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Community members march during the SEIU rally against proposed janitorial cuts on Saturday, May. 16, 2015. (Nicholas Pfosi / The Tufts Daily)

Why I chose Medium to publish the story of the Tufts’ janitor cuts

Since the 2014 fall semester I have followed, reported on, and live-tweeted the dynamic story of the Tufts janitors, their advocates and their employers.

While this fight for better conditions is not new to the janitors (or to other workers at Tufts, for that matter), this bout of protests has involved sit-ins, arrests, and hunger strikes and captured national media attention.

And understandably so: It’s an essential story for the Tufts community and highlights themes salient to all American universities: rising administrative costs, university corporatization and continued cost-cutting of college service labor.

I chose to tell this story on Medium for two reasons, one romantic, the other practical. For one, Medium, besides being a democratized platform, is also a network. Many self-publishing options exist now and the barrier of entry is now lower than it ever has been. But what other platforms don’t have is the interface of community, in-line comments and share-ability that Medium does. With this platform, this story can be easily disseminated and referenced by those who are interested — those who it affects, however tangentially.

Hyperlocal reporting is problematic when the readers don’t know it’s being done or how to access it. With Medium, and social media, that risk is minimized. Medium has perfected the micro-community.

The second reason I am writing this story on Medium is more practical. Typically I publish my work with the Tufts Daily as a kind of digital reporter-photojournalist combo. However, the Tufts Daily is taking its summer hiatus from informing the Tufts community and so our editorial workflow is shutdown.

Without that, the Daily can’t publish but this story also can’t wait. With the cuts announced last week, Tufts Labor Coalition and the union’s fight against the Tufts administration and DTZ has moved from a protest phase to one of damage control. Janitors have (supposedly) been laid off with more coming in the next few months.

How these next chapters pan out could seriously impact the Tufts community, and most critically, the janitors themselves.

Stay tuned…

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I am a photojournalist and digital reporter with an interest in media innovation, digital platforms, and political systems. I make pictures and report on labor.

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