Hillman Foundation announces January 2024 'Reporting the U.S. Workplace' program at Newmark J-School


The Sidney Hillman Foundation is sponsoring the fourth annual “Reporting the U.S. Workplace” program in January 2024 for journalists covering labor and workplace issues.

The two-day workshop will again be hosted at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Tom Robbins, Newmark J-School’s Investigative Journalist in Residence, will return as the program’s convener.

This program is designed to give participants expertise on how to cover a range of pressing workplace issues including the status of gig workers’ employment classification, the latest wave of strikes and worker organizing, the actions of Biden’s National Labor Relations Board, and a how-to session on how to find and use government and corporate data and find stories within the data.

Print, broadcast and digital journalists who cover labor and other beats that touch on workplace issues are eligible. The program is to take place in-person on the J-School’s Manhattan campus, January 18-19, 2024.

The curriculum will include practical sessions with experienced journalists, academics and labor experts, and participants will have the opportunity to discuss their stories and secure grants through the program to help support their reporting.

“‘You cover work, you cover everything,’” said the late New York Times labor reporter Bill Serrin. “His words still ring true today,” said Alexandra Lescaze, executive director of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, “Our goal is to give reporters the expertise to identify important labor stories and cover them skillfully.” All expenses including transportation, hotel and food are covered by the foundation.

Launched in January 2020, “Reporting the U.S. Workplace” has drawn approximately 30 reporters each year from a range of outlets including Reuters, The Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Detroit Free Press, the Verge, Texas Observer, NBC News, The Seattle Times, Business Insider, Fortune, Politico, Teen Vogue, Vice, the Star Tribune, the Tampa Bay Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as freelancers.

“I loved the program so much — incredibly smooth, supportive, informative, specific,” wrote a 2023 participant in an evaluation survey. “I’m returning to my workplace with so many ideas and new tools!”

The journalism school has for several years run similar boot camps to train journalists to cover fiscal issues facing state and local governments, as well as climate change and resiliency. “We are proud to partner with the Sidney Hillman Foundation on this critical training program,” said Graciela Mochkofsky, dean of the Newmark J-School. “Labor issues are an increasingly important journalism beat, and it is essential that we prepare reporters to cover it with the necessary skills and expertise.”

Robbins, most recently a senior investigative reporter for The City, who covered labor at the New York Daily News and the Village Voice, said expertise is the best way for journalists to improve the public’s understanding of the workplace. “Right now, we are confronting problems like child labor that were supposed to have been abolished a century ago. At the same time, workers are struggling with 21st century threats like artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, battles over dignity and fairness in the workplace are getting more intense as unions increasingly take their campaigns to the streets. For journalists, all these developments make the job of reporting on the workplace more vital than ever, and make it even more crucial to sharpen the tools of our trade. This reporting program is one of the best places to do that.”

The Sidney Hillman Foundation honors excellence in journalism in service of the common good via its annual Hillman Prizes and monthly Sidney Awards.

Reporters who are interested in the program should apply here. The application deadline is November 15, 2023, but applications will be considered on a first-come basis.

Questions? Please contact Alexandra Lescaze at 917-696-2494 or Alex@HillmanFoundation.org


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