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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcard: Pencils up! The Writer’s Guild reaches a deal

    The Story: After more than three months on strike, Hollywood screenwriters from the Writer’s Guild of America began returning to work this week. A contract settlement ending the strike, which crippled new programming in the latest network television season, was approved Sunday by Guild leaders, and will be formally ratified over the next several weeks. Writers are set to receive a greater share of residual earnings from digital media distribution.

    Sarah Devlin:

    TV fans can rejoice – it looks like the writer’s strike is all but finished, with the WGA and studio heads claiming mutual victory. The real winners of the strike, it seems, are union members everywhere, whose detractors must acknowledge that they gained substantial ground through negotiation and massive public support. Some might argue that unions are largely powerless in the 21st century, but the WGA has demonstrated that old-fashioned collective bargaining is far from dead.

    If only other unions could amass the same amount of civic sympathy! The labor market, after all, would be a very different place if the rest of us cared as much about teachers or electricians rights as they seem to about the people who pen episodes of their favorite shows. The WGA’s deal is a victory for working people in general, but it would be nice to see the same outcry over worker mistreatment in other industries.

    – Sarah Devlin is a sophomore majoring in English and political science.

    Connor Mendenhall:

    Worker mistreatment? Give me a break! Writing for Hollywood isn’t easy, and the WGA’s request for four more cents on each DVD is so reasonable it seems ridiculous, but the plight of the writers is far from a Woody Guthrie sob story. I’ve got more sympathy for the thousands of set designers, lighting technicians, makeup artists and even waiters who’ve faced lean times over the past three months in Tinseltown.

    Hollywood’s writers may have declared a triumphant victory over the stingy studios, but the collateral damage leaves few real winners in the aftermath of the WGA strike. Sure, writers will get a little more cash from digital media, and content-starved production companies can get back to making movies and TV shows, but the real issue at the heart of the strike is still unresolved: exactly how to manage a slew of new technologies that threaten Hollywood’s archaic business models. The Internet is a brave new world for show business, and the rampant growth of online piracy is evidence that consumers will adopt new technology, legal or not. While writers and executives quibble over paychecks, their audience is jumping ship for YouTube and The Pirate Bay – and it’ll take more than another half-season of “”Heroes”” to bring them back from hilarious videos of piano-playing cats.

    – Connor Mendenhall is the opinions editor and a sophomore majoring in economics and international studies.

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