Reynolds Weekly: Monday, October 8, 2018

by October 8, 2018

Looking for story ideas? Check out these angles you can use to localize national headlines. (“ Gift Cards, 1/2015” by Flickr user “Mike Mozart ”)

Amazon Raises Its Minimum Wage

After an investigation with the Intercept and New Food Economy showed that close to a third of Amazon workers in Arizona relied on food stamps to put food on the table, the company announced that it would pay all of its U.S. workers at least $15 an hour. Amazon is eliminating monthly bonuses and stock awards to pay for the increase.

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The Intercept’s reporting showed that one in 10 workers in Pennsylvania and Ohio also relied on food stamps, and that Amazon was in the top 20 of employers. Ask yourself: how do these increased wages impact workers in your region? How many people did it affect? Once Amazon’s new pay rate go into effect on November 1st, which employers will top the list of companies whose workers rely on SNAP benefits to feed their families?

Some small regional businesses may not be able to compete for employees by matching Amazon’s prices, which could impact their hiring process. Amazon’s new pay rate includes temp workers. Does this change the landscape in your area?

Although the wage increase was Amazon’s choice, their decision may tie into local discussion and reporting on minimum wage laws. See our stories for  3 Tips for Reporting on the Minimum Wage Debate and Underexplored Stories on the Minimum Wage Debate.

Unemployment Rate Drops

The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point since 1969, according to a Labor Department report. It dropped from 3.9 percent in August to 3.7 percent last month.

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Holiday sales are expected to be strong, and the economy is good right before holiday hiring season. Some have predicted high wages for seasonal work, as well as sign-on bonuses and other perks as employers compete for workers. How has this impacted your geographic region?

Despite these numbers, the labor force participation is only 62.7 percent, meaning that a lot of people aren’t working. Why are people in your region sitting on the sidelines? How can you tell their stories?

Check out our stories on covering unemployment, looking at statewide industry employment trends, and using government data sources on the labor, employment and economy beat.

Facebook Attack Affects Thousands of Other Sites

We learned in September that hackers broke into 50 million+ Facebook accounts. Security breaches are typically worse than they first appear, though, and this one was no exception.

This week we learned that the hack stole login information that could’ve been used to access hundreds of other sites and apps that allow people to sign in using Facebook credentials. Facebook says it invalidated the tokens necessary to do this, but users may be more hesitant to use Facebook credentials to log into other sites going forward.

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If users have or do lose trust in using Facebook to log into other places, this affects sites and apps like Instagram and Airbnb and Spotify. But it could also affect a plethora of local businesses that allow users to log in using Facebook credentials. Ask yourself: what are the biggest local businesses that allow users to log in this way? Will they be changing their practices?

These types of stories can drum up interest in cybersecurity. Check out our stories on personal data brokers and online privacy and reporting on data breaches.