Publishers Weekly:
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/47490-no-progress-on-google-book-settlement-talks-tone-changing-.html

05/26/2011 - 11:08am

The Executive Committee of the Union of Cyprus Journalists is greatly concerned and expresses its abhorrence over incidents of violence against Turkish Cypriot journalists by the so-called “police” in the occupied part of Cyprus.

Following a second bomb attack against the car and the life of a Turkish Cypriot colleague and the shooting attack against the offices of a newspaper, an assault against journalists by “policemen” of the occupation regime comes to clearly confirm that freedom of the press is under undisguised persecution in the occupied part of Cyprus.

The latest incidents of violence against journalists came about when Turkish Cypriots colleagues, covering a protest march by employees of the so-called “Turkish Cypriot Airlines” made redundant by its closure, were beaten and had their cameras damaged by “policemen” trying to prevent them from carrying out their work.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists strongly deplores raw violence and stresses that it will report on the above mentioned actions against freedom of the press to all European and world journalists organizations.



The Executive Committee
of the Union of Cyprus Journalists

05/16/2011 - 5:19pm

When:  Sunday, May 29, 2011

What:  The first  "Net Needs News Day." 

Who:  Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Has invited members to simultaneously publish a cartoon about how the web is mostly useless without original reporting generated by newspapers.  (Note: Cartoonists are participating on their own.)  Society of Professional Journalists President  Hagit Limor will blog on this topic at www.spj.org.

Why:  Increase public's awareness and appreciation of journalism and its vital role to information on the worldwide web (95% of all original content online.)   

2nd reason: SPJ recently favorited a motion graphics video on the same topic for its new channel for journalists. ("The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News" is also airing at Stanford University graduate classes) : http://www.youtube.com/user/spjournalists#p/a/f/0/PRdUTWn-Zvo     

Where:  As many newspapers as possible.

Contact:  Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR, geltner@netneedsnews.net.  

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05/06/2011 - 12:09pm

Situation of NWU member highlights benefit of Union Plus disaster help program

The case of At-large co-chair James Sandefur, whose family suffered losses in the recent tornadoes, highlights the benefits available to NWU members through Union Plus, a wide-ranging program for members of the UAW and AFL-CIO.

One program offers a $500 grant to any member suffering a documented financial loss as the result of a FEMA-certified natural disaster or emergency.  That program is available only to members who have participated for 12 months or more in the Union Plus credit card, mortgage or insurance program.

For more information on the disaster relief program, go to http://www.unionplus.org/money-credit/natural-disaster-relief-fund.

Remember too that Union Plus has a free prescription drug discount card for NWU members and their family members.  Go to unionplus.org and log in as a member of the UAW, then go to health benefits and download your cards.