Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

Remembering the Triangle Fire: 104 Years On

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire broke out 114 years ago today, on March 25, 1911. One hundred and forty-six garment workers, mostly immigrant women, died in the blaze. The fire became a catalyst for the nascent labor movement. 

Today, Workers United/SEIU, the New York City Fire Department, and city school children, mark the anniversary at the official commemoration ceremony at the cite of the fire.

11:30am-1:00pm, at Washington Place & Greene Street.



Sidney’s Picks: NYC Knife Law Jails Union Workers for Their Tools

Photo credit: 

Gravity knives, illustration:

The Best of the Week’s News

  • New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has found a new medium for her sardonic images: painted eggs, also known as pysanka.

Closing Arguments in Trial of Teachers Accused of Cheating on Standardized Tests

Photo credit: 

Albertogp, Creative Commons.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution won a 2012 Hillman Prize for exposing a massive teacher cheating ring in Atlanta’s schools. The scam has been called the largest academic fraud in U.S. history. 

Closing arguments began Monday in the trial of 12 teachers accused of changing answers on standardized test papers to give their students higher scores. Twenty-one of the original 35 defendents struck plea bargains, and 2 others have died. 

2015 Canadian Hillman Prize Photos: Fifth Anniversary Edition

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Left to right: Judge Jim Stanford, and Canadian Hillman Prize winners Emily Mathieu, Randy Risling, and Michael Cooke of the Toronto Star; photo by Katherine Palmateer

The fifth annual Canadian Hillman Prize ceremony was a night to remember. See all our photos from Thursday night’s event at the Drake Hotel in Toronto.

These awards honor excellence in socially conscious Canadian journalism, with a special emphasis on reporting that brings about change for the common good.

NPR's Zwerdling Wins March Sidney for Exposing Back Injury Crisis in Nursing

Photo credit: 

Kainaz Amaria, NPR.

Daniel Zwerdling of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” wins the March Sidney Award for “Injured Nurses,” a four-part series that reveals the shockingly high rate of crippling back injuries among nurses in the face of widespread indifference by hospitals.

Nurses, nursing assistants, and orderlies suffer more disabling back injuries on the job than any other class of workers, including police officers and construction workers. Over 35,000 nursing staffers hurt their backs badly enough to miss work every year, with many sustaining permanent, disabling injuries.

Read about the making of “Injured Nurses,” in our Backstory interview

Sidney’s Picks: You Are Going To Respect Me!

Photo credit: 

Mediageek, Creative Commons.

The Best of the Week’s News

  • Embattled Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel snaps at mental health advocates, yelling, “You are going to respect me!”

2015 Canadian Hillman Prize Winners Announced

Photo credit: 

Photo credit: Ian Martin, Creative Commons.]

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Canadian Hillman Prize, Wednesday. The 2015 Canadian Hillman goes to Kevin Donovan, Jesse Brown, Jayme Poisson, Emily Mathieu, and Randy Risling for “Sexual Assault and Harassment in Canada — from Jian Ghomeshi to College Campuses,” which appeared in the Toronto Star. This coverage exposed Canadian media superstar Ghomeshi as a serial abuser of women and delved into the pervasive problem of sexual violence on university campuses. 

An honorable mention goes to Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press for telling the story of Brian Sinclair, an aboriginal man who died of a treatable infection in a hospital emergency room because the staff ignored him for hours. 

An second honorable mention goes to Kathy Tomlinson and Raj Ahluwalia of CBC News “The National” for exposing employer abuses of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

Learn more about all the Canadian Hillman honorees and their outstanding work. 

Sidney’s Picks: Scott Walker Likens Union Workers to ISIS

Photo credit: 

Gateway Technical College, Creative Commons.

The best of the week’s news

  • What kind of man joins the “Men’s Rights” movement? Admit it, you’re curious.

Homan Square: Chicago’s Black Site

Photo credit: 

Westside Chicago, by Ian Freimuth, Creative Commons.

The Chicago Police Department operates a “black site” on the West Side of Chicago, Spencer Ackerman reports:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights. [Guardian]

Ackerman learned that at least one man has been found unresponsive in a Homan Square interview room and later declared dead. 

Sidney’s Picks: What Rudy Giuliani Knows About Love

Photo credit: 

Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons.

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