Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Lexington Contract Allows Eds to Make Reporters Snap Photos

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Lexington Contract Allows Eds to Make Reporters Snap Photos

Article excerpt

The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader may now require reporters to take photos, and may create five new salaried reporter jobs without overtime, under a Newspaper Guild contract approved late Tuesday, according to the union

The five-year agreement, unanimously approved by union members, also includes new layoff procedures that require the paper to cover half of health benefits for 60 days following a layoff and give one month's notice before jobs are cut.

"While this is far from an ideal compromise, this is a compromise that we can live with," Lexington Newspaper Guild president Brandon Ortiz said in a statement. He said only about half of the union's members voted in the election. The union represents about 100 newsroom employees.

Ortiz said the requirement that reporters be willing to shoot photos was not opposed by the guild, but he said the union "came up with language to make sure they are not disciplined if they take a bad photo."

Publisher Timothy Kelly called the change "a natural progression."

The contract, which was forged after negotiations with a federal mediator on Jan. 19, is retroactive to January 1, 2007, and will expire December 31, 2011.

The major sticking points in negotiations, which had been ongoing for more than a year, were company proposals to reduce paid time-off and cut health insurance for part-time workers. Under the contract, part-time health insurance benefits will be protected until Jan. 1, 2010. After that date, the Herald-Leader may eliminate part-time health insurance with 90 days notice. …

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