- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Representatives from WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America Local 31 made progress during bargaining meetings last week.

About 70 union workers at WJLA and its cable sister, NewsChannel 8, have been working without a contract since January. The union wants wage parity between the two stations, maintenance of the arbitration process by a neutral third party and maintenance of its seniority list. The parties reached a tentative agreement on seniority last week, said Mark Peach, Local 31’s president.

Officials from the Albritton Communications Co.-owned channels would not comment on the ongoing labor negotiations, which failed to produce deals at meetings in March and October.

More talks are scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

“We’re looking forward to getting back together with the company, and we fully intend to continue, if not intensify, our mobilization campaign,” Mr. Peach said. “Wage parity and arbitration are major, major issues we have to work on at the next meetings.”

Entering the Digital Age … slowly

Print journalists who have embraced their publications’ online editions as a way to tell more complete stories now can compete for the profession’s highest honor.

The Pulitzer Prize Board this month announced that newspapers may submit online material, as well as print content, in all 14 journalism categories, but only entries for breaking-news reporting and breaking-news photography can be from entirely online material.

The board is making a leap forward, and the next step should be to make entirely online submissions eligible in all prize categories for the 2007 awards.

For local news junkies

If your appetite for local media news isn’t satisfied by this weekly column, call the editors and demand that it be expanded. When they say no, a couple of Web sites are worth bookmarking to get your fix.

DCRTV.net, which Dave Hughes started in 1998, is updated throughout the day with local TV and radio news. And if you do miss something, Mr. Hughes keeps an archive of top stories that allows readers to see how a particular item has evolved or died on the vine.

Another site, www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc, is a gossip blog about D.C. media managed by two local print editors: Garrett M. Graff, editor at large at Washingtonian magazine, and Patrick W. Gavin, associate editorial-page editor at the Washington Examiner.

They constantly update the site with juicy media gossip, but added commentary on some stories can be a bit over the top. For example, noting a recent study by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, a liberal media-watchdog group, that found Republicans outnumbered Democrats nearly two-to-one as guests on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” during a recent six-month period, Mr. Gavin concluded: “Isn’t FAIR picking on C-SPAN like Tom Shales criticizing the Special Olympics for not making for interesting television?”

Point made, but there are far better ways to do it than with a Special Olympics joke.

Channel Surfing runs Wednesdays. Call 202/636-3173 or e-mail dcat@washingtontimes.com.

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