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Issue # 1426      2 September 2009

Labor journalists to look behind the scenes before G-20

Two weeks before the G-20 summit opens in the US city of Pittsburgh to discuss the global economic crisis, labour journalists from across the country will be in the Steel City to document what’s really going on with workers without the hype.

More than 100 labour journalists are expected to form a team to create a 48-hour media centre on September 10-12 to serve as the nerve centre of a special project. The project will focus on Pittsburgh’s workers, their organising and bargaining campaigns, their victories and how their stories illustrate the deep economic shifts sweeping the US and the world.

The effort by the journalists will be made during the biennial convention of the International Labour Communications Association (ILCA), the group to which the participating labour newspapers, including the Peoples Weekly World, newspaper of the CPUSA belong.

After a full day of training and a morning of briefings by Pittsburgh activists, the journalists will form teams and fan out over the city to cover workers’ stories.

When they return, they will use the media centre to write and post stories, blogs, photo galleries and other media. ILCA President Steve Stallone says the convention’s slogan, “The Power of Labor Journalists United,” demonstrates the collective power of the labour media when it works together to tell workers’ stories.

“ILCA’s Labour Media Centre project will not only show how we can use technology to tell workers’ stories ourselves,” said Stallone, “but also demonstrate the collective power of labour media to both the journalist participants and other unionists. We are the largest alternative media in North America and we need to start having the influence commensurate with that.”

The ILCA organised its first Media Centre at the group’s October 2007 convention in New Orleans. There the labour journalists saw firsthand the devastation and impact of Hurricane Katrina on the lives of workers. Their work in articles and pictures disputed the popular media impression that the city had “come back” and made it clear that right-wing social and economic policies were behind the continuing disaster (see article Four years after Katrina, New Orleans still a wreck).

Some high-profile newsmakers and speakers will be with the labour journalists when they gather in Pittsburgh. Among those who will address the reporters are United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard and American Prospect editor and Washington Post columnist Harold Myerson.

People’s Weekly World

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