Robert Gammon, a former reporter for at Dean Singleton’s Alameda Newspaper Group, says low pay has reduced the quality of news coverage at those newspapers. Gammon, who sat on the union’s negotiating committee, says in this opinion piece for the East Bay Express that “ANG’s five newspapers now have fewer than two dozen really good reporters, who are surrounded by dozens of completely inexperienced ones, along with veterans not good enough to jump to a better paper.” Gammon describes ANG’s lead labor negotiator, Jim Janiga, as being “vengeful,” “bullheaded,” having a “volcanic temper” and being “virulently anti-union.” Gammon said the union negotiated 12 years with ANG and ended up with a contract in 1998 that called for a starting reporter at ANG’s Oakland Tribune to make $26,000 a year. Gammon notes that the Merc’s contracts with three of its five unions, including the Guild, expire June 30. The sale that would give Singleton the Merc and other Knight Ridder properties in the Bay Area is due to close in July.

• Also in the May 31 edition of the East Bay Express is a profile of Singleton adapted from a 2001 profile that appeared in Denver’s alt-weekly, Westword (which is owned by the same chain as East Bay Express).

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One Comment

  1. I’m sure it’s not easy to negotiate with Singleton’s people, but come on — $26,000 a year for a reporter? Some of the blame for this lousy contract has got to fall on the union’s shoulders. A lot of what this guy is saying sounds like sour grapes.

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