m a g a z i n e
t h e
n at i o n a l
u n i o n
www.nuj.org.uk | August/September 2012
Journalism? Donâ€™t talk to me about journalism!
j o u r n a l i s t s
Contents Cover feature
16 Robots as journalists?
Artificial intelligence in the newsroom
s the union’s vital recruitment drive gets underway, there’s work for everyone in the NUJ who wants to lend a hand. And at least nobody will have to persuade robots to sign up, though that’s not an impossible prospect, as Laura Slattery outlines in our cover feature on the use of artificial intelligence in the media. There are good reasons why non-members should listen to the invitations of NUJ activists to fill in an application form. Barrie Clement has been looking at the many ways the NUJ delivers for journalists at work, and there are hundreds of success stories where being in the union has paid dividends. While our industries continue to undergo the upheaval sparked by the so-called digital revolution, it’s worth remembering that it has passed many communities by. We examine the future for those who are excluded from the brave new online world, and what journalism will mean for them. This issue of The Journalist also offers some advice for members willing to get more involved in helping their colleagues, there are some specialist observations on privacy, and the refreshing enthusiasm of a young member who has just completed an apprenticeship in journalism. Our regular commentators and five pages of news about the NUJ and the media round off this edition of your magazine.
Eddie Barrett Acting Editor
Editor Christine Buckley firstname.lastname@example.org Design Surgerycreations.com email@example.com Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7657 1837 Print Warners www.warners.co.uk Distribution Packpost www.packpostsolutions.com
NUJ 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP email@example.com www.nuj.org.uk Tel: 020 7843 3700
Manchester office firstname.lastname@example.org Glasgow office email@example.com Dublin office firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover picture istockphoto
03 Recovery budget agreed
NUJ spending plan in place
04 Trinity Mirror recognition deal
Landmark bargaining agreement
05 Last words to Leveson
Regulation but not by the state
06 Renegotiate BBC licence
Unions to meet new director general
07 Fightback over ITN job losses
Strike ballot authorised by the NEC
10 If it wasn’t for the union ...
How the NUJ delivers for members
18 Missing the digital bus
Reaching the unwired communities
09 Michelle Stanistreet 21 Unspun: the view from inside PR 29 Technology
Arts with Attitude Pages 24-25
Raymond Snoddy Page 30
Letters Pages 26
Recovery Plan budget agreed by executive
budget for the union based on the NUJ Recovery Plan has been agreed by the National Executive Council. General secretary Michelle Stanistreet told the NEC that six members of staff had volunteered for redundancy, which had helped in achieving the aim of both NUJ management and staff unions to avoid compulsory redundancies. Before last month’s NEC meeting some branches had criticised the recovery plan for threatening possible compulsory redundancies, and argued that the union must find another way forward. The general secretary thanked the six departing members of staff – Don Mackglew, Lawrence Shaw, Jo Frost, George McClure, June Coughlan and Eve DaCosta – for their many years of dedicated work for the union. NEC members also expressed their warmest best wishes to the departing colleagues. The general secretary said further savings would be made in the coming year because a dozen staff had offered to work reduced hours to mitigate the danger of redundancies. In addition, trade union training – to which the NUJ remained deeply committed – would be administered through the General Federation of Trade Unions. The administration of professional training, which would continue
to be delivered to members through external trainers, would be put out to tender. The new budget is based on NUJ income in the next financial year of £4.9 million from union subscriptions and other sources, with spending of £4.7 million. The plan involves setting aside £250,000 a year to build up future union funds. The budget also depends on decisions by the NUJ delegate meeting in Newcastle in October to increase union subscriptions by between 15p and 26p a week, and also to hold delegate meetings every two years. Deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick told the NEC that the budget was a realistic one in current circumstances. It was important to build up reserves, but the plan to build them up by £250,000 annually would be difficult. The Unity Trust Bank has accepted the NUJ Recovery Plan and has agreed a loan to put it into effect.
in brief... MEDIA ENCOURAGED ENGLISH LOOTERS News outlets need to be held to account over the English riots, says a study by Dr Leah Bassel of Leicester University. Coverage was ‘stigmatising’, too reliant on official sources and may even have ‘disinhibited’ looters, said Dr Bassel.
The plan involves setting aside £250,000 a year to build up future union funds
You’ve got mail: please answer it
he union is asking all members to take part in a major survey to help develop its work for journalists and journalism. General secretary Michelle
Stanistreet will be contacting members by email to seek their co-operation with a simple questionnaire which will enable the NUJ to build a comprehensive picture of
the union’s membership and give members a chance to promote the most pressing problems and issues facing the industry. This will allow the NUJ to plan campaigns,
JOURNALIST STRESS LEVELS SOAR
survey to assess stress levels among journalists has been launched by the NUJ amid a huge surge in calls to the union. Members at four regional publishers north of the border – Scottish Provincial Press, Newsquest, Johnston Press and Clyde and Forth Press – are taking part. A similar questionnaire by the union in 2008 found extremely high levels of stress which led to MSPs calling for employers to take action.
The union’s assistant organiser in Scotland Dominic Bascombe said: “People are developing illnesses as a result of the amount of stress they are under. “The past couple of years have been quite difficult for our industry and in trying to deal with that, less scrupulous employers are taking it out on staff by increasing workloads.”
strategies and the services it provides to the membership. To make sure that the union has your upto-date details, please email email@example.com
BLUSTER OVER COUNCIL PAPERS Ministers are to take tougher action against local authorities flouting a voluntary code to restrict council newspapers. Communities secretary Eric Pickles originally launched a crackdown on so-called ‘Town Hall Pravdas’ in 2010. NUJ national organizer Fiona Swarbrick said: “Concerns about politicisation or waste are better dealt with by facts and analysis rather than bluster and innuendo.” (See Letters Page 26) IMF BOYCOTTS GREEK REPORTER The European Federation of Journalists is backing a Greek reporter who was threatened with a boycott by the International Monetary Fund. Zois Tsolis of the TO VIMA newspaper had refused to betray the source of a story revealing the workforce in some Greek ministries had increased in defiance of an international agreement. 400,000 LISTENERS LOST BY ‘TODAY’ BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme ‘Today’ reached 6.8 million listeners a week in the second quarter of this year – 400,000 listeners fewer than the same period in 2011, according to Rajar. The Radio 2 breakfast programme increased its weekly audience to 9m a week from 8.7m. COME CUT-PRICE BOMBS AND FALL... The reputation of Slough has never recovered from its 1937 mauling by Sir John Betjeman, but a report by the Midweek Observer about a distinctly modest refurbishment of its town centre is unlikely to improve matters. ‘£100 revamp for the town’, said the headline. theJournalist | 3
news RIGHT TO WITHOLD COUNCIL EMAIL The weekly Mid Devon Gazette acted correctly when it refused to hand over a leaked council e-mail because it might reveal its source, the Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled. Cullompton Town Council and former councillor Ashley Wilce asked the paper for a copy of the leaked e-mail on which it based its story that the authority had been breaching the rules by holding secret finance committee meetings. NORTHCLIFFE CHIEF IS NOT AMUSED Northcliffe Media has withdrawn its legal action over a Twitter account spoofing its chief executive, Steve Auckland. The regional publisher sued Twitter in the US to have the identity of the tweeter known as @UnSteveDorkland revealed. But the account holder, who claimed that Auckland had suffered a sense of humour failure, successfully challenged the order. IRA INTERVIEW MUST BE RELEASED The NUJ expressed grave disappointment at the decision of a US court of appeal to order Boston College to hand over recordings of confidential interviews by NUJ freelance member Anthony McIntyre and former Sunday Tribune Northern Ireland editor Ed Moloney. TIME OUT MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTED FREE London’s weekly listings magazine Time Out is to go free in the Autumn. The company will distribute 300,000 copies a week at London Underground and railway stations, venues, bars, cafes and shops. The current paid-for circulation stands at about 55,000. MASSIVE INCREASE FOR HYPER-LOCALS Tindle Newspapers is claiming a sales increase of 48 per cent for its flagship weekly South London Press which was relaunched as seven hyperlocal papers.
4 | theJournalist
Key recognition deal at Trinity Mirror group
In the space of just a few weeks earlier this year, we went from having a handful of NUJ members to having a significant majority
ctivists and officials are celebrating a landmark recognition deal which means the NUJ now has bargaining rights throughout Trinity Mirror’s regional newspaper network in England. The key agreement was struck at Trinity Mirror Cheshire, the newspaper group’s only remaining regional centre without NUJ bargaining rights. Assistant organiser Lawrence Shaw said: “It is no exaggeration to say that we have been trying collectively for years to crack this particular nut.” Around 15 new members from the main office in Chester and the district office in Crewe joined the union following severe cuts on the company’s titles in the region. Management agreed to voluntary recognition provided ACAS confirmed that more than half of the staff were in membership. In the end 25 out of 34 had signed up, giving a proportion of nearly 74 per cent across the two offices. The joint Cheshire FoC David Triggs and MoC Claire Devine were involved in all the
key meetings which resulted in the successful agreement. David, a member of the NUJ for 12 years, had witnessed numerous failed attempts to establish a chapel in Cheshire. “It always proved difficult to sign up the required numbers, but jobs have been lost over the last couple of years and this led to a collective feeling among journalists that something needed to be done. “In the space of just a few weeks earlier this year, we went from having a handful of NUJ members to having a significant majority. Talks with the company went smoothly and a house agreement is now in place.” He thanked Lawrence and organiser Chris Morley for their ‘first rate’ support. “We couldn’t have done it without them,” said David.
MORE CUTBACKS AT JOHNSTON press
ore communities were set to lose their locally-based reporters as Johnston Press announced fresh office closures. The latest involve five offices in Derbyshire and south Yorkshire: Matlock,
Sutton, Mansfield, Ripley and Mexborough. Management said the areas would still be covered through ‘agreed contact points and regular reporter surgeries’. However, NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley said the new
arrangements were ‘quite simply unworkable’. The NUJ Derby and Burton branch objected to the closures and pointed out to chief executive Ashley Highfield how Matlock was made famous in journalism for the work of investigative
We need a media commission
N mark thomas
UJ vice president Barry McCall (pictured) called on the Irish government to set up a commission on the future of the media in the Republic following the closure of the Offaly Express newspaper by Johnston Press. Addressing NUJ members in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Mr McCall said the company had been allowed to scoop up titles with no regard for the consequences. The Competition Authority had ignored the implications of a loss of media diversity and the government should expedite plans to transfer media competition policy to the Department of Communications. But there was also an urgent need for a wider review of media policy, said Barry.
reporter Don Hale, whose six-year campaign overturned a murder conviction. Meanwhile Johnston Press is planning a new centralised subbing hub at Peterborough for titles from Hastings to Portsmouth.
NUJ calls for regulation, but not by the state PA Archive/Press Association Images
he NUJ called for sweeping changes to ensure the independence and integrity of the media in its final submission to the Leveson inquiry, which is published in full with this issue of The Journalist. The union wants independent press regulation backed by statute, a strict limit on media ownership and a conscience clause in journalists’ employment contracts based on the NUJ code of conduct. Lord Leveson is thanked for reversing his initial decision to refuse the NUJ ‘core participation’ status and commended for ensuring journalists could give evidence anonymously about widespread, deep-seated and vicious bullying at some national newspapers. The submission said: “A fundamental bulwark for accountability within newsrooms is the role of an independent trade union and, critically, the ability of its members to carry out collective bargaining. “An NUJ workplace chapel is not simply the vehicle for putting together pay claims and campaigning for better terms and conditions, it is also the place where members can raise issues of concern on matters ethical, on staffing levels, and on bullying and editorial pressure within their workplace.” On regulation, the NUJ called for a new body with clear terms of reference involving journalists and representatives of the broader
community. “This is absolutely not the same as state regulation, far from it,” says the submission by NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet. The NUJ’s proposed model is based on the Irish system which involves a press council, an ombudsman and the NUJ as a ‘key stakeholder’. The submission says media groups should be limited to a maximum market share of 25 per cent for national news and regional news in radio, television, newspapers and online. Michelle reminded Lord Leveson that journalism was a force for good. “People choosing to enter the industry don’t – believe me – do it for the money or the career prospects. They become journalists because they want to make a difference.”
People choosing to enter the industry don’t do it for the money or the career prospects, believe me
Times ‘buries’ Leveson backing
he Times is accused of ‘burying’ a key answer to one of its own polls on the Leveson inquiry. The survey showed that 59 per cent of the public believed the inquiry would ‘lead to more effective regulation
of the press offering better protection to members of the public against unwarranted intrusion into their private lives’.But the response was not covered in the paper and ‘buried’ in a table on the paper’s website, says
journalism professor and former Independent journalist Brian Cathcart. The print edition preferred to report that 61 per cent of respondents agreed the inquiry had lost its way and had ‘received too much
Maeve Binchy was one of us
he novelist Maeve Binchy, who died last month in Dublin aged 72, was a life member of the NUJ. She was always ready to help young journalists and to stand up for her union. Helping to launch an NUJ campaign
against ageism, she said the real victims of the prejudice were young people whom society often ignored or patronised. Maeve wrote the ‘NUJ and Me’ feature in the April/May issue of The Journalist.
coverage in the media given the other news around’. Professor Cathcart argues that most of the questions were loaded against Leveson and that The Times preferred to show the inquiry in a bad light.
PRESS INTRUSIONS rising again The number of warnings issued about the behaviour of reporters harassing and intruding into the privacy of celebrities and members of the public is creeping back to the levels before the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal broke. Allegations pursued by the Press Complaints Commission had fallen dramatically in the second half of last year after the Leveson inquiry was set up, but are now matching 2010 levels. CHURCH BAILS OUT OF NEWs COrP In the wake of the phone hacking scandal the Church of England has sold its £1.9m shareholding in News Corp because it was not satisfied that the company ‘had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform’. News Corp lost £1 billion net in the three months to the end of June. SUNDAY TIMES TEAM CLEARED Sunday Times reporters have been cleared after a police investigation into their exposure of a passport scam. Investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood was interviewed under caution after his team exposed Greek criminals for renting out genuine passports to illegal immigrants to enable them to enter Britain. A Sunday Times reporter travelled under a fake passport to stand up the story. JEREMY HUNTS DOWN MURDOCH Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt dismissed criticism by Labour’s Jim Sheridan that meeting Rupert Murdoch at the Olympics showed the pair were ‘as close as ever’. Hunt said it was an ‘exchange in passing’. TABLOID REPORTERS IN BRIBE INQUIRY The Met Police has served notices on Trinity Mirror and Express newspapers demanding information about allegations that un-named journalists may have illegally paid prison officers for information. theJournalist | 5
PAXMAN’S BIBLE JIBE ‘OFFENSIVE’ Jeremy Paxman’s dismissal of the Book of Genesis as ‘hogwash’ was offensive, the BBC Trust has ruled. During an edition of Newsnight the presenter also described those with a literal belief in the Old Testament as ‘stupid’. The comments were not intended to cause offence, but served ‘no clear editorial purpose’, the trust said. BAD JOURNALISM DESTROYS LIVES Bad journalism can have a significant impact on the lives of LGBT people and other groups of vulnerable workers, Mike Smit of the, NUJ executive told the TUC’s LGBT annual conference. He added however there was also much good reporting by NUJ members and they needed support, praise and encouragement, said Mike. AU REVOIR FRANCE SOIR The commercial court in Paris has ordered the liquidation of daily France Soir, ruling that its assets must be auctioned off. The bankruptcy of the paper, launched in 1944, means that 49 staff, including 42 journalists, will lose their jobs.
PA Wire/Press Association Images
edia and entertainment unions are to meet new BBC director general George Entwhistle next month to urge him to rip up the licence fee deal which has ‘the fingerprints of the Murdochs all over it’. Speaking at a public meeting in the House of Commons, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said the fee had been frozen ‘in a shabby, behind closed doors deal’ by Entwhistle’s predecessor Mark Thompson. Michelle told the meeting, organized by the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU): “Even John Whittingdale, the Conservative chair of the Culture, Media and Sports select committee, described this deal as ‘a short, private, negotiation between the BBC and the government which did not do much to inspire confidence in the independence, transparency or accountability of the process’. That is why George Entwistle must tear up the discredited Thompson deal and put together a new plan for the future of the BBC.” At the public meeting last month the Federation launched a booklet, ‘BBC Cuts: There is an alternative’, just hours before the BBC published its annual report. After publication, Lord Patten boasted that in
his first full year as chair of the BBC Trust, he had seen many examples of the corporation at its best. But the federation warned that all this could be under threat. Under the so-called Delivering Quality First programme, the BBC must find 20 per cent cuts and 2,000 jobs losses, while its licence fee remains frozen until 2017. At the same time the BBC must take on an extra £340 million in spending responsibilities. The appointment of the new director general, who sent his apologies to the public meeting, is seen as an opportunity by the FEU to re-open the disastrous licence fee deal which, as one NUJ member said, has ‘the fingerprints of the Murdochs all over it’.
picture of the schoolgirls. Holly’s parents have told of their pain at the continuing use of the photograph. The image of the girls in their Manchester United
en years after the murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the media industry is under increasing pressure to stop publishing the iconic last
football shirts was taken by mother Nicola Wells beneath a wall clock showing 5.04pm. It is believed that less than an hour and a half later they were dead.
What readers think of the journalist
questionnaire within an a cost-free guide to the ost readers like hour. Nearly 2,000 readers editor in the development the current design have taken part in the of the magazine. Following and layout of The survey so far, with close Journalist, to judge from the an email to members from to 700 adding detailed the general secretary, 500 results of an online ‘opt in’ comments which are journalists answered the survey of NUJ members. The survey, devised by the delegate B letters... meeting-elected “ Journalist Editorial Advisory Board, is ULLO, ULLO, ULLO! “ not a scientific study, F STOPTHEROT but was intended as M A G A Z I N E
T H E
N AT I O N A L
U N I O N
J O U R N A L I S T S
Members take action over pay freeze
nges’ ‘Enormous challe for new deputy Barry taken over as deputy arry Fitzpatrick has the NUJ, beating general secretary of to the post. two other candidates votes, while freelances Barry received 2,444 Gavaghan got 1,326 Chris Youett and Helen The total number and 473 votes respectively. of votes cast was 4,243. head of NUJ’s Barry, formerly the to was extremely proud publishing, said he of amounted to a vote be elected with what membership. the confidence from contribution “I want to make a positive enormous union faces at a time when the employers need to challenges. Newspaper they won’t have a us recognize that without business model is broken. future because their at positive ways of “They need to look don’t have a restoring revenue. They of quality strategy for the maintenance way they can the only journalism, which is future. their ensure faces profound changes “Broadcasting also attack on the BBC and challenges. The on standards and licence fee was an attack the consequences for all quality. It will have broadcast media. future of journalism “Whether or not the doubt it will be a lies online there’s no the industry. The NUJ significant factor in
the new journalism
encouraging proper is leading the way in standards and training.” NUJ for 10 years, the Barry has worked for of publishing and before the past five as head national newspapers. that as organiser for he was an official with Before joining the NUJ became part of the print union Sogat which a Sogat official at was GPMU, now Unite. He dispute. the time of the Wapping Michelle Stanistreet NUJ general secretary with forward to working said: “I am looking and He is widely known Barry in his new role. has media industries, and respected across the champion of journalists been a determined journalism.” and
ministers were ears mounted that against planning a fresh campaign unions. employees and their to be paid The first target is expected public sector, in the time off for union reps employees’ rights can but other attacks on be expected. off a Bill seeking to While Labour MPs beat
He is widely known and respected across the media industries
CONTEMPT APPEAL SUN DROPPED BY a supreme The Sun has withdrawn contempt of court appeal against its of Chris court fine over its coverage the Daily Jefferies. Tabloid rival with its Mirror is pushing ahead challenge. £18,000 In June the Sun was fined for stories and the Mirror £50,000 after the published about Jeffries landscape disappearance of Bristol architect Joanna Yeates.
ssociated Newspapers is being forced to pay €15,000 to charities and nominated by the NUJ €25,000 in costs after of publishing an edition the Irish Mail on Sunday masquerading as the defunct Sunday Tribune.
After complaints by readers, Irish including from NUJ secretary Séamus Dooley, the republic’s National Consumer Agency took looklegal action over the alike Tribune. Court The Dublin District
tactic. stunt had breached legitimate marketing Conal that consumer law. Judge Séamus pointed out ‘clear Gibbons said it was Tribune was in receivership believe how a person could and that the stunt on it was the Sunday Tribune’. amounted to ‘dancing The four-page Tribune the graves of my members the wraparound covered issue of facing redundancies’. Irish Mail on Sunday
T H E
N AT I O N A L
U N I O N
S T S J O U R N A L I
| JUNE/JULY 2012
HHHHHHH HHHHHHH HHHHHHH HHHHHH
check out aspirin g press barons
Perhaps becoming better-informed will make them ashamed of their past views. I certainly hope so. Kate Allen, London Magazine So far, the idea of impeding Branch obnoxious ownership One hopes the writer to have engaged the of newspapers seems also managed to Leveson Inquiry. Why not read the piece by Jake should spivs or rascals take over our organs Bowers and the be free to of information? editorial comments Aside from R. Murdoch, in the last issue of some dreadful characters The Journalist (contaminated?) the have dominated print medium, among them Maxwell, Black Desmond. and Making the link The phenomenon is not new. In his recent The NUJ’s linking agreements book on World War Let Loose, Max Hastings ll All Hell with reminds us that Lord other unions are proving ‘denounced as provocative’ Beaverbrook’s newspapers valuable, as I discovered when my Should we not, therefore, Warsaw’s defiance in the face of Hitler’s post was threats. be seeking a turnstile declared redundant. industry from people that might preserve of dubious character our UNISON, the recognised and venal ambition? I realise, of course, union for that governments will non-academic staff consort with scoundrels return for favourable at my university, propaganda. (Remember in helped me negotiate to send Murdoch’s Mrs Thatcher’s refusal a severance takeover of Times Newspapers package and provided Commission). Yet I to the Monopolies an independent do think alternative financial advisor at turnstile ideas should involving assiduous no cost. be studied, background checks And now that I’m setting on would-be newspaper That would be truly up as a owners. worthwhile journalism. freelance PR consultant, PROBE INTO TORTURE Cal McCrystal the NUJ is helping me to create OF NUJ MEMBER (formerly Sunday a website for of Colombia’s Times, Independent the new business with Eight former officials Observer) on Sunday and a free training DAS course. defunct intelligence agency the H H H overH H With are under investigation H more HHHHHHH attacks on public sector torture HHHHHHH jobs and conditions persistent psychological in the offing, it’s Claudia H H H H H H H vital that of NUJ honorary member Stop demonising PR and comms staff country’s get gypsies whatever protection Julieta Duque, one of the Bob Rodney Today thousands of they can – and wants to know (Journalist British journalists. belonging to two unions leading investigative December/January) for a change – is incomprehensible Irish gypsies and travellers and for a single victim what gypsy ever are to fee makes a lot of sense. Claudia said she was thereceived a medal this non-British reader. commited Christians Find out and for action in any belonging to more about linking of ‘systematic persecution Nathaniel Harrison religious denominations world war. agreements from ranging from Publishing@NUJ.org constant threats’. Paris Branch Catholicism to Methodism. He obviously hasn’t .uk heard Nic Mitchell They are human beings. famous evangelist Rodney of worldThey and ‘Gypsy’ Chair, PR and Information ENFIELD GAZETTE Hate speech against their ancestors have Smith (1860-1947) contributed who was awarded Industrial Council GOES DIGITALthe OBE by gypsies immeasurably to the cultural heritage north LondonKing George V for preaching The Enfield Gazette, aand singing to British troops in trenches of the British Isles. They do NOT deserve I was shocked to read the letters by Bob Avoid cliché images weekly newspaper launched Rodney and David Hoppit to be demonised. Nor in France should they be. in your latest in ago and and Flanders during the First Palestine more than 130 yearsWorld War. issue (Dec/Jan 2012). Derek Parker Their remarks and Herts London North by I enjoyed the feature owned about gypsies were Glasgow Mr publication Rodney also wants on the Palestinian ignorant to know of press, especially when Newspapers, has ceased prejudiced, and constitute and any gypsyonly it alluded to hate speech. censorship is now who has been honoured as a print product and Would The Journalist Watch your language by national groups. of content-gay rights. consider printing Has he never However I was amazed available online. heard of John similar views about I note that in the December-January Jewish people? Bunyan (1628-88), that your two images are of men I think not. And yet edition of The Journalist tinker and author of and one with a gun. gypsies are still the Pilgrim’s Jake Bowers | 5 The text was complex considered ‘fair game’ theJournalist Progress, who penned his monumental refers to himself as a “Romany yet one image by far too many was the usual cliché. people in the media. journalist.” I was puzzled work in Bedford Gaol, where therefore Julia Pascal I would urge Mr Rodney, by his use of the term imprisoned for his religious he was “Gypsy” in Mr Hoppit and London Freelance and the staff of The his otherwise excellent political beliefs? Journalist to read column. My ‘Bury Me Standing: understanding is that Or ‘Romany Rye’ George The Gypsies and this term, despite Borrow Keep those clichés Their Journey’ by Isabel its widespread use, (1803-81), author of is derogatory and Fonseca – a Lavengro, coming in groundbreaking piece offensive and to be which portrays rural of work which avoided. life and working If you’ve got a good set out the gypsies’ I should also add that conditions in Victorian old ol’ troubled history, the column’s Britain. flaunt it; don’t be ashamed.cliché and explained many headline – Giving the aspects of their media some Gyp You don’t need to put it in quotes current lifestyle and behaviour. and pretend it 26 | theJournalist isn’t yours. “Hit the ground running”
AMNESTY SEARCHES FOR THE BEST is calling for Amnesty International entries to its annual competition rights to find the best human journalists in the industry. year, The awards, in their 20th and aim to recognise the breadth reporting quality of human rights radio, across newspaper, magazine, journalism. TV, digital and student is March 1. Closing date for entries
Campaign (TURC), wing Trade Union Reform is minister’s support, which enjoys the prime the attack. determined to renew Michelle Stanistreet NUJ general secretary resolve disputes and said facility time helped were to represent their was essential if unions members properly.
growing national newspaper and the only website in December site to record a month-on-month to ABC increase in traffic, according of the figures. The global audience by 16.5 relaunched website grew browsers. per cent to 15.8m unique a fall The printed version reported of 4.18 per cent in November.
IES and the TO AID NUJ CHARIT February 6 last year MAIL FORCED a series of was a found that the marketing company argued it
M A G A Z I N E
MIXED FORTUNES FOR THE INDY the fastest The Independent was
union attack Ministers plan freshundermine ‘facility time’ payments, the right
John Pilger on building
6 | theJournalist
The fee had been frozen ‘in a shabby, behind closed doors deal’ by Entwhistle’s predecessor Mark Thompson
Picture is a painful reminder
CYCLIST MAGAZINE READY TO ROLL A new monthly magazine is aiming to take advantage of the UK’s newfound passion for cycling. Dennis Publishing is launching Cyclist on September 19 with a cover price of £5 and an initial planned circulation of 20,000.
New DG should rip up BBC licence fee deal
INDY LIBEL BATTLE SET FOR TRIAL After more than two and half years of hearings, The Independent has finally persuaded a High Court judge to let it press ahead with defences of ‘justification and fair comment’ in its libel trial with former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft. Lord Ashcroft is suing the newspaper over two articles, featuring the Turks and Caicos Islands, which the peer says accused him of corruption and of lying.
Perils of helping police
with their inquiries
now being studied. Results show that 81 per cent of respondents like the current design and layout, 85 per cent like the news pages best, with 63 per cent favouring features and more than half of respondents liking the letters section. The union will shortly be asking members to indicate if they’d prefer to receive The Journalist by email.
ITN journalists given backing for strike vote
he NUJ chapel at ITN has been given authority to call a strike ballot at regional news programme London Tonight over a threat of ‘savage’ job cuts. The union’s authorisation of a vote on industrial action in protest at plans to axe 21 staff comes amid serious concerns for jobs and broadcasting standards throughout ITN’s regional news services. Employees working for the early evening regional news and sports programme in the capital have been told that 15 out of 36 posts are to go. NUJ national organiser for broadcasting Sue Harris, said: “These are savage cuts and are bound to have an impact on the quality of London Tonight’s service. “The management has said it will be looking for voluntary redundancies and we will
be working to support our members against compulsory job losses. “The NUJ hopes to continue to have constructive talks with the management. We are also concerned that those who are left will be put under stress, with unreasonable workloads, as they attempt to cover for the lost posts.” NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Taking an axe to London Tonight in this way can only damage output on the programme. At a time when the BBC is facing huge cuts to its news services in the regions, this represents a damaging retreat from quality regional journalism at ITV. “The NUJ also has grave concerns about the implications of these cuts for regional news elsewhere within the ITV network. This is bad news for journalists and bad news for viewers.”
MAIL’S WEB BOAST WRONG, SAYS BBC The BBC denied Daily Mail claims that the paper’s news website – the biggest and fastest growing among national newspapers – is more popular than the BBC site. Mail Online claimed 44.7m unique global visitors in June – boasting a 35 per cent lead over the BBC. But the corporation said the Mail’s figures excluded BBC sport, weather and World Service news output, which gave it 57.4m unique browsers.
These are savage cuts and are bound to have an impact on the quality of London Tonight’s service
MP BACKS UNION’S INTERNS INITIATIVE Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has proposed a Commons early day motion backing the NUJ’s ‘cash back for interns’ campaign. The motion congratulates the magazines Elle and Cosmo for agreeing to pay their interns and notes that Alan Milburn’s report to government, ‘Fair Access to Professional Careers’, identifies journalism as ‘one of the most socially exclusive of professions’.
COUNCIL ATTACKED on ADvertS
county council has been strongly criticised by the NUJ after it withdrew advertising from a local paper because of ‘negative’ coverage. Carmarthenshire County Council pulled an advert from Newsquest’s weekly South Wales Guardian in response to a story
reporting traders’ concerns about possible delays to a regeneration scheme. The council’s press manager e-mailed a member of the authority’s marketing department stating that ads should not be placed with the paper because of ‘negative publicity’. In a joint letter to Kevin
trainees’ lack of accuracy The NCTJ said the latest results in the seniors exam were ‘disappointing’, and bemoaned a lack of accuracy among candidates. Fewer experienced staff and less guidance because of cutbacks did not explain the sort of inaccuracies encountered, the council said.
Madge, the council leader, Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said: “The South Wales Guardian, along with other newspaper publications, has the legitimate right to report the business of that and any other council.” The NUJ said the council’s actions were ‘wholly unacceptable’.
OLYMPICS BOSSES HEAR THE VOICE The NUJ backed a successful campaign to challenge the British Olympic Association’s decision to deny accreditation to the Games for The Voice, Britain’s only national newspaper for black readers. Of the 78 British track and field athletes, 29 were of African and Caribbean heritage.
NUJ salutes Fleet Street leader NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley acknowledged the great honour bestowed on the NUJ by the Geraghty family’s invitation to give a major address on behalf of journalists in Ireland and Britain. Séamus (pictured) said: “Seán would have despaired at the failure of the wider British trade union movement to seize the opportunity presented by Leveson to expose the rotten corruption at the heart of the British media establishment.”
he NUJ played a prominent role in ceremonies to mark the funeral last month in Dublin of former Fleet Street leader and labour movement legend Seán Geraghty. Seán remained secretary of the Fleet Street branch of the electricians’ union throughout the Wapping dispute, supporting sacked printers in defiance of his own trade union which recruited a pirate workforce for Murdoch.
TUNING IN TO LOCAL RADIO The Journalism Foundation, has teamed up with the University of Lincoln to offer six days of free training sessions in October for those seeking to start a community radio service in their local area. theJournalist | 7
8 | theJournalist
New reps for old Chris Coneybeer offers some encouragement to NUJ members thinking about representing their colleagues
Don’t race for the hills; there are actually some good things about being a rep, too
The management will listen to what you say because they’ve been told they must. So they will at least consider your views before cruelly rejecting them. And sometimes, your sensible reasoning will convince them to adopt your ideas. Will being a rep harm your career? Handled intelligently, being a rep can actually be highly beneficial. Your position gives unrivalled access to senior management, who will come to know you well. There will be many opportunities for you to impress them with your personal qualities. That doesn’t mean falling in with them. It means thinking about the way you talk to them, listening to what they have to say, then reflecting and considering carefully before responding, however severe the provocation. How will you find the time? After all, you have your own life and career
to look after. Delegate. Organise a committee for your chapel. A deputy, someone for each section, someone for membership, equality, health and safety (that last one is really important). Do it democratically or if that fails, pick your own volunteers. After all, they volunteered you for the big job. And if things start getting tricky or complicated, remember you will always have support from the union. Keep in touch with your own national rep and call them at the first sign of trouble. All of this means you’ll be able to help and advise your friends and colleagues and earn their respect and love even more than at present. And most of all, you should enjoy it. Or at the very least, life in your workplace will become very much more interesting and satisfying.
et’s not be cynical, but you may have been ‘volunteered’ into the post of Mother or Father of the Chapel by your friends and colleagues who didn’t want to be lumbered with it themselves. It’s unpaid. It will sometimes put you uncomfortably in the spotlight. Or just on the spot. It will involve you learning some new skills and there will be times – let’s be honest about this – when it will feel a bit of a burden. But don’t race for the hills. There are actually some good things about being a rep, too. First, there will be the warm feeling that you are doing good for your colleagues. As the title suggests, some will come to see you as a mother or father figure. They will look to you for advice, guidance and reassurance. And sometimes you will actually be able to help. Which is nice. Next, you are going to become a very important part of the mechanism of the entire union. When there are issues to consider, you will be asked to gauge the feelings of members of your chapel and then, along with other M/ FoCs, to work out the best way forward. It means your opinion will be sought on how strongly members feel about a pay claim, for example, or a change in working conditions and whether they would be prepared to fight for what they want. This is important when the national officials are working out tactics and strategy. Many major media organisations, like the BBC, officially recognise the NUJ. Which means their managers have to talk to us. On a local level, that means your bosses have to talk to you. Whether they want to or not. Now, that can be daunting at first, especially if you’re a bit young or a bit junior or (let’s be honest and open about this) perhaps a little fearful of those in charge.
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet outlines union campaign priorities
Finding the way forward
t’s been a busy time as we entered the last straits of the Leveson Inquiry, submitting the NUJ’s contribution on the future of press regulation, giving evidence again in person, and putting the final touches to our closing statement. Now we all await Leveson’s recommendations, expected sometime in October – but it can’t simply be a waiting game. The NUJ has got to keep pushing our demand for substantive change if there’s to be the political will to abandon a system that has served the industry elite so well for so many years. That’s why I’ll be speaking at all the party conferences, along with colleagues from the Media Standards Trust, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and Coordinating Committee for Media Reform. We’re also holding a fringe meeting on Leveson at the TUC Congress early in September. We need to press home to politicians that this is a once in a generation opportunity for reform that we won’t allow to be squandered. At the same time, getting the union’s recovery plan in place has inevitably been a focus of concerted energy and attention. After several months of consultation with staff, we’ve collectively managed to reduce the level of cuts needed to the staffing budget and ensure the redundancy process is a voluntary one. Six staff have decided to take voluntary redundancy – each of them has exciting new plans on the horizon and June Coughlan, Don Mackglew, Lawrence Shaw, Eve DaCosta, Jo Frost and
George McClure leave with our sincere thanks for all their hard work for the union over many years, and warmest wishes for the future. Key decisions will be taken at our delegate meeting in Newcastle at the start of October. The NEC is asking delegates to vote for a 5 per cent subscription increase and for a move to biennial delegate meetings – vital steps in a broader plan to ensure the union’s financial and political sustainability. The budget for 2012/13 was unanimously endorsed at last month’s NEC. But if delegates don’t adopt key income-generating motions, the union will have to revisit the budget and make further cuts. Please take the time to get along to your branch meeting and participate in the debate and discussion over the way forward for the NUJ.
Volunteer your services. Don’t forget: your union needs you!
n the meantime work has begun in earnest on recruitment and organising – the best way for the union to grow and thrive. Lists of members about to be lapsed for non-payment of subs have been sent to branches and chapels. This process needs the personal touch , with members contacting colleagues and persuading them to remain within the NUJ. Phone banks in NUJ offices are part of this work, as well as contacting people who’ve been supportive of our work, but are not yet members, via facebook, twitter and linkedin. There’s huge scope for recruitment in existing workplaces and in companies where we have little or no organisation. Think of all the journalists you know who are not members of the NUJ – then ask them to join! Planning for new term student recruitment in the universities and colleges is now in full swing. If we’re to succeed we need many more volunteers to come forward and help. Thanks to everyone who’s offered their help so far – if you haven’t yet, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and to volunteer your services. Don’t forget – your union needs you!
or all the latest news from the NUJ go to www.nuj.org.uk F To take part in debates see The Platform on the website theJournalist | 9
Enf ield str ikers
BBC p icket
Veteran industrial correspondent Barrie Clement has been looking at some of the recent achievements of the NUJ
If it wasn’t for the union.. N
o-one can miss the gloom and depression in our trade. Local and regional newspapers are merging or closing, people are being thrown out of work and many of those lucky enough to remain employed are on rock bottom pay. The News International scandal continues to cast a long, dark shadow. Faced with all this, there seems little the union can do to defend its members. Well actually, that’s not true. There’s no doubt things would be a hell of a lot worse for journalists without the NUJ. Without the union there would be far more compulsory redundancies, the sackings would be forced through on minimum legal terms, and arguably even more titles would have closed. Meanwhile the NUJ persuaded Lord Leveson that it was entitled to ‘core participant status’ at his inquiry, so the voices of good, honest journalists were heard. And, oh yes, for the first time in 25 years there’s now a nascent NUJ chapel at 10 | theJournalist
Murdoch’s notoriously anti-union News International. Perhaps the key industrial arena at the moment, however, is the local and regional newspaper industry. It’s at the sharp end of the fight for survival. Deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick points out that much of the work of the union is carried on below the radar. The NUJ is negotiating an increasing number of ‘compromise agreements’ where individuals, who are often being forced out of a job, receive substantial payouts negotiated by reps or officials. Overwhelmingly these deals are confidential and therefore unpublicised. In one such case the union won £120,000 for a female journalist who was the subject of vile, sexist bullying at the hands of the kind of sociopath some Fleet Street proprietors – even at the posh end of the market – promote to positions of power. I wish we could name names (but we know who they are!). Assistant legal officer Natasha Morris says that last year the union won nearly £1.7million for individuals through compromise agreements. Include figures for cases settled through conciliation service ACAS, or occasionally without even a compromise agreement, and the NUJ has won substantially more than the £1.7 million figure, although the government is set to change the law in an attempt to undermine the union’s ability to protect its members. Litigation – or the threat of it – also produces results. Scottish organiser Paul Holleran points to legal action taken against Newsquest (Herald & Evening Times) which resulted in a major victory for the NUJ after the company forced out five members through compulsory redundancy. A deal reached weeks before a tribunal produced settlements in the region of £125,000 for the members on top of their statutory redundancy pay.
Elsewhere, NUJ Scottish office officials took on the Scottish government on behalf of a freelance photographer whose copyright had been infringed, winning a five figure settlement after months of negotiations. And following a series of equal pay cases, one of which resulted in an increase of nearly £10,000, Trinity Mirror (Daily Record & Sunday Mail) eventually agreed to negotiate a new fair pay structure covering all editorial staff. Political pressure can also work. The NUJ was at the forefront of a campaign that persuaded the Welsh government to pull back from plans to relieve public bodies of the obligation to advertise road traffic notices in newspapers. Newspaper companies in Wales receive more than £1m a year from the ads, and there were fears that losing the money would lead to more closures and cuts. The union is involved in a similar fight in England where the ads are worth £20m a year. Barry Fitzpatrick says that through good old-fashioned negotiation, the union has so far managed to avoid compulsory redundancies at most Fleet Street titles including the Guardian, Independent and the Express. The union even persuaded Richard Desmond, proprietor of the Express titles, to offer £3,000 to those leaving the papers who wanted to enhance their skills or switch careers. Industrial action gets results, too. NUJ northern and midland organiser Chris Morley points to a successful strike at Newsquest’s Warrington office last September. The chapel voted to walk out over seven redundancies and as a result only one journalist was forced out. At Trinity Mirror on Merseyside, management was planning seven compulsory redundancies while converting the Liverpool Daily Post into a weekly. The chapel planned a 24-hour strike to coincide with the launch of the weekly Post. Result: four jobs were saved and the NUJ negotiated better terms for the other three who wanted to leave. After industrial action at Newsquest’s Northern Echo over compulsory redundancies jobs were saved and the company negotiated better terms for those leaving. In Doncaster last summer Johnston Press journalists voted unanimously for strike action – and were out for eight weeks,
The important thing is that chapels keep together and stay united
photos: Peter Arkell, Anne-Marie Sanderson, Catherine Lawler
Johnst on Press
one of the longest stoppages in recent NUJ history. The strikes were also about stress, bullying and heavy workloads as well as redundancies. Said Chris: “Management carried out the redundancies during the strike, but the important thing was that the chapel put a marker in the ground. Management had been ignoring the chapel for years.” The eventual settlement dealt with workload issues including the need to fill vacancies. The company agreed to use the Health and Safety Executive’s model survey introducing measures to manage stress. Managers talked to the chapel on a regular basis after the strike and are currently working with the union to deal with the ‘quite shocking’ results of the survey. The company subsequently agreed a two per cent rise together with talks over a new pay structure. “People shouldn’t underestimate the empowerment experienced by people who cross the threshold and go on strike,” says Chris Morley. “Managements will do all they can to give the appearance that strikes achieve nothing. Companies will even disguise pay rises.The important thing is that chapels keep together and stay united. When they do, benefits are often seen in subsequent years.” There are hundreds of stories where NUJ support has been important, like the case of former News of the World journalist Matt Nixson, sacked as features editor of the Sun after News International’s ‘management and standards committee’ found ‘evidence’ against him. The police, however, are taking no action. There were the successful negotiations on behalf of interns working for the British Science Association who are to be paid the London Living Wage of £8.30 an hour. Internships were originally advertised at the statutory minimum wage of £6.08. The deal was negotiated by science journalist Francis Sedgemore, chair of the NUJ’s newest branch in Lewisham. Like any democratic organisation, the NUJ is a work in progress. But there’s no doubt that it is working, and delivering for journalists and journalism. Barrie Clement was Labour Editor and Transport Editor at The Independent theJournalist | 11
doubling up It all began with a letter last August offering an opportunity to chair the judging panel for a section of broadcasting awards
Will the real Paul Donovan please stand up?
he annual awards run by the Sandford St Martin Trust are for excellence in religious broadcasting. The awards ceremony was to be at Lambeth Palace. My initial reaction to the letter asking me to be a judge was: “Have you got the right Paul Donovan?” I have known for many years that there are two of us. Our paths have wandered near and far without ever actually crossing. I’ve received his cheques, he’s received mine. He specialises in media, having worked for the Daily Mail and Sunday Times, where he still writes a column. I have written quite a lot of material on media for The Journalist, Guardian, Independent, Press Gazette, British Journalism Review and the Church press. I’ve worked for the unions and the Morning Star. The Sandford St Martin awards organiser asked if I could send over a biog, which I did. The response came: “You are definitely the Paul Donovan we’re after.” That was a relief.
12 | theJournalist
The doubts did linger a little, though, not least when at the meal after the day of judgement, a fellow judge asked when the next edition of the radio companion was coming out – I stared blankly before coming up with the standard: “I think you’ve got the wrong Paul Donovan.” These comments have become commonplace over the years. “My mother loved your book on the Today programme,” said one journalist. “I read your column in the Sunday Times.” Over the years, it has never really bothered me; the other Paul has had a very successful career in journalism. It wasn’t like being called Boris Johnson, Kelvin McKenzie or Richard Littlejohn, which would have caused a real problem. Most of the time the work of the other Paul offered a chance to bask in reflected glory. Dopplegangers among journalists
Most of the time the work of the other Paul offered a chance to bask in reflected glory
are not that uncommon. There are the Duncan Campbells; one works for the Guardian and is married to Julie Christie and the other was noted for his investigative work on the espionage world. There was room for overlap in that doppleganging partnership as well, given that the Guardian’s Duncan worked in a not dissimilar area as crime correspondent for the paper for many years. He is also a noted investigative journalist. The two did both turn up to interview the same person on one occasion. Writer and former Sinn Fein publicity chief Danny Morrison recalls receiving a £400 cheque from the BBC. “I telephoned the payments department in London to explain that a mistake had been made but the first thing the woman at the other end asked was ‘Is it not enough?’ I explained that it was more than enough and that while I was certainly me I was not Danny Morrison, the former New Zealand cricketer who was being paid for commenting on the England tour of the Antipodes. But what a surprise the other Danny Morrison was having that morning when he opened his mail and received a BBC cheque for £40 for taking part in a documentary about drug pushers and informers!” To return to the Sandford St Martin awards. All went well, awards were presented and speech delivered. Then, relaxing afterwards, who should arrive but the other Paul Donovan. After all these years. We swapped stories of cheques and mistaken identity. He was assailed on one occasion by nuns who thought he wrote for the church press. Once he had been asked about something he wrote attacking the Murdoch press, for which he writes. But it was great to meet the other Paul at last. A decent person who has been in journalism for many years and carved out an excellent career. He did reveal, though, that he has not been a Paul all his life, changing his name at 18 from Vivien. But that’s OK. We Donovans are a broad church. But why did the Sandford St Martin people invite two Paul Donovans? You can never have too many of us, but did they get the right one?
For those who remember indentures as a major part of the route into journalism, here’s a rediscovery of past methods
The journalist’s apprentice
et me introduce myself: I am Rhian Jones, or better known (to myself, at least) as Journo Apprentice. I’ve spent the past seven months as the first journalist apprentice to freelance education journalist Janet Murray, seeing if I could learn the ropes on the job and forge a career in the media without a university degree, masters qualification, postgraduate degree or months spent doing unpaid internships. And it worked – I’m now in my first job at Music Week magazine. But despite its success, the apprenticeship route into the trade is practically unheard of these days. Since the early eighties, on-the-job training has been largely replaced by university courses, turning it into a profession almost exclusively for graduates. As it stands today, an official journalism apprenticeship framework doesn’t even exist (mine was made up of business administration modules). So what’s the problem? Well, while the university route might work for some, for others it’s simply not an option. I tried it and had a miserable time because I don’t learn well in a lecture theatre. I learn with my hands. And the huge expense of university education now, coupled with the growing trend of unpaid work, means that my generation of wannabe journalists are far more likely to have come from privileged backgrounds; research carried out by the Sutton Trust in 2006 showed that more than half the UK’s leading news and current affairs journalists had been privately educated and half of those with a
I had a miserable time because I don’t learn well in a lecture theatre. I learn with my hands
degree had been educated at Oxbridge. Newsrooms should be a mix of males, females, white, black, working class, middle class, educated and skilled, giving a voice to each part of our diverse society. This can only be achieved if there is an entry route for everyone. And this is where journalism apprenticeships could fill the gap. So here’s the deal: the training for a 16 to 18 year old apprentice is fully funded by the government; if they are 19 to 24 years old, employers will receive up to 50 per cent of the cost for their training. The learner is paid at least £2.60 per hour (usually for 36 hours a week) but employers are free to pay above the minimum wage and many do so (I was paid £6.08). For my apprenticeship, I spent one day a week in college, learning basic business skills: for a journalism apprenticeship framework – if it existed – this could include subjects like law, news writing, touch typing or shorthand. I spent the remaining four days researching stories, interviewing, sub editing and transcribing along with general admin work. From a regional press perspective, apprenticeships also have potential for real business value. Apprentices are likely to be from the local area; so they are more likely to stick around, making them a better return on the investment for the business. Coupled with the fact that they would come with a lot of local knowledge that outsiders don’t, it’s a no brainer. Neil Benson, editorial director, regionals division at Trinity Mirror, says: “I think regional papers’
uniqueness is their localness, and so having a stable staff of people who know the locality and know the people and know what makes them tick is really important. I think that’s the thing an apprentice could bring.” Plus, whoever learnt how to be nosy, tenacious, persistent, willing to go the extra mile and dig beneath the surface in a classroom? All in favour of journalism apprenticeships say aye. Aye!
Remember Many employers are exploiting
the dreams of young people who wish to work in the media by offering them unpaid ‘internships’ which are not part of any planned entry into journalism. The NUJ is committed to ending this exploitation. Former interns may be able to claim back pay up to six years after they’ve finished their unpaid work. This does not apply to organised work placements or volunteers. Check out the Cashback for Interns page at www.nuj.org.uk
theJournalist | 13
Tarnishing the glittering prizes Phil Chamberlain questions some of the assumptions behind media awards for exposing human rights abuse
rom a photographic essay on the Dale Farm travellers to a film uncovering atrocities in Sri Lanka, the 21st Amnesty International UK media awards suggest that human rights reporting is in good health. But there is a warning from award winners that not enough is being done to foster such reporting. Vanessa Baird, co-editor of the New Internationalist, was a winner in the consumer magazine category for an article looking at people fighting back against mining exploitation in Peru. “I think the media would do better at covering human rights if it carried a greater diversity of news, from different parts of the world and on different aspects of human rights,” she says. “Much of the time the various outlets are telling pretty much the same stories – and actually, not very many of them. We are getting a shockingly narrow and repetitive slice of the world’s news from the mainstream media.” 14 | theJournalist
Baird’s win was unusual both in subject matter and location. While there are 30 articles in the UN Declaration on Human Rights, some breaches struggle to trouble the awards list. The right of workers to join a trade union is one. Indeed stories about exploitation often show individuals at the mercy of unfathomable forces, rather than fighting back. Secondly, where Western armies tread, journalists tend to follow, so Iraq and Afghanistan have featured heavily since 2001. India and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also perennially popular, while South America rarely interests Amnesty award winners. For veteran film maker Callum Macrae, part of the team who made the winning Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, there is the potential to reach new places. “I think there has been a fundamental change in the way that information becomes available,” he says. “Our film is in the forefront of a new age, an age in which the information gathering tools are now in the hands of citizens.
“It is enormously exciting and positive if we can do two things. One, use the material to represent effectively and accurately what goes on; and two, ensure broadcasters accept they have a duty to put resources into these programmes.” Macrae’s shocking film uses these new techniques even as its subject matter fits a traditional view that human rights violations are something that happens abroad and to other people. Freelance photographer Mary Turner spent three years gaining the trust of the Dale Farm community in Essex for her first award-winning portfolio – and hopes it will challenge this assumption. “Forced evictions are a human rights issue but people often seem to think that this happens abroad, and it was happening on their doorstep,” she says. Over the years the awards winners and runners-up have been dominated, much like the football premiership, by a core of regulars. The Guardian, Channel 4 and the BBC are ever present. Outside of the broadsheets, the winners have featured a tabloid just once (The Mirror) and the Daily Mail twice.
Above: ‘Dennis at Dale Farm’ by Mary Turner
ertainly Amnesty would like to see a more diverse range of entries. What the award winners emphasised was that there are lots of journalists writing human rights stories – the problem is getting them commissioned. Vanessa Baird says: “As times get tougher for independent media the situation is likely get worse. I think we are being let down badly by the major broadcast media, including the BBC, which over the years have been dis-investing in serious journalism and the more complex, slow-burning stories.” Angus Stickler was one of the team from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism who worked on stories about deaths in custody which won the digital media section. Stickler points out that human rights stories “do not sell newspapers and they can be a difficult sell to editors. If you are looking at foreign stories they are massively expensive and all of them are often fraught with legal difficulties.” For journalists doing these stories there is a cost. The ultimate price was paid by the Sunday Times’ Marie Colvin who was honoured posthumously for a report from Syria. Ultimately, though, what impact do these stories have? Amnesty’s media director Mike Blakemore says it is difficult to quantify. However he is clear the awards do help his organisation. “We do use it to encourage journalists to look at issues,” he says. “For instance highlighting the arms trade treaties because we genuinely believe it is one of the most important things in a long time.” Those interviewed agreed that winning encouraged them to do more and gave them an extra lever to persuade editors to commission. Callum Macrae, who is now putting together a full length documentary on Sri Lanka for international release, says: “I think it shows that tyrants and those who would kill their own people will not necessarily get away with it.” Mary Turner added: “I thought that if I changed just one person’s mind then that was enough. And it did make some people look twice.” Perhaps, in the end, that is the best you can hope for.
amnesty awards 2012 DOCUMENTARY ITN Productions for Channel 4 (Callum Macrae, Chris Shaw, Jon Snow) – Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields DIGITAL MEDIA Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Dan Bell, Iain Overton, Stuart Griffiths, Charlie Mole, Rachel Oldroyd, Angus Stickler) – Deaths in Custody: A Case to Answer GABY RADO MEMORIAL AWARD “Mani”, Channel 4 News – Horror in Homs INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION & RADIO Al Jazeera (May Ying Welsh, Jon Blair) – Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark MAGAZINES – CONSUMER Vanessa Baird, New Internationalist – Nature’s Defenders MAGAZINES – NEWSPAPER SUPPLEMENTS Will Storr, Observer Magazine – The Rape of Men NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS Marie Colvin, Sunday Times – We Live in Fear of a Massacre NATIONS & REGIONS ITN for ITV London Tonight (Ronke Phillips, Faye Nickolds) – Torso in the Thames PHOTOJOURNALISM Mary Turner, Times – A Place to Stay – Dale Farm RADIO BBC Radio 5 Live Victoria Derbyshire in Guantánamo Bay (Louisa Compton, Victoria Derbyshire, Rob Halon) STUDENT AWARD Amy Mackinnon, Glasgow Guardian – The Curious Case of John Oguchuckwu TELEVISION NEWS BBC Newsnight (Amanda Gunn, Sue Lloyd Roberts) – Undercover in Homs
theJournalist | 15
The scary question is robots want to be jou Will the depressing tones of Marvin the Paranoid Android take over the newsrooms of the future, wonders Laura Slattery
an robots replace journalists? If a robot was writing this, it might answer ‘negative, master’ and move on. And yet robots – or programs endowed with artificial intelligence, to be less earthling about it – are already capable of generating sports and financial reports, albeit ones that make even highly formulaic flesh-and-blood offerings look like daringly experimental, idiosyncratic literature. Should journalists be worried by the idea that a robot revolution could render human-performed tasks obsolete? That editors might get the bright idea that newsroom staffed by machines would be easier to control? Or is this just another case of getting computers to do the heavy lifting while allowing journalists to make better use of their time and skills? To date, the most high-profile uprising has come courtesy of Narrative Science, a Chicago-based technology company that makes ‘rich narrative content’ from ‘structured data sources’ and does so ‘at a scale that is simply unreachable given human resources alone’. Although it first tested its programs on college baseball game summaries, the company is now better known for the corporate earnings previews published by Forbes.com. These previews are churned out by Narrative Science at a volume that would require considerable staff power. A human needs only to read two or three reports to detect the pattern of data and limits of their vocabulary. The expectations of ‘analysts’ or Wall Street’ form the first paragraph. The middle section gives the financial back history, explaining quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year comparisons, while the preview concludes with analysts’ buy, sell or hold recommendations. To human eyes, there is something missing in these previews – it is storytelling stripped so bare it misses the story. A recent preview of AOL’s results, for example, noted the losses of a year earlier, concluding that ‘analysts have 16 | theJournalist
grown increasingly optimistic about the stock in the last three months’. So far, so accurate. But it took a human at Bloomberg to explain the ‘why’ of AOL’s improved performance – since being spun out from Time Warner, AOL has made strides in its plan to transform itself into an advertising-based publishing business that gleans revenues from the likes of Huffington Post and TechCrunch. These previews are open to comments, but do not appear to attract any – after all, who would you be talking to? Why respond to a machine, unless you are one too? Indeed, as the reports’ likely readers are members of the equity investment community, which is itself fond of exploiting automation to make money, their end-users are arguably other computers, not the carbon-based lifeforms that consume the generalist press. Still, where there is a data-derived news formula – up or down, buy or sell, win or lose – there lurks the potential for automation, even if the robot-produced content is merely a starting template that then needs to be finessed by a human brain. Olivia Solon, associate editor of Wired.co.uk, phrased it bluntly while discussing this subject at a media conference in Dublin recently: “Most of the articles that we let robots take over are fairly dreary for journalists.” Solon cited the possibilities for entire genres of reportage posed by technology such as Face.com’s Klik app – a thirdparty app that automatically identifies and tags photos of your Facebook friends. Imagine the joys of combining realtime facial recognition with the technological Holy Grail for print journalists: reliable dictaphone transcription software. After Solon’s talk, a group of news editors from my newspaper jokingly teased out one future application: the selfgeneration of ‘for the record’-style accounts of parliamentary sessions. With the right technology, a political he-said-shesaid could be created instantly for readers’ clicking pleasure – assuming readers and competitors don’t have the technology too, of course. In journalism, as in other professional fields, it’s the dirty work that we want to delegate – the glamour-lite information processing that can often represent a commercially important segment of journalism, but is never going to win anyone a Pulitzer. Solon was sceptical, however, about the ability of artificial intelligence to crack a joke. “I’m not sure a robot would be able to come up with headlines for the Sun,”she said, citing as her tabloid favourite that paper’s 1998 “Zip me up before you
n is why would journalists? go go” splash on the arrest of George Michael. But are tabloid puns really so nuanced as to be beyond a robot forever? Surely some computational humour app could at least come up with a menu of choices to draw inspiration from. In any case, the importance of a news organisation’s ability to play on Wham! song titles may have already been diminished in the age of boring online headlines inspired by search engine optimisation. And there’s the nub of it. The media’s fondness for robot workforces depends on how, well, robotic it wants to be. No matter how hard the android sub-editors practice their
puns, ‘straighter’, so-called commodity news will always be easier to replicate. Combined facial recognition-transcription software might be able to produce the kind of instant reports news websites put out online, but it would have to be pretty special to be capable of putting a sketch-writer, a diary wag or a skilled interviewer out of a job. From text summarizer programs to dictation software, we must assume that more tools with the potential to speed up news production will proliferate in newsrooms at some point. We may be waiting some time yet – Klik, for example, has been killed off by Facebook since it acquired Face.com. The challenge for journalists when such artificial intelligence does surface in marketable form is to use it in a way that doesn’t inadvertently justify cutbacks of old-fashioned human resources. Indeed, those apparently ‘dreary’ jobs that we may be tempted to delegate while we concentrate on linguistic flourishes can nevertheless serve as both training exercise and trigger for deeper, richer stories. Ultimately, everything that has been developed to date suggests that when text-producing artificial intelligence becomes as mainstream as, say, graphics generators, human judgment will still be required at several points along the ‘content creator’ chain. Science fiction warns us that the ultimate robot ambition is world domination. Perhaps the scary question is not whether robots could replace journalists, but why would they ever want to?
Japan’s Robot Newsreader Has 65 Facial Expressions – more than many carbon-based rivals?
theJournalist | 17
As the ‘dash for digital’ continues across the media, Dave Toomer considers what is happening to those who are left behind
f we are to believe the hype, newspapers will become obsolete as everyone accesses news on their home computers with super-fast broadband or on their iPads or smartphones. But while this may be happening in the bustling metropolis, for many people in places like Scarborough, Halifax and Northampton, where Johnston Press have ditched their daily papers, the reality may be very different. It’s all part of Ashley Highfield’s grand ‘digital first’ strategy aimed at doubling both their operating profit margin to pay off their huge debts and their digital audience as the readership of traditional newspapers declines. Of course, JP is not alone in dashing for digital.
18 | theJournalist
All of the major groups have been slashing titles and jobs and have boldly announced that the future for journalism is online. But quite apart from the obvious concerns of journalists at these titles who are fearing for their jobs – Highfield is aiming for a 50/50 split between journalists and ‘citizen contributors’ by 2020 – the strategy poses major questions about the impact on the communities the newspapers attempt to serve, particularly those that rely on newspapers most for their information. The picture is certainly different in Port Talbot, where Trinity Mirror closed the town’s only weekly paper in 2009. Here, a group of NUJ members launched the Magnet, a hyperlocal online site aimed at plugging the news gap
left by the closures. But although the Magnet has delivered an important news service to the area, the problem it has had to deal with and continues to face is a digital divide, making it difficult to reach all sections of the community. It was a problem the Magnet was aware of from the beginning of the project. In their market research carried out before establishing the site, 88 per cent of those surveyed said they supported a dedicated news service for Port Talbot, but while 41 per cent of respondents said they had used the internet, a quarter had never accessed it. By the Magnet’s own admission some of these findings could have been skewed by weaknesses in the demographic of their sample, but research
by OFCOM supports the view that while access to new media technologies in the shape of home computers and smartphones is increasing, there is still a significant section of the population left behind by the digital revolution. A civic leader in Bedworth, where there were plans to create hyper-local sites to fill the gap left by the closure of their local paper, said that even if online sources of local news existed they would fail to reach many of those who relied on the local paper. Research done in the United States, where the decline of newspapers is much more advanced, has produced evidence that the impact of print media on communities is different to that of online news sources. Journalist Rachel Mersey Davis has explored the relationships between local print news, local online news and sense of community, comparing the Arizona Republic with hyper-local site azcentral.com. She found that the internet may not be as
powerful a geographic community builder as the printed product. And as media bosses put more of their eggs in the digital basket some communities risk being transformed into news ghettos. Some academics like Martyn Warren, based at the University of Plymouth, call this the ‘digital vicious cycle’. In Warren’s study of the links between social disadvantage and digital exclusion in rural areas, he asserts there is a danger that as the internet becomes the default method of communication, a significant minority which does not use it becomes progressively disadvantaged. The fear of a widening news gap in deprived communities is borne out by OFCOM’s latest report published this year on media uses and attitudes. It shows more than a fifth of UK adults don’t access the internet anywhere on any device, rising to 37 per cent in the most deprived socio-economic group. Of those who do use the internet, 31 per cent look at news sites at least once a week but this figure dips to 21 per cent for the most deprived users. If anything is to boost access to news, it is the use of smartphones, which make it easy to visit websites on the move and download aps. According to OFCOM 44 per cent of adults in the UK now own a smartphone, but less than one in five of these users are from the most deprived group.
Journalists at the Magnet recognized the problems posed by the digital divide in the communities they serve and have attempted to address the problem. Magnet director Rachel Howells, a PhD student studying the impact of the decline of newspapers on communities, believes the long term future of the website may lie in print. The Magnet site is exploring whether it can produce a printed version of its content as a solution to reaching those people who keep telling them they miss a weekly paper in the town. “We are told not to worry because it’s all going to be online,” said Rachel. “But there are many people who simply don’t access the internet. Those that do use the web are not using it to get news and certainly not local news. “There is exclusion going on as a result of these developments in news. We’re told how wonderful it is for people to access news via wi-fi and smartphones. That may be happening in London, but it’s not the case in many parts of the country. Port Talbot people are community based and most don’t use the internet very much. A lot of them tell us they miss the local paper and want a printed product.” Dave Toomer, a former NUJ president, is a lecturer in media law and public affairs at the University of Salford. He is researching a PhD on the impact of newspaper decline on deprived communities
theJournalist | 19
Iain Goldrein QC offers some pointers on the intricacies of the conflicting claims to privacy and freedom of expression
here do the law and journalists stand in relation to privacy injunctions? The starting point is Article 6 of the European Convention. It provides for a fair trial and stipulates the priority of justice being conducted in open court unless a private hearing is ‘strictly necessary’ and only in ‘special circumstances.’ In Ambrosiadu v. Coward the Court of Appeal emphasised the lengths to which a court should go to secure open justice, such as the use of anonymity, confidential schedules, restriction on access to the court file etc; i.e. wherever possible to keep the doors of the court open. Article 8 is the statutory engine which drives ‘privacy’. The issue is: Does the proposed publication of information amount to wrongful intrusion, namely a misuse of private information? What is relevant is whether the information is private, not whether it is true or false. ‘Privacy’ is not an absolute. The touchstone is that there must be a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy.’ So for example, a claim for Article 8 privacy yields to information which is already in the public domain, or if by a person’s own conduct he or she has waived any reasonable expectation of privacy [e.g. by parading their private life through courting publicity].
No special treatment should be accorded just because an applicant for relief is a public figure or a celebrity: in principle, they are entitled to the same protection as others, no more and no less. That said, ‘Public figures should not be judged on information which is true but clearly irrelevant to their public lives.’ But note that Article 8 cannot be invoked in order to seek to protect a commercial reputation; John Terry v. Persons Unknown. For Article 8 protection, however, establishing a reasonable expectation of privacy is not enough; it must also be established that the claim for privacy outweighs the Right to Freedom of Information under Article 10. It is where this balance is struck which creates the tension. The fulcrum of the balance is weighted in favour of publication. To justify publication, a court must
No special treatment should be accorded just because an applicant for relief is a public figure or a celebrity
be satisfied that the right to publish outweighs the right to privacy. Would the benefits that are to be achieved by publication be proportionate to the harm that may be done by interference with the right to privacy? A major factor for the court to consider is the ‘Public interest’. What is of interest to the public is not necessarily in the public interest. Is publication necessary to make a contribution to a ‘debate of general interest?’ Underpinning everything is ‘responsible journalism’. What steps have been taken to verify information? What has been verified? Was the source of information reliable? Does the publisher believe the information to be true, and on what grounds? What has the publisher done to check the information? What steps have been taken to contact the people named for their comments. And finally, whatever a journalist does, he or she should provide a full audit trail: [such audit trail is currently provided for in the Editor’s Code, and is recommended by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications: 16th February 2012. Iain Goldrein QC practises from chambers on the Northern circuit and London. He is a Visiting Professor in Litigation at Nottingham Law School. His new book Privacy Injunctions and the Media: A Practice Manual is available from Hart Publishing www.hartpub.co.uk/books/
20 | theJournalist
epa european pressphoto agency b.v./Alamy
t s e r e t n i e t a v i r p d n a Public
the view from inside PR Name: James Doherty Job description: Media manager at Glasgow Life
Press Relations needs press reporters, too
erhaps it’s as strong a sign as any that journalists and journalism have never been under more pressure. When I was a young reporter at The Scotsman, we were just about able to get out and meet contacts, even enjoy the occasional press trip. Fast forward 10 years and it seems that – due to the unrelenting pressures within print journalism, in particular – enticing journalists, even from national newspapers, on familiarisation trips is proving ever more difficult. And if you’re based somewhere north of Watford, as we are in Glasgow, the task is nigh on impossible. In the last three months, we’ve offered a number of writers the opportunity of more than just a free lunch. We’ve offered to pay for their travel from London and to put them up for the night. The reason? To highlight some of the cultural treasures the once Second City of the Empire has to offer. The response? Out of 20 journalists offered; one positive response. It’s not that journalists in national and specialist outlets aren’t keen to come. Glasgow is home to nine museums, one of the finest civic art collections in Northern Europe and a vibrant arts scene, with outstanding
programmes such as the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (which always generates national coverage). And when we open major venues such as Zaha Hadid’s stunning £74 million Riverside Museum (1.6 million visitors in its first 12 months), we do get global coverage – and we’re grateful for it. But when it comes to other smaller shows or a general familiarisation tour – outwith the travel writers, it’s proving more difficult to get the national or specialist coverage. As a public sector organisation, it’s difficult to justify the funds to employ an agency in London to give us a shoe-in with their contacts. However, I’m sure it’s no longer about the contacts, nor is it a lack of interest in what’s happening outside the M25. It’s simply a matter of time. Taking 36 hours out of the working week to go to Glasgow – or anywhere else – when you’re increasingly tied to your desk is a progressively more difficult task ‘ask’. Even if the hard-up media groups are not picking up the tab, when there are so few to produce
the news there must be guilt at leaving others to pick up the pieces while you go off: that’s just as much a deterrent as the disapproving look of an editor. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule and, yes, we do get good coverage, particularly in Scotland. But there is perhaps a danger that as the number of journalists decreases, then the professional social mobility of journalism will, too. RTE recently announced plans to close its London bureau – and the shrinking of newsrooms will inevitably lead to a more parochial press, devoid of the rich spread of editorial. As someone involved in PR, some may say that we should be grateful for the fact that churnalism is on the up – but as someone who values quality journalism and its place in a vibrant democracy, it causes nothing but despair. As a union, the NUJ has put forward eloquently the case to Leveson about the shocking crisis in our industry; PR professionals are finding that, far from being a bonus, having fewer journalists can seriously hamper our efforts. If any scribes out there would like to come to Glasgow, do get in touch and we’ll keep you in mind when our next press trip comes up.
James Doherty, a fomer NUJ president, is media manager at Glasgow Life, a member the union’s NEC and chair of the NUJ in Scotland.
theJournalist | 21
Tax them if you can!
espite plain evidence to the contrary, there’s a disturbing consensus among our politicians that austerity is the only way to go. And that ‘austerity-or-broke’ agenda has been comprehensively absorbed and regurgitated by the mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions. Since opposition to this ‘Austerity Age’ comes largely from outside the Westminster bubble, it gets the occasional brief mention and it’s framed as quirky, naive and purely anti-capitalist in nature. More than anything else, it’s ‘radical.’ But now we’re at a tipping point. Tax is centre stage and it doesn’t look like it’s going to exit any time soon. We’ve had revelations about Google, Amazon and now Apple’s tax affairs. Politicians are coming under pressure to disclose their tax returns. Now George Osbourne tells us he’s ‘shocked’ to learn that Britain’s wealthiest are paying virtually no income tax. Apparently 20 people have avoided £145 million of tax between them. Economists and tax experts have been telling governments for years that tackling 22 | theJournalist
Naomi Fowler explains how the organisation exposing tax evasion has taken to the airwaves in order to deliver the message tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax paid late – a combined total of £120 billion – provides a clear alternative to their cuts agenda. It’s now blindingly obvious that the tax system must be reformed. Our financial systems are corrupt and broken. And there are sensible, working proposals on exactly how to change that. So, let’s get one thing straight. It’s not radical to demand fairness. It’s not radical to say we’re failing to collect £120 billion a year in taxes, enough for the entire NHS budget. It’s not radical to point out that there is no need whatever for austerity measures. It’s not radical to compare the tax return of an ordinary person with that of Tony3%-Blair or with multinational companies who’re twisting tax laws and in some circumstances breaking the law. It’s not radical to point out that companies like Londonbased bank HSBC
It’s not radical to say we’re failing to collect £120 billion a year in taxes, enough for the entire NHS budget
(being investigated under suspicion of a massive international moneylaundering scheme that involves hundreds of billions of dollars) are symptomatic of a system that’s rotten through and through. It is a system that will continue to pull us all down if it’s not reformed by politicians who are courageous, politicians who truly represent the people. If the UK thinks it can afford to maintain a system like that, well, OK. Let’s see what the electorate thinks. But developing countries are losing about $160bn a year in unpaid corporate taxes through a system largely facilitated by wealthy countries. That’s why our podcast service Taxcast is so important. There’s no mystery to why the UK is floundering in a double-dip recession, but there’s inadequate accurate, non-politicised information about the real solutions to the problems we face. Knowledge is power and tax is no longer boring. It’s the life-blood of any healthy society and people know it. That’s why they’re downloading and listening to the Taxcast, playing it on radio stations across the world in over 30 countries and beginning to demand action from their elected representatives at last. They know there’s more to the story. And the Taxcast, its international tax experts and economists, is telling it.
The Tax Justice Network recently revealed that a super-rich global elite has hidden at least £13 trillion in secret tax havens. Naomi Fowler produces the network’s Taxcast 15-minute monthly podcast which is available at www.tackletaxhavens.com/ taxcast. It offers the latest news, research and analysis of events in tax evasion, tax avoidance and the shadow banking system.
Yorkshire Women’s Life Editor Dawn-Maria France
the nuj and me What made you become a journalist?
Are many of your friends in the Union?
I think journalism runs in my blood. My great uncle was Sir Joseph Nathaniel France, a former Minister of the National Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean and editor of the Union Messenger newspaper. He was also editor of the Workers’ Weekly, which was published by the Workers’ League from 1942-1956. When I returned to Nevis at the age of nine, my uncle said I had the makings of a journalist and he could see his own traits in me. I was wandering around the island with my uncle, asking questions of people we met with my little notepad at the ready and he was so proud of me. At the age of 16 I was lucky enough to get my first journalist’s job with the London newspaper the Caribbean Times, where I worked as their Northern reporter in Leeds, West Yorkshire, for the young people’s section of the newspaper. While my friends were out clubbing, I was reporting and writing copy to a weekly newspaper deadline and I loved it.
Nearly all my friends are (especially the print journalists). I have also encouraged my friends in PR and new media to join as well.
What other job might you have done? I really like interior design, so an interior designer would have probably been the career for me.
When did you join the NUJ and why? I joined as a student member at university. One of my lecturers encouraged all the print and broadcast undergraduate journalists to join, so I did. As soon as I graduated and got a job, I applied for full membership.
And villain? The current political parties and the economic system. It worries me that one million 18-24 year olds are unemployed; it’s a lost generation of worklessness and no hope.
And in the Union?
I was once told off by a community writer who was not an NUj member and thought I was wrong to be one. I argued my case ...
What is the worst place you’ve ever worked in? The worst place was ACAS; let’s just say that if I had a dispute, I wouldn’t want to call them.
And the best? I have some great memories of writing for That’s Entertainment and Brag, both Yorkshire magazines. I also really enjoy my current role at Yorkshire Women’s Life magazine.
Who is your biggest hero? Claudia Jones, the Caribbean
Journalism isn’t all about glamour and after-show parties; it’s hard work and you need to be prepared to put in the commitment to produce a wellreasoned and balanced argument.
Do your research before you approach a title and take the time to check spelling and grammar. If you’re sending a pitch, make sure all the bases are covered.
My best moment was attending a press briefing at Downing Street. Showing my press card to security and walking past the permanent press pack into Downing Street with the other invited media was an amazing experience.
And the worst ones?
What advice would you give someone starting in journalism?
What advice would you give a new freelance?
What’s been the best moment in your career?
I’m really proud to be a member of the Leeds NUJ Branch, where I’m surrounded by brilliant and passionate journalists. I’ve learnt so much from them and have been inspired by them as well.
journalist who in 1958 founded the West Indian Gazette in London, a voice for the UK Caribbean community. She worked for justice for UK blacks and world peace. I would add Louis Armstrong too; I listen to his music all the time and it still touches me.
Which six people (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? Louis Armstrong (Pops), Audrey Hepburn, Troy Bayliss, Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and Peter O’Toole. It would be an excellent dinner party, and I’d cook!
Who would you most like to see in the NUJ? I would like to see more dialogue between the Union and student journalists. It is important to work with colleges and universities to engage and speak to the new generation of journalists about the NUJ, and recruit and retain their membership and input.
How would you like to be remembered? As the lady with a pen, who loved jazz, calypso and being in the company of family and friends. theJournalist | 23
Arts with attitude Some of the best things to see and do with a bit of political bite For listings email: journalist@NUJ.org.uk
Exhibitions, theatre, comedy, books, festivals, film Exhibitions John Bartlett: London Sublime Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2 October 12 – January 20, 2013 A 25 ft mural, The Rise of the Invisible, inspired by last summer’s riots and depicting a hooded youth carrying a stick will be worked on by artist John Bartlett during the exhibition entitled London Sublime. This show includes 50 pieces of work from the last 20 years including the artist’s large-scale canvasses alongside more intimate, scenes capturing contemporary London in all its messed up glory. History Painting, the artist’s iconic depiction of the 1990 Poll Tax riots in Trafalgar Square, will be on temporary loan from the Museum of London, where it hangs in the £20m ‘Galleries of Modern London’. Bartlett’s best-known work recreates the violent clashes between riot police and stick-wielding protestors against the backdrop of Nelson’s Column.
Have fun, be surprised, and be moved.
edinburgh’s festivals Scotland’s capital is gearing up for the annual festival of the arts.
24 | theJournalist
Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs until August 27. Edinburgh International Festival until September 2. For each show’s specific dates, times, venues and prices go to www.edfringe.com or www.elf.co.uk Britain and the world’s mirth-makers, jugglers, artists, musicians, dancers and all-round performers from the odd and unusual, to the strange and, sometimes, outright freakish, head north to Scotland and give their all at the world’s largest arts festival with over 40,000 performances, more than 2,500 shows packed into 250 venues for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Anyone can perform and everyone does – from students to superstars. Comedian and former hard news journalist David Mulholland fact checks tabloids and finds that when they get it right, it’s an accident. He’s appearing at the Base nightclub in a free show called Are You Being Lied To 2012. Every day until August 25 at 18.15pm. When an agony aunt reaches 60 she can jump off a bridge or get on stage. In Going Old Disgracefully, Virginia Ironside explains why free drugs, fun funerals, sex (or better still no sex) make this the best time of your life. She appears at 12.30pm each day at the Gilded Balloon wine bar. Entry fee £11.
Entry £5, (£3 concessions). Among those allowed free are Under 16s and City of London residents with proof of address. www.guildhallartgallery. cityoflondon.gov.uk Girls in the Ring The Ferens Art Gallery, Hull Until September 9 On Saturday mornings and weekday nights, at the local boxing gyms of Yorkshire, girls and women are in gloves. Some box to keep fit, to lose weight, to build confidence and self-esteem. Some for self-defence or to let out aggression in a controlled way. And some box because they are good at it. The boxers are schoolgirls and mothers, solicitors and students, from all walks of life and with various reasons for wanting to go in the ring. 16,000 females aged 16 years and over participate in boxing in some form. Almost 40 per cent of boxing gyms in England have classes that specifically cater for women and girls. This documentary photography exhibition by NUJ photographer Lee
Or catch comedian Mark Thomas, famous for his Channel 4 TV show, Comedy Product where he hounded Conservative MP Nicholas Soames for his tax avoidance so the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, changed the law. Mark’s performance is about his dad – a full-on rough, but hard-grafting working-class Methodist, Thatcherite builder from south London – and the difficult relationship he has with him. Traverse Theatre, Until August 26 at 18.15pm. £20. Even the indomitable Tony Benn with his Will And Testament is giving it a go. “I got a death threat last week,” he says, “I haven’t had one in ages, so I was chuffed.” He’s appearing at the Assembley Rooms, The Music Hall on August 21 and 22 at 12.00pm, £10. It’s a preview of his forthcoming documentary film, followed by a Q&A. Running alongside the Fringe is the International Festival with the best in classical music, theatre, opera and dance. Most visible will be Speed of Light, choreographed athletics on the slopes of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s iconic mountain. The festival closes with a spectacular fireworks concert launched from Edinburgh Castle. There’s plenty for everyone, virtually 24 hours a day and enough to take you away from sports for a couple of weeks.
arts Karen Stow coincides with female amateur boxers being allowed to compete in the ring for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games. www.leekarenstow.com Theatre Death and the Maiden The Continental, South Meadow Lane, Preston, Lancashire PR1 8JP. Tel: 01772 499425 for reservations and event tickets Saturday, September 22 8pm – Tickets £5 advance & concessions/£7 on the door For one night only, political thriller, love story – Ariel Dorfman’s explosive, award-winning drama is set in a mythical country only recently returned to democracy. Gerardo Escobar has just been chosen to head the commission that will investigate the crimes of the old regime. When his car breaks down he is given a lift home by Doctor Roberto Miranda. But in the voice of this good Samaritan, Gerardo’s wife, Paulina Salas, thinks she recognises another man – the one who raped and tortured her as she lay blindfolded in a military detention centre years before. Is this her opportunity for terrifying revenge? First staged at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1991, Death and the Maiden hit Broadway in 1992, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfus and Gene Hackman. It was also filmed by Roman Polanski in 1994, with Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and Stuart Wilson in the roles. The Continental, as well as being a theatre, is Camra West Lancashire Pub of the Year 2010 & 2011. www.newcontinental.net Books The First Lady of Fleet Street: The Life, Fortune and Tragedy of Rachel Beer By Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev. The Robson Press. £9.99 Rachel Beer was both a rebel and a pioneer. In the late nineteenth century, at a time when women were still denied a vote, she became the first woman ever to edit a national British newspaper – in fact two, The Sunday Times and The Observer. It was to be over 80 years before another woman took the helm of a national newspaper. While other female journalists were restricted
to frocks, frills and frippery, Rachel managed to raise her voice on national, social, women’s and foreign political issues – including the notorious Dreyfus Affair that involved the conviction and life sentence for treason of captain Alfred Dreyfus for communicating French military secrets. Dreyfus, after serving five years in solitary confinement on a penal colony, was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French army. He served during the whole of World War 1 ending his service with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. www.therobsonpress.com
Pioneer and rebel who blazed a path for women in journalism
West Yorkshire’s Ambreen Sadiq from ‘Girls in the Ring’ exhibition
Keep Breathing By Adam Grace. Amazon £8.99 and Ebook on Kindle £2.99 We’ve survived Thatcher, Blair, frozen homes and interest rates, ageism, hospital food, elder abuse…What next? This controversial thriller by ex-Daily Telegraph journalist Adam Grace (aka Frank Green), an NUJ life member, tells the story of a son’s
desperate campaign to protect his ageing mother when a cynical government crosses the line on euthanasia. With 15 million citizens over 65, a national debt of £1 trillion and dodgy politicians, it’s a scenario waiting to happen. www.amazon.co.uk or email email@example.com or blog firstname.lastname@example.org Festivals End of the Road Festival Larmer Tree Gardens, North Dorset August 31 – September 2 This festival features art, workshops, comedy, cinema, woodland library, games area, enchanted forest, healing field, art installations, Rough Trade record shop, quality food and drinks and plain good music. Special guest is the legendary singersongwriter Patti Smith. A three-day ticket for adults, including camping, is £150. Children 6-12 £50 but youth tickets, 13-17 are sold out. www.endoftheroadfestival.com
preview Grace – The First Modern-day Heroine Three-week north east tour October 17 – November 3
‘Germs’ from the John Barlett exhibition
Three-week north east tour. Opens Alnwick Playhouse on Wednesday, October 17 and plays at various theatres ending at Playhouse Whitley Bay on Saturday, November 3. The story of sea rescue heroine Grace Darling is being brought to the stage by two of the country’s top playwrights. Tyneside-based Ed Waugh (an NUJ member) and Trevor Woodhave penned Amazing Grace to celebrate the achievements of the first Victorian female heroine, who tragically died in 1842 aged only 26, four years after her heroic deed off the Northumberland Coast. Grace and her lighthouse keeper father lived on Longstone island when, in September 1838, the SS Forfarshire struck rocks. Of the 63 people on board, nine managed to escape in a lifeboat while Grace and her father selflessly manned a coble (boat) to rescue nine people stranded on the rocks. Check out details and all the venues at www.edwaughandtrevorwood.co.uk and the museum at www.rnli.org.uk/gracedarling
A modern take on the lighthouse heroine Grace Darling theJournalist | 25
letters... * @
Please keep letters to 200 words maximum
bit of a pickle? Once again Eric Pickles’ soundbite about ‘Town Hall Pravdas’ is regurgitated to attack council-run newspapers. The role of council communications is often hugely misunderstood, as well as sometimes deliberately misrepresented. They face significant criticism whilst taking little credit for the value they add to local people. PR members working on these papers should not despair. The NUJ Public Relations and Communications Council (and the Select Committee which examined the code of these publications) found no evidence whatsoever that local government papers pose any threat to the local press, and the Select Committee recommended an investigation into the matter to see if the Newspaper Society’s arguments would stand up. Pickles, as local government minister, completely disregarded the select committee’s recommendation, so the impact assessment has still not been done. With members working for both types of publication the NUJ fully agrees that council newspapers should not compete with their local press. But we also agree that local councils should be transparent and accountable and publishing a council newspaper is one good and cost-effective way of achieving that. Don’t forget that many councils pay the local newspaper company to print their paper. Local government PR members, as well as those working for local newspapers, can rest assured that the NUJ will continue to fight for their interests. Tim Jones, Vice Chair, Public Relations and Communications Council
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Down with colour seps Bravo Natasha Robson for her excellent piece on ‘colour separation charges’ (The Journalist June/July). I have also made the move into PR, and earlier this year, after issuing a press release on behalf of a client, I received six of these ludicrous requests for fees, mostly from the same magazine group. Some emailed me, some called – and were often quite rude when I explained that both ourselves and the client weren’t interested. It began to make me so wary that when one magazine editor said she’d 26 | theJournalist
like to use the press release and accompanying photos for a double page spread I felt I had to ask whether the client would have to pay for it, which happily they didn’t! Teresa Green Worcestershire
Blood runs cold Reading Natasha Robson’s column on the charging of colour separation fees in the June/July issue made my blood run cold. I started my first job at a small B2B publisher in North London and the two titles I worked on were ‘colour sep’
users. At the time I didn’t understand why this was, but being very junior I assumed it was standard practice. However, what Natasha said points out that this not only discredits the independence of selecting news on merit, but her report that ‘many publications…just request a charge to guarantee editorial space’ reflects further discredit on trade journalism. To simply pay your way into publicity is unacceptable and unbelievable. If it is going on, then I would love to know where. Thankfully I have been on titles over the past ten years where the term ‘colour sep’ has never been mentioned.
Email your letters to: email@example.com Post them to: The Editor, The Journalist 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP
I work purely online and am amazed that this ‘purely profit practise’ is still going on. If clients pay and PRs have to explain why an extra fee needs to be paid to get their story in, you may as well become a full time corporate newsletter. Dan Raywood London
Utter bollocks! I had to check the last Journalist wasn’t dated April 1 when I read Malcolm Race’s letter in which he criticised ‘the quality of Steve Bell’s cartoons,’ claimed Bell’s work was ‘degrading to the profession’ and that ‘very few’ journalists ‘resort to coarse language.’ All I can say is what utter bollocks. Were Hogarth and Gilray to be Bell’s contemporaries they would be jealous of his immense talent which has enriched my life and British journalism for many decades. The Journalist is a hack’s trade paper where it is appropriate to be as coarse as I imagine most of us are in the pub after putting a tough edition to bed. Edward Davie London magazine
Formula for success “The country’s biggest-selling regional morning newspaper.” That is the proud boast on the front page of the Eastern Daily Press. How does this paper, which covers Norfolk and north Suffolk, succeed where others have failed? The answer is simple – they continue to employ enough journalists to cover the whole area properly and also publish plenty of national and international news. This in contrast to the managements which have cut staff until the newspaper is not worth reading, causing a further decline in circulation, and then deciding to abandon daily publication. A lesson there surely. Brian Ager, Life Member Diss, Norfolk
Extra help for members
Share the success
For more than 100 years NUJ members and their dependents have been helped by NUJ Extra and its predecessors. Now NUJ Extra needs extra help from the next generation of journalists. We’re asking members to sign up to make regular donations of just £5 a month to continue our good work.
The NUJ’s new mentoring scheme is an exciting opportunity for those wishing to share their experience and expertise, and for those willing to benefit from it. As a member of the NUJ you can sign up to be trained as a mentor. On the two-day course – which is accredited by Lewisham College – you will be taught all about the kinds of skills you need to be a mentor, have a chance to practice your skills off-site, and learn how to handle virtually any situation. Whilst you will have your own areas of expertise, you don’t need any experience in mentoring to be a mentor – all you need is confidence and to want to help others. If you’re reading this and thinking that being mentored is something that would interest you, then sign up. So far we have trained mentors who specialise in skillsets as far ranging as music to multimedia journalism, sports journalism to social media.
During this time of austerity and cutbacks NUJ Extra must continue the level of support needed by journalists and their dependents. In addition to helping a small number of long-standing beneficiaries, we also help members in tight spots, sometimes a result of accidents and sudden illnesses. We can help out short-term and provide advice and support to come up with a long-term solution: for instance, we once paid for an advert in a major UK national newspaper to help sell a remote Welsh cottage at a price much above the local estate agent’s suggestion, and we bought a freezer for a member with Crohn’s Disease so she could stock up on special dietary food for when she felt too ill to shop or cook. Now we need an army of NUJ members to sign up to give £5 a month. You can do this through direct debit or through Payroll Giving. By adding Gift Aid, your £5 would be worth £5.25 to us. It’s easy to do – just go to our website (www.nujextra.org.uk) or contact Lena Calvert on lenac@ nuj.org.uk and she will send you the appropriate forms and information.
NUJ Extra has been doing that little bit extra for 100 years. Please, we need you to do that little bit extra now.
To receive more information on the mentoring programme, please contact ColletteM@nuj.org.uk
theJournalist | 27
Who, what and where?
The NUJ has four offices – the head office in London, and offices in Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin.
National Organiser Sue Harris Assistant Organiser Jenny Lennox Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For general enquires, including press cards and membership queries, please contact email@example.com
Spencer House Spencer Row, Off Store Street Dublin 1 Tel: 00 353 (0)1 8170340/8170341 Fax: 00 353 (0)1 8170359 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At each office officials can provide advice and information to help with problems at work and, if necessary, represent you in dealings with your employer. London Office Headland House 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP Tel: 020 7843 3700 Email: email@example.com General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy General Secretary Barry Fitzpatrick Email: email@example.com
Newspapers, Agencies and New Media
legal Legal Officer Roy Mincoff Assistant Legal Officer Natasha Morris Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaigns and Communications: Senior Campaigns and Communications Officer Sarah Kavanagh Campaigns and Communications Officer Frances Rafferty Email: email@example.com
The Journalist Editor Christine Buckley Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern and Midland Office 5th Floor Arthur House Chorlton Street Manchester M1 3FH Tel: 0161 237 5020 Fax: 0161 237 5266
Barry Fitzpatrick Assistant Organisers Laura Davison David Ayrton
Northern and Midlands Organiser Chris Morley Email: email@example.com
Magazines, Books, PR and Communications
3rd Floor 114 Union Street Glasgow G1 3QQ Tel: 0141 248 6648/7748 Fax: 0141 248 2473
National Organiser Fiona Swarbrick
Freelance and Wales National Organiser John Toner Assistant Organisers Pamela Morton Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
28 | theJournalist
Equality Officer Lena Calvert Email: email@example.com
Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran Assistant Organiser Dominic Bascombe Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley Organiser Nicola Coleman Assistant Organiser Ian McGuinness Email: email@example.com
Other contacts The Ethics Hotline For union information on ethical and professional issues. Tel: 0845 450 0864 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For reporting the BNP: www.reportingthebnp.org Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, Second Floor Vi & Garner Smith House 23, Orford Road London E17 9NL Tel: 020 8521 5932 Email: email@example.com www.cpbf.org.uk NUJ Extra The union established NUJ Extra to help members and their dependents through times of financial difficulty. Application forms for assistance are available from the Fund Administrator at Headland House. All applications are treated in confidence. Journalists’ Charity Requests for financial help are considered from all needy past and present journalists and their dependents. The charity has sheltered housing accommodation for retired journalists and offers a wide range of residential, nursing, respite care and care for those suffering from mental frailty. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01306 887511 or visit www.journalistscharity.org.uk
is privacy old fashioned?
Adam Oxford on the latest trends and kit
ast week I did something unusual. I went to the Post Office, and I posted a letter. I was surprised by how much it costs to buy a stamp. Surprise, however, gave way to astonishment when the cashier handed me a small black terminal marked ‘MI5’ and asked me to register the sender and recipient with the intelligence services. Since the package was vitally important I grumbled, but gave in. Because like letters and parcels, the right to privacy is an outmoded concept any way. This story may not be true, but it is more or less what’s being proposed for emails and internet chat under the new Communications Data Bill, which has just begun its journey through parliament. Under the terms of the Bill, service providers will be legally required to save contact information about who you phone, email, text, Skype or even play World of Warcraft with, and serve it up in an easy to access format for government agencies. Depending on your point of view, it’s either an overdue piece of legislation that brings the legal powers of the security services up to date with modern technology/what they’re
lastPass secrets Speaking of privacy, you
might have noticed that more big names have been in the news as a result of server hacks recently, and hundreds of thousands of username and password combinations have been dumped on the net. Yahoo! is probably the best known victim, but other companies hit over the last two months include NVIDIA, Formspring and Gamingo. These companies all offer the kind of services that you might have signed up for once – in order to post on a forum, say – and then forgotten
Like letters and parcels, the right to privacy is an outmoded concept anyway
about. But once a username and password combination gets leaked out, it will get used in automated attacks on other services, like Gmail or Amazon for example. It’s why security experts recommend not using the same password twice. If you’re going to use a different password for every service, how do you remember them all? My advice is to use a ‘password vault’, and specifically Lastpass (www. lastpass.com). Lastpass stores all your usernames and passwords on its servers, accessible with a master password. You can access your vault from any PC or Mac on the net. Not only do you only need to remember one password, but all
doing anyway, or it’s a ‘snooper’s charter’ which gives anyone operating in an official capacity the ability to piece together a detailed overview of your life with the minimum of judicial oversight. It would also allow for my Post Office adventure to actually happen. Under section 25 the Royal Mail can be compelled to record all visible information on letters and parcels. Apparently it’s a ‘just in case’ provision which the government doesn’t plan to use. Presumably a threat that will only be acted upon if everyone abandons email because they’re sick of feeling watched. The important issue here for journalists is this: how confident are you that you will never leave a digital trail which could link you to whistleblowers or sources who need to remain anonymous? The irony is that we’re being expected to surrender our privacy to any data entry clerk with a civil service badge, while Leveson may yet result in extra protections for the rich and corrupt from the watchful eye of the fourth estate. Still, we’ll finally have communications laws which will be the envy of other bastions of internet freedom like er, Russia, China, Ethiopia, Saudia Arabia, Belarus, Burma et al.
your other passwords can be totally random strings of characters that are almost impossible to crack. Even if someone gets hold of your Lastpass password, they don’t necessarily have access to everything in your vault. It can also be set up to require a code generated by the Google Authenticator mobile app every time you log in. There are similar services, like Norton and 1Password, but I prefer Lastpass because it works with just about any combination of computer, operating system and browser you can think of. The basic service is free, but it’s worth paying $12 a year for a premium account which includes the mobile app too.
theJournalist | 29
Raymond Snoddy takes an independent view of what’s needed from Lord Leveson
Leveson won’t be just a footnote
he most important thing he has to remember is that the main part of his job is already done. The process has managed to expose unheralded levels of law-breaking by a minority of journalists. There has also been the disclosure of more police corruption than you could shake a truncheon at. And then there were the toe-curling, embarrassing emails between senior Murdoch executives, some of whom have now been charged, and Prime Minister David Cameron. The Leveson inquiry was born of political expediency for Cameron, who effectively said hang the danger of unintended consequences such as undermining press freedom. But in a laboured and ponderous way, and with the help of whinging actors and comedians, Leveson has justified his existence. Unacceptable practices, including casual cruelty inflicted on ordinary citizens, have been laid bare. In important ways newspapers have to change and many journalists will have to change too. Lord Justice Leveson made it clear he did not want to be a footnote in a media professor’s history of newspapers in the 21st century. That ambition has already been achieved. Will any journalist, editor or proprietor think it wise to turn a blind eye to phone-hacking in future or believe that bribing policemen is an acceptable way to land stories? We can also assume that the relationship between publishers and politicians is going to be much more at arms-length. It would have been nice to have had a balancing judicial inquiry into the culture and practices of the
8 30 | theJournalist
banking industry. And how about the pharmaceutical industry, following the $3 billion fine on GlaxoSmithKline for bribing doctors to prescribe unsuitable drugs in the US? It looks like the newspaper industry will have to face the judicial music alone. Lord Justice Leveson has to be reassured that his place in media history is already secure. Somehow he has to persuade himself – or be persuaded – that his remaining task now is quite limited.
Lord Justice Leveson has to be reassured that his place in media history is already secure
ll he has to come up with is a formula for a successor body to the Press Complaints Commission that will provide a more robust form of selfregulation – or independent regulation as his Lordship will insist on calling it. It will, however, be a simple political calculation for Lord Justice Leveson. If he waves the legislative stick too vigorously his recommendations will be disregarded. He could do much worse than accept the proposals of Lord Hunt of the PCC who is, after all, a legal specialist in regulation. Leveson could tie newspapers in to a strengthened code by commercial contracts that can attract serious fines if they are abused seriously; provide incentives to ensure all publishers take part and have a whistle-blowing line for journalists who are put under unacceptable pressure to behave unethically. Lord Justice Leveson has a stubborn and petulant streak and will be unlikely to nod through Lord Hunt’s proposals. He is more likely to back the Irish model where the regulator is recognised in statute and every publisher is required to take part. On principle it would be a small step in the wrong direction but perhaps not too high a price to pay for an industry that acquiesced in some of its more unscrupulous brethren running out of control.
For the latest updates from Raymond Snoddy on Twitter go to @raymondsnoddy
Whatever life throws at you NUJ Legal Services will help to protect you.
As an NUJ member you’re covered for:† Free legal advice and representation on: • Personal injury at work (including assaults) • Personal injury away from work • Road traffic accident injury • Criminal law representation (for work-related matters)
• Industrial disease or illness • 30 minutes free telephone advice for any non-work issues • Employment law accessed through your NUJ representative • Free will writing service
NUJ members and their families are covered for:† Free legal advice and representation on: • Personal injury away from work • Holiday injury* • Road traffic accident injury
• Special terms for clinical negligence cases • Reduced rates for conveyancing and will writing
For more information call NUJ Legal Services on 0800 587 7528
† Limited exclusions apply. * Accidents outside of the UK are covered where cases can be pursued in the UK courts. Thompsons Solicitors is a trading name of Thompsons Solicitors LLP and is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. NO SAFETY IN THESE NUMBERS.
If you work for a company employing fewer than10 staff, as 3.6 million people do in this country, you could soon become a second-class citizen when you go to work. Some in government want to introduce something called “compensated no-fault dismissal” - that’s spin for getting rid of protection against unfair dismissal. Let’s put that another way, shall we? Sacked. Sacked for having a face that doesn’t fit. Sacked for supporting the
wrong football team. Sacked for having ginger hair. Sacked because the boss was having a bad day. Here’s some money, on your bike. This stripping away of basic employment protection is only one of a deluge of “bonkers” proposals the government had hoped to keep the lid on until it was too late to do anything about them. It’s not. They can be stopped.
VISIT www.STopEmpLoymEnTwronGS.orG.uk To fInD ouT morE
1,2,3 ad A4.indd 1