Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Minimum wage issue a lesson in inclusion

By · Monday, August 24th, 2015

Classes at the Newhouse School start a week from today, and it’s time to remind ourselves how many lessons surround us every day, with every story and post that we read.

Take, for example, the increased minimum wage issue that’s been in the news. Lots of information. Plenty of opinions.

If you’re following that news, here’s a New York Times story that will enlighten you on how restaurant owners are handling the increased cost of raising the minimum wage at their establishments: “As Minimum Wages Rise, Restaurants Say No to Tips, Yes to Higher Prices” by Patricia Cohen.

Importantly, a key theme is inclusion. Several restaurant owners explain how they are trying to include all workers in the benefits of higher wages. Not just the servers, but the cooks and dishwashers, too.

A telling line from the story:

Like many owners, Ms. (Amanda) Cohen has long wanted to close the yawning earnings gap
between those who prepare the food and those who serve it.

Amanda Cohen owns Dirt Candy, described in the story as “an upscale eatery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.” With a no-tip policy, she charges patrons a 20 percent “administrative fee” and pays servers $25 an hour.

Interestingly, writer Patricia Cohen includes an all-important cosmic element in her story: What’s happening elsewhere? What can we learn here from something happening there? Who else is doing this?

Before we tell you more, take a moment to read Patricia Cohen’s story in full.

And be sure to read through the last paragraph because she also includes another important story element: a strong kicker at the end.

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