You gotta love those wacky folks at GateHouse Media, parent company of the State Journal-Register, where a dwindling number of journalists formed a union last fall. Now comes the hard part: negotiating a contract. The company, apparently, has difficulty grasping the definition of “newsroom,” judging by stances reported by the United Media Guild. The company won’t rule out requiring reporters to write advertising copy, according to the union, and has suggested allowing political activists, bloggers and ad salespeople into the editorial department to write stories that would be published in the news section. The company has also demanded the right to search employees’ pockets, purses and personal computers at work, home or anyplace in the community, so long as no laws are broken, the union says. On the plus side, management has agreed to allow the union to maintain a bulletin board in the workplace, but it’s not up yet – that will apparently have to wait until everything else is settled, says Dean Olsen, a reporter who  chairs the bargaining unit and describes negotiating sessions as “cordial but frustrating.”

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