Steve Early on Labor Reporting: ‘Unions Can Be Thin-Skinned About Criticism’

by Mike Elk

Steve Early

Steve Early

Since the 1970s, Steve Early has produced more than 300 pieces of labor journalism for publications as varied as the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Nation, LaborNotes and In These Times. Throughout his career, Early has covered stories of dysfunction and corruption within unions that many labor reporters are afraid to touch out of fear of upsetting high-level union sources.

At time when the labor beat was disappearing from mainstream publications, Early’s writing formed a valuable body of work that inspired many young writers—myself included—to stick with the profession through its highs and lows.

Early sat down with me to discuss his new book, Save Our Unions: Dispatches From a Movement in Distress, out this spring from Monthly Review Press. Continue reading

Putting Workers on TV: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Bringing Labor to Prime Time

While the days when every city paper had a labor beat may be gone, Hayes is finding new ways to get the issues facing workers into the national conversation.
Chris Hayes.

As host of All In, a weekday prime-time show on MSNBC, Chris Hayes has emerged as one of the most prominent progressive commentators in the country. Still in his thirties, Hayes earned distinction in the 2000s as a labor and political journalist for magazines such as In These Times and The Nation. Given that labor journalists are an endangered species in the United States, the rise of someone with experience in the field to a platform with wide popular reach is an encouraging development.

I spoke with Hayes about how he approaches workplace issues on his show, about the state of labor journalism, and about how All In interacts with programs such as The Ed Show, hosted by Ed Schultz, another labor-friendly broadcaster. Continue reading

Mike Elk interviewed by Moyers and Company on State of Unions

Moyers and Company interview labor journalist Mike Elk about unions, labor journalism, and other issues. Here is what they say about Elk.

At a time when union membership is in decline and labor is being attacked on many fronts, Mike Elk, the labor reporter for the progressive magazine In These Times, is one of the few full-time labor journalists working today. He brings the skills and tenacity of an investigative reporter to his coverage of organized labor and management in America and pulls no punches, no matter who he’s writing about.

Talking Union posts by Mike Elk