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Perspective: Respect the writers

Fran Jacquier

You know, writing is not easy.

Truthfully folks, oftentimes I am writing these scripts hours before I have to record. Shoot, who am I kidding? Sometimes it’s minutes. It’s a challenge to pin down a topic. Expose and expand on that topic. All while being witty, grave, loving, compassionate, or whatever tone is necessary to be informative and entertaining. Each of these scripts is approximately 250-300 words. I’m at 74 right now. And I am, in real time, trying to figure out exactly where I am going to take you in the next 180.

It’s a highwire act because once the script is done and recorded, there’s no do-over, and whatever is out there is out there to be critiqued, criticized, and celebrated -- typically at the same time. Now imagine if you had to do that every night with 45 minutes of material to create!

As we consume media, how much do we really think about the writers? No doubt many of us do, but do we think about the conditions of their work or how they are compensated?

The Writer’s Guild of America, the union dedicated to professional writers, began a new strike yesterday. Let’s not trivialize their concerns. Their landscape has changed, but how they are compensated has not. They are paid a pittance in comparison to how much money studios and streaming companies make from their work. Like nurses, teachers, first responders, construction workers, and on, the lowest on the ladder is often the most crucial, and often least respected. And if you don’t think this is important, the last time they had a strike, reality television took a quantum leap!

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective and I am at 290 words. Whew…

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.