2nd VP Report to the 2018 Delegate Assembly

Living on the other side of the country from NWU headquarters, I have sometimes felt out of the loop with regard to NYC cultural activities, events, in-house meetings and opportunities. So as the editor of newsletter and website, I enjoy the opportunity to reach out to members around the country and get them to contribute ideas and stories. Sometimes I hear about an experience they’ve had, an award they’ve won, or a story they’ve told that should documented, and reach out to them. In working with those who submit work, I respect their voice, while also bringing the editor’s eye and inquiries to make their stories stronger. I also seek their sign off on the edit, so that they know what’s going to be published, and it’s less likely I’ve added something that makes their story less accurate.

With the website, we aim to keep adding new content weekly, and I’m thankful to those who serve the eyes and ears of our union by covering events in their part of the country. Northern California and Boston often contribute stories that show the rich sense of a writer community in those regions. In the DC area, Bertel King has been a one-man band posting stories about jobs, contests and opportunities. Edward Hasbrouck reports often on the current (and evolving) state of international copyright law. And at various times, chapters and individuals check in to give us a website that is dynamic. I’m appreciative to all who contribute and make our communications among members that much more robust.

One frustration I have long had about our website is that, though it’s changing all the time, visitors to our homepage see the same thing every time they visit—unless they scroll down. I have discussed adding a calendar and our twitter feed to the homepage, so that people going on to our website see what’s new first. I think we’ve been circling this idea, but alas have not implemented it.

Our Facebook page has more than 2600 followers. We post frequently to attract more members. As you might expect, we get the most reactions and shares with news items that cause outrage, such as the post “Why Union Representation Counts, about how the decline in unions coincided with the rise in wealth of the top 10 percent,” where 445 people were reached, and 14 people shared the item on their pages. “Trumps inaccurate claims about highways, immigration” reached 302 people. “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. ~ Jim Acosta,” where 470 were reached, and 6 people shared it.

The newsletter comes out bimonthly. Roughly 1 in 3 people open it, and some of those people go back to read other stories. Here are some details about newsletters this year: August. It goes to 1036 people. There were 346 unique opens, and 509 total opens. June. It goes to 1023 people. There are 334 unique opens, and 632 total opens. April. It goes to 1105 people. There are 305 unique opens, and 520 total opens. February. It goes to 1052. There are 351 unique opens, and 719 total opens.

We also give members access to stories that appear on the newsletter by posting them on social media sometimes before, and sometimes after our newsletter is released.

Going forward, I intend to post more about our industry and factors that impact our industry. I will also be looking at how to increase readership of our newsletter, perhaps by resending out parts of it with an ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) tag.

–I serve as a steering committee member So Cal chapter, as we reactivate the formerly dormant chapter planning meetings and events, participating in local protests, such as Ebony, in our fight for the magazine’s unpaid content providers and leading craft sessions to help members—and potential members–improve their work.

–I attend planning meetings, and more recently served as a delegate to the most 2018 UAW Constitution Convention.

–In terms of background, I joined NWU about five years ago, when I was an unpaid freelancer for Heart & Soul, and helped bring on more than a dozen unpaid writers, editors and designers who had been stiffed by the publication. It grew into a large, multi-year group grievance that recovered more a hundred thousand dollars.