Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Things a reporter should generally ask when covering a labor dispute

Although this may be old news for some of you, I've been busy with exams and lucky enough to ignore my least favorite campus news outlet - The Hatchet - for the last few weeks. Still, locked in Gelman for three days and getting seriously tired of presidential history and Snood, I started surfing the Web for something interesting to read.

With that in mind, you're probably asking why I would ever go to www.gwhatchet.com? Well, as much as I agree, I decided I felt like hating on an extremely easy target.

So what's new and late-breaking in Foggy Bottom this week? Apparently workers in J street, GW's equivalent of a dining hall, are dissatisfied with their working conditions. They voiced their concerns in the form of a letter to their union:
The "Bad Taste" Petition also states that Sam Ramos, Sodexo director of operations at GW, verbally abuses and harasses workers.
I think I speak for everyone when I say this- J street dining is some of the worst customer service I've ever had. And I mean anywhere. Thus I naturally took an interest in the story.

I say good for Sam Ramos; somebody needs to whip the workers into shape. But that's not the topic of this post. After reading the story, I left with far more questions than answers.

Since I can only bash the Hatchet so much for its laziness and lack of substance, I thought I'd throw my questions out there and see if people share my interest. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "real" journalist so my questions might be totally off-base. But something tells me they're just plain, old common sense. What do you think?
  • First, and I think most obviously seeing as how the Hatchet is a college newspaper, I think it's pretty important to get STUDENT INPUT on the matter. And I'm not talking about input from a liberal out of the mainstream student organization. I'm talking about real students who are forced by the university to spend their money on Wendy's with a serious side-order of sass.
  • Second, I think the Hatchet reporter should have given some indication where the dispute is heading next. Union organizers probably have a lot to say on the matter. Digging deeper and finding their plans to deal with Sodexho would probably be a good start.
Now, like I said: I'm not a journalist. But that doesn't mean I can't think critically. If there's some reason the Hatchet should not have reported this seemingly very obvious information and I'm not seeing it- let me know. I'm more than happy to listen.


Anonymous said...

Hi Zack, Look at the post next to yours, "murder in DC." The students, politicians, lawyers, in DC work hard but it is hard to find decent workers for normal work. The most enterprising people in DC (among the poorly educated, working class people) are criminals; we don't have a class of workers like in MD and VA, with the hispanics and blue collar workers.

It's been a strange characteristic of DC for years.

Anonymous said...

Hey zach good points you made...and funny because i am all too familiar with the situation