The Chicago Newspaper Guild is fighting a quota system that requires Pioneer Press reporters to write at least 2.5 stories each day, or risk losing their jobs.
The Guild's Ralph Zahorik wrote Tuesday that staffers are working under "a confusing but strict quota" that puts writers' careers on the line.
“They’re being warned if they don’t produce the 2.5 minimum, they could lose their jobs,” he wrote in a post on the Chicago Newspaper Guild's site.
The Guild is now demanding that the media group drop the rule and "immediately cease and desist from issuing further discipline based on a story quota."
Zahorik said that reporters began to be notified about the quota last winter, and that he knows of some reporters who have been pulled into "disciplinary meetings" after not meeting the mark. One reporter was issued a "final warning." According to Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum, "perhaps half" of all Pioneer reporters aren't making the quota, and others are working “off the clock” to produce enough material. Rosenbaum worries that this demand could take away from reporters focusing on larger, news-worthy stories.
“Our reporters are professional, award-winning journalists,” he said. “They should be focusing on substantive, hard-hitting news, not fluff.”
The Guild claimed that if nothing is done, the complaint will be heard by a federal official.