Over the past four weeks, my life has been dominated by labour action – on October 15th, the faculty at Acadia University (Which I attend) went on strike. This strike did not end until Wednesday, which meant three and a half weeks out of the classroom. In covering that strike, I maintained a neutral perspective: I felt the profs were striking for sound principles, but that the administration could never simply accept their demands thanks to shrinking enrollment. The landscape of the university was changing, and this crossroads was only inevitable. In the end, our second strike in 4 years was settled, this time with a resolution that should maintain the security of the institution for over a decade.
I mention all of this because I am not neutral about the recent Writer’s strike that has threatened the state of this year’s television season. If Acadia’s administration were facing dwindling enrollment and a grave financial position, Studios are facing a boon in the form of the ability to distribute content over the internet. Hollywood stands at a content-distribution crossroads, and the idea that the internet is “too young” to enter into contract negotiations is ludicrous. New Media is here, there’s no doubt about it, and something needs to be done to respect the work of writers within this medium.
In my time working with fans of CBS’ Jericho, the way many fans caught onto the show was through watching episodes online through the network’s Innertube service. In some cases, it was the only way they watched the show as they were unable to watch the series live thanks to other commitments. The idea that the writers of that episode, the individuals responsible for crafting those words, get nothing for every time someone watches it through this medium makes me wonder whether the service is really assisting the state of television in the long run. Because it should be: there lies amazing potential within the internet, but if it is being realized to the detriment of the writers I believe its value is primarily lost.