The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Diane Mastrull 2017 Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award Winner

a.ward – noun
1. a prize or other mark of recognition given in honor of an achievement
Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award – honor
1. awarded to Diane Mastrull, Unit Chairperson, Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia Local-10/CWA 38010 in 2017

The Executive Board of The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia Local-10/CWA 38010 is proud to nominate Philadelphia Media Network Unit Chairperson Diane Mastrull for the 2017 Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award.
Diane’s accomplishments as an outstanding Guild leader, co-worker, volunteer and inspiration to the readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer as outlined below will passionately demonstrate why Diane is so worthy to receive this recognition.
Diane joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a reporter in 1997. Over the years, her general assignment beats covered the entire Delaware Valley including the New Jersey shore, Philadelphia suburbs and center city Philadelphia, gaining her the respect of her peers. Diane is currently the Small-Business and Start-Up columnist appearing weekly in the Sunday Inquirer. In addition to producing her column, she was recently promoted to be the week-end editor for all three Philadelphia Media Network products – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and playing a key role in the success of the Sunday Inquirer.
Since 1999, Diane has been the Unit Chairperson in The Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom providing union leadership to the largest newsroom in the State of Pennsylvania with over 200 newsroom journalists. Her steadfast leadership, passion and courage to challenge management motivates a cynical group of reporters, photographers and Guild editors to stay focused on producing quality journalism, including the expanding role of social media, while The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and transition to a “one newsroom” concept amid multiple changes in ownership (six since 2006) and difficult, challenging collective bargaining negotiations.
From Newspaper Guild Executive Director Bill Ross:
“In my 17 years with the Guild, and over 30 representing working men and women, it has been a real honor to work with Philadelphia Media Network Unit Chairperson, Diane Mastrull. She is a true leader who always puts Guild members first. Her compassion and integrity has gained her not only respect from her co-workers, but from her loyal followers who read and subscribe to The Philadelphia Inquirer. I marvel at the way she has helped turn local entrepreneurs into millionaires. Her Small Business and Start Up columns in the Sunday Inquirer are a must read. Her volunteer work and passion for humanity makes her who she is. No one is more deserving of the Charles B. Dale Guild Service award than Guild leader Diane Mastrull.”
From Newspaper Guild President Howard Gensler:
“Diane Mastrull is that rare breed of union leader who’s respected by management and beloved by her peers. Part watchdog, part bulldog and constant mother to the multitude of dysfunctional human beings who populate a newsroom. Diane works like crazy as a reporter and editor and sets and an example for her colleagues. When she’s not working, she’s cooking and when she’s not cooking she’s volunteering to help others less fortunate. And, with all of this, Diane has also managed to spearhead one of the newsroom’s most successful initiatives, STELLAR START-UPs, highlighting new and emerging companies in our area. She’s one of a kind and we’re lucky to have her on our side.”

From providing a lending ear to a great selection of candy on her desk in honor of her Aunt Phyl, Diane is always there for her peers. Here’s what they had to say:
From Caitlin McCabe, Philadelphia Inquirer Resident Real Estate Reporter:
“It’s difficult to describe Diane’s professional and personal contributions to this company and its journalists in any brief way. In the two years I’ve known Diane, she’s been a relentless fighter for her colleagues’ rights and benefits at the paper. She’s been a continual, always-available listener for whatever complaint or problem any employee might have. And, in a newsroom filled with stress and, yes, quite a bit of complaining from time to time, Diane – somehow – remains a source of positivity and encouragement amid it all. And she has reason not to be: between juggling her full-time reporter duties, her weekend editing gig, her role as a Guild officer, and her volunteer work for the local chapter of Back on My Feet non-profit, it’s astounding that Diane gets it all done with such grace. And somehow, between all of that, Diane still spends much of her free time cooking and baking for her colleagues. There’s just one simple way to put it: Diane is a rock star.”
From Kathy Hacker, Philadelphia Inquirer Assistant Suburban Editor:
“Diane Mastrull is one of the enduring wonders of the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News. We wonder how she musters the energy to carry on two careers at full-tilt – one as a stellar journalist, and one as an unrelenting and formidable fighter for our Guild membership. We wonder where we would be without her passionate defense of us, her eloquent voice raised so often to protect our rights when management has tried to trample them. Those of us who have butted heads with the hierarchy wonder what we would have done without Diane’s wise guidance, available at any time, any day. We do not, however, wonder what we owe her. Everything.”
From Jason Laughlin, Philadelphia Inquirer Business Reporter:
“Diane is the den mother for a newsroom full of journalists. Questions about your health care coverage? Ask Diane. Gripes about your schedule? Diane will go to bat for you. Forget to bring lunch? Diane somehow always manages to produce a bag of chips or popcorn. She combines kindness and generosity with a ferocious advocacy on behalf of the people who work here. We’d be underpaid and overworked without her, and probably all suffering from borderline starvation as well.”
From Jeff Gammage, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer:
“There was a moment when I believed I was about to be laid off from my job, as a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s a hollowing feeling. I knew there was only one person to go to: Diane Mastrull, our News Unit chairperson. She immediately stopped what she was doing, even though she was on deadline as a full-time reporter. She turned her full attention to me and my concern. Went through the Guild rules and contract. Told me the facts, plus and minus. Spoke to me like a close and caring friend, even though we didn’t know each other that well at the time. My point: It’s easy to be a Guild leader when your main job is negotiating the size of the raise and length of the vacation. These days, at American newspapers, it’s not easy at all. Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Diane, and over the years I’ve noticed she possesses an important asset: She learns. Every day, she absorbs the experience and the event, good or bad, and applies it to the future on behalf of all of us at The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, Local 38010. Given the pace of change at traditional media, and in the Guilds that serve their membership, it’s crucial to have leaders who, like Diane, can see not just what is happening now, but what is likely to happen next. In newspapers you meet thousands of people, but I’ve not met one more dedicated, one more willing in this case to extend herself on behalf of the membership. Walk this newsroom, and everyone has a story about the time Diane went out of her way to help them with a job matter, a problem, a question, or a personal issue. Decency and compassion define her. And me? It turned out I was fine – and relieved, after Diane took time to explain the deep workings of the Guild contract and how my job sat within that. She’s an expert. I know that the Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award aims at education and improvement. In this case, it will make an excellent steward of the Guild even better. Please accept my highest and most heartfelt nomination for Diane Mastrull.”
Vigoda Award
In September 2011, Diane received the highest internal Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom award – The Vigoda Award. Named after the late Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Ralph Vigoda, the award recognizes outstanding journalism and reflects the high professional standards and caring and sharing attitude that Ralph brought to his work and everything else in life that he did. Reporters are nominated by their peers. Diane won the award for taking on her new job as weekly small-business columnist with gusto. Per the nomination she received: “Each week Diane can be counted on to deliver an engaging multimedia package about one of the fascinating small business ventures of our region. The stories are always well-researched, delightfully written and informative. They have become a popular anchor for a page that was made one of the centerpieces of the redesigned Inquirer. But Diane accomplished much more. Her editors and colleagues can reliably count on her to step up and take assignments throughout the week on a broad range of subjects, including topics that she has mastered from years of dedicated reporting, such as commercial real estate, suburban development and green energy. She takes on the assignments without complaint, no doubt a reason why her editors continue to return to seek her.”
This nomination could be submitted today as her dedication and “gusto” are apparent in every assignment and responsibility.
The Vigoda Award comes with a cash reward. As another example of her caring for others, Diane gave the cash award she received to a co-worker who recently lost her husband and was left with small children to raise alone.
Diane’s compassion to help others could not be expressed better than by Diane herself. Below are a few excerpts from her Fundracing Blog post for Back On My Feet, a running club that brings together mentors and homeless runners that seeks to revolutionize the way our society approaches homelessness. Its unique running-based model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes and new lives.
From Diane Mastrull:
“The big guy who rarely smiles actually giggled. And then he let loose with an unrestrained “This is amazing.” Right then and there, at the starting line in North Philadelphia, I knew that my decision to fundrace for Back On My Feet for the 2017 Broad Street Run would be one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. Ten miles later, when Anthony, wearing a wide smile, triumphantly raised his long arms as we crossed the finish line in the Navy Yard, then swept me up in a hug and whispered thank you, thank you” in my ear, I committed to doing it again next year.”
“He couldn’t wait to round City Hall and pass the cheering squad in front of the BOMF office. And then to pass his cohorts from Ready, Willing & Able, out to urge him along with homemade signs and high-fives near the South Broad Street corner where we gather three mornings a week at 5:30 to achieve goals, work through struggles, exchange hugs and recite the Serenity Prayer. Oh yeah, and run a few miles.”

When Diane was named the Back on My Feet’s Volunteer of the Month in February 2017, she was asked what made her want to join Back On My Feet. She responded:
“I knew what it was like to be knocked off your feet. And then I learned how powerful and self-affirming regaining your footing can be. But first comes hard work. I wanted to help Back on My Feet spread that message.”
From Elizabeth McHale, Program Coordinator, Back On My Feet, Philadelphia:
“Diane, I met with Maurice A. the other day to interview him because he is our March member of the month. We were talking about how awesome the volunteers are and I wanted to share with you how he mentioned you are his hero. Thank you for always pushing our members to the next level and always being there to support them. You are appreciated! Thanks for all that you do!”
Urukundo Village – Rwanda
Not only is Diane’s compassion felt in Philadelphia, it is shared around the world. In April 2015, Diane visited the Urukundo Foundation in Muhanga, Rwanda, run by Arlene Brown, affectionately known as “Mama Arlene”. Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned children, as well as the poor and vulnerable people of Rwanda, through love, encouragement, and education. Diane’s interview of “Mama Arlene” for the Philadelphia Inquirer generated a $20,000 donation to Urukundo from a reader in Florida. A personal contribution to a village classroom building project resulted in Diane receiving a stone to be placed on the path to learning. Printed on that stone, will be “With each step, empowerment. Diane Mastrull”. Diane also sponsors a Rwanda girl named Divine who aspires to be a pilot. It was a life-changing and perspective-changing experience for Diane.

After her visit to Urukundo, the following message from Mama Arlene was received:
“From a too brief meeting at Urukundo village comes a momentous occasion. I am talking about Diane and the interview for the Inquirer and other events that lead from that first meeting. God in Charge. From one person, God spins a beautiful journey. Thank you all for being in my life and part of the ever growing Urukundo (LOVE) family. Mama”
While she serves her fellow Guild members, motivates her co-workers, volunteers to help others, Diane also inspires her readers. A few “thank you” notes that also inspired Diane:
From Qaadir Williams:
“Hello Diane, I hope this email reaches you in great health and good spirits. My name is Qaadir Williams. To sharpen your memory in case you’re thinking, “Yea, so?”, you wrote an article, and more, about me 17 years ago. I don’t know what made me reach out to you, your articles and name has hanged in my office for years. Maybe it’s the reflection of me just turning 30. Who knows. But I found you and I want to simply say, Thank You.
You may not know this but your telling my story to the broader masses was the stone whose ripples has changed by life in a way that I will forever be grateful for. Literally the people who have become a part of my life because of your articles have taken control of an inner-city narrative that has become so cliché and made me the person I am today. Whenever someone asks me what happened that made my life turn out so different? I start the story off with a journalist. I have just turned 30, not even a month into being a newlywed, and am doing work I love Financial Advising for Edward Jones investments. Your work has quite literally changed my life. “
From Debra S. Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer, PolyAurum LLC:
“Hi Diane, I read your article with great interest. I was one of the three women entrepreneurs at the Angel Venture Fair. As I think about what draws women into entrepreneurial endeavors, or scares them from doing it, I can tell you from my experience that you have to believe in what you are doing and then have the courage to ignore all of those people who try to discourage you.”
“I actually think it’s amusing, not intimidating, to walk into events like the Angel Venture Fair and see the demographic you described in your article. It makes me want to prove myself even more. Thanks for shedding light on this important issue.”
From Vesper Brothers, Bill and John Vesper, Founders Vesper Brothers Food:

“So far, our search people in – Idaho, Washington, California, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and Illinois have read your work this week! And again, thank you very much for choosing to tell our story! What a thrill it has been for us. We can’t say enough about what it has meant to us and our business – and we can’t say enough about how well you conveyed who we are and with the authenticity we strive to maintain day in and day out! Thank you!!

SUMMARY – noun
1. a person who has commanding authority or influence
Guild – noun and action verb
1. Diane Mastrull

Judges, we sincerely hope that as you read through this nomination, you will get to know Diane as the true leader she is. She fights hard for Guild members when the contract is being violated and members are being treated unfairly by management; she leads by example by creating a collaborative working environment, encouraging journalistic excellence from her peers; she dedicates her time and resources to help those less fortunate and, she inspires her readers to follow their dreams and to become better entrepreneurs and leaders in the community.
We thank you for considering Diane’s nomination.

The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, Local-10/CWA 38010
Bill Ross, Executive Director and Executive Board