Tag Archives: National Union of Journalists

AIUK: 100 days since ‘bloodiest ever slaughter of journalists’

On Wednesday (3 March) the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Amnesty International are joining forces for a forum marking 100 days from the Philippines massacre in November 2009.

On November 23 2009,  the bloodiest ever slaughter of journalists in a single incident occurred in Maguindanao province, southern Philippines. An entire election convoy of  63 people including 33 accompanying reporters and media personnel was ambushed, and everyone killed.

Enforced disappearances and political killings of trade union leaders, human rights activists and journalists have spiralled in the Philippines in the last decade, mainly in the name of counterinsurgency. The Philippine government has armed and employed poorly trained and unaccountable paramilitary groups to combat insurgent groups, handing powers to local politicians who have acted with impunity.

With 2010 being the self-imposed deadline of the Arroyo administration to end insurgency and with national elections set for 10 May, there are increased fears of further unlawful killings and disappearances.

Full post at this link…

Victory for FT Chinese journalists

Good news for the Financial Times journalists who faced redundancy if they did not return to China, on half their salaries.

The management has changed its mind, following the FT chapel’s threat that its members would ballot on industrial action if the FT Chinese journalists were not allowed to stay.

We reported on the National Union of Journalists’ outrage over the affair on 12 February. The latest update comes from NUJ Active (we expect a fuller NUJ statement soon):

The immediate defence by journalists at the Financial Times of Chinese colleagues threatened with redundancy by management has brought complete victory. The FT chapel demanded unanimously that the redundancy threat be lifted from their four colleagues on the FTChinese website, and warned that otherwise FT journalists might ballot on industrial action. So management did as it was told.

Update: and here’s the fuller NUJ statement:

Two of the four Chinese journalists are British citizens, and they all work on terms and conditions inferior to other journalists at the Financial Times. The newspaper had decided that the specialist group of Chinese journalists at the paper had to return to China on half their current salaries or else accept redundancy.

The NUJ chapel voted unanimously at a capacity meeting: “We condemn the outrageous treatment of journalists on FTChinese. We demand no redundancies on FTChinese and that the journalists be placed on the same terms and conditions as the rest of FT editorial We will ballot for industrial action if these demands are not met.”

“We are pleased that our employer has realised just how unfair and unacceptable were its proposals for our Chinese colleagues. We look forward to talking with management about securing the future of our Chinese journalists at the Financial Times on proper terms and conditions,” said David Crouch, the father of chapel.

“Financial Times management has had the good sense to reconsider an unacceptable decision. Our FT Chapel is to be congratulated on its speedy and determined resistance to a management error which was entirely unacceptable to the culture of the diverse media culture of the NUJ,” said NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear.

NUJ general secretary calls on coroner to allow blogger into court

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called upon the Isle of Wight coroner to allow a banned blogger into his court.

As we reported yesterday, Simon Perry of the VentnorBlog – a site that has been publishing local news for over four years – was refused entry, both as a journalist or a member of the public, to the Isle of Wight coroner’s court on Tuesday (23 February).  Perry has been a member of the NUJ for over nine years.

While parts of a small number of inquests may be held in private for reasons of national security, in this instance the hearing was public – and the local newspaper journalist was allowed to stay.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has written to the Isle of Wight coroner’s office expressing “grave concern” at the decision to ban Simon Perry, Journalism.co.uk has learned.

“The principle of open justice is vital to any democracy,” said Jeremy Dear. “Any journalist will tell you that the right of the public to know what happens in a coroner’s court is fundamental to a free society.

“I’m glad that Simon Perry regards this serious incident as a matter for his union, the NUJ. We will certainly pursue the issue vigorously.”

Over nine years of NUJ membership “would surely point to me not being fly by night,” Perry told Journalism.co.uk yesterday.

When Journalism.co.uk contacted the coroner’s court yesterday, the official did not wish to comment, but confirmed that the Coroner had made a statement once VentnorBlog had left the room.

The Ministry of Justice guide to coroner and inquests says (available via this link):

All inquests must be held in public in accordance with the principle of open justice, and so members of the public and journalists have the right to, and indeed may, attend (although parts of a very small number of inquests may be held in private for national security reasons). Whether journalists attend a particular inquest – and whether they report on it – is a matter for them. If any such report is fair and accurate it cannot be used to sue for defamation.

NUJ membership cost rises

For the first time in two years, subscriptions for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have gone up.

Journalists’ subscriptions to the NUJ are to rise from 1 March, by between 8p and 15p a week – or between £4.16 and £7.80 per year.

The new grades (described at this link):

Grade 1: £150 now 154.16 a year. Grade 2:  £189 now 195.24 a year. Grade 3: £260 now 267.80 a year.

The changes were decided at the NUJ’s annual conference at the end of last year and come into effect on 1 March.

“Nobody likes an increase in subscriptions, but this small increase is unavoidable if we are to keep the union financially healthy,” said general secretary Jeremy Dear.

NUJ subscriptions still represent “tremendous value” for money, Dear claimed. “Last year the union secured more than £3m for staff and freelance members who were unfairly treated at work, saved jobs, and secured improved redundancy terms. And it remains true that in unionised workplaces workers earn 12.5 per cent more than in non-unionised workplaces.”

The NUJ is also currently promoting its ‘union recognition’ campaign, encouraging more workplaces to work with the union.

Full statement at this link…

FT Chinese staff threatened with redundancies

A group of journalists working for FT Chinese, a Chinese language website, are facing redundancy if they do not return to China, on half their salaries, the National Union of Journalists has reported.

Two of the four Chinese journalists are British citizens, and they already have “inferior” terms and conditions to other journalists at the Financial Times, it was claimed by the NUJ today.

The National Union of Journalists Financial Times chapel is threatening to ballot for action, if plans are not reversed.

The NUJ chapel at the Financial Times voted unanimously – at a meeting attended by over 80 members – to demand that the threat of the redundancies be lifted.

“We condemn the outrageous treatment of journalists on FT Chinese. We demand no redundancies on FT Chinese and that the journalists be placed on the same terms and conditions as the rest of FT editorial. It is unconscionable that the FT is sending FT Chinese journalists into harm’s way. We will ballot for industrial action if these demands are not met,” said a spokesperson from the NUJ office branch.

One of the FT Chinese staff wrote to colleagues: “It was a tremendous shock to the entire team. This reminded us of a very old Chinese saying: ‘kill the donkey after it has done its job at the mill’. The best equivalent in English I can think of is ‘kick down the ladder’.”

A email sent to FT staff on behalf of the NUJ chapel, said it “was shocked but not surprised to hear about the Chinese journalist situation”.

“This is no longer the FT that we all joined. The FT used to be a place of compassion, where people were looked after and, in return, gave the job their all.

“Now there are job cuts while new hires are ongoing, constant pressure from bosses to get more in a shrinking paper, filing for the web for ft.com and blogging, and yet no personal support in return. This new FT is not the great place to work of the past. The end result will be lack of commitment to the paper, which will, eventually, show up in the quality of the end product.

The Financial Times told Journalism.co.uk it did not have a comment to make at this point.

NUJ campaigns and communications officer to leave union

Hot on the heels of campaigns officer Miles Barter, the senior campaigns and communications officer, Stephen Pearse, is to leave the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Pearse is to re-locate to Brussels, creating an opening at the Union. The senior campaigns and communications officer position attracts a salary of £48,623.30 pa (plus London weighting). The position of campaigns officer, meanwhile, offers £26,966.46 pa (plus London weighting). Details of how to apply at this link…

Barter handed in his resignation in November 2009. Blogger Jon Slattery reported on accusations made by defeated Journalist editor candidate Mark Watts that the campaigns officer had been ‘forced out’. The NUJ and Barter denied the allegations.

Live coverage of the National Union of Journalists ADM

A team of student National Union of Journalist (NUJ) members are providing live coverage of the union’s ADM this weekend.

Reporters will be covering key speeches and debates from the event on nujadm.org.uk complete with a section of liveblogs, motions news and speeches.

You can also follow the team’s tweets at the hashtag #nujadm or below:

Online journalism at the NUJ ADM: The Journalist, Twitter and new blood

And so, the annual National Union of Journalists (NUJ) delegate meeting (ADM) draws near; with a variety of motions and amendments up for debate on November 19-22 (final agenda available at this link – PDF).

Among them, many issues that directly concern online media: both in terms of how the NUJ communicates through the internet, and how to engage with online journalists.

How to attract new blood?

For the New Media Industrial Council (NMIC), member recruitment among the digital community is key. For this purpose, it commissioned freelancer and former newspaper journalist Vivien Sandt to research digital media, looking into employment patterns in the UK and Ireland to help the council form a new strategy. Sandt will present some of her findings at the ADM 2009.

How should the Journalist handle its web presence?

Another topic up for discussion is how campaigns and The Journalist should be managed online. As the fight for The Union publication’s editorship rages (see the Journalism.co.uk forum for some lively discussion), the Press and PR branch proposes this motion [excerpt]:

“(….) Union rules allow that [the Journalist] editor has editorial content only over online content taken from the Union’s journal. ADM believes this is insufficient for the editor’s new role (…)

It proposes a motion to change the rules to allow that ‘the editor shall have additional editorial control over union and other website pages holding content taken from or associated with the union’s journal written or commissioned by the editor’.

Leeds branch wished to clarify this: ‘that all editorial content on the NUJ website shall by under the independent control of the editor of the union’s journal, unless the editor agrees to cede control of specific content for a specific purpose and for a specific amount of time’.

That is bound to raise some questions over the relationship between the Journalist and other parts of the NUJ, especially with its support of another motion proposed: ‘ADM further instructs the NEC to implement, without further delay, the integration of the Journalist’s editor into the Union’s Campaign and Communications department’.

North Wales Coast branch, which proposed the original motion, claim that the mixture of internet strategies has pushed the Journalist ‘into becoming a cross between a picture led kind of OK magazine and Agony Aunt Letters column’.

[See what the editor hopefuls suggest for the Journalist website at this link to the Journalism.co.uk forum.]

How should the NUJ engage with social media?

This motion proposed by Magazine is bound to create some discussion: the last para has already been recommended as void by the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) for ‘uncertainty of meaning'”…

This ADM notes that:

1) Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging are irrevocably changing the face of journalism.
2)That many of this new wave of journalists believe the NUJ’s attitude towards them is out of date.

This ADM instructs the NEC to address this problem by working with the blogging community and Twitteratti [sic] to bridge this gap and create a framework that embraces the NUJ’s journalistic principle while maintaining the press freedom enjoyed by bloggers and twitterers.

London Magazine further suggests a survey should be carried out, organised by NMIC.

Want to get involved?

The New Media Industrial Council is currently seeking NUJ members to represent these areas: London (1 out of 2) Midlands (1) Black Members Council (1) Disabled Members Council (1) North East (1). The non-geographical seats have to be nominated by the bodies concerned, and all NMIC members must be NUJ members working in new media. Those interested can e-mail the council’s chair (Gary Herman) in confidence on this address: gary.herman [at] gmail.com.

Judith Townend is a member of the National Union of Journalists (Brighton & Mid-Sussex branch) and is co-opted to sit on the New Media Industrial Council – beginning after the ADM 2009.

Journalism.co.uk forum poll: Who do you want to edit the NUJ’s Journalist magazine?

The race for the NUJ Journalist editorship has made for a lively week in the Journalism.co.uk forum, not least by candidate Mark Watts’ attack on the NUJ Left section of the union.

All eight contenders have been dutifully answering questions put to them by users. How would have they advised the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir? How will they attract new members? Is there a need for a print version at all? And why should we even care who edits The Journalist?

And now everyone is invited to participate in a open poll in which anyone can vote, anonymously, NUJ member or not. Unlike the real NUJ vote, the results will be decided on a first-past-the-post basis.

The debate will continue right up to the official closing date of November 6.

NUJ Journalist Editor Election: Mark Watts’ ‘exposé’ circular to NUJ members

Mark Watts, one of the candidates campaigning for the NUJ Journalist magazine and website editorship, has issued a statement to 19,000 of the union’s members claiming to ‘expose’ another candidate Rich Simcox as a member of the NUJ Left, arguing that this section of the NUJ ‘is trying to hijack the union from its members’.

However, scepticism over whether Simcox’s allegiance was much of a secret has already been raised by Jon Slattery on his blog:

“Watts names the NUJ Left candidate as Rich Simcox. But is this such a shocking revelation? Simcox told me when I revealed he was standing in the election on September 3 that he had the support of the NUJ Left and I reported the fact here in the second paragraph of the story.

“Watts, however, alleges that Simcox has not revealed his NUJ Left backing in his election material. His email ends dramatically: ‘Lance the boil. Save the NUJ’. Simcox told me today: “I didn’t realise it was such a secret. It comes up fourth when you Google my name.”

Journalism.co.uk has contacted Rich Simcox for a response to Watts’ statement, in the meantime, please leave your thoughts below this post. What questions would you like to ask Watts or Simcox?

We’ve created a special section of our bulletin board for you to quiz the would-be editors on their plans for the union title and why they should take the helm. It’s already very active, with numerous responses from six of the eight candidates. Add your question by posting a new topic on the forum at this link or by emailing us at laura or judith [at] journalism.co.uk.

Mark Watts statement as follows: