UPDATE (June 24, 2016) — Following the 3-0 committee vote June 22 to defend quality broadcast news, sponsoring Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold, along with a coalition of community and labor members, will bring the broadcast media resolution to the full Seattle City Council at its meeting on Monday, June 27 at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 600 4th Ave. Union members are encouraged to attend at show their support!
The resolution calls for the council to support the highest quality public news via professional broadcasting in order to effectively inform the community in times of emergency.
UPDATE (June 23, 2016) — From KPLU — Seattle City Council committee passes resolution in support of unionized workers at KING 5 — Contentious labor negotiations at the television station KING 5 have now gotten the attention of Seattle’s City Council. A council committee has passed a resolution supporting the unionized news staff who say their jobs are threatened by the corporate owner’s business model.
‘Uberization’ of broadcast news is subject of Seattle council hearing
SEATTLE (June 21, 2016) — A coalition of community and labor members will be asking a Seattle City Council committee on Wednesday to take back the public airwaves in the name of public safety — and to shame bad broadcast employers who mistreat their employees — when they introduce a resolution before the council’s Civil Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee.
Sponsored by Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, the resolution will request that the Seattle City Council commit to maintaining the highest quality public news via professional broadcasting in order to effectively inform the community in times of emergency. A presentation and discussion with local leaders will follow. In addition to Sawant, the committee includes Lorena Gonzalez, Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, and Rob Johnson.
At Wednesday’s hearing — June 22 at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave.– labor and community leaders will tell the panel that public broadcasters have a legal, and moral, responsibility to inform the public in times of emergencies. It is in those times of need that the local community relies on professionals at local news stations like KING 5 and others. Among those addressing the committee will be Angela Marshall, IBEW Local 46 Broadcast Representative; Dave Twedell, IATSE Local 600 Business Representative; David Olson, former Cable TV Director of the City of Portland; and Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council.
Tegna, the company that recently took over operations at several stations including Seattle’s KING 5, is replacing news professionals with amateur citizen reporting. Local leaders believe that would jeopardize the public safety at a time when professionalism and experience are most critical in maintaining the public trust.
Corporate speculators, like Tegna, are taking advantage of the pending auction of federally licensed broadcasting frequencies, led by the FCC, in order to turn a huge profit — profiteering on a publicly owned asset. It is all part of the process of trading service to local communities for big financial gains. This has raised alarm among the community, council members and labor groups as handing such a valuable public asset over to the highest bidder can lead to irreparable damage to the community that depends on it.