Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scab Alert At WPIX

Members of the IBEW 1212 represented bargaining unit at WPIX were shocked to discover that
Tribune has given cameras to college students and is allowing these non-union, unpaid, undergraduates to shoot and edit news footage for air. An unfair labor practice should be filed with the National Labor Relations Board shortly. AFTRA and the Newspaper Guild have been notified and should file grievances as well.
WPIX had already eliminated 12 engineer positions, through cutting 60 freelance shifts per week, and this week eliminated 13 more weekly shifts by sending all program prep and screening work to other Tribune stations. There is also an engineering staff layoff pending.

Rutgers Students Sign on as Reporters for WPIX as Part of Unique Journalism Program
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers students taking Advanced Television Reporting at the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies have the opportunity to cover breaking news and prepare packages for broadcast on WPIX 11, Tribune Broadcasting’s New York CW affiliate, as part of a unique student journalism program that trains future reporters and news producers.

The 16 students in the class make up the “XIP News” team. They will report on breaking news, events, feature stories, community news, college or high school sports, local reaction to major events, stories exclusive to Rutgers University, or an assigned topic. Their reports may be aired on any of PIX’s news programs or on the PIX website (http://www.wpix.com/news).

“The partnership between the Rutgers Department of Journalism and Media Studies and PIX News is a mutually beneficial relationship that will enable our students to participate with a professional television news organization and demonstrate their talents to the New York metropolitan area,” said Steve Miller, coordinator of undergraduate studies in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies and the instructor of Advanced Television Reporting.

“PIX is excited to expand our XIP News program into New Jersey, and we are pleased to help Rutgers University’s broadcast students gain hands-on experience in the industry,” said Karen Scott, WPIX News Director.

WPIX provided the students with Flip Video Ultra digital camcorders, small devices with a hideaway USB connector and built-in software that makes uploading videos to the web quick and simple. The camcorders can take up to 60 minutes of video footage. Erica Mapa, a senior majoring in journalism and media studies, already used her camera to take footage of a traffic jam on Route 18 in New Brunswick.

“It was so easy to use because all I had to do was turn it on and it caught everything,” Mapa said. The traffic jam turned out to be routine, but Mapa’s instincts are exactly what journalists at PIX were looking for in student participants.

XIP News teams have formed at other universities in the metropolitan tri-state area. Students post their video footage to a special website for their peers at other schools to view. “It motivates us to look for breaking news, so it’s a healthy form of competition,” Mapa said.

Students will receive an audio or visual attribution at the time the footage is published and all participating students will have the opportunity to visit PIX’s news studio at the end of the semester. They also will be able to apply for internships with PIX.

PIX produces 30 hours of local news each week including PIX Morning News, PIX News at Ten and 11 News Close-Up.
If you'd like to let the Rutgers Department of Journalism and Media Studies know how you feel about this, contact: Ashanti M. Alvarez 732-932-7500, ext. 8012

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