Union Hangs Tough: ProPublica Workers Fight Deal With Pittsburgh 'Post Gazette'

There’s a new debate emerging in newsrooms that could put the interests of readers and union journalists at odds, at least in this case.

Journalists at ProPublica, the investigative site, are objecting to a reporting arrangement with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that coincides with a strike at that paper, the Washington Post reports. 

Last year, ProPublica formed a partnership with the Post-Gazette to examine the alleged health risks of breathing machines used for relieving sleep apnea, machines manufactured at Philips’s Pittsburgh-area factories, the Post continues.  

But ProPublica's union argues that the arrangement is, in effect, helping the Post-Gazette weather a strike.  

The dispute appears to center, in part, on whether the partnership preceded the strike. 



ProPublica's editor in chief, Stephen Engelberg, claims talks on the series started in July 2022. The strike began that October. 

Engelberg says he will not halt the series until the strike is over, as the startup ProPublica union wants. 

In another twist, Engelberg charges that someone had misused ProPublica’s secure data-sharing system to share information from reporting memos and other in-house data on the series, adding, “Behavior like this could result in dismissal," the Post continues.  

The union denies that it accessed or shared documents it shouldn’t have. 

Go figure: who comes out on top in a flap like this? Maybe it should be the readers who need this public health information.


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