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‘This won’t be solved through recruitment alone’: Your thoughts on the NUJ’s financial crisis

May 29th, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Journalism

Confirmation from the National Union of Journalists that it is facing insolvency has prompted journalists to suggest some ideas on how to improve the union’s situation.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said in an email to all members yesterday that “doing nothing is not an option” – and she asked members to encourage colleagues to join the union.

She said: “If no action is taken the union would face insolvency and the consequential prospect of a merger as soon as later this year.

“We have been here before, and the way out is by acting together in the collective interests of the union we are all passionate about.”

Journalist Leah Borromeo said the NUJ’s problems would not be solved through recruitment alone and that a merger with broadcasting union Bectu would reflect convergence in the wider media industry. Back in 2008, the NUJ looked at leaving its Headland House headquarters in London and sharing with Bectu, but nothing came of it.

Brian Whelan says not enough is being done to recruit graduates:

NUI Galway MA student Colette Sexton adds:

And Sheffield Uni MA student Luke Martin says the NUJ’s antiquated website isn’t helping:

However, Donnacha DeLong says improvements to the site are on the way:

One option being proposed is a five per cent rise in subscription rates. However, Telegraph journalist Jennifer O’Mahony suggests rethinking the membership fees structure altogether:

Any ideas? What would you do to improve the finances of the NUJ?

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Media release: NUJ wants Scottish government inquiry into future of media

May 2nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

The National Union of Journalists is calling on the Scottish government to carry out an inquiry into the effect that editorial cutbacks are having on “a free and diverse media in the country”.

A similar inquiry was held by the Welsh Assembly last year – with a report expected shortly. The union’s Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said in a release:

The NUJ in Scotland has sought political support for our hard pressed industry for a number of years but the situation has deteriorated to where there is a serious threat to the future of titles but also to the existence of some newspaper groups. We believe there is a duty on government to intervene and help create a safer, robust environment for the press and media to operate.

A motion at the Scottish Trades Union Congress said:

Congress calls on the general council to urge the Scottish Government to set up urgently a Commission of Inquiry into the future of the media in Scotland, and to call on all member unions and the Scottish Government to promote the survival of thriving and responsible media, including:

  • supporting the creation of a Scottish Digital Broadcasting Network;
  • supporting the development of trust models of media ownership, such as the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian and Observer Group;
  • campaigning for the development of new forms of community media;
  • identifying and prosecuting media behaviour that breaches privacy laws;
  • developing new regulatory mechanisms to replace the discredited UK Press Complaints Commission; and
  • encouraging the development of new sources of funding for investigative journalism, including academic institutions and foundations concerned with civil society and democracy.
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Bristol branch of NUJ to protest over Evening Post cuts

The Bristol branch of the National Union of Journalists is due to hold a peaceful demonstration later today following news that 20 jobs were at risk with publication of the Evening Post’s Saturday edition to be stopped from next month.

The protest will take place outside an exhibition marking 80 years of the Northcliffe Media’s title from 6.15pm outside the Galleries in Bristol. The union branch says it has received much support from the local community.

Last week NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said the changes to the Evening Post were a “shock announcement”.

We call on the paper’s management to take steps to avoid job losses and enter into meaningful consultation with staff and their union representatives.

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Full Leveson inquiry statements from NUJ and Guardian

November 16th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Legal

Guardian's Alan Rusbridger speaking to the Leveson inquiry. Still taken from video

The Leveson inquiry into press standards heard from key industry figures today, including representatives for the National Union of Journalists, the Guardian and the legal representative of alleged “victims” given core participant status.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ spoke first, describing the Press Complaints Commission as “little more than a self-serving gentleman’s club, and not a very good one at that”.

She also accused the system of having “failed, and abysmally so”. Her full statement to the inquiry has been published on the NUJ’s site here.

The inquiry also heard from editor-in-chief of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger, who has posted his statement in full online.

Near the beginning of his statement Rusbridger highlights the shifts which have taken place within the industry and are affecting journalists:

We also live in a world in which every reader becomes a potential fact checker. Social media allows anyone to respond to, expose, highlight, add to, clarify or contradict what we write. We have the choice whether to pretend this world of response doesn’t exist, or to incorporate it into what we do.

The more we incorporate it, the more journalism becomes, as it were, plastic. There will be less pretence that we are telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth about a story, frozen at the moment it is published – what Walter Lippman in 1922 called the confusion between “news” and “truth”. A journalist today lives with the knowledge that there will be an external reaction to much of what she or he writes within minutes of publication. Journalism today is often less a snapshot, more a moving picture.

Video of today’s hearing is available to view on the Leveson inquiry website here.

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NUJ invites News International journalists to meeting

November 1st, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Job losses, Jobs, Newspapers

The National Union of Journalists is due to hold a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 2 November) to discuss the recently announced cuts to editorial within the Times and Sunday Times, which is open to member and non-member freelance, casual and staff journalists at the publisher’s titles.

Last month the Times announced it was to cut around 100 staff from the newspapers’ editorial workforce, with the bulk of those said to be to casual staff. It was also confirmed that 20 compulsory redundancies are due to be made from full-time staff at the Sunday Times, which is cutting 30 per cent of its casual editorial workforce.

Following this announcement the NUJ set up a meeting, which is open to any staff who wish to seek advice. It will be held from 1 to 3pm at the Captain Kidd pub, 108 Wapping High Street, E1W 2NE. The union has also invited representatives of the company’s in-house union NISA to attend if interested in working with the NUJ.

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#jpod in depth: Strikers on BBC picket lines

August 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Job losses, Jobs, Podcast

This week’s #jpod looks at the BBC strikes which have been held by members of the National Union of Journalists in recent weeks. Staff performed their second 24-hour walk-out in protest at compulsory redundancies at the broadcaster, this week.

According to the union, more than 100 people are at risk of losing their jobs at the BBC World Service and jobs are also said to be at risk in divisions including BBC Monitoring, BBC Scotland and potentially BBC Wales, BBC 4, BBC Sport and TV Current Affairs.

In this podcast we visit the picket lines to speak to journalists striking at a regional BBC outlet and hear their concerns, as well as Jonathan Lovett, father of the chapel for the NUJ at Tindle Newspapers in Enfield, to discuss the power of industrial action and how him and his colleagues won concessions from management.

You can sign up to our iTunes podcast feed for future audio.

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Johnston Press strike breakers brag about newsroom antics on Facebook

Johnston Press journalists picket the offices of the South Yorkshire Times

Johnston Press in South Yorkshire are out on indefinite strike over planned redundancies at five titles in the region. (See more from Journalism.co.uk about the strike action at this link).

Management have come in for a lot of flak from the unions over their handling of the strike, which included asking a 16-year-old schoolboy on work experience to stay on an extra week and help cover the newsdesk.

Further embarrassment for the company comes in the form of Tom Bills and friend Jack Reed. Tom – the son of Johnston Press managing director John Bills – and Jack were drafted in to help out on the newsdesk of the Doncaster Free Press, according to NUJ deputy organiser for the region Lawrence Shaw, despite having no journalistic experience.

But rather than hide their faces away like strike breakers might normally do, ferried through a picket line on a bus with wire mesh on the windows, Tom and Jack publicised their newsroom antics on Facebook, for the world to see.

Shaw spotted the Facebook status updates and reposted them on his blog.

They include such gems from Tom as:

workin in a newsroom in doncaster, av been for a couple of weeks! Its reaaaaalllly goood!:) x

is it bad that I found the word ‘erection’ funny at work in a story about a building being built?!!:)

sooooo bored at work I’ve actually started look at the clock more than my computer screen.

Bored, but managing to get though it:

just thinkin of the dollar atm!

As, I’m sure, are the journalists out on strike with no pay.

And from Tom’s equally eloquent friend Jack:

nothing get a man erect like doncaster editorial. lets toss each other off.

And:

can u listen to ur ipod in a newsroom wen ur sposed to be workin?

Humorous yes, but as Shaw points out, the move raises questions about John Bills’ judgement:

Why did he employ his own son and his friend to work in editorial when neither appear to have any journalistic training or experience, then allow them to sarcastically spout forth on facebook belittling the newspapers he runs? It reinforces the belief held by the NUJ that John Bills cares not a jot about the editorial coverage in the newspaper, or even the reputation of the papers.

Had any ordinary NUJ member been caught mouthing off on facebook in the same way, they would have almost certainly been sacked for bringing the company into disrepute. So seeing as John Bills is ultimately responsible for employing his son to sit in the office and mouth off about how crap it is working at the Doncaster Free Press, surely Johnston Press directors should be seriously questioning his suitability for running a newspaper group.

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NUJ: Journalists demand ‘immediate talks’ as 22 jobs face cut at Media Wales

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Local media

The National Union of Journalists claims reporters at Media Wales are demanding “immediate talks” with management following plans to cut 22 jobs at the publisher.

According to the union, under the proposals 10 district office staff, eight production journalists and four members of the sports staff would be made redundant. Media Wales, part of the Trinity Mirror group, publishes titles including the Western Mail, South Wales Echo and the Wales on Sunday.

The NUJ chapel members have unanimously passed a motion which states the chapel “expresses shock at the scale of editorial cuts being proposed”, adding that “it is determined to do everything possible to protect the jobs, wages and conditions of its members, as well as the quality of our products”.

Father of the chapel Martin Shipton said: “We shall be entering an intensive period of negotiation with management to mitigate the damage to our members’ livelihood and the newspapers we produce.

“Members are especially angry that while they are expected to lose their jobs or in some cases take pay cuts, Sly Bailey and her fellow directors continue to be paid obscene amounts of money.”

Within the motion the chapel also authorises its committee “to take whatever action it sees fit in association with the union’s national officers”, which could include organising a strike ballot.

In a statement Media Wales confirmed the proposals, which centre on the introduction of a single production team for news and features across the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and all its weekly titles.

This means cuts to the number of full-time roles in the editorial production department and the introduction of a new part-time system, the company said.

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NUJ to protest against green light for News Corp’s BSkyB takeover

June 30th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Business, Politics

The National Union of Journalists is planning to protest at noon today outside the Department of Culture, Media and Sport headquarters in London, following culture secretary Jeremy Hunts’ announcement that he plans to give News Corp’s BSkyB takeover bid the go-ahead, subject to a minor new consultation.

The union has been readied for a demonstration since earlier indicators that Hunt was preparing to give the green light to the merger, and today confirmed the details.

NUJ members are urged to attend the event, which has been organised by the NUJ, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and campaigning groups Avaaz and 38 Degrees.

In reference to the ongoing phone hacking investigation the NUJ’s general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “The NUJ stands opposed to News Corporation’s bid to extend its power. It is unacceptable that the BSkyB merger is even being considered whilst serious charges are outstanding. The NUJ wants the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World to be the subject of a full judicial inquiry, and the development of a media governed by public and not corporate interest.”

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NUJ: Ray Tindle to meet with Parlimentary representatives over Enfield dispute

June 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs

The situation at Tindle Newspapers in Enfield, where journalists have already taken industrial action in protest over a lack of staffing, remains tense. A ballot has been returned in favour of further strike action and journalists claim there has been no response from management from their first walk out.

So an announcement today, reported by the campaigning group of National Union of Journalist members on Twitter, that Sir Ray Tindle was to meet with the NUJ Parliamentary group on Tuesday next week, was welcomed by father of the chapel Jonathan Lovett.

 

There has not been confirmation of the meeting yet from Tindle headquarters, but Lovett told Journalism.co.uk it is a positive step as they decide about action in the near future.

They are meeting and asking him to explain the situation, why he is putting us in this situation and what he is going to do about it … We haven’t had a meeting as such with him so I took it as a positive. I think we can now have a reasonable discussion.

Related content:

Enfield nine in unanimous vote for further strike action

Trinity Mirror to cut 26 jobs as Newcastle Evening Chronicle shifts to single edition

Newsquest South London new four day strike announced

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