The Sun loses three key staffers as negotiations on a new contract continue

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The Sun’s Port Covington printing plant. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

As newsroom employees continue their fight for wage increases, The Sun is losing three well-known staffers to other jobs.

City Hall reporter Ian Duncan is leaving for The Washington Post, and investigative reporter Doug Donovan and opinion editor Andrew Green are taking positions at Johns Hopkins University, sources at the newspaper confirmed.

All three did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The departures come just over a week after reporters and photographers staged a byline strike to show their bosses at Tribune Publishing what Baltimore’s flagship paper would look like “if all of the reporters and photographers who deliver the news were no longer around.”

Environment reporter Scott Dance, who serves as unit chair of the newsroom’s union, said the offers presented by Tribune, which staffers have previously called “devastating” and “a slap in the face,” have caused concern.

“I can’t say what pushed anyone’s decisions and I know there are a lot of factors for people that have nothing to do with our negotiations,” he said. “However I can say unequivocally the company’s proposals have people concerned about the future of The Sun and looking at other jobs.”

The Sun‘s journalists are seeking their first across-the-board raise since 2013. Management, meanwhile, has proposed eliminating guaranteed wage bumps for younger employees, outsourcing more positions and extending the work week to six days if the publisher chooses to, the guild said.

The union and representatives from Tribune held another bargaining session on Tuesday.

Duncan, who has been at the paper since 2012, covered courts and the intelligence community before shifting to the City Hall beat. In just the last year, his work has included multiple harrowing stories that made national headlines: former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” children’s book scandal and the cyberattack that crippled municipal computers for weeks.

Donovan, whose LinkedIn page says he had a previous stint at The Sun from 2003-2008, also contributed significant reporting after Luke Broadwater broke the story that Pugh and other University of Maryland Medical System board members were awarded lucrative contracts with the organization. He worked on an investigation tracking how money from Pugh’s company for the children’s books went toward political donations, and an expos√© that Pugh’s initial defense of her book sales was false.

Over the last year, he’s also dug in on the Stronach Group and how the company has plowed money into Laurel Park while failing to maintain Pimlico Race Course, and how the state commission tasked with overseeing the horse racing industry has numerous conflicts of interest.

And Green, after previous roles as city/state editor and a reporter covering Annapolis and Baltimore County government, has edited the opinion pages and served on The Sun‘s editorial board. Pieces from the board are always unsigned, but in April, he penned an illuminating column recounting his experience serving on a Baltimore jury in a murder trial.

Along with board members Tricia Bishop, Peter Jensen and Glenn McNatt, Green was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing in 2016 for a series of editorials demanding accountability in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death.

The Sun‘s director of audience and analytics, Kalani Gordon, posted on Twitter that the city’s daily newspaper is hiring for these three now-vacant slots and three other jobs.

Brandon Weigel

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