Steve Rossi, CEO of Digital First Media, has refused a request to meet with NewsGuild members to discuss concerns over the company’s practices and its commitment to journalism.

In late March, Guild members delivered signed petitions from hundreds of DFM employees across the U.S. demanding a new commitment to quality news, fair pay and an end to the layoffs that continue to decimate newsrooms and other departments. Six DFM newsroom employees asked to meet with Mr. Rossi to discuss these concerns.

While acknowledging the “quality of the work performed by many of the very talented names” who signed the petitions, Rossi declined to meet with the newsroom workers.

Rossi recently sent a company-wide letter that infuriated many employees. The letter boasted that the company’s revenue performance is at the “top of the industry,” even as workers face new rounds of layoffs and many have gone up to 10 years without a raise.

Below is the exchange of letters that took place over the past two weeks between NewsGuild representatives and Rossi.

Pacific Media Workers Guild
The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521
433 Natoma St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco CA 94103

March 29, 2016

Steve Rossi
CEO, Digital First Media
San Jose Mercury News
4 N. Second St., Suite 800
San Jose, CA 95113

Dear Mr. Rossi — Several hundred employees of Digital First Media, most of them members of the Guild, have signed petitions to demand “a new commitment to quality news” at the company. Those signed petitions are attached.

The signers work in editorial, advertising and many other departments at DFM newspapers across the country. I am one of those representing Guild staff in contract bargaining underway in multiple DFM locations.

We request an opportunity to meet with you in order to discuss our concerns and the points raised in our petition. DFM staff members George Kelly and Thomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, Karl Mondon and Karen de Sá of the Mercury News, and James Herrera and Claudia Melendez ofthe Monterey Herald have offered to join such a meeting.

We hope you will agree to meet. This type of discussion would go a long way toward establishing a productive shared sense of priorities. Certainly, all of us want the company to succeed and quality journalism to thrive despite the major challenges in our industry.

I look forward to your reply.


Carl Hall
Executive Officer
Pacific Media Workers Guild


Steve Rossi’s emailed response, dated April 5, 2016

Dear Mr. Hall:

We are in receipt of your petitions and want you to know that we share your concern for quality journalism and all other aspects of our operations.  As you know, with all of the challenges that our industry faces, we all need to be flexible and continue to make changes.  The quality of the work performed by many of the very talented names on these lists is a testament to the excellent journalism that our company practices.

With respect to meeting with you, I respectfully decline.  I am well aware that these issues have been brought up repeatedly in our collective bargaining negotiations, and I am confident that those issues are best addressed in that forum.


Response from Carl Hall, emailed April 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Rossi — Thank you for your note in response to the petitions we delivered. We were disappointed to hear that you will not agree to meet with us. If you should change your mind about that please consider it a standing offer. I am sure a meeting of the type we propose would go a long way toward building a productive relationship.

Best Regards,
Carl Hall
Executive Officer
Pacific Media Workers Guild