A big victory for Idaho readers, Idaho NewsGuild. Pageview quotas are not allowed.

We have big news to share in our fight to #ProtectIdahoNews. 

McClatchy can not force mandatory pageview quotas on Idaho Statesman journalists, Region 27 of the NLRB recently determined. 

The NLRB found merit to our Unfair Labor Practice charge. We alleged McClatchy, the owner of the Idaho Statesman, violated our protections under federal labor law as a newly formed union by unilaterally changing our annual performance reviews.

McClatchy wanted to make pageviews and other digital metric quotas a mandatory part of those reviews. Our performance reviews are used to determine raises and, the company has suggested, our place in line for layoffs. This was brand new to the Idaho Statesman.

We protested internally for months, warning McClatchy this was a clear and simple violation of its legal duty to bargain with our union. The company refused to listen to its employees and plowed ahead. So we called in the big guns, which quickly ruled in our favor. 

So, what does this mean? It means Idaho Statesman journalists no longer have to fear losing their job for missing an arbitrary quota they had no role in setting. It means they don’t have to cede their news judgement to please Facebook’s and Google’s algorithms. 

But most importantly, it means readers will get their information from journalists chasing news, not clicks. 

Our most impactful stories — the ones that hold leaders accountable and help you lead a better life — are rarely the ones with the most pageviews. McClatchy’s plan would have led us to deemphasize or abandon those stories in favor of the day’s viral headline.

Valuable insights can be gleaned from measuring readership. We are not burying our heads in the sand and will use them when appropriate. But this illegal change threatened our credibility and our relationship with readers, who made it clear they wanted no part in this. 

We owe a heartfelt thank you to all the readers who stood with us in this fight. Your support has meant more than you can know. It can be scary to take on a national corporation. But you showed we are not alone in the fight to #ProtectIdahoNews.

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