Mar. 12, 2020  

SPJ Florida hosts free webinar on newsrooms unionizing

In the middle of covering the coronavirus, journalists from across the country took an hour out to talk about something entirely different: unionizing.

SPJ Florida and the NewsGuild hosted the webinar So Your Newsroom Wants to Unionize. Now What? on Thursday, March 12.

The free webinar was transmitted on Zoom and anonymous, meaning participants from non-unionized papers could join without having to worry about retaliation from bosses or publishers.

In Florida, there are eight newsroom guilds representing at least a dozen different publications. Just a year ago, there were four. In 2016, there were none. SPJ Florida recognizes that newsroom guilds provide a safeguard for journalists who are impacted by pay cuts, layoffs and other disparities. It’s the same reason why our board has publicly and unanimously voiced our support for Florida guilds during President Emily Bloch’s term.

“As journalists and as a group whose literal mission is to protect the free press, we don’t have the option to stay silent anymore,” Bloch said earlier this year. “We hope our unwavering support sets a precedent for other SPJ chapters across the country as well as for SPJ national to stand with these newsroom guilds.”

Of course, the frenzy of covering the coronavirus threatened our webinar in the eleventh hour — with One Herald Guild‘s Jimena Tavel being pulled to cover the virus and her colleague, Sarah Blaskey, stepping in for her.

We also realize that journalists who are out covering COVID-19 may not have been able to attend this webinar. Not to fear, you can watch it as many times as you’d like below. Or, as our panelists suggest, send it to colleagues as an icebreaker to talk about your own newsroom unionizing.

Our Panel

Sarah Blaskey: One Herald Guild

Kristina Bui: L.A. Times Guild

Melanie Burney: The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Dusty Christensen: Pioneer Valley NewsGuild 

Moderated by Emily Bloch: SPJ Florida/Times-Union Guild

For more questions on unionizing, contact

For information about setting up free webinars, bringing free training to your newsroom and more, contact

Keep up with everything SPJ Florida has done with unions by visiting


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