Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tribune Taps Former FCC Official Edward Lazarus as General Counsel

Jan 29, 2013 Los Angeles Times 

Edward Lazarus
Edward Lazarus
Lazarus, 53, is the first key hire for Tribune's new chief executive Peter Liguori, who took office this month. Tribune, parent company of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and KTLA-TV Channel 5 and WPIX Channel 11, emerged from protracted bankruptcy proceedings Dec. 31 with new ownership and plans to redefine the Chicago-based company's leadership and direction.

"This is a company with tremendous opportunities, iconic brands and wonderful businesses," Lazarus said in an interview. "And I'm excited to work with a CEO whom I've known for 30 years."

Lazarus and Liguori, a former Fox and Discovery Communications executive, attended Yale University together in the early 1980s. They maintained their friendship over the years, including when Lazarus was a partner at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Los Angeles. At the time, Liguori was a top programmer for News Corp.'s FX and later Fox networks.

Lazarus, who worked as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, joined the FCC four years ago as chief of staff for the agency's chairman Julius Genachowski. Lazarus served for three years, helping navigate difficult issues including clashes over Internet access rules and the review of the Comcast merger with NBCUniversal.

He said he stepped down from the FCC because "it was time to let someone else take the reins." He then served as a fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Lazarus' hiring signals that Liguori and Tribune's new owners, including Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Co., are interested in a top lawyer who is familiar with the inner workings of the FCC. The company has been lobbying the FCC to repeal cross-ownership rules that prevent media companies from owning TV stations and newspapers in the same market.

Tribune currently has an FCC waiver to allow dual ownership in Los Angeles and Chicago. But those waivers would not automatically extend to new owners, should Tribune sell its newspapers in those markets.

Lazarus, who started Tuesday, said it was too early for him to say whether the company planned to sell its newspapers. He comes to the job familiar with the pages of the company's properties, including the L.A. Times. Lazarus has written opinion pieces and book reviews for the Times. He also has written two books: "Black Hills/White Justice: The Sioux Nation Versus the United States, 1775 to the Present" and "Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court."

"Eddie has an incredibly sharp mind, broad legal experience, and he played an important role at the FCC," Liguori said in a statement. "He is the perfect fit as our general counsel and will be a tremendous asset to the company and its media businesses."

Lazarus succeeds David Eldersveld, who joined Tribune nearly eight years ago and has served as general counsel since 2010. Eldersveld will remain with the company as a special advisor.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

President's Inaugural Address Resonates With Trade Unionists

President Obama
President Obama
22JAN13: President Obama’s inaugural address was particularly relevant for Guild members and local representatives continuing to negotiate for fair contracts at WPIX, Scholastic, Consumer’s Union, the Jersey Journal, and beginning preparations for upcoming contract negotiations at Standard & Poor’s.
Yesterday our President reaffirmed the promise of our democracy. He recalled that;  

“what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

President Obama asserted that;

Dr. King marches in Memphis
Dr. King marches in Memphis
“history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.”

With those sentiments in mind, we must reaffirm our commitment to the struggle, not only for a fair share of the fruits of our labor, remembering President Obama’s words; “…a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play,” but for the safety, dignity, and prosperity of all working people everywhere.

President Obama said; “we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

Collective Action, people coming together to work for a common purpose, has always been a core value of the American labor movement.

As it was when Dr. King marched in Memphis in support of public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, striking for higher wages and better treatment; as it was when Occupy Wall Street began the struggle for corporate accountability; so it is today, as The Guild continues to fight for safe working conditions, fair wages and benefits, and the right to continue to represent those who know the value of collective action.

I never thought I’d live to see an African American President, nor hear any President speaking out on behalf of equal rights for all so eloquently; 

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

Our hard earned rights and liberties may be self evident, but they are not self perpetuating. They require our continued, collective efforts to protect and grow our share of the American Dream.

So, as our President said so well at the dawn of his second term yesterday;
“With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.”

In Solidarity,

Bob Daraio
Local Representative
The Newspaper Guild of New York
CWA Local 31003 

TNG-CWA Local 31003 banner

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ex-Discovery Exec Peter Liguori Named New Tribune CEO

By Tim Molloy

Peter Liguori,  New Tribune CEO, Photo by Getty Images
Peter Liguori,  New Tribune CEO
In its first board of directors meeting since emerging from a bankruptcy,  Tribune Co. also named investor Bruce Karsh as its chairman. The new Tribune board includes Ross Levinsohn, the former interim CEO of Yahoo who this week was named CEO of Prometheus, the parent company of the Hollywood Reporter.

 Eddy Hartenstein, who had served as CEO of Tribune for the last 18 months, will stay with the company as publisher/CEO of the Los Angeles Times Media Group. He will remain on the company's board and serve as a special adviser to Ligouri. 

Liguori's appointment had been long expected. Reuters reported in September that he was being eyed as the company's new CEO.

"Tribune is far stronger than it was when we began the Chapter 11 process four years ago and, given the budget planning we’ve done, the company is well-positioned for success in 2013," Eddy Hartenstein wrote in a note to employees.

Tribune Logo
Liguori gave interviews to the two largest Tribune papers, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. In his Times interview, he was asked if the papers could be sold. 

"There are people interested in the newspapers," he said. "It is my fiduciary responsibility to hear them out and see if in fact their interest is real and their commitment is concomitant with the value of these newspapers. But that runs parallel to my working with you guys on running the business on a day-to-day basis to maximize the value."

Liguori became an operating executive at Carlyle, a private equity firm, in July. At the company, he provided guidance to the telecommunications and media team. He was also up for the post of entertainment and digital media president at Microsoft. That job went in September to former CBS executive Nancy Tellem. 

Peter Liguori,  New Tribune CEO
Peter Liguori,  New Tribune CEO
Liguori was previously chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, serving as the cable network’s No. 2 executive from 2009 to the end of 2011. He served as interim CEO of OWN beginning in May 2011, after the the dismissal Christina Norman. Within two months, Oprah Winfrey named herself CEO of OWN. In November, Liguori said he was leaving Discovery, and the company said no replacement would be named.

Prior to joining Discovery, he spent 13 years with Fox Entertainment, serving as president and then chairman of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company from 2005 to 2009.

He was previously president and CEO of News Corp.'s FX Networks.


New Tribune CEO Peter Liguori sees opportunity to grow

Tribune logo
In its first board of directors meeting since emerging from a protracted bankruptcy, Tribune Co. named investor Bruce Karsh as chairman and veteran entertainment executive Peter Liguori as chief executive.

Eddy Hartenstein, who served as chief executive for almost two years, remained on the board and will continue as publisher and chief executive of the Los Angeles Times, the largest of eight daily Tribune newspapers. He also will act as special advisor to Liguori.

Oaktree Capital logoKarsh is president of Oaktree Capital Management, the private equity firm that now owns 23%, the biggest single stake, in Tribune. Liguori is a former chief operating officer of cable programmer Discovery Communications.

“Peter is the ideal choice,” Karsh said. “He has the talent and experience to lead the company forward, and has a track record of success. The board has every confidence in him.”

The new board, which met Thursday in Oaktree's Los Angeles office, hopes to transform a conventional media company of primarily newspapers and television stations into one that will prosper in the digital age. Tribune also owns 23 television stations, including KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles and national cable network WGN America. It also has a stake in the Food Network.

Liguori said Thursday in a letter to the staff that Tribune has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.” The company, he said, is an example of “what is best in media, television and journalism in America.”
In an interview, Liguori did not rule out the possibility that the new owners might sell the newspapers and other assets and focus Tribune's future on television. But, he said, he is not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.”

Tribune came out of its four-year bankruptcy at the end of December with $1.1billion in debt and a $300-million line of credit.

“The company has a very solid balance sheet and cash on hand and an opportunity to grow,” Liguori said.

Though Tribune faces challenges, he said, it has established brands across multiple platforms that are key to a bright future. Here are excerpts of the interview:

What attracted you to the job?

This is a company of incredible media assets and big iconic brand names, many of them in major markets all across the country. I think there is a lot of talent in the rank and file. I think the company has a very solid balance sheet and cash on hand and an opportunity to grow. I think there are great opportunities with the assets that we have and I think there are a lot of challenges. Innovation and great content will grow the business.

What are your priorities?

The only way you are going to be successful is in partnership with your viewer or your reader, period. What are the needs of the communities and our constituents? What are the needs of our advertisers and our affiliates? I almost look at this company as a 165-year-old start-up. We have the luxury of great brand familiarity and great brand history, and I think it allows us to move and be nimble, the total opposite of what a lot of entrenched institutions are.

How will your programming and marketing experience at Fox and Discovery help Tribune, a company whose biggest assets are TV stations and newspapers?

It is all about making sure you are doing the best job of servicing that end user. And if you are doing it better than everyone else and you're best in class in terms of how you are operating your businesses, you're going to grow the bottom line.

There has been an assumption that there is synergy in owning newspapers and TV stations in the same city. What are your thoughts on that?

I'd like to be allergic to the buzzword “synergy.” I'd rather look at it as an opportunity. When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city. I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us? Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.

What are your plans for WGN America, Tribune's national cable channel?

I do think we should be looking at WGN America and investing in it and creating original programming which services the audience. If we do a good job at that, we're going to attract advertisers and be of greater value.

How can Tribune's papers best address the challenges facing the newspaper business?

There isn't an overnight solution. First and foremost, have best-in-class journalism. You have to take that content, have it be applicable across all media platforms — mobile, digital and good old-fashioned print. You've got to get paid for it. And now more than ever, you'd better be as efficient as possible. Our job is to grow the bottom line, but if we're increasing our profitability and our margin, it also opens up to investing in the businesses and being more innovative.

Newspapers continue to lose ad revenue from print, but advertising on the Web isn't picking up the slack. Can that be fixed?

It's something that the industry in general is going to have to focus on and do a better job. I think there is going to be a lot of trial and error.

Are there plans to sell the newspapers?

There are people interested in the newspapers. It is my fiduciary responsibility to hear them out and see if in fact their interest is real and their commitment is concomitant with the value of these newspapers. But that runs parallel to my working with you guys on running the business on a day-to-day basis to maximize the value.

Are there other assets Tribune might look to sell?

I'm not going into this job with a fire-sale sign. I come into the job looking to grow the company. If in fact you maximize the value of each and every one of the assets, I do think they become more attractive. Will they have suitors? Yes, they may in fact have suitors. Do I have to listen to them? Absolutely. Do I want to listen to them? Absolutely. It's my responsibility to shareholders to do so. Everything has its own inherent value.

Will you look to take Tribune public eventually?

It's an option. Taking a company public is actually a luxury and byproduct of running a company well.

Some newspaper owners have been selling their valuable downtown locations to take advantage of the uptick in the real estate market. Is there any plan to sell the properties in Los Angeles, Orange County or downtown Chicago?

There is no doubt that we have great real estate — fantastic properties, great areas. We're starting to go out and lease some of the properties in Chicago and Los Angeles at really great rates. There is a very fertile real estate opportunity for Tribune.

Times staff writers Meg James and Walter Hamilton contributed to this report.
 Broadcast Union News note: Tribune owns 23 local television stations, eight daily newspapers and Internet and other media properties. Those holdings include WPIX-N.Y., KTLA-TV Channel 5, the Chicago Tribune, and national cable station WGN-TV. Tribune also holds slightly less than one-third of the Food Network cable channel and about a 25% stake in the CareerBuilder website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States

Hi All,

I have been asked a number of times of late to suggest books for brothers and sisters interested in learning more about the history of the American labor movement. Questions about U.S. immigration policy, NAFTA, etc have also come up with increasing frequency. There are many great books to choose from, here are two of my favorites.

For those interested in a simple, straight forward, objective view of the history of organized labor in these United States of America, I suggest:

"Management's perpetual dream of cheap labor explains the invention of slavery, though few may couch it in those terms. Drawing such connections with impressive even handednessed and investigative and analytic acuity, this readable popular history covers U.S. labor from precolonial times to the late 1960s, with two short chapters on the last few decades."

"Brandishing little-known facts, the authors reshape common views of social history. Remarkably, for instance, hundreds of black indentured servants came to the colonies from Africa the 1600s, and throughout the century, as the "peculiar institution" was legalized, these free men and women were forced into slavery. Less astonishing but still significant, the Wobblies pushed as much for free speech as union organizing, and their newspapers were illustrated by famous avant-garde artists."

"Sometimes the authors simply highlight an obvious fact that has languished in obscurity for instance, that the American Revolution was sparked by the discontent of working people, not the wealthy or landowning, or that many defenders of slavery believed that all labor should be enslaved."

"Murolo (who teaches American history at Sarah Lawrence College) and Chitty (a librarian at Queens College) gracefully handle a broad range of subject matter Chinese railroad labor is considered alongside housework and steel-mill work making it easier to understand the complex historical relationships between work, gender, ethnicity, race, immigration and sex." 

"Accessible to high school students as well as adults, this extraordinarily fine addition to U.S. history and labor literature could become an evergreen book comparable to Howard Zinn's award-winning A People's History of the United States."
- Publishers Weekly

For a look at globalization and immigration check out: 

"Carolina Bank Munoz's rich ethnographic fieldwork in two tortilla factories, one in Mexico and the other in the United States, has produced an extremely well crafted, highly accessible book on the role of state policy, race, gender, and immigration status in the labor process and, more precisely, labor control."

"The author of this must-read book for labor and immigration scholars and activists, provides a well-researched and convincingly argued analysis of how managers employ an 'immigration regime' on one side of the border and a 'gender regime' on the other to discipline labor."

"The importance of this book lies both in the theoretical contributions that it makes to several literatures and the practical insights that it offers to organizers of low-wage and immigrant workers."
-Héctor L. Delgado, University of La Verne, author of New Immigrants, Old Unions: Organizing Undocumented Workers in Los Angeles

"Transnational Tortillas presents a fascinating analysis of the ways in which state policies, immigration status, gender, and race shape labor control at the factory level. Carolina Bank Muñoz's study of the United States is particularly insightful and persuasively shows how immigration status has allowed employers to deploy methods of labor control that pit documented and undocumented workers against each other and that take advantage of undocumented workers' lack of citizenship status and fear of deportation to enact labor control on the shop floor."
-Teri L. Caraway, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, author of Assembling Women

Bob Daraio
Broadcast Union News

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guild-Represented Bargaining Unit at Scholastic, Inc. Now On Facebook

The Newspaper Guild of N.Y. represents the content producers at Scholastic, Inc.

The Newspaper Guild of New York, CWA Local 31003 represents writers, editors, graphic designers, web designers, photographers, and all other content producers in the magazine, photo, and library division at Scholastic.

The corporate mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy, the cornerstone of all learning. With more than 90 years of experience supporting the learning lives of children, today Scholastic remains committed to providing quality, engaging educational content in digital and print formats for the next generation of learners, and the families and educators who guide them. 

Delivering age-appropriate, content-specific news to inspire students. Scholastic's story begins with a four-page magazine in 50 high schools.

Scholastic's story begins with a four-page magazine in 50 high schools. First published on October 22, 1920, The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic grew to become the cornerstone of the company that is now the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology and children's media.

Today, Scholastic Classroom Magazines reach more than 22 million students every year. Each of the 29 titles available to educators targets a specific curriculum subject and supports the latest research and standards. Filled with amazing photography, award-winning editorial, and skill-building activities, magazines not only inspire children, but also help educators 
 teach more effectively.

LABOR DAY - Scholastic Unit Chair Kathy Wilmore and Eric Russ were among several New York Guild members who took part in the annual New York City Labor Day Parade on Sept. 8. Guild members joined other members of the Communications Workers of America aboard a double-decker bus that made its way up Fifth Avenue.

Constantly changing and growing with teachers' needs, Scholastic magazines now also come with robust online supplements to the print magazines, including whiteboard-ready articles, videos, skills sheets, and more. In addition, Teacher's Guides provide step-by-step instructions on effectively incorporating the magazines into the classroom.

Working under the guidance of Scholastic's team of editors, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps®, a team of students ages 10–14, supports the magazines with reports on current events, politics, entertainment, and sports events from their hometowns across the country. Their stories and videos are available at Scholastic News Online and the Kids Press Corps site and often are published in Scholastic News® and Junior Scholastic® magazines.

Guild-Represented Bargaining Unit at Jersey Journal Now On Facebook

Jersey Journal Vice Unit Chair Mike Conte surveys the the Jersey City landscape from high atop the Jersey Journal building. (Photo by John Phillips)

The Newspaper Guild at The Jersey Journal The Newspaper Guild of New York, CWA Local 31006 represents the writers, reporters, and photographers at The Jersey Journal. The collective bargaining agreement between the Guild and the Jersey Journal expires on December 31,2012. Management has offered a 1 year contract with zero (0) percent wage increase after having given Guild-represented employees no wage increase in any of the past 4 years.

Please go to and "Like" our new Facebook page at:

 For more information visit 

The Jersey Journal is a newspaper published from Monday through Saturday, covering news and events throughout Hudson County, New Jersey. The headquarters in Jersey City are at Journal Square which was named after the newspaper. It is a sister paper to The Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey, The Times of Trenton and the Staten Island Advance, all of which are owned by Advance Publications, which bought the paper in 1945.

We will be utilizing this social media page for our mobilization efforts in this important contract campaign and to facilitate communication between The Guild-represented employees at The Jersey Journal, the media, labor community, and the public at large. Together we can get a fair contract with fair wages, benefits, and working conditions at The Jersey Journal.

In Solidarity,

Bob D


Robert R. Daraio
Local Representative
The Newspaper Guild of New York
1501 Broadway, Suite 708,  NYC 10036
914-774-2646 Cell 212-575-1507 Office
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