The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


February 19, 2021billrossGuild News, Inquirer

Dear Guild members:

Just a few moments into this morning’s Inquirer “town hall,” the 2021 Strategic Plan slide appeared on the screen that included this entry on culture:

“Embrace diverse perspectives throughout our organization and in the work we produce. Create an equitable and inclusive culture that thrives on open communication and collaboration with each other and our community.”

And then we learned that there would be no time provided for a verbal Q&A. And then we discovered that the chat function was disabled from allowing us to see each other’s questions and comments in that channel.

What utter hypocrisy.

Yet another example of this Company saying one thing and doing another.

Guild members and non-Guild members alike flooded the obviously misnamed “Inq4All” Slack channel with expressions of outrage and horror.

Just days after the Company wouldn’t make its editors available for interviews on an audit that laid bare our newsroom deficiencies on diversity, equity and inclusion and coverage of communities of color, it shut down an ability for its employees to share ideas and concerns in a public forum.

How offensive and appalling — especially when we also learned in this “town hall” that we will be judged on our efforts at “open communication” and “teamwork” under the new performance evaluation plan.

As Guild officer Cindy Henry so aptly stated in the Inq4All channel about the chat, it helps “look at issues from different perspectives and appreciate the breadth and depth of our staff’s knowledge and experience. And most important, together, we can seek answers.”

With each day, with each effort to silence those within The Inquirer who have good questions and valuable answers, the “trust” the publisher says is so essential to our future success seems increasingly beyond our reach. An empty word.

Now do you see why we have to have each other’s back? Why we need a strong and united Guild? Haven’t signed up yet to be a shop steward? Could you possibly need additional motivation?

In solidarity,