Reynolds Weekly: March 1, 2019

by March 1, 2019

Looking for business stories to cover? We’ve taken recent headlines and put together a list of resources and angles you can use for your local coverage. (Image by Pixabay user Fuzz)

Walmart Changes Job Requirements for Front Door Greeters

Walmart reportedly plans to remove 1,000 greeter positions, replacing them with “customer hosts” who must be able to lift 25 pounds and stand for long periods of time. The layoffs, which are expected to take place at the end of April, are likely to disproportionately affect disabled and elderly workers. Walmart has stated that it would extend the transition period and explore potential accommodations for workers with disabilities.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act allows companies to change their job requirements, but they must make reasonable accommodations for individual workers. According to NPR, several employees with disabilities who have lost their jobs filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints and one lawsuit has been filed. Finding local advocacy organizations and sources who have been affected can give depth to local reporting.
Check out our posts on reporting on the economics of disability and business stories about ADA compliance. Columbia Journalism Review has a post about what journalists can do to better cover the disability beat. ASU’s National Center on Disability and Journalism offers resources as well, including a disability language style guide.
U.S. Bike Companies Are Circumventing China Tariffs
Some U.S.-based bicycle manufacturers have shifted production outside of the U.S. in order to import Chinese parts without having to pay tariffs. Other industries have used this legal tariff-avoidance strategy, too.

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Before speaking with local bicycle manufacturers and industry associations, you can look at Census data (as Reuters did) to put this issue in context. To delve into research, check out our post on where to go for trade information, and how to localize export stories. Resources include your  local Chamber of Commerce, government website, the International Trade Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Census bureau, industry associations, and more.

University of California Terminates Subscriptions with Elsevier

The University of California (UC) decided not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, because Elsevier could not offer universal open access to the university’s research. UC’s 10 campuses account for nearly 10 percent of publishing output in the country, and the university wanted it to be available to the public for free, without having to pay additional publishing fees in addition to its multi-million dollar subscription.

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Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher in the world, has received criticism for its prices. Meanwhile, the open access publishing movement (which allows anybody to view academic papers for free) has been growing. However, journals have been critiquing Plan S, a European-based initiative requiring scientific studies to be made freely available as soon as they are published. Where do universities in your region stand on the issue? What about scientific publishers in your area?