Getting out of line

By: Joel Davis


When Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur crossed the picket line after striking for 28 days in the Times’ lengthy walkout, she was fully aware that she was burning bridges and about to lose friends. “That’s the hardest part about all of this,” she told E&P last week. “It hurts me very much. But you have to stand by your convictions.” Her first duty was to her readers, she explained.
In her first column since returning, Brodeur, 39, who came to the Times in 1999 from the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer, wrote that crossing the picket line was as agonizing as when she escorted a friend past protesters into an abortion clinic. She got over 300 e-mail messages in response — about 20% negative.
Brodeur’s decision was quickly denounced by one of her striking peers. Without mentioning his colleague by name, columnist Steve Johnston criticized Brodeur in the Seattle Union Record, the strike paper of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild. “Apparently this columnist thought her high salary was paid to her because she was individually talented, not because generations of equally talented writers came before her and demanded to be paid fairly for their work,” Johnston noted.
Brodeur told E&P that returning to work was also inspired by the Guild taking actions she didn’t agree with, such as calling for advertising and subscriber boycotts of the Times. “I think this is a really good place to work,” she said. “I’ve worked for a lot of papers, and this is the best one I’ve worked at.”

(Editor & Publisher Web Site:
(copyright: Editor & Publisher January 8, 2001)

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