Hillman Foundation Announces June 2023 “Reporting the U.S. Workplace” Program at Newmark J-School

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is sponsoring the third annual “Reporting the U.S. Workplace” program in June for journalists covering labor issues.

The two-day workshop will again be hosted at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Tom Robbins, Newmark J-School’s Investigative Journalist in Residence, will return as the program’s convener.

This program is designed to give participants expertise on how to cover a range of pressing workplace issues including the status of gig workers’ employment classification, the latest wave of workers organizing, the actions of Biden’s National Labor Relations Board, and how the changing political landscape affects workers’ rights.

This year, due to popular demand, there will be an optional third day of the program for those who wish to attend in-depth how-to sessions on how to find and use government and corporate data and find stories within the data.

Once again, print, broadcast and digital journalists who cover labor and other beats that touch on workplace issues will be eligible. The program is to take place in-person on the J-School’s Manhattan campus June 14-16, 2023.

The curriculum will include practical sessions with experienced journalists, academic and labor experts, and participants will have the opportunity to discuss their stories and secure grants through the program to help support their reporting.

“‘You cover work, you cover everything,’” said the late New York Times labor reporter Bill Serrin. “His words still ring true today,” said Alexandra Lescaze, executive director of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, “Our goal is to give reporters the expertise to identify important labor stories and cover them skillfully.” The program is funded through a donation to the foundation from Jesse C. Crawford, an entrepreneur who is president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Crawford Media Services, Inc. All expenses including transportation, hotel and food are covered by the foundation.

Launched in January 2020, “Reporting the U.S. Workplace” drew 29 reporters from a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Detroit Free Press, Politico, Teen Vogue, Vice, the Star Tribune, and the Tampa Bay Times, as well as freelancers. The second program in June 2022, had 31 journalists from additional outlets such as The Verge, NBC News, The Seattle Times, Business Insider and Fortune.

“By far the most useful and interesting conference I’ve ever attended. Excellent speakers and breadth of content,” wrote a 2022 participant in an evaluation survey. “I learned more investigative skills and gained more story ideas than in my last year on the beat. It left me wanting more!”

The journalism school has for several years run similar boot camps to train journalists to cover fiscal issues facing state and local governments, as well as climate change and resiliency. “Our training programs for mid-career journalists are a critical part of our mission, as a public institution, to prepare excellent journalists with a strong commitment towards public service,” said Graciela Mochkofsky, dean of the Newmark J-School. “And understanding labor issues is essential to making sense of our world today, including the state of the news media industry.”

Robbins, who covered labor at the New York Daily News and the Village Voice, said expertise is the best way for journalists to improve the public’s understanding of the workplace. “Workplace struggles are erupting around the country these days, from delivery workers to warehouses to white collar offices. What’s fascinating is to see these struggles build upon each other, thanks in part to the journalists who are telling their stories, and to a public that is learning how and why America’s labor movement is being sparked into growth again.”

The Sidney Hillman Foundation honors excellence in journalism in service of the common good via its annual Hillman Prizes and monthly Sidney Awards.

Reporters who are interested in the program should apply here. The application deadline is March 24, 2023 but applications will be considered on a first-come basis.

Questions? Please contact Alexandra Lescaze at 917-696-2494 or Alex@HillmanFoundation.org