St. Louis Public Radio unionizing

Issue 59: From open letter to collective action.

It’s Friday, January 13th.

Staff at St. Louis Public Radio have joined together to form the state’s first public radio station union.

The St. Louis Public Radio Guild, represented by the Communications Workers of America, are working to ensure the station functions as “a place where all staff members feel valued and can see real paths to career longevity” through greater transparency, advancement opportunities, and improvements related to diversity and equity identified by employees of color more than two years ago.

In August 2020, reporters and producers of color called out station leadership’s failure to “take responsibility for their role in cultivating a culture that perpetuates racism,” even after the station received $450,000 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help diversify the newsroom three years prior. General manager Tim Eby was removed from his position the following month.

Once signatures are collected for the “Intent to Unionize” form, the guild asks that STLPR CEO Tina Pamintuan and the University of Missouri–St. Louis voluntarily recognize the union. If they decline, the decision will move to a vote among station employees. In a 2021 opinion for Nieman Reports, Pamintuan referenced the STLPR employees’ open letters and urged leaders in public radio to fight for a “more inclusive and brighter future.” 

Brian Munoz, STLPR staff photographer and organizing committee member, told The Objective that “listeners and supporters can best back the STLPR Guild’s efforts by continuing to support St. Louis Public Radio in whatever way is best for them.” 

— Holly Rosewood


A Bit More Media

The labor behind pitching. When commissioning a story, editors often ask freelancers to provide basic information about the pitch. However, as Hannah Docter-Loeb explains, requiring freelancers to report a story before pitching it can place an undue burden on freelancers, many of which don’t have the same time or resources as full time staffers, and further limit the breadth of stories told.

Freelance writing by young journalists is labor. In order to be truly equitable, the journalism industry leaders need to hire — and compensate — more young journalists, writes Aina Marzia. As a 16-year-old independent journalist, she and other young writers have been dismissed or undervalued by editors because of their ages. 

Objectivity ‘wars.’ In September, the Columbia Journalism Review hosted a panel discussion on “The Objectivity Wars.” Subramaniam Vincent, director of Journalism and Media Ethics at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, broke down the event’s highlights and shortfalls for the Objective.

2023 prediction: Journalism prioritizes survival. Instead of publishing the same elite individuals and sensational events, Anita Varma predicts news outlets will prioritize people’s basic needs as an act of solidarity in 2023. Varma, leader of the Solidarity Journalism Initiative and an Objective advisory board member, also calls for coverage that includes journalists as “among those in need.”

The Collective is winding down. Two years after its founding, Poynter is shutting down The Collective, a space that published work by journalists of color and elevating issues of equity in journalism. Poynter says it is committed to sharing work by BIPOC journalists, and pitches should be submitted to [email protected].

The future of Pride Media. The new owners of Pride Media, which publishes Out Magazine and The Advocate, say they are working on growing the brands and acquiring additional titles. Mediaite’s Juwan Holmes reports on notable changes and existing controversies, “from issues with paying employees and contractors to regular tabloid coverage of actions by employees or owners themselves.”


Stay Up To Date

4 days until … Prioritizing mental health in the newsroom: How to create a culture of well-being. This webinar is hosted by The Journalist’s Resource at the Harvard Kennedy School.

6 days until … Telling the Full Story of HBCUs. The Inaugural Class of Open Campus’ HBCU Student Journalism Network Fellows will break down misconceptions about their schools during this event.

12 days until … Harnessing Your Expertise: How the Addiction Workforce Can Work With the Media to Improve Reporting on Addiction. Workshop attendees will learn how to identify stigma in the media and improve reporting, generally.

What else should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to [email protected].


A Few More Resources

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | Opportunities of the Week ($)   

How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian Pacific America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook |  SPJ Race & Gender Hotline | AMEJA Media Resource Guide | The Press in Prison

Thanks for reading our newsletter. If you’re new, you can subscribe here

If you like what you read, we could use your support. Your contribution will go directly to our writers, editors, and any fees required for us to operate. 

We’ll have more for you soon. 

This issue is by Holly Rosewood with editing by Curtis Yee.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.