In the beginning…the Hearst Manifesto

Guild petition early historyTo celebrate the 80th anniversary of this Local’s first meeting – which occurred on March 4, 1934, we publish a scanned copy of this document.

Sometimes referred to as the “Hearst Manifesto,” this petition states, “Pursuant to the spirit of the National Recovery Act of the United States, we the undersigned, convinced of the common interests shared by the newspaper men and women, and with faith in the loyalty to each other of newspaper men and women in a common cause, hereby pledge ourselves to assume the responsibilities of membership in THE NEWSPAPER GUILD OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY CITIES when it is formally organized, for the purpose of:

  • Improving the conditions under which newspaper men and women work;
  • Raising the standards of journalism;
  • Mutual self-help; and
  • Protecting our rights by collective action.”

We turned this document over to San Francisco State University for preservation.  SFSU then provided us with the high-resolution scan that you see here.

The first signature on this petition is that of Don Stevens.  Stevens began his career as a newspaper man during the Great Depression and was the wire service editor at the San Francisco Examiner in 1934 when he became one of the founding members of our Local.

We just found the backing to the original framing of the Hearst manifesto, and there is a note written by Stevens.  It states, “This is the original pledge list circulated to start organization of the Guild in San Francisco Bay Area…The first Guild meeting was held March 4, 1934.”  Stevens went on to explain that people signed the petition in no particular order.

On April 22, 1936, Heywood Broun, president of the American Newspaper Guild, signed the charter for our Local – then named The Newspaper Guild of Northern California, Local 52.

Don Stevens passed away on January 13, 2001 at the tender age of 102.  He had trapped wolves in his native state of Montana, edited newspapers, and built homes.  But the biggest thing in his life was “that he cared about the working people of this country — and all over, really — and the unfairness that many of them faced,” said his friend Bob Wallace.

We continue to stand by and fight for the values reflected in the Manifesto, after over 75 years in the labor movement.  We are the mighty media workers.  Solidarity forever!

We wish to thank our former Coro Fellow, Eunice Kwon, for the work she did on the high-resolution scan.

Author Image
Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer