On December 16, SBNation put up a post, topped by a stock photo of some young female San Jose Sharks fans, to tell the world they were terminating the contracts of a large number of writers for sites based in California. SBNation, isn’t just hockey or even just the big four professional sports, so that announcements affected 25 different sites. They reported in this post that over 200 people blogged on those sites in 2019.
SBNation termed this move “bittersweet” and most of us are still looking for the sweet and can’t find it.
The root of this decision is a new law (signed in to law on September 18) in the state of California that makes it carder for companies to classify workers as contractors instead of employees. The popular description of the law is an move against “gig economy” employers who contract out work almost exclusively. This law has actually grown out of a court decision, and has been in the works for some time.
The law affects journalism, and journalism-adjacent businesses in a particular way:
As CJR reported in March, some publishers responded to the Dynamex ruling by cutting ties with freelancers based in California. The passage of Assembly Bill 5 offers some relief: freelance writers, editors, photographers and editorial cartoonists were given a partial carve-out, allowing publishers to hire them for up to 35 separate “content submissions” in a given year. (The law exempts more than 20 professions, including doctor, lawyer, manicurist, travel agent and commercial fisherman. Graphic designers have a full exemption, which means California judges could find themselves ruling on how much Photoshop work it takes to distinguish photography from graphic design.)
And for many types of media today, that means they have to overhaul how they get their stories, and who they hire, or in a lot of cases, just don’t hire.
Nathan Cambridge, a freelance sportswriter in Los Angeles, covers football games and other high school and community college sporting events for local newspapers
“In an ideal world, the company would recognize the value of my content and think, ‘Rather than not being able to use this person anymore, I’ll give them a job,’ but that’s not the world we’re in with newspapers,” Cambridge says. “What’s going to happen is, I’m going to hit 35 and they’re going to stop giving me assignments.”
And this is where the reality of media itself smashes into the intent of California’s lawmakers to protect the rights of workers. Something all sides in this conversation should realize is that there isn’t a big pot of gold greedily being horded by publishers of most forms of media. SBNation, for example, has suggested they are going to hire 15 paid employees to run the 25 sites in California.
For us here at PPP, we don’t expect anything to change, and we have no contributors who live in California, so no one is being fired out from under us. But the hockey sites as a group are connected, and we share back and forth, standing on an even playing field as writers and site managers who aren’t journalists, who aren’t working at a job where an editor hands us assignments, but as bloggers who, frankly, run off at the mouth for the most part.
We’re here to talk, to argue, to opinionate, and we’re here — here on SBNation — because when the sites were originally founded and PPP joined up, it was a way to link writers like us (fans who blog, bloggers who are fans) to an audience. SBNation pays for the infrastructure that all of us as individuals would have to re-invent hundreds of times over to go out and just blog as the OK Boomer advice has been from professional journalists in the past.
The media landscape has changed a lot, just in the time PPP has existed. And when people do try to go out on their own and “just blog” following that advice, they quickly find out they’ve got two full time jobs that don’t pay them anything: one writing and one shilling their brand on social media. Oh, and then there’s the cost and technical skill of putting a site on the air.
So, it’s fair to say that SBNation provides a service to the fans who want to blog, and then they divvy up the ad revenue as they see fit. They’ve seen fit to dole it out in small portions to non-professional writers and site managers, and now for one set of sites, that’s going to change:
For some of [the California site contractors], that will mean full or part-time employment at SB Nation, but for others it will mean offering a platform: They’ve built a following among our communities and after their contracts end, they’ll have the option (but no obligation) to continue blogging on those communities whenever (and only when) they like. They will be the first of our new Community Insiders – with a special lane to write on the site and a special place on the masthead. Community Insiders’ participation in events, blogging and any other community activities will always be 100 percent voluntary with no obligations to SB Nation at all. But to the extent these incredibly talented people want to remain involved in the communities that they helped build, create and foster, they will be – with special access to the features of the best sports conversation platform on the web.
Our common playing field is getting tipped. And in whose favour is a very open question. There is nothing sweet here for anyone, not Vox who owns SBNation, not us looking in on this from another country where our rules about contracting vs employment are different, and not the 200 or so people who are now competing for a very, very few jobs or who can blog for no compensation at all.
Many of the hockey sites have decided to take today to go dark to protest this situation:
We are very disturbed and concerned by two separate, yet related, issues that arose as a result of this decision. First, the decision to cut loose the entire writing staffs of 25 SB Nation team sites was a complete surprise to everyone impacted. It dropped out of the clear blue sky with no warning and minimal contact from SB Nation management prior to being made public. The fact that it happened a week and a half prior to Christmas makes it even more difficult to accept.
The California law that prompted this decision was enacted on September 18, yet the affected writers had no knowledge that their contracts with Vox Media were at risk until they were told that the contracts were being terminated, nearly three months later.
SBN management has stated that part- and full-time positions, which are now posted, will be used to replace the current contractor positions that will no longer be available as a result of the new California law. While current contractors have been invited to apply for these newly-created positions, the reality is that many of the writers affected by this decision have little to no interest in traditional employment with the requisite expectations on time and commitments that employment entails. Many of us have existing jobs and careers that we work our SBN commitments around. While it isn’t by any means a perfect scenario, it works for a good number of our writers, and it’s heartbreaking that so many good writers are being sacrificed outright as the result of an ill-conceived law and ill-conceived decisions resulting from that law.
Read more here.
SBNation has chosen to carry some of their California contractors through next year in a transition phase. I personally do not see any way out of this mess that doesn’t involve California relaxing it’s rules or exempting some or all forms of journalism from this law the way they have many other professions.
But the decision to remove non-California residents from their site-manger and writer positions, to terminate contracts with little warning, and to wait until the end of 2019 to disclose how they were going to deal with a law passed months before failed the fans who built those 25 sites in a fundamental way.
There might never be a good solution to this conundrum. There can only ever be integrity and respect in dealing with each other as we try to navigate this difficult media landscape.
PPP has chosen to discuss this with you today in a way that we hope is helpful to you in understanding the issues, and we will cover the Leafs game this afternoon with a game day thread for you to meet and talk with us, which is what we’re here for, is what makes these sites unique and is not something a professional content creator can ever replicate.
See you at 2 pm for the game.
Media celebrates Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life, legacy – Lethbridge News Now
“We never expected the film to generate the reaction that it did. Many people were unfamiliar with her pre-judicial career as a lawyer for the ACLU and how she played such an essential role in securing equal rights, particularly for women, which meant all Americans benefited,” she wrote. “The stories of her personal struggle to become an attorney makes her singular contributions to the law that much more poignant. And her enduring marriage to Martin Ginsburg touched and moved audiences of all genders and generations.”
This CNN Films documentary will be broadcast Sunday on CNN at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Eastern. The film is also available via CNN on demand with cable and satellite subscriptions beginning Sunday, and for streaming on CNNgo platforms, also beginning Sunday until Sept. 26.
The documentary is available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV and for rent on Amazon Prime Video and in the iTunes store.
A NEW MAGAZINE COVER
Time magazine will feature Ginsburg on one of multiple special covers for an October double issue presenting the 2020 Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. It will include a special tribute to the justice, who was featured on the list in 2015.
The issues will be available on newsstands in the U.S. beginning Sept. 25.
“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”
The 2018 biopic focusing on Ginsburg’s law school years and early legal career is available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video and in the iTunes store.
Felicity Jones, who portrayed the young law student and fighter for justice, told the AP in an email Saturday that Ginsburg was a beacon.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us hope, a public figure who stood for integrity and justice — a responsibility she did not wear lightly,” she wrote. “She will be missed not only as a beacon of light in these difficult times but for her razor sharp wit and extraordinary humanity. She taught us all so much. I will miss her deeply.”
Other distribution plans for the movie were pending Saturday.
KATE McKINNON AND “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”
McKinnon, who has played Ginsburg in a series of “Weekend Update” segments on the NBC show stretching back to 2015, appeared on Thursday’s online 2020 National Constitution Event honouring Ginsburg.
She praised the trailblazer in a statement Saturday.
“For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again,” McKinnon said. “Playing her on SNL was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honours of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country.”
NEWS & TRIBUTES
Tributes and re-broadcasts are trending on streaming services and the apps of major networks, with more to come.
Plans for “CBS Sunday Morning,” beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern, include journalist Erin Moriarty looking back on the life and times of the justice. Rita Braver, who covered Ginsburg, will offer an appreciation. John Dickerson of “60 Minutes” will report on the political implications of her death and “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker will have a tribute at the end of the Sunday night broadcast.
The network’s “CBS This Morning” with co-hosts Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil will dedicate much of Monday’s broadcast to remembering Ginsburg and also look at the fight for who will replace her on the court.
At NBC, the news division and those of its other networks, are already out with special reports. On MSNBC, a past profile, “Justice Ginsburg,” was re-broadcast as word of her death spread. The NBC streaming service Peacock is streaming the National Constitution Center virtual gathering for Ginsburg.
Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos will go one-on-one with former President Bill Clinton on the trailblazing icon he nominated to the Supreme Court. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Ted Cruz will discuss the fight to fill Ginsburg’s seat.
Throughout Saturday, Fox News shows “FOX & Friends,” “CAVUTO Live” and “America’s News HQ” will discuss the legacy and historic career of Ginsburg. Joining the live coverage will be Chris Scalia, a son of Ginsburg’s close friend and colleague, late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Fox News Channel will present a one hour special on the life and legacy of Ginsburg on Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern, anchored by Shannon Bream.
Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
RETRANSMISSION – MEDIA AVAILABILITY: CN Police officers available for media interviews during Rail Safety Week – GlobeNewswire
MONTREAL, Sept. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) is offering members of the media the opportunity to talk with uniformed police officers during Rail Safety Week, from September 21-27, about the importance of rail safety at crossings and the dangers of trespassing.
Members of the CN Police Service will be available for media interviews throughout the week. Providing that social distancing be respected or in a virtual manner, we invite media outlets to contact CN to arrange onsite, in studio or on air interviews. The CN media relations team is also happy to offer visual elements for on camera interviews.
CN will mark Rail Safety Week with a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions and trespassing-related accidents. Throughout the week, CN Police will conduct safety initiatives at commuter stations and railway crossings reminding commuters and motorists about the importance of safety at crossings and the deadly risks of trespassing on railway tracks and property.
Public Affairs and Media Relations
Brooks death prompts warning not to spread misinformation on social media – CHAT News Today
(file photo/ CHATNewsToday)
Sep 20, 2020 5:28 PM
BROOKS, AB- The death of an elderly man due to natural causes Saturday has prompted the Brooks RCMP and the City to advise residents not to spread misinformation on social media.
According to the Brooks RCMP, EMS responded to a medical distress call near the Circle K at around 8 p.m. Saturday. The death was non-criminal in nature, and RCMP were called out to assist as part of joint response–something RCMP say is typical in cases involving the deceased. But what soon followed, set off a flurry of concern from the public.
“ Unfortunately someone took photographs of the emergency vehicles and posted that on social media, and as well made comments that it was a shooting, and a male was deceased because of that shooting. So that information was totally inaccurate and inappropriate,” said Brooks RCMP Cpl. Rob Harms.
The post on Facebook which showed three RCMP cruisers was also viewed by family members of the elderly man.
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