Introduction to The Writers’ Strike Issue

Welcome to this special issue of FlowTV focusing on the recent three-month WGA strike over the payment of residuals to film and television writers. In keeping with Flow’s mission to “discuss the changing landscape of contemporary media at the speed that media moves,” we bring you four pieces with predominantly personal perspectives on the strike. While most folks followed the strike from the remove of fandom, many of us in media studies were closely connected to or personally involved in the strike, bridging the divide between our theoretical standpoints and praxis.

To provide a range of experiences during the strike, this issue includes essays from academics, media professionals, and industry practitioners alike. Many of our writers consider the unique intersection of the Internet and the strike, which had an undeniable impact on how the writers were received and understood by the traditional media and their fan bases alike. Dante Atkins, the communications professional behind the United Hollywood blog, explains how this vital information-dissemination tool came into being. Jennie and Dan Chamberlain have collaborated on a piece about Jennie’s work as a striking writer and contract captain in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Erin Giannini brings a perspective from abroad about the potential for the strike to illuminate new ideas about convergence and the impact of fan activity. Shelley Jenkins offers insight on how her undergraduate students at Cal-State Fullerton handled the issue of crossing the picket line in order to complete their internships necessary to graduate.

Admittedly, these pieces reflect an overwhelmingly pro-WGA standpoint. However, as Atkins points out, this perspective was shared by 77% of those aware of the strike. Furthermore, as our writers demonstrate, supporting the WGA was not a simple or one-sided position, particularly as negotiations stalled and work-stoppage continued for three months. Overall, it is the personal perspective brought by our contributors that makes this issue a noteworthy early contribution to scholarly material on the WGA strike. The staff at FlowTV hopes you will enjoy it and engage with these perspectives in the comment section.

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