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www.nuj.org.uk | march/april 2015

pasttimes? Looking at the future for local news

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Contents Main feature

14 The future could be local

Better times ahead for regional media?


e have new things in this edition of The Journalist and a new look for some of our regular features. Some changes have been inspired by comments and suggestions made to me during last year’s election campaign. Happily, in a journalists’ union there is never a shortage of opinion about what should go in the magazine, and during an election even more so! Our excellent designer David Woods has played a major and enthusiastic role in making the changes. To look to the future, we have a new column for students and people changing careers. Our first writer Danielle Hayden is inspiring in her sheer enthusiasm for becoming a journalist. We’re lucky to have a great new technology writer, Kate Bevan. What Kate doesn’t know about technology isn’t worth knowing and she manages to communicate it so effectively that even tech dummies like me can understand. Our cover feature focuses on the future for local news with a comprehensive analysis from our respected media commentator Ray Snoddy. Commenting from the ground on that subject is Chris Morley, the union’s northern and Midlands organiser. Chris starts a column that will rotate around the union’s officials to add a greater regional dimension to the magazine. I hope you like the The Journalist’s revamp.

Christine Buckley Editor @mschrisbuckley

Editor journalist@nuj.org.uk Design Surgerycreations.com info@surgerycreations.com Advertising Melanie Richards Tel: 01795 542417 ads@journalistmagazine.co.uk Print Warners www.warners.co.uk Distribution Packpost www.packpostsolutions.com

NUJ 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP info@nuj.org.uk www.nuj.org.uk Tel: 020 7843 3700

Manchester office nujmanchester@nuj.org.uk Glasgow office nujscotland@nuj.org.uk Dublin office info@nuj.ie

Cover picture David Burton/Alamy


03 ITV could strike on polling day Ballot on pay dispute

04 Judicial safeguards urged Key report on surveillance

05 Trinity Mirror closes more papers Eight titles to go in north west

06 All change at the Guardian

New editor and chief executive sought

08 Shortage of women in broadcast

Peers say more women needed in news


12 Let’s go to Paris

Behind the scene with NUJ journalists

17 Charity begins in the newsroom

How to boost finances for journalism

Regulars 09 Viewpoint 18 Technology 19 NUJ and me

Arts with Attitude Pages 22-23

Raymond Snoddy Page 21

Letters 24-25


ITV could be hit by strike action on polling day


to resolve the dispute, and do they actually appreciate the strength of feeling of staff?” ITV’s offer also includes a bonus of up to £1,200 and an extra day’s holiday. Unions had asked for a staged payment which would mean that pay rises to three per cent from June until the end of the year or a lump sum payment. ITV said that a fair offer had been made which reflected the broadcaster’s circumstances. It said that the offer was consistent with recent pay awards agreed in the media industry and across businesses in general. Sue said that staff felt ‘exploited’ over pay after sticking with ITV when times were tougher.

Staff feel exploited over pay after sticking with ITV when times were tougher

Viner fund helps next generation


nn-Marie Abbasah said she thought she had won the lottery when she won a George Viner scholarship from the NUJ for her journalism studies. At 38 Anne-Marie wanted a major change of career from the social work to which she had devoted 15 years, but she couldn’t see how she could afford tuition fees. Thanks to George Viner, which supports the studies of black and ethnic minority aspiring journalists she is on her way and is studying for a NCTJ Multimedia Diploma at News Associates. This year’s other George Viner scholarship winners are Tracey Murigi, Rahul Vashisht, Sangita Lal; and Yetunde Yusuf.

PA cutting jobs out of the picture


he Press Association is looking at cutting up to 27 jobs at its TV listing department in Howden, West Yorkshire. The cuts amount to about one in three of the staff in the department. The units affected produce listings for The Sun, The Times, Sunday

Times, the Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Radio Times. The company said: “These changes will not have an impact our customers, who will continue to receive the same quality of service they have come to expect from us.” Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and

Midlands organiser, said: “This is a savage blow to a big proportion of staff at the Howden centre and came very much out of the blue. If the cuts are carried out in full, I would seriously doubt PA’s claims about the redundancies not having an impact on the quality of service.”


TV staff are to be balloted for industrial action in a worsening dispute over pay. Action could see ITV’s coverage of the UK general election on May 7th disrupted if joint unions at the broadcaster vote for action. The NUJ, Bectu and Unite are to ballot their members after talks with ITV at the arbitration service Acas broke down last month. ITV has imposed a pay rise of two per cent on staff earning £60,000 or less, although this was rejected by staff. Unions voted overwhelmingly in favour of conducting a strike ballot last month with 85 per cent of NUJ members supporting a ballot on a 64 per cent turnout; some 86 per cent of Bectu members on a 51 per cent turnout and 78 per cent of Unite members on a 50 per cent turnout. NUJ national broadcasting organiser Sue Harris said: “We’ll be organising a timetable and looking at key dates, but there’s no rush. If we do decide to take action we’ll be focusing on key dates.” She said ITV had gone to the Acas talks without being prepared to offer anything. She added: “It is incredible they came to the table empty-handed at a time when profits are so high. How genuine are their claims they want

in brief... Filming convictions breached rights The convictions of four journalists who secretly filmed an insurance broker for a consumer protection TV series were a breach of their rights to freedom of expression, the European Court of Human Rights has held. The case was the first to deal with the use by journalists of hidden cameras when the person filmed wasn’t targeted personally but as a representative of a professional organisation. two winners of paul foot award The Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism 2014 was won by two campaigns this year – the Sunday Times’ Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake for the FIFA Files and Private Eye’s Richard Brooks and Andrew Bousfield for Shady Arabia and the Desert Fix. reuters marks 150 years in the news Reuters is marking 150 years since it was established. The news agency now has 2,600 journalists in nearly 200 locations, with its news reaching more than one billion people every day. German-born immigrant Paul Julius Reuter had already set up an office in London and bureaux all over Europe when the Reuters Telegram Company was registered on February 20 1865. waugh joins the Huffington post Politics Home editor Paul Waugh joining Huffington Post as its executive editor of politics. Waugh, who was deputy political editor of The Independent for four years and the Evening Standard for six years, is also editor-in-chief of Dods, which publishes The House magazine. coulson to stand trial for perjury Former Downing Street director of communication Andy Coulson is to stand trial in Scotland next month charged with perjury. The charge is in connection with the trial of Tommy and Gail Sheridan in December 2010 at the High Court in Glasgow. theJournalist | 03


Call for judicial approval for surveillance checks

in brief... gardai seize images of demonstration Police in Dublin have forced picture agency Photocall Ireland to hand over images of a protest outside the Department of Justice in the Irish capital. The NUJ warned that this action undermined the ability of photographers and videographers to cover public events. Jon stewart is to quit the Daily show Jon Stewart is to end his 16-year run as host of the influential US current affairs programme The Daily Show. He told viewers: “In my heart I know it is time for someone else.” He will leave in the second half of the year. NBC suspends star after iraq claim NBC suspended its star news anchor and managing editor Brian Williams in February for six months without pay after it emerged that he had falsly claimed he came under fire in a US military helicopter in Iraq. The network said that his actions were completely inappropriate and that it was important that the high standards of the news division were maintained. falling sales and ads hit news corp Falling sales, advertising and subscriptions hit revenues at Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper business in the final quarter of last year, News Corp has reported. Revenue at the news and information unit, which publishes newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, fell six per cent to $1.52 billion. Advertising revenues fell nine per cent. Guardian pays damages over book The Guardian has paid damages to a former News of the World journalist who was convicted of phone hacking over an extract from Nick Davies’s book Hack Attack. Former news editor James Weatherup received a four-figure sum. Mr Weatherup was sentenced last year to four months imprisonment which was suspended for one year, after he had pleaded guilty to phone hacking. 4 | theJournalist


The report concluded the current Home Office codes of practice do not provide adequate safeguards to protect journalistic sources

he body responsible for reviewing the interception of communications by the police, intelligence agencies and other authorities has called for judicial approval before moves can be made to determine journalists’ sources. The call from the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) backs the NUJ’s position on protecting journalistic sources. An inquiry into journalists and interception from the watchdog reveals that 82 journalists have been monitored under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act over a three year period. The inquiry found 19 police forces sought communications data in relation to 34 investigations. The 34 investigations concerned relationships between 105 journalists and 242 sources. It decided that police are not ‘randomly trawling’ for data, but found 608 RIPA applications were made by police for communications data to find journalistic sources. Some 80 per cent of those related to the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elveden, which is investigating inappropriate payments to police officers. The IOCCO found the police did not give freedom of speech or the question of necessity, proportionality and collateral intrusion sufficient consideration give due. The report concluded the current Home

Office codes of practice don’t provide adequate safeguards to protect journalistic sources and that forces should require judicial approval to access journalistic material in future: “After careful consideration of all the evidence and the sensitivities and complexities... it is recommended that judicial authorisation is obtained in cases where communications data is sought to determine the source of journalistic information.” Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have barred Press Gazette from requesting information about its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to monitor journalists because the force had the right to refuse ‘vexatious requests... which are intended to be annoying or disruptive or which have a disproportionate impact on a public authority’.

irish president leads tributes to colm


ributes have been paid to Irish financial commentator, author and NUJ activist Colm Rapple, who has died, aged 74, after a short illness. Colm was a chapel officer at both Independent Newspapers and Irish Press chapels during a distinguished

career in which he helped change the face of Irish financial journalism. Michael D Higgins, the Irish president, said: “Colm’s long and distinguished record as a journalist was noted for his deep commitment to social justice

and equality. He was a much respected and valued commentator in print, radio and television on a range of public policy issues; especially on areas of equality. He provided us with a consistent, influential and critical voice on policy and financial matters ”

FT interns to be paid minimum wage


nterns who work for the Financial Times will soon be paid the national minimum wage, following a deal negotiated by the NUJ. The new terms were agreed as part of the overall pay settlement of an aboveinflation rise for all FT staff from next month. Steve Bird, Father of the Chapel at the FT, said: “The chapel is proud to have helped win a proper wage for our interns. By ending the system of offering only a food allowance, FT managers have accepted NUJ arguments about diversity and will be able to recruit from a much broader cross section of society.” The title offers a range of journalism internship opportunities, ranging from one month to three months.


Trinity Mirror closes more local newspapers


rinity Mirror is closing eight more regional newspaper titles. The latest closures come as six titles in and around Manchester will be replaced by one free weekly newspaper. Jobs will be lost on the closing free titles, the Stockport Times, Wilmslow Express and the Advertiser series in Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Trafford. Trinity Mirror has called the new Manchester Weekly News ‘Britain’s biggest free weekly newspaper’ – and said it will be distributed to more than 265,000 homes. The publisher also said a large proportion of the editorial content and display advertising will be editionalised to Salford, South Manchester and Tameside. Two other newspapers in Merseyside – the Formby Times and Crosby Herald –

will close at the end of this month. This move will involve cutting one of five reporter roles working on the five Merseyside weekly titles, produced in Liverpool, which include the Herald and Times. The management also proposes to cut two photographer roles from Liverpool and Chester by merging the two picture operations. There are currently four photographers in Liverpool and two in Chester. The remaining photographers will be based

in Liverpool. Trinity Mirror closed seven regional titles in Berkshire, Surrey and London at the end of last year, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs. Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organizer, said: “The roll call of fine newspapers that have ceased to be gets ever longer with this announcement. It is a loss that everyone needs to sit up and take notice of. When a newspaper goes, another light in the community goes out. “The elimination of staff photographers continues to damage quality. It puts newspapers and websites at the mercy of vested interests, who submit free pictures they want published, or the chance that witnesses to news events pass on free photos, to fill the gap of proper, trained photographers who know their patch.” Future for local media P14

in brief...

Trinity Mirror closed seven regional titles in Berkshire, Surrey and London at the end of last year, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs

BBC should fill regional news gap


BC News should try to improve its local news coverage as regional newspapers shrink, a report which was commissioned by the corporation has found. According to research by Mediatique, more than 5,000 frontline journalism jobs were lost across the regional and national press in the UK between 2003 and 2013.

The report, commissioned by the BBC’s director of news and current affairs James Harding, said: “Devolution and the decline of the regional press are creating a real need for local news coverage: the BBC is going to have to do more to provide local news that properly serves all parts of the UK.” The Future of News report singles out

Wales, Scarborough and Bradford as areas for concern. The report, which drew on work by BBC journalists and academics, cited a study by Andy Williams of Cardiff University, which found that Trinity Mirror had employed 700 editorial and production staff across its Welsh titles in 1999 – compared with 136 in 2011.

Greste vows to fight for press freedom


eter Greste, the freed Al Jazeera journalist, told journalists in London that he would now channel his efforts into campaigning for press freedom. Speaking at the Frontline Club, he said he wasn’t yet

sure if his experience had changed him as a journalist, but it had certainly changed him as a person. From now on, he would back the campaign for a free press and would be speaking out for press freedom.

Mr Greste, who was held in jail for over a year, recalled the trial when he was sentenced to seven years for crimes he had not committed ,and the day when his hopes of a presidential pardon were dashed.

magazines suffer 6.5% sales drops The 447 UK magazine titles audited by ABC lost sales at an average rate of 6.5 per cent year on year in the second half of last year. The biggest circulation magazine is the National Trust’s magazine which goes to 2.1 million members three times a year. The top-selling title is TV Choice, with weekly sales of 1.3 million. Slimming World was one of the few titles to buck the trend with sales growth of eight per cent. New digital head at Local world kent Luke Jacobs has become Local World’s digital development editor for Kent Regional News and Media. He has been digital publisher for the Essex Chronicle and Brentwood Gazette, also part of Local World, since March 2013. Previously, he was a reporter, chief reporter and web editor with Archant London. Johnston Press Sussex editor goes Keith Ridley, editor-in-chief for Johnston Press titles in East Sussex, has left after a journalism career spanning 42 years. Ridley oversaw the Herald and Gazette in Eastbourne; the Hastings Observer series in Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Battle; and the Sussex Express in Lewe. Sub-editing jobs to go at scots dailies Eight sub-editing jobs are set to be lost across two DC Thomson dailies as the publisher consults staff on Dundee’s Courier and Evening Telegraph titles. Ellis Watson, chief executive of publishing, said he hoped that the cuts could be made through voluntary redundancy. Portsmouth gets fresh news website NUJ members have founded a new website for Portsmouth - Star & Crescent (www.starandcrescent. org.uk). It aims to report on issues affecting local people; hold public bodies to account; increase political awareness; and raise Portsmouth’s profile as a creative and cultural city. start producing a regular print edition soon afterwards. theJournalist | 5


The Guardian seeks new editor and chief executive

in brief...

ITV news appoints new deputy editor Tim Singleton has become deputy editor at ITV news. The promotion is in addition to his existing duties as director of newsgathering. Singleton has worked at ITV news since 1998 and his roles have included Westminster news editor and foreign editor before becoming assistant editor and head of newsgathering four years ago. Perry takes the helm in coventry Keith Perry has become the new editor of the Coventry Telegraph. He was football editor of the Birmingham Mail and before that sports editor of the Coventry title for five years. Both titles are owned by Trinity Mirror. New paper for tunbridge wells A new upmarket free weekly newspaper is being launched in Tunbridge Wells to compete with the Local World-owned Courier. The Courier, which publishes on Fridays, has weekly sales of more than 9,000. The Times Tunbridge Wells will have a free distribution of 30,000 at shops and railway stations on Wednesdays. It will have four full-time staff and use freelance photographers. £5 million won in payback royalties A record 23,000 visual artists and artist estates claimed nearly £5 million last year in payback royalties from DACS, the rights management agency. Individual payments ranged up to £5,000. Payback will open again in the summer. For more information go to dacs.org.uk/forartists/payback. 6 | theJournalist


My successor will inherit a business with very strong commercial foundations in place

he Guardian newspaper and its digital operations will soon be under a completely new leadership. Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, is leaving in the summer after 20 years at the head of the newspaper, and Andrew Miller, Guardian Media Group chief executive, will go in June after five years in the job. Mr Rusbridger will become chair of the Scott Trust, the newspaper’s owner which tries to ensure the title continues in perpetuity. The process to appoint the next editorin-chief of the Guardian and Observer will include a vote by journalists on the papers and theguardian.com. The NUJ will run the ballot. Winning the staff ballot will guarantee a candidate a place on the shortlist for the job but the Scott Trust reserves the right to make the final decision on the next editor. The vote is similar to that staged in 1995 when Rusbridger received the overwhelming backing of Guardian journalists. Mr Rusbridger told staff: “It’s been quite an extraordinary period. The Guardian – always the outsider – has won a global reputation for its willingness to fight for the right causes.” Mr Miller, who joined the Guardian group

Ian Pilbeam/Alamy

first woman editor for the economist The Economist has its first female editor - Zanny Minton Beddoes. She moved to the editor’s position from business affairs editor and was previously economics editor. Minton Beddoes replaces John Micklethwait, who left to become editor-in-chief of Bloomberg. She joined the magazine in 1994 after two years at the International Monetary Fund.

as chief financial officer in 2009, said: “My successor will inherit a business with very strong commercial foundations in place.” Last year the group sold its 50.1 per cent stake in Autotrader publisher Trader Media Group, netting £619 million. According to GMG, it now has reserves of more than £850 million. Scott Trust chair Dame Liz Forgan said: “GMG is entering a new period of growth, thanks to the strategic leadership of Andrew Miller and Alan Rusbridger. Together, they have positioned the Guardian to build on its worldwide audience and to capitalise on its new commercial and digital opportunities.”

Evening Standard axes senior staff


ondon’s Evening Standard is cutting between ten and 20 senior journalists’ jobs. Steve Auckland, group chief executive, said in a letter to staff: “The Evening Standard has begun a consultation process with a small number of editorial employees whose

roles might be at risk of redundancy. “Like every business, we constantly review our operations and these planned changes will enable investment in growth areas of the Evening Standard and its distribution.” Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser for newspapers, commented:

“The Evening Standard has touted itself as a success story, but its lifeblood is the journalists who deliver high quality coverage daily for London’s readers. “Cutting experienced, dedicated editorial staff and looking at cheaper alternatives is not the answer.“

Cuts at London Live news


ondon Live, the television centre owned by Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, is cutting 20 jobs – about a third of its staff. It plans to invest the cost-savings in programming content. The job cuts are falling on the news and current affairs team. The station, which launched in March last year, got permission from the regulator Ofcom to reduce its local programming output last October. Tim Kirkman, chief operating officer, said: “As the business develops, we are able to assess where our resources are best deployed to drive continued growth into the business.”


A shortage of women seen in broadcast news


here are not enough women working in news and current affairs in broadcasting, peers have said. The Lords Communications Committee said its inquiry into women in broadcasting found that women journalists are under-represented and if TV and radio stations do not address the gender imbalance, the broadcasting regulator must have greater powers to intervene. The committee said it was concerned about evidence “suggesting that discrimination against women, particularly older women, still exists in the industry”. The committee recommended that public service broadcasters should “consider adopting a policy which promotes (but does not

mandate) the use of positive action in favour of women for all relevant recruitment and promotion opportunities in broadcasting”. The report singled out the BBC, “because of its special status and its dominance as a provider of news and current affairs”. It said: “Despite the fact that women make up almost half the BBC’s total workforce, they

represent only 37.3 per cent of the leadership in network news and 35.1 per cent of leadership in global news.” The NUJ welcomed the report, which has backed many of its recommendations, saying it marked a very important step in recognising discrimination. Lord Best, chair of the committee, said: “We recommend that Ofcom should ensure the collection of all the data needed to monitor progress toward short, medium and long-term targets to ensure a better gender balance. If this hasn’t materialised within a year, we would call on Ofcom to revive the model of a separate entity such as the Broadcast Equality and Training Regulator and delegate responsibility for gender equality issues to this body.”

in brief...

Despite the fact that women make up almost half the BBC’s total workforce, they represent only 37.3 per cent of leadership in network news

Stephen Lawrence journalism scheme


he Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has launched a journalism scholarship programme with the Daily Mail. The trust, which was founded by the murdered teenager’s mother, and the paper will give two aspiring journalists a place on the Mail’s training course.

The Daily Mail led much of the coverage of the long battle to bring Stephen’s killers to justice. The 18-yearold was murdered in 1993 and two of his murderers were finally convicted in 2012. Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence, now Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon,

blake to lead uk buzzfeed probes Heidi Blake, Sunday Times assistant editor and Insight Team journalist, is to be Buzzfeed’s UK investigations editor. She will report to New York based investigations and projects editor Mark Schoofs. Blake, with colleague Jonathan Calvert, won three prizes at the last British Journalism Awards. Gilson now on the move to brighton Mike Gilson, the award-winning editor of the Belfast Telegraph, is now the new editor of the Brighton Argus. Gilson has edited several titles, He led the Belfast Telegraph for five years, and previously edited The Scotsman; The News in Portsmouth; and the Peterborough Telegraph. Basingstoke editor goes to charity Mark Jones, who was the editor of the Basingstoke Gazette for 13 years, has moved to become the director of fundraising and communications at the Ark Cancer Centre Charity which is based at a hospital in Basingstoke.. Jones began his career in journalism as a trainee reporter at the Worcester Evening News in 1985.

said: ‘I am delighted to announce the Stephen Lawrence trainee reporter scholarship in partnership with the Daily Mail. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’s mission is to transform the career opportunities of aspiring, talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Gotcha! Kelvin is consumer champ


Gavin Rodgers/Alamy

elvin MacKenzie, the former editor of The Sun, has launched a social media initiative enabling consumers to name and shame companies that don’t respond to complaints. Users of the platform A Spokesman Said have to use their real identities, and are encouraged to upload evidence to support complaints. Mr MacKenzie, who edited The Sun from 1981 to 1994, said: “As an editor I know the power of publicity to force companies and politicians to do the right thing. “Now we are putting that power directly into the hands of the man or woman in the street.” His new venture coincides with his return to The Sun as a columnist.

Grazia editor joins telegraph group Jane Bruton, Grazia editor-in-chief, is the new director of lifestyle and deputy editor at the Telegraph Media Group. She joins a newly appointed six-strong senior editorial team headed by Chris Evans, editor and director of content. At Grazia she was twice named editor of the year by the British Society of Magazine Editors.

Photo agency goes to shutterstock UK photographic agency Rex Features has been bought by New York’s stock image provider Shutterstock. Rex was created by a husband and wife team in north-London in 1954, and it now has offices in London, Los Angeles and partner agencies in more than 40 countries. It says it has an online database of 11 million images. theJournalist | 7

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Reporting the NHS An NUJ Masterclass for anyone working on health and the NHS

Thursday 19 March: 6.30-9.00pm

Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP • The NHS is the big election story – but how should you cover it? Where are the pitfalls and best leads? • Expert panel, free resources, free advice Speakers include: • Andrew Gregory – health editor, The Mirror. • Shaun Lintern – the reporter who broke the Mid Staffs story, now on the Health Service Journal. • Professor Allyson Pollock – on the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015, and NHS privatisation. • Dr John Lister – veteran campaigner, London Health Emergency, and authority on health policy. • Caroline Molloy – editor, Our NHS/Open Democracy.

All welcome. Contact: Alan Taman • 07870 757 309 • healthjournos@gmail.com 08 | theJournalist

viewpoint Chris Morley sees radical changes in newspapers in the north

Stresses and strains of more from less


ears ago, The Journalist ran a story about how reporters were going to be expected to cope with a multitude of new gadgets and use a plethora of new skills with the march of technology. There was a mocked up picture of Robohack to illustrate this nightmarish vision. It was one I, as a print journalist at the time, thought was a little overthe-top and unlikely. The technology of Robohack now looks clunky and dated but it is fair to say the vision that inspired him has come to pass. Relentless waves of cutbacks have left many surviving regional journalists with an awesome array of tasks to perform in their daily lives. I am astonished at the job descriptions that come with each new newsroom reorganisation where editorial staffing levels have routinely fallen well below a half of what they were pre-2008. Even some of the job titles are exotic and strange – for instance, “Editor, football, fan engagement and sport development” at one North East regional newspaper centre. This is not to denigrate the job but to give an example of how – in this case – a sports editor’s job of old has morphed into something much more complex. The headlong rush for newspaper companies to make it big in digital – without any clue as to how it will bring in real money to replace that haemorrhaging from print – is costing our members a heavy price. Many newer to the industry perhaps don’t see the potential for harm when the constant demands of social media are married to a job that now comes with infinite space to fill on the website.


Editor, football, fan engagement and sport development... a sports editor’s job of old has morphed into something much more complex

When it was just newspapers, once the paper was full that was it, there was nothing for it but go home. Now, home is the new workplace as tweets are constantly searched and sent. More experienced members are voting with their feet and in some cases saying, when the inevitable next redundancy round comes along, that perhaps it is time to exit mainstream journalism. The loss of experience is a huge problem which has left many regional newsrooms low on journalistic knowhow and nous. This is showing up in the swelling numbers of mistakes found in print and digital. The Newsquest experiment of an industrial scale hub at Newport in Gwent has combined both these problems with ranks of inexperienced and untrained staff trying to manage an impossible workload from scores of different titles from around the UK. The NUJ is making a difference on the scourge of long hours and companies are now at least listening and some good practice is creeping in. In my region, a number of chapels have conducted HSE-style stress surveys which have highlighted the worst problems and forced companies to address key issues. But one of the ugly symptoms of overload and stressful working environment is bullying – something that is becoming a far too common feature of the working life of a provincial journalist.

In recent months, we have secured some convincing individual successes which we hope to convert into wider collective improvements. Acting together is the fastest way to bring about change of culture. And that gives me an excuse to plug the summit of newspaper chapel reps in Birmingham on Saturday, 25th April where this will be a prominent item of discussion. I urge you to take part if you can. Even old Robohack would give that his blessing. Chris Morley is NUJ northern and Midlands organiser

 For all the latest news from the NUJ go to www.nuj.org.uk theJournalist | 9

Millions march for murdered journalists On January 7th terror came to Paris when 11 people were murdered at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, including the editor Stephane Charbonnier, cartoonists and other staff. Gunmen struck at the editorial meeting of the magazine which has frequently depicted the prophet Mohammed. On January 11th four million people marched in Paris and elsewhere in France in tribute to those who gave their lives in support of free speech. Photos by Jess Hurd

10 | theJournalist

charlie hebdo

Sasko Lazaro v/Ph

otocall Irel and

theJournalist | 11

The Charlie Hebdo shootings focused the world’s attention on Paris. Linda Harrison goes behind the scenes of the city


hen news broke of the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, NUJ members were among the first journalists at the scene. Among them was freelance journalist Rory Mulholland, who was working a shift at English language news network The Local. “My colleague there was saying things were pretty quiet and we were searching desperately for stories,” says Rory, who also writes regularly for the Telegraph. “I saw something pop up saying Charlie Hebdo shooting. At the time we didn’t know what had happened - if it was a shooting near the Charlie Hebdo offices or what. Then more information…10 people had died. “I rushed down to the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and spent the rest of the day there getting the reaction of people

12 | theJournalist

coming in and out, including the response of members of the Muslim community.” Freelance journalist Kim Willsher has lived in Paris for 15 years and also reported on the story. “The offices of Charlie Hebdo are very near my office and at one point we had to negotiate with police and gendarmes who had sealed off the area to get in and out,” says Kim, an award-winning journalist who’s reported on conflicts around the world, including Bosnia and Afghanistan. “So my French press card came in handy. “I was covering for The Guardian and the first 24 hours were extremely hectic, filing to a live blog, the website and then for the paper. As with any major running story, the situation was chaotic and it was extremely hard to get verifiable information. “For a few days I was running on very little sleep and a lot of adrenaline and coffee… “Like everyone else, I was shocked at the killings and when something happens on your doorstep and to people within your own industry it obviously makes you stop and think.” Freelance music and culture writer Jeremy Allen lives a couple of blocks from the Charlie Hebdo offices. He says: “I was picking up my morning coffee and baguette when all those writers were being murdered a stone’s throw away. East Paris is maybe a little edgier than a lot of the rest of the city but I find it civilised and peaceful all the same. So it’s hard to impress on you what a shock those events were to everyone here… “I know some people said the ‘je suis Charlie’ tag was reductive but I thought it was important for solidarity, and as a writer living in Paris it resonated with me straight away. “It’s opened up a whole discourse about freedom of speech everywhere, and it’s certainly something we’ve taken for granted maybe our whole lives.” The Paris NUJ branch has about 300 members, with around 150 in the Paris area. It’s a very active branch with regular meetings, social events and speakers. And it’s not just Brits, there are numerous Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, American and French members. Among its members is John Lichfield, Paris correspondent for The Independent who’s been in the city since 1996. John, a lifelong NUJ member, recently retired from the staff of The Independent after being with the paper since it

news hub

launched 28 years ago but has a contract to carry on as Paris correspondent. He says France is a wonderful place to cover as a British journalist. “We, the British, are fascinated by everything that happens in France,” he explains, “from wine, to politics, to football, to cheese, to odd rural murders, to the economy, to art. Some foreign postings tend to be one-story countries. How often do you see a story in a British paper about the politics of German wine? France gets far more coverage in the British press than the UK gets in the French press.” But there is one small issue - speaking French. Is it possible to be a journalist in Paris without speaking the language? John says: “Possible, yes. Easy, no. With sites like The Local, which does a pretty good job of covering French life in English, you can keep up broadly with events without reading the French press. But you would be forever behind the curve. Also, it is very hard to cover stories in France - especially outside Paris - unless you can speak some French. You certainly don’t need to be native-speaker fluent but you do need to be able to make yourself understood.” Rory, who studied languages at university in Dublin and worked for AFP in Paris for 11 years before going freelance, says there are plenty of opportunities for work if you can speak French. “If you want to sell stories around the world, Paris is a great place to be freelance,” adds Rory. “I have no problem getting work. It’s a great news city and there are also plenty of features - the world is also fascinated by France and Paris.” As well as writing for English-language publications around

Where the work is British newspapers with staff in Paris include the FT and The Guardian. Meanwhile, The Times, Telegraph, Independent and Mail have freelances. The BBC also has a Paris correspondent. Not all British journalists work for British outlets. One of the main employers for English-speaking journalists is Agence France-Presse (AFP). Its HQ is in Paris with about 500 journalists there. About 50 are English-language. There’s also the news and current affairs TV channel France24, said to be a good

source of jobs for young players. Other outlets using English-language journalists are the English output of Radio France Internationale, Reuters, Bloomberg, Dow Jones/WSJ and AP. For the French press, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Les Echos and Le Parisien are among the biggest employers, followed by Liberation. The main French TV news teams include TF1, France 2 and BFMTV. Other TV includes Canal+. Radio includes RTL, France Info and France Inter.

the world, there are freelance shifts with media outlets in Paris. Jeremy, who writes for The Guardian and NME.com, says that in his experience it tends to be feast or famine. “Being one hour ahead is advantageous where pitching is concerned but it’s still a struggle,” he says. “The upside is that I’m in Paris. It takes 40 minutes to walk anywhere and it’s a stunning city, so I’m certainly not complaining.”


here are other challenging elements to working in Paris. “Dealing with French press officers,” says John. “They believe that their job is to send out press releases. They – many but not all – are astonished if you call and ask them for information or to fix an interview. “Also, dealing with the French police/judicial system. A lot of the oddities which have appeared in the UK press about stories such as Princess Diana’s accident or the Al Hilli massacre can be explained by the secretiveness of the French system, which often fails to put out even basic info about major events. Speculation fills the vacuum.” Sam Davies, a freelance Australian journalist who runs a corporate communications consultancy, adds that the working culture can be challenging because freelancers aren’t as respected as salaried staff. Plus, Paris is very expensive, its red tape is legendary, and it can be hard to get hold of the right officials for stories. “Some ministries – foreign, finance – are internationalminded and helpful,” says John. “Others, notably Interior (equivalent to the Home Office) are useless and have always been useless whatever minister or political persuasion is in charge. I am still waiting for simple information on the murder clear-up rate in France. The Interior ministry promised to come back to me…in 1998.” Kim adds: “It’s impossible to get hold of most people after 5pm on Friday or over the weekend as the French have a healthy approach to the work-life balance.” But there are obvious positives to living in Paris. “My working day starts with a trip to the newsagents to buy the papers, then I head to a café to read them,” says Rory. “There are about 15 cafes in my street. Plus you’re three hours from the Med and only one and a half hours from London. It’s a great place to be based.” Freelance travel and lifestyle writer Rowena Carr-Allinson says: “I am very fortunate to have lucked out on my apartment and every morning seeing the view over Paris and its glorious landmarks definitely cheers me up.” But don’t get too carried away admiring the view. “While looking up and admiring the sights, you also have to look down,” says Kim. “Parisian dog owners have not yet been street trained! “Also, in too many restaurants and shops here, the customer is not king (or queen); the person serving is. It’s infuriating but you learn to live with it and eventually laugh about it.”

Words from the streets Freelance Kim Willsher: “When people ask me what they should do when they come to Paris, I advise them to just walk around and look up.” Freelance Jeremy Allen: “Being a writer in Paris is a cliche I suppose, but one I’m happy to be. It’s relaxed on the whole, people are laid back and I enjoy the slight detachment of its citizens.” John Lichfield, correspondent for The Independent: “Because the rest of the world starts in Calais, and because most Britons have been to France, we take a great interest, or devilish pleasure in knowing what our neighbour-cousins are up to. You are rarely stuck for a story as a British correspondent in France.” Freelance Rowena Carr-Allinson: “Paris is utterly beautiful. No matter how long I live here, I will always be in awe of it. Parisians can be tricky to get to know. I seem to gravitate towards ‘foreigners’ more naturally - but thankfully there are plenty of those here!”

theJournalist | 13

The future could be b it could be local Regional news is weathering a storm of job cuts and closures, but there may be better times ahead, finds Raymond Snoddy


n his second day in charge of regional newspaper group Archant, former television executive Jeff Henry received a threat to burn down his house from a disgruntled reader. He said: “Everyone said they were so sorry – what a welcome. You know something: it shows we matter.” Henry once ran the ITV consumer business but now believes running a regional press publisher represents more of a challenge than television. Appointed last August, he has had time to survey the local newspaper industry with an outsider’s eye and proclaim a degree of optimism. “We will see a steady state in 2015 which will be a platform for growth in 2016 – a year when we can look at actually growing our businesses for the first time in many years. All the green shoots are already beginning to appear,” he insists. The new Archant chief executive declares himself a pragmatist rather than an automatic fan of digital first, and he remains committed to print editions. And while he cannot promise an end of job losses, Henry says he is committed to reinvesting in the local community and that, perhaps over time, there could be more ‘content creators’ rather than fewer at Archant. “I don’t want to lead an organisation in which the answer to increased profitability is cutting costs because ultimately we need to have enough quality creators to have a product that people wish to consume,” he says. 14 | theJournalist

His approach has been to create ‘One Archant’, reversing the fragmentation of 33 separate operating centres and have an overarching content director on the board, plus a group marketing director. At Archant, as with other local newspaper groups, proposals for an extension of subbing hubs, sometimes far removed from the coverage area of newspapers they serve, have caused both controversy and job losses. In one of the more extreme cases, Newsquest is making 20 staff redundant by moving the production of the Oxford Mail and its other Oxfordshire titles to Newport in south Wales, a move already made by Newsquest papers in areas such as York, Darlington and Blackburn. For Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, the growth in subbing hubs with journalists facing the choice of redundancy or uprooting their homes and families is just one sign of trouble and heartache in local newspapers. Another is the growing trend towards dispensing with staff photographers and using more free images, particularly at groups such as Johnston Press and David Montgomery’s Local World. The NUJ has been offering practical help by launching courses for such former staff photographers on how best to cope with freelance life. On the state of the industry generally the NUJ general secretary says: “It’s been an on-going crisis for several years now and every time we think the worst is over there is a whole new wave of job losses and redundancies.” Concerned about the ability of the depleted local press to cover local councils, and even to report the coming general election adequately, Stanistreet is campaigning for a short, sharp public inquiry to be held before May into the state of the local newspaper industry. A number of politicians have also expressed worries, not only about the declining journalistic resources but the fact that some no longer have a

local news Gary Waters/gettyimages

e bright, local newspaper to report on their constituencies. There are no definitive numbers about the total number of jobs that have been lost in recent years but Enders Analysis, the consultancy group, told the Leveson Inquiry in 2011 that 40 per cent of jobs in the UK regional industry had gone in the previous five years and with them more than £1 billion in classified advertising revenue. It was a process that did not end in 2011 and indeed barely a week passes without further signs of financial pressure. The latest came in December when the Reading Post published its final print edition under the headline: The Last Post. It was one of six Trinity Mirror weekly titles going digitalonly, with an obvious loss of jobs. Yet while evidence for gloom about the local and regional press is not difficult to find, there are actually increasing signs that Jeff Henry’s view is not the isolated optimism of a new boy to the industry. There is a cautious consensus among senior executives, media analysts and consultants that the very worst could be over. The main reason for this mild optimism is that digital revenues are at last reaching serious levels and, at least in some places, starting to replace the declining newsprint advertising revenue. “We are more optimistic than we have been for a number of years. We are not out of the woods yet, but we can see the light streaming in from the side of the woods,” insists Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston and another former television executive now running a substantial local newspaper group. In some areas Johnston digital is now producing 25 per cent of advertising revenue and, as long as digital grows four times faster than print is

declining, the company will soon be in growth. “By very simple maths we think that we, and the industry will be back to top line growth sometimes this year,” predicts Highfield, who also expressed surprise at the Trinity decision to take some titles digital-only. Print will remain a key part of the Johnston offering and Highfield has no plans to take any of the group’s main titles digital only. The Johnston chief executive also defends the move towards using more contributions from readers. On papers where it has been piloted, titles such as the Matlock Mercury and Harrogate Advertiser, according to Highfield, not only has there been a boost to circulation but also “no attendant lowering of quality.” Alex De Groote, is a media analyst, who while at Panmure was involved in the £140 million refinancing of Johnston Press which cut interest payments on a reduced total of debt from 14 per cent to eight per cent. Apart from the improved financial stability he believes interesting things are going on ‘under the bonnet’ such as the group’s Adsmart joint venture with Sky to sell local television advertising packages. The analyst, now at stockbrokers Peel Hunt, is also impressed by the industry getting together – apart from Trinity – in the 1XL platform to sell digital advertising across the industry. “The industry is a hell of a lot more collaborative than it was three or four years ago,” notes De Groote who predicts in the end there will three major regional publishers – Johnston, Local World and one other. The analyst noted, as others have done, that the rate of revenue decline is now in low single digits and could even go positive in a year or so, compared with falls of 15 per cent to 20 per cent a year in the recent past. “Debate will continue about whether user generated theJournalist | 15

local news

content will ever really fill the void of journalism,” says a sceptical De Groote. Douglas McCabe, chief executive and newspaper specialist at Enders Analysis, is also in the cautiously optimistic camp. In part, advertising revenues are coming down because so much has been lost already that there is less to lose in future. He also expresses concern that circulation declines are continuing apace particularly on the big regional dailies. However, McCabe notes that one of the features of the past 18 months has been the drive to increase traffic to websites combined with a more active use of social media. Unsurprisingly, when traffic goes up you achieve scale, which in turn gets noticed, and leads to rises in digital advertising revenue. In some categories such as property, digital is already accounting for 20-25 per cent of revenue and that is really material. The Enders analyst emphasises that the competition should not be seen as other newspaper groups but everyone in the information and entertainment space, and that includes Facebook and Google in each local area. “If when a local school closes people go to Facebook – you’ve lost,” he says. McCabe does, however, have a positive conclusion to offer on newspaper revenue. “I would be reasonably optimistic, and I really would use those words, about the local press’s ability to attract regional advertising spend at a high rate over the next two or three years, than they have been able to achieve since digital began,” McCabe forecasts. But he does not however believe that Trinity Mirror’s decision to take some titles digital-only is either a strange or eccentric decision.


or more newspapers it could be the shape of things to come – “more of that rather than less.” If such a thing were to become more common it would inevitable lead to further job losses. Neil Benson, Trinity Mirror’s regional director, explains he would not close the door on going digital in other locations but says any decision would be judged on a market-by market basis. There were two papers competing in Reading and Trinity management concluded that the Reading Post was always going to struggle in print, with no sign of things getting better. “In Reading we thought it was the right thing to do for that market, though it’s not without risk. It’s a big step,” Benson accepts. The Trinity view is that following the group’s decision to become digitally led the newspaper becomes a companion to digital activity even though it is the companion which still produces the majority of revenue. When last year Trinity decided to make digital the primary focus with Newsroom 3.1, the impact was dramatic. It was, according to Benson, like flipping a switch. 16 | theJournalist

If content is right we have a bright future for regional newspapers and that future starts in 2015

Digital growth at the Newcastle Evening Chronicle had been running at 70 per cent year-on-year. When the main focus was turned to digital, the growth rate shot up overnight to 140 per cent. A team of journalists was able to focus entirely on digital, while a separate group edited all the content for print use. The Trinity Mirror executive believes that although the market remains challenging, during the past 12 months there has been fantastic digital growth and the money has started to follow. As for Jeff Henry, the former television executive, he is unabashed in his belief in the future of the local newspaper industry. “In 10 years time there will still be newspapers and they will still be serving their local communities. If the content is right then we have a bright future for regional newspapers and that future starts in 2015,” says the Archant chief executive. How many journalists will be employed in that industry in future remains far less certain.

Switching on to new tv Nigel Dacre, former

editor of ITV News, believes “a lot of real positives” have come out of local television in its first year. Fifteen channels have launched everywhere from Bristol and Cardiff to Norwich, Nottingham and Edinburgh – with more on the way – and the first, modest, viewing figures are in. Dacre, who chairs the Local TV Network, the body representing the new sector and is a director Notts TV, says across the country innovative ways of making programmes on small budgets are being developed. A medium-sized station such as Notts TV has a staff of 20 with 10 journalists, including

presenters, but with additional opportunities for freelances and independents. “The response has been very good at the local level though everyone understands there are a lot of challenges facing us, particularly in building up audiences and revenues,” says Dacre. Made TV, already holds five licences and released its first research-based viewing figures in January. Bristol is attracting more than 168,000 viewers a week, a reach of 11 per cent, while Cardiff is facing a greater challenge – 104,000 weekly viewers and an eight per cent reach. The sector is planning to launch hourly national advertising slots carried on all channels - except

in London and Norwich – which will be sold by Axiom Media and can be measured by Barb. “We can expect them [viewing figures] to be quite low in the initial period but we think it is important to have a national break. Locally we are all coming up with ways to measure our audience” says Dacre. He acknowledges that local TV has to be a cross-platform operation with TV providing the promotional launch pad for websites. Some local newspaper groups are already involved: Archant in Norwich, the Nottingham Post in Notts TV, with the Kent Messenger to come in Maidstone, and the Evening Standard in London Live.

campaign Meriel Jane Waissman/gettyimages

Sam Burn Jones looks at moves to try to underpin finances and reputations for some journalism

Charity begins in the newsroom W

ouldn’t it be nice if news publishers could get tax breaks, and enjoy an improved reputation? This is the goal of a loose campaign of lawyers and academics, arguing that public interest journalism’s role in society means publishers should be eligible for charitable status. Charities enjoy tax reliefs and other financial incentives. Research also shows they are more trusted than other types of organisations – including newspapers. Registering as a charity means an organisation commits to a defined mission, and opens the door to funding, with philanthropists able to claim tax relief on donations. The barrier for media organisations is that the various acts governing the three UK jurisdictions and the Republic of Ireland do not include journalism among the purposes for which a charity may be registered. Those arguing for its addition point to the

US, where tax reliefs for philanthropic journalism are well established. Despite journalism not being a charitable purpose, some hyperlocal news organisations have gotten onto the charity register on the grounds that their publications achieve charitable purposes such as advancing education or citizenship. These include London’s Lewisham Pensioners’ Gazette and Sheffield’s Burngreave Messenger. Meanwhile The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) – a non-profit news organisation already receiving some philanthropic funding – has had two applications for registration rejected by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. It is not planning a third, to the regret of those hoping for a breakthrough such as Steven Barnett, professor of communications at the University of Westminster. Barnett looked at the question of charity journalism in his Media Power and Plurality project. “I think they should keep pushing that boulder up that hill, which I’m sure is

I think they should keep pushing that boulder up that hill, which I’m sure is what it feels like

what it feels like,” he says. . Legislative change remains the holy grail, and Barnett says he hopes his allies campaign harder for journalism as a charitable purpose. In 2012 the government said it was ‘not currently inclined’ to legislate on the matter due to a lack of demand from the public or the charity sector. Lawrie Simanowitz of the law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite – which with the BIJ has created the Advisory Group on Journalism and Charitable Status – says: “I think that if there was to be another round of substantive charity legislation, there would be an opportunity to bring it in – if there were a groundswell of support for it,” he says. George Brock, professor of journalism at City University London, and a BIJ trustee, isn’t holding his breath. “I think the chance of reforming charity law or of a future government seeing this as being high on its priority list is pretty slim,” he says. The disadvantages of charitable status include surrendering profits and the need for political neutrality. Alongside charitable status, structures such as staff ownership, like the West Highland Free Press, ownership by a non-charitable trust, as with the Guardian and the Irish Times, are also of interest to those considering the industry’s future. Another relevant case is Baylis Media, a private company publishing the Maidenhead Advertiser and other titles. It is owned by The Louis Baylis Charitable Trust, which distributes profits to local and regional charities. The arrangement helps preserve the publisher’s independence and connection to its community. It was only possible because the proprietor was prepared to give up future profits. One must wonder how many other owners might be similarly minded. theJournalist | 17


TechDownload Kate Bevan picks the best in the CES show

byte size... Prime minister’s initiative decried David Cameron’s plans to curb the use of end-to-end encryption technology – an important tool for journalists needing secure communications – have been dismissed as absurd by Phil Zimmerman, the creator of PGP, a widely used email encryption tool. Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit, the encrypted email service, also said that Mr Cameron’s plans were ‘insane’.

Beware of low flying drones Drones are finding a niche for recording news footage, with pictures from a flight over Auschwitz for the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation particularly striking. But they can also land news groups in trouble, as the BBC found when police questioned three journalists at the world economic forum in Davos after a drone flew in a no-fly zone.

Power boost for the Raspberry Pi One of the best British technology innovations of recent years, the Raspberry Pi computer, has had a significant specs boost. The Cambridgebased start-up, which launched the stripped-down, credit-card sized computer in 2012, said the Raspberry Pi 2 will be six times faster and have double the RAM, meaning it can now run not only Ubuntu, a popular version of Linux, but also a special version of Windows 10 when the new version launches later this year. 18 | theJournalist

lighter than air review rating ★★★★★


or the technology industry, Las Vegas’s CES show is one of the biggest events of the year – a major showcase for what manufacturers hope will be the next big things. Amid the curvy TVs, drones and VR headsets were some items that might make our lives as journalists a bit easier. Even the most wafer-thin Macbook Air feels heavy by the end of a day out and about, so the elegant 13” Lenovo LaVie ZHZ750, which claims the title of world’s lightest laptop and which weighs about half the same-sized Air, at 0.78kg, looks

tempting. The spec is similar to the Air, and the Lenovo has a higher resolution screen. Downsides are a disappointing battery life of about six hours, a small SSD (128GB) and the fact that its availability will be limited: if you want one, you’ll have to go to the US, where it will be available in May with a price tag of $1,499 (£1,000), or Japan, where it arrives in the spring.

> And now handwriting for Android Owners of iPads have been using Livescribe 3 smart pens to capture handwritten notes for some time, but thus far Livescribe 3 hasn’t been available to Android users. But one of the hundreds of

announcements at CES was that the app will be available on Android in the spring, making this very useful piece of kit more widely available. Using a special Livescribe notebook, your handwritten


Kit bag d means at kit aroun th ll a g in g g Lu mewhere to oking for so constantly lo gets. Unless of course r gad s Smart charge you AMPL Labs’ g n ti SB to e ’r you ude seven U ich will incl h w a , e ck ic a ju p Back t will battery tha ports and a uple of times. You can e a co atteries, smartphon dditional b a e re th to can also be add up or a laptop app, and t le b ta a g meanin lled via an the ’s all contro charged. It in the UK in 8). le to buy it b 19 a (£ e b 9 l 9 ’l 2 u $ yo ill be e US price w le.com/ Th r. e m m su .goog https://docs

notes can be sent into the app or to cloud-based notetaking services Evernote or OneNote, and you can use the device to record audio that you can annotate with the pen. It’s a nice way of

bringing old-fashioned handscribbled notes into the 21st century. The catch is that it’s not cheap: the pen plus a starter notebook is £129.99; replacement notebooks come in packs of four, with each notebook costing about a fiver.

time for a cuppa?


iven the legendary caffeine intake of journalists, perhaps one of the most useful devices at CES is the WiFi kettle from Smarter. Once you’ve connected it to your home network, the iOS or Android app means you can set it boiling from your desk or bed to just the right temperature – 65C is perfect for green tea, apparently, while coffee is better made with water heated to 95C –

and keep the water warm for up to 20 minutes if you’re too busy to make your drink. You can also set it to wake you and welcome you home. I have a Fibaro automated home set-up and am pleased the iKettle works with that. Geeky types may want to delve further via Google as others have hacked the device to extend how it interacts with the network.


What made you become a journalist? It was a burning ambition from about the age of 15. It seemed so glamorous, suited my nosiness and English was my best subject. At 17, I wrote to 32 newspapers, getting only three replies, all negative. But the headmaster at my school, Dagenham County High, was eager to be rid of me and helped get me a start on the local weekly, the Barking & Dagenham Advertiser.

What’s the most rewarding thing in your job? Freedom. Eight years ago The Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger (pictured), invested me with unprecedented power and responsibility by giving me a blog about the media and allowing me to self-publish.

And the most irritating?

What other job might you have done?

The online commenters who refuse to use their real names.

Librarian. I ran the school library and set about reclassifying the books under the Dewey system, unfinished because of my sudden departure.

What advice would you give someone starting in journalism? Be prepared to be wrong.

What was your earliest political thought?

When did you join the NUJ and why?

Things shouldn’t be as unequal as this.

I think it was soon after I gained my apprenticeship, in 1965. It was more of a social choice than one informed by an understanding of what a union meant.

What are your hopes for journalism over the next five years?

What’s been the best moment in your career? Being appointed editor of the Daily Mirror was obviously a high point, but that didn’t last long. I enjoyed three terrific years at the Sunday Times before that. And my time working for The Guardian has been an unalloyed joy.

And in the union?


Three stand-out moments among many: creating a casuals’ section at the Sunday Mirror in the late-1970s; speaking against the iniquitous Irish censorship law, Section 31, at the ADM in Wexford in 1974; being hauled off an ink lorry by the police outside the Brighton Argus during a strike in 1975.

NUJ & Me Roy Greenslade writes about the media for the Guardian and Evening Standard and is a former editor of the Daily Mirror

What is the worst place you’ve ever worked in? The Daily Star’s Manchester office in 1979 was awful but things were even worse when I transferred to the Daily Express features department in London the following year. The memory of those months makes me shudder.

That big media remains big enough to challenge big business and big government.

And fears? That big media remains in the hands of too few controllers who care only for bottom lines rather than headlines.

What would you most want to change in the next year? The inclusion of public interest defences in a variety of laws to enable journalists to do their jobs without facing jail.

Which six people, alive or dead, would you invite to a dinner party? Imagine the joy of trying to control a table composed of some of the greatest path-breaking reporters of their generations: the muck-raking investigators Ida Tarbell (pictured) and W.T. Stead; and the war correspondents William Howard Russell, Martha Gellhorn, James Cameron and Virginia Cowles.

How would you like to be remembered? Frankly my dear, as someone who did give a damn. theJournalist | 19

first person

StartingOut Danielle Hayden works in local media alongside university studies in her quest to become a journalist


ick. Tock. Tick Tock... Time is running out. I’m trying to write this article and the only thing I can think about is the deadline. No, not the deadline for this. The real deadline. It is less than four months until I finish my degree and become a real journalist. Am I scared? Of course. Am I worried about getting a job? Indeed. But none of this is going to stop me, because I know that journalism is at the heart of everything. And that’s where I want to be. When I first applied for my course four years ago, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. I love talking to people, telling stories and finding out new information – and the thought that I could do it and it would actually mean something to people, well… So I started at Sheffield Hallam University and even before the ink was dry on my first assignment, I realised that journalism doesn’t stand still. The industry changes faster than the click of a mouse. In the two-and-a-half years since I’ve been a student journalist, we’ve had the Leveson inquiry, social media has gone viral and new technology has changed the way we consume and make news. And, in those first weeks at university, I kept asking myself: “However am I going to keep up with the race?” I needed to do something different, be someone different. I knew the only way into this industry, with the right qualifications, was experience. I already had two jobs alongside my studies – retail and nightclub work. 20 | theJournalist

me feel stressed, I want to keep talking about what I have done all day and I can’t wait to go back.

But if I really wanted to be a journalist, I was going to have to find work experience to put me out there. And a great opportunity came – writing for a small community newspaper. Then another opportunity presented itself – writing for an online Yorkshire newspaper. So I went for that one too. And when I found out that the Sheffield Star was looking for contributors, I couldn’t resist that either. Especially when we went out to make online packages about the Sheffield Food Festival. I mean, how often can a person say they got to hold a hen whilst doing a piece-to-camera?


o here I am: a full-time course, two part-time jobs, three placements, and the odd shift for a TV company, and somehow, I still have time for a life. People ask me if I’m crazy and don’t understand why I keep smiling. It’s because it will all pay off eventually. I enjoy what I’m doing. Yes, even those 4am starts for the TV company – I never thought I would be getting up one morning to fill in as an extra on a TV ad for an Indian restaurant, but there you go (I’m the short chunky one tucking into the bhuna). And dropping my plans at the last the community newspaper doesn’t phase me either – even if it is to write about dog mess. Everyone has to start somewhere and this is exactly the rollercoaster I expected. It’s not the kind of job that makes


It’s not the kind of job that makes me feel stressed, I want to keep talking about what I have done all day and I can’t wait to go back

o, work experience hasn’t only helped my chances of getting a job, it has made me realise that journalism is perfect for me. it might be a tough industry to get into, but there are jobs out there, so why shouldn’t one of them be mine? I’ll do whatever I’m asked, so long as it’s legal, decent and honest. I don’t care if that means making drinks, transcribing interviews or answering the phone for somebody more experienced than me. This is my dream and I’m chasing it because I believe the harder I work, the luckier I’ll get. And journalism needs people like me. I’m not a rich kid who can afford an unpaid internship. I’m from an ordinary, working class background in Rotherham. But my lucky break was getting to do journalism at SHU, where I’ve had the chance to take opportunities and learn skills from amazing lecturers. I will never forget the people (and hens) I’ve met in the last few years. I understand that journalism could take me anywhere, doing anything, and that I may not have a conventional home and social life. But I’m willing to give up many things if it means being a journalist.


on media Raymond Snoddy on why news must be honest and accurate

Trust – the most important commodity


f you had to chose a single word for the most important value that newspapers must hold onto – it is trust. You may lose readers or advertising revenue but lose the trust of readers and you have lost everything. You might as well go home. Only trust in verified information that is as honest and accurate as humanly possible will differentiate newspapers from the endless and sometimes poisonous wastes of the internet. The trust of readers has already been abused by the phone-hackers at first the News of the World and now, we also know, belatedly, at the Mirror. That is a matter of illegality and can and is being dealt with by the law – although it would be good to see a similar enthusiasm for prosecuting illegalities of bankers. In a curious way, however unacceptable and personally intrusive, at least the misguided efforts of the minority were being used to find out things that might be true and publish them. What has been claimed to be happening at the Daily Telegraph, and who knows where else, could be even more toxic in destroying readers’ trust. If you don’t know whether the treatment, positioning, even the content of an individual article was decided by the editorial or the advertising departments why should readers have any faith at all in the paper they read? Last month’s allegations by the former political commentator of the Daily Telegraph Peter Oborne could not be more serious.


Allegations by the former political commentator of the Daily Telegraph Peter Oborne could not be more serious

His main accusation was that important stories about the tax avoidance schemes of HSBC were either ignored, played down or even removed from websites because HSBC was an important advertiser. He argued that there were proChina articles, no leaders on the prodemocracy demonstrations in Hong Kong and silence on a delegation of UK MP’s being refused entry to Hong Kong presumably not to offend HSBC which has obvious business there. Naturally the Daily Telegraph has ‘utterly refuted’ the allegations. Obviously the balance of power has shifted between editorial and the commercial side of newspapers in difficult times. In the desperate search for revenue journalists may have to be a little more open-minded to new ways of raising revenue. With everything from native advertising – advertising that looks like advertising- to special supplements and promotions, complete transparency, clear signage and openness is vital. Make a monkey out of your readers at your peril. Above all else, polluting the stream of news in form or substance can never be a viable commercial strategy. Peter Oborne – in a blog - has actually done the Telegraph and other newspapers a great service by highlighting an important issue, the importance of maintaining clear daylight between editorial and advertising. Having an editor who edits and takes final responsibility for

what appears in the paper is obviously important. The Telegraph sacked its last editor Tony Gallagher. His replacement Jason Seiken, who is director of content, believes that all-powerful editors are anachronisms in the digital world. In fact a first step in restoring the integrity of newspapers where that is required might to get rid of directors of content – a title that allows the blurring of editorial and commercial values and responsibilities. In the end it is simply a matter of trust.

For the latest updates from Raymond Snoddy on Twitter go to @raymondsnoddy theJournalist | 21

arts by Amy Powell Yeates Long-awaited political DVDs, news and theatre responses to political events and the upcoming UK general election Theatre Wales Theatre Awards Sherman Cymru, Cardiff The Wales Theatre Awards celebrate excellence in theatre, opera and dance. The awards are chosen by arts critics working across the media in Wales. This year’s winners included Garw by Theatr Bara Caws for Best Production in the Welsh Language and Hiraeth by Buddug James Jones for Best Production in the English Language, which transfers to the Soho theatre, London, in March. www.walestheatreawards.com Radiant Vermin Soho Theatre, London 10 March-12 April A wickedly comic satire sees a young couple offered a way out of the housing crisis and examines just how far they’re prepared to go for it. This new comedy from Time Out, Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Award winner Philip Ridley is part of a season of politically themed and satirical programming at the Soho in the lead-up to the general election. www.sohotheatre.com Young REP Festival 2015: The Manifesto Birmingham Repertory Theatre 17 March-1 April In a festival of punchy political ideas, the Young REP will bring their high energy to an eclectic mix of plays ranging from absurd comedy to thrilling drama. The Young REP is 22 | theJournalist

with attitude

made up of 16 groups of 7-25 yearolds that rehearse across Birmingham and the West Midlands. www.birmingham-rep.co.uk Hurling Rubble at the Moon/Hurling Rubble at the Sun Park Theatre, London 13 May-6 June 2015 Park Theatre and Red Ladder Theatre Company present two new plays by Avaes Mohammad which look at extremism within contrasting communities. Moon is an exploration of white working-class extremism in Britain, while Sun addresses issues within the British Asian community. www.parktheatre.co.uk To Kill a Mockingbird National tour Until 25 July 2015 Set in the Deep South, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel sees racial injustice envelop a small-town

he Some of t s to best thing h a o wit see and d al bite ic it l o p f o bit

community. Through courage and compassion, lawyer Atticus Finch seeks the truth, while his feisty daughter, Scout – a young girl on the cusp of adulthood – brings new hope to a neighbourhood in turmoil. www.tokillamockingbirdplay.com

The Angry Brigade Bush Theatre, London 30 April-13 June Against a backdrop of Tory cuts, high unemployment and the deregulated economy of 1970s Britain, a young urban guerrilla group mobilises:

email: For listings NUJ.org.uk journalist@

The Angry Brigade. Their targets: MPs, embassies, the police, pageant queens. A world of order is shattered by anarchy; the rules have changed. www.bushtheatre.co.uk The Audience Apollo Theatre, London 21 April-25 July For 60 years Elizabeth II has met each of her 12 prime ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. An event like no other in British public life, this meeting is private. In The Audience, Peter Morgan breaks this contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings. The sell-out production directed by Stephen Daldry stars Kristin Scott Thomas. www.theaudienceplay.co.uk


One woman’s fight for justice

Burden of Peace is a new documentary film by Joey Boink and Sander Wirkin follows one woman’s fight for justice in Guatemala ‘You do not have to be male and made of steel to do this job.’ So says Claudia Paz y Paz, the first female attorney general in Guatemala, at the beginning of her term. It is a society where 95 per cent of crimes remain unsolved, 15-20

homicides are committed every day and a continuing culture of impunity harking back to the bloody military dictatorship of the 1980s is combined with the increasing violence of drug cartels from neighbouring Mexico. Paz y Paz is tasked with reducing criminality, and restoring peace and justice. Her unwavering dedication is striking from the outset as she travels around the country delivering her message. Meanwhile, we see civilians drift down bloodstained streets graffitied with fading photographs of the missing to join the queue at the prosecution office to report rapes and murders. The prospect of change looks hopeless and yet, by the end of her

first year Paz y Paz has cut unsolved crimes by 25 per cent. She also fights for the trial of former Guatemalan dictator General José Efraín Ríos Montt for leading the genocide of 1982-1983. Numerous accounts of human rights abuses make for extremely harrowing viewing. Ríos Montt’s conviction in 2013 was the first time a former head of state faced genocide charges in their own country, but this was overturned by the constitutional court which then went on to remove Paz y Paz from office. Steel she may not be, but Paz y Paz comes appears the embodiment of strength, perseverance and hope. Burden of Peace is part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. www.hrw.org/london

arts Multitudes The Tricycle, London Until 21 March The scene is Bradford on the eve of a Conservative Party conference. The country is in turmoil and one of its most multicultural cities is awaiting a visit from the prime minister. As the nation questions immigration policies and military support in the Middle East, one family face their own internal conflict of faith, belonging and who gets to call themselves British. www.tricycle.co.uk

evidence of the Nazis’ unspeakable crimes, but the film was shelved. In this compelling documentary by André Singer, the full story of Bernstein’s project, which has now been restored and completed by the Imperial War Museum, can finally be told. www.bfi.org.uk

Pride 20th Century Fox It is the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on a long-lasting and crucially DVD releases important strike. At the Gay Pride Night Will Fall March in London, a group of gay BFI and lesbian activists decides to raise When Allied forces liberated the money to support the families of Nazi concentration camps, their the striking miners. Undeterred by terrible discoveries were recorded a union embarrassed to receive this by army cameramen, revealing for support, they identify a mining village the first time the horror of what had in deepest Wales and set off in a happened. minibus to make their donation in Using British, Soviet and American person. So begins the extraordinary footage, the UK Ministry of story of two communities who form a Information’s Sidney Bernstein surprising and ultimately triumphant collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock partnership. Thompsons - The Journalists 130x208.qxp_Layout 1 06/02/2015 14:37 Page 1 to make a film that would provide www.fox.co.uk

Books The End of the NHS Allyson M Pollock Verso Books, £14.99 (pbk, ebook) In her new book, UCL health policy professor Allyson Pollock puts forward an argument that in 2010, weeks after the election, the coalition government started to dismantle the National Health Service in an ideological assault disguised as austerity. As one of the nation’s leading public health specialists, Pollock seeks to expose the truth behind botched policies, disguised cost-cutting and underhand politics, and makes a passionate defence for a health service for all. www.versobooks.com

of a nation that you won’t read in your glossy weekend supplement: hard-working tuna fishermen, doctors, environmentalists, dissident journalists, ‘slaves’ working on construction sites, two former presidents (one accused of being a dictator) and vastly differing political perspectives. www.nicholasbrealey.com

Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives Tom Chesshyre Nicholas Brealey Publishing, £10.99 (pbk) Away from the sumptuous water villas of the Maldives, trouble is brewing in this renowned ‘honeymoon heaven’. Written by NUJ member and travel writer Tom Chesshyre, this is the story

We’re here when bad news hits As an NUJ member, you’re entitled to free legal support provided by Thompsons Solicitors

Contact the NUJ legal service first and keep 100% of your compensation within the union scheme – whatever the injury, however complex the claim. Contact us for free legal advice and representation on: Personal injury Serious injury Industrial disease or illness Basic will writing and reduced rates for conveyancing Employment law (accessed via your chapel or NUJ national officer) NUJ members’ families are also covered for personal injury away from work and get special rates for clinical negligence claims, basic will writing and conveyancing. Thompsons is committed to the trade union movement and is proud to stand up for NUJ members and their families. www.thompsons.law.co.uk/nuj.htm

Standing up for you theJournalist | 23

YourSay... inviting letters, comments, tweets


Please keep comments to 200 words maximum


I’m proud of our union’s response I’m not normally a letter-writer, but I wanted to thank the union for its immediate and appropriate response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings. When the news first broke I felt particular shock and horror, beyond what I might otherwise have felt. This was probably because the targets were journalists. A collective response to extraordinary events was needed and the union, which is after all a collective organisation, provided it. The initial statement, the way members paid their respects to the victims, our general secretary representing the NUJ on the march in Paris – it all felt important and right. I couldn’t say that I’m an avid reader of Charlie Hebdo itself or necessarily support its views, but I do believe in free speech and that journalists should be able to practice their profession without censorship and fear. A journalists’ union has to stand up for the principle of free speech, which is what the NUJ did, and it made me proud. Lisa Hughes London

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Paris journalists touched by Charlie Hebdo reaction The attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo was unprecedented in the history of the press. While there have been bomb outrages against newspaper offices in Pakistan, in the Philippines and elsewhere, it was the first time assassins entered a newsroom to massacre journalists. As such it represented an assault on the essential principle of freedom of expression. Beyond that, the wave of emotion here in France touched the whole country, not just in revulsion against the murders, but also out of a feeling of outrage against attacks on Jews, Muslims and police officers. NUJ members in Paris and elsewhere in France were very touched by the expressions of solidarity from all over the world, and from many sections within the NUJ. It was a reminder of the need to stand up for freedom of expression, which is an essential part of 24 | theJournalist

democracy. It was a principle enshrined in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man which is one of the basic texts forming the constitution of France. What the media publishes is regulated to an extent by the law. Let us not forget that in the case of Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper had been challenged in court over its depictions of the prophet Muhammad, and won. The French 19th century political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville disliked journalists, yet he wrote: “I am attached to freedom of the press out of consideration of the evils which it can prevent, rather than because of the good it might do.” James Overton Chair, Paris Branch

Sad day for journalism but a proud one for the NUJ It was wonderful to see NUJ president, Andy Smith, general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet and Irish secretary, Seamus Dooley, represent the NUJ at the

demonstration in support of our slain colleagues at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and also to be able to take part in the commemorative event in Dublin. Too often the NUJ forgets the internationalism implicit in a trade union that organises in two different jurisdictions and has branches in a number of European cities, including, of course, Paris. Too often we fall into an Anglocentric worldview. Statements are being made, that while obviously we oppose killing, Charlie Hebdo is hardly worth defending per se, it being a racist, possibly homophobic and definitely childish magazine. Charlie Hebdo is a magazine of the left, the French left. Its humour is funny in a context and that context is France. For us, whether we find it funny or not, we respond in terms of a core value, freedom of speech. It was a sad day for journalism but a proud one for the NUJ. Michael Foley Dublin Branch

Email to: journalist@nuj.org.uk Post to: The Journalist 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP Tweet to: @mschrisbuckley

A privilege to stand in solidarity with France It was a privilege, as a member of honour, to be invited to the NUJ Gathering in Remembrance and Solidarity in Dublin Castle. Standing alongside the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), three cabinet ministers, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the Garda Commissioner and the President of the ICTU I was proud that my union had taken the initiative to defend the right to freedom of expression in such a meaningful manner. Gerry Curran, Cathaoirleach of the IEC, set in a wider context the brutal killings in Paris, reminding the 400 people present that 1,000 journalists have been killed in the past 10 years. In standing in solidarity with the people of France we were standing up for journalism. The next day my union made me proud again when the President, General Secretary and Irish Secretary joined Paris branch at the historic demonstration in their city. The families of the victims and the union leaders were the real VIPs and were recognised as such by the citizens of Paris. Long may we unite in solidarity. Mary Maher Dublin Branch

Why I’m not Charlie and why it’s ok to say that When did we, as intelligent, objective journalists feel we had to uncritically support magazines or newspaper content when supporting our colleagues? The killing of Charlie Hebdo staff was horrific, brutal and tragic. This does not mean, however, that we cannot question the wider reaction to the event. It doesn’t mean we can’t critically evaluate the response, the hypocrisy of world leaders who persecute journalists joining the demonstration, for example, or, significantly, whether the content of the magazine was racist. Saying I am not Charlie doesn’t automatically make someone a fascist sympathiser any more than saying I am

inbox Charlie makes someone a racist and yet there seemed to be no opportunity for NUJ members to take this stance. Why did the union decide without consultation to claim it was ‘celebrating’ the work of Charlie Hebdo? As far as I can see there is little to celebrate in caricatures similar to those endured by the Irish depicted as backward monkeys – and none of the long-winded, far-fetched explanations, stretching the definition of satire to its very ends, have changed my mind. I was disappointed to see a kneejerk, short-sighted, uncritical and, ultimately, unintelligent response from the NUJ. Join the vigils and the marches by all means, condemn as loudly as possible the murder of journalists, but don’t uncritically accept content because of a tragedy. In the midst of atrocities journalists photograph, report, question, analyse: I see no reason to stop now. It should be our first reaction, not our last. Rachel Broady Manchester Branch

Why didn’t Denis MacShane deserve jail? I’m not entirely sure why Francis Beckett (The Journalist, December/ January) appears to believe Denis MacShane did not deserve prison for wrongly claiming £12,900. Irrespective of whether Mr MacShane paid back what to many is a considerable sum, the former MP was guilty of wrong-doing. We cannot have a situation where MPs and lawmakers avoid jail yet the rest of us are liable for prison should we misappropriate even smaller sums. Many NUJ members will have been court reporters and may be glad to see the back of days where ‘the rich get the gravy and the poor get the blame’. Thankfully, Mr MacShane would have been jailed even if he had not been an MP. I’m sure Mr Beckett appreciates that. Paul Kelly Dublin

It is with vindication that I read in the BMJ recently that one prestigious university has shown what I’ve long suspected, researched on, and campaigned about: that spin in health news is a result of reinforcing pressures acting on the entire industry, and is not the ‘fault’ of hack reporters or

Ted Simpson: a powerful figure who gave us much Ted Simpson has died at 94, and there are now several generations of journalists, even NUJ activists, who did not know Ted Simpson lived. He was one of the most significant of the journalists and trade unionists who made the post second world war NUJ a force that mattered. He was the last unpaid editor of The Journalist, and represented Fleet Street on the national executive. He was a powerful FoC, and his trade unionism did his Fleet Street career no good. In the seventies and eighties, he fell out with a new, sharp­toothed generation of union activists who thought (wrongly) that they were more radical than he was. I, as the union’s president for part of the time, went to see him and offered public support. Typically, he declined because it would damage other things I was trying to achieve. He said that at a recent meeting he thought he was going to be physically attacked. “I’m not a young man anymore” he said. Ted Simpson was a man of essential decency, instinctive kindness, integrity, and courage, who gave much of his life to building the union we now have. Francis Beckett London Freelance Branch

The union’s help and support was a lifesaver It might sound like an exaggeration to say that the NUJ has saved my life but that is how I felt at the end of last year. Having previously worked in media and TV, and been a member of a TV union, when I took a job in local government communications I decided to join the NUJ. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am not at liberty to share the outcome of my case but I can say that I was extremely happy with the conclusion. And that is only because I was represented by the NUJ. That representation and the general support that came with it was absolutely invaluable and means that I can now move forward and look for a new job. I was astounded by the quality of the representation I received and feel hugely indebted to my rep, Chris Morley who worked tirelessly to ensure a fantastic outcome for me. The emotional support offered became as important as the ‘practical’ work he was doing. I was very impressed with the whole way he handled my case and don’t believe I could have received better support from anyone else. Needless to say, I will remain an NUJ member for the rest of my working life. The financial cutbacks on the public sector and on corporate media organisations have resulted in unprecedented pressures on employees and NUJ membership provides a crucial lifeline for us when we find ourselves in impossible situations at work. Jeanette Covington Herefordshire

We need The Journalist to be printed more often I wonder if Bob Wade’s revelation in December letters) could be the answer to our own editor’s cry of Your magazine needs you. Bob says his association’s decision to put its journal online to save money and prove its modernity was reversed when a membership survey urged the return of print. The printed journal’s convenience and regularity had showed what they paid their subs for. Bob says he raises this in case The Journalist goes fully online. Why not have a survey of the NUJ membership as to putting The Journalist back to 12 monthly editions? A yes to that may solve the problem of letters which

thrive on topicality and fermenting discussion. Neither can be achieved with a two month gap between issues. Bob says an online only journal loses a monthly point of contact (we already lost monthly Bob) and he makes other sound reasons, which you can look up in the magazine if you can find it. Long live print! And more of it. Roy Jones North Wales Coast Branch

Thanks for backing my 300-mile charity trek I would like to express my appreciation to all those individuals and branches that saw fit to donate cash to NUJ extra in support of my 300-mile walking extravaganza navigating the wonderful Pennine Way in one go. The total has tipped well over £1,000 and I’m very grateful that my efforts were rewarded by a boost to this excellent cause that helps members and their dependants in tough times. Having now achieved my ambition of completing the Pennine Way (this year is the 50th anniversary of its opening) and seeing, I’m now plotting my next yomp across the length of Hadrian’s Wall. But rest easy, this is a freebie on me and a mere 84 miles! Chris Morley Northern & Midlands Organiser

You may not get Clark Kent but Lois Lane joined! While it is unlikely that Clark Kent will ever join the NUJ, comic fan Mary Maguire (‘The NUJ and me’, The Journalist December/January) might be pleased to know that NUJ membership was held by the reallife inspiration for Lois Lane, the American journalist Charlotte Plimmer. Charlotte’s origins were in Ohio, where she was at school with Clark Kent’s inventors, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who told her she was their prototype. Charlotte was a member of London Freelance branch until her death. Jane McCarten London Magazine Branch © AF archive / Alamy

Research underlines need to campaign on health

deceiving PRs. That may disappoint those eager to point fingers, but it should please us all. The researchers – at the same university that furnished the research Nick Davies used for Flat Earth News (Cardiff) – showed a strong association between exaggeration in health news and in related releases, and that most of the inflated findings in the news were already present in releases produced by the universities. The authors were careful to point out that the results were not an opportunity to shift the blame from reporters to PRs, but were almost certainly the result of ‘the increasing culture of university competition and self-promotion’ – ie, the pernicious effects of marketing – interacting with pressures on journalists to do more with less time – churnalism. This supports the work of the union’s Public Relations and Communications Council (PRCC) in advocating better support for health PRs and journalists, and vindicates our health campaign. Alan Taman PRCC

theJournalist | 25

and finally

s s e m g o d to t b e d k e re G m ro F Local and nationals work alike, for different ends, says Chris Proctor

osing figure, tall of summons is answered by an imp s, deficient of chin. gnes smu stature, brimming with te you to take “Evening governor. I am here to invi Revealer.” out a subscription to the Blagdon …” “My personal assistant deals with going to keep you are “Without the Revealer, how know what’s you Do ? don Blag up with local news in journalist on a regional paper s?” bath g min swim new the t happening abou presented me with a conundrum ” “I do not. recently to the effect of, ‘What’s the mess? Or “What do you know about our dog a of or edit the een difference betw proposed new traffic lights?” local paper and the editor of a “I have never heard of Blagdon …” to the Revealer. national paper?’ “All the more reason to subscribe d a year’. gran dred hun a und ‘Aro was er The answ report of the motorist who drove all that different: Did you see our ’t aren jobs the that was t poin and turned right His the full length of Marshside Road know who you’re of shopping bag the audiences are. The trick is to into Broadhurst Avenue with a writing to. Or for. or?” g mirr ging through a hanging from the win I like the idea of an FT salesman trud in your tales.” rest inte no have ‘I er Farm to s his ware circular muddy field in an attempt to flog “The Blagdon woman who says a g through the lchin sque s shoe y Shin er. ht have mig Starkadd se hou her ide outs ct obje shaped townie bellow his ed suit ece e-pi thre our see I ped ry, stop slur been a UFO? The bloke who was . opening gambit across the sty wall by police for carrying an der if you “Good morrow, bronzed yokel! I won umbrella they thought ning uss your mor could spare me a moment to disc might be a firearm?” news requirements?” “Talking of which, I’m t he has Reuben considers. Chews a remnan going to call the police don’t know as I discovered on his lapel. Frowns. “I right now if you don’t scarper.” nalists have any.” But the truth is that national jour you suppose l loca The media mannequin stares. “But in copy any k have no right to moc entures?” ks of stac that require an assessment of your deb on reas d goo very papers for the h, thank you.” teet own my have “I ils. l reco loca ben in d Reu national stories originally appeare h approach. He a need ’t don The Jaeger clad peddler tries a fres sts publications. National journali leather case. “Are is That . brity cele whisks a pink periodical from his a of e story: they need the nam will affect you?’ you concerned about how Greece the story. Reuben looks at in Bieber He seems to have struck a chord. I noticed a riveting report that Just ,” eaks “Squ ow. barr his of t fron the on el whe y Jenner – and the shak had played volleyball with Kendall . there’s a says ey he he wasn’t wearing a top! Cor blim Hanging Man w who kno “Suppose you find yourself in the to pen scoop, especially if you hap whether deferring aled that reve this evening and you’re asked for ion licat pub Another cing debt level. How Ms Jenner is. a cliff. off ping payments is analogous with redu jum r afte self him Justin injured t?” men com no had you if ies to feel stor e would you Imagine a local reporter taking thes “Don’t like the Hanging Man.” . his editor about some local chap hard copy A final desperate plea. “Perhaps the ” got? you have at “Wh have a tablet?” played edition isn’t to your taste. Do you “I’ve discovered that Jimmy Smith d.” win the For s. “Most morning .” over volleyball and fell eyor slushing we write The picture ends with the pink purv The moral is that no matter where to nal jour his ng loyi emp ry, slur the ugh same job. thro the g back or who we do it for, we’re all doin his shoes. of us. any remove all traces of the episode from een There’s no real difference betw on a bell outside k. Meanwhile a hooded figure leans wee a d Well, apart from two gran mansion. The the wide portals of a Notting Hill


mark thomas

26 | theJournalist

training The media industry has never stood still. But now it is changing faster than ever. You can boost your chances of staying ahead by increasing your skills. The NUJ offers a variety of short courses . You can view course outlines at www. nuj.org.uk/work/training and get more information from training@nuj.org.uk

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