Deep South Today Journalists Form Historic Union in Mississippi, Louisiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2023
Contact: Deep South Today Union
Deep South Today Has Unionized with NABET-CWA
The reporters and audience engagement teams at Deep South Today are pleased to announce that we have formed a union with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians – Communications Workers of America (“NABET-CWA”). Deep South Today’s leadership has voluntarily recognized the Deep South Today Union, and everyone will now work together to ensure that the organization continues to carry out its values of equity, transparency and diversity as it grows.
NABET-CWA will be the exclusive bargaining representative of the twenty-five editorial and audience engagement employees at Deep South Today, which includes the Mississippi Today and Verite newsrooms.
“The Deep South Today Union is made up of journalists who care deeply about sustaining the critical work of local reporting in the region that needs it most. We look forward to growing stronger together,” said Mary Margaret White, Mississippi Today CEO and Executive Director, and David Francis, Verite Executive Director, in a joint statement.
The announcement marks a new day for Southern journalism as Deep South Today is the first Mississippi-based news organization to unionize. It also follows Mississippi Today’s first Pulitzer Prize in May, and the opening of its sister newsroom in New Orleans, Verite, in 2022.
The Deep South Today Union is thrilled to take this step in partnership with management and is looking forward to working together.
“As Deep South Today expands, I believe a union will strengthen our ability to produce hard-hitting, meaningful journalism for the communities we serve,” said Michelle Liu, a Verite reporter who has previously worked for Mississippi Today.
“Deep South Today has blazed a new trail of dogged nonprofit reporting in my home state,” said Devna Bose, a reporter for Mississippi Today. “With this union, I’m proud to be a part of a newsroom that is yet again setting a new standard for Southern journalism.”
“I’m so proud of my colleagues for coming together to support one another,” said Anna Wolfe, a reporter at Mississippi Today, who won a Pulitzer Prize this year. “It is so important that we’re able to demonstrate our dedication to the newsroom’s mission, elevating stories so often focused on equity and fairness, in the way we run our own workspaces.”
Mississippi Today launched in 2016 as the state’s first nonprofit newsroom. Verite launched in 2022 in New Orleans. Both newsrooms operate under the Deep South Today nonprofit corporation, formerly known as Mississippi News and Information Corporation. Deep South Today aims to solve the challenges facing local news through a networked hub of nonprofit newsrooms serving the most challenged region in the United States.
NABET-CWA represents more than 10,000 workers who work in the broadcasting and related industries across the United States. Local 31 of NABET-CWA represents over 1,300 broadcast and other employees throughout the southeastern United States, from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, Louisiana. Together, NABET-CWA and Local 31 will represent the Deep South Today employees.
The full mission statement of the Deep South Today Union is below:
Since their inceptions, the two newsrooms that comprise Deep South Today have provided unmatched reporting to our local communities — work that wouldn’t be possible without us, the workers.
But there is more progress to be made. We’ve seen firsthand how our newsrooms could better live up to their nonprofit values when it comes to transparency, pay equity and diversity.
As Deep South Today grows, we’re forming this union because we believe that joining together will make us stronger. When workers are well-compensated and treated fairly, they can better serve local readers’ needs. When workers’ ideas are heard and acted upon, newsrooms thrive and communities benefit.
We envision transparent newsrooms where editorial workers have a say in management’s decisions, equitable newsrooms where everyone is compensated fairly so they can focus on the kind of reporting our readers deserve, and diverse newsrooms where journalists of color and early-career employees are supported and encouraged.
We believe in this organization’s mission to build innovative newsrooms in the Deep South, and we’re essential to fulfilling it. That’s why we’re unionizing — to invest in Mississippi Today and Verite’s success, and the success of our future sister newsrooms.
This union is our first step to securing strong Southern journalism for years to come by creating the infrastructure to support Deep South Today’s most valuable resource: the workers.
We are asking management and the board to voluntarily recognize our union, as other nonprofit newsrooms have done. We look forward to working together toward a better future for all of us.
The Deep South Today Union