January 8th, 2015
Not long ago, I was alarmed about the sharp decline in media coverage
of labor. For a few years, one news organization after another—The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, NPR—was dropping its position of labor reporter.
And then last month, when I took the buyout from The New York Times after covering labor for 19 years, my move spurred a new wave of anxiety—and tweets—about the future of labor reporting.
Some people scolded me, saying I was selling out by taking the
buyout. One friend, a professor, pressed me to change my mind, telling
me that my departure would hurt the cause of workers. I responded by
saying that I’m 63, and after 31 years of working at a fairly frenetic
pace, it was time to slow down. Besides, shouldn’t a newspaper reporter,
like any other worker, be able to retire? (Although in truth, I’m not
retiring: I’m writing a book about America’s workers, and I intend to do
some freelancing on labor issues.)