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www.nuj.org.uk | march/april 2014

#westminster How political reporting has changed

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Contents Main feature

14 Liberation for the lobby?

The changes in political reporting

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sense of identity is a key theme of this issue of The Journalist. The NUJ’s strike in protest against Newsquest’s plans to produce Yorkshire and north-eastern newspapers in Wales was strongly supported by communities there who wanted local news to be produced locally. It’s an important fight as more and more regional papers migrate out of town and city centres and away from their audience. Media expert Ray Snoddy looks at how advertising is increasingly trying to present itself as editorial. It’s an ageold battle, now being fought in more sophisticated ways, and unfortunately one that may gain more ground as journalists struggle to cope with ever increasing workloads and pressure. And in his And Finally column, Chris Proctor celebrates the sense of identity that our union’s name conveys compared with other more vaguely named organisations. Chris is right that there is much to celebrate in the National Union of Journalists meaning exactly what it says. And the campaigns and disputes the union leads now show that it is as relevant now, as it was when it was founded more than 100 years ago, if not more so. And finally from me, The Journalist is striving to get more of your feedback. The next edition will feature a new style for our letters pages. We want to incorporate more short comments and tweets so please do get in touch with your views.

Christine Buckley Editor @mschrisbuckley Editor Christine Buckley journalist@nuj.org.uk Design Surgerycreations.com info@surgerycreations.com Advertising Rob Aspin Tel: 01795 542419 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 Johnny Greig/Alamy

News

03 Newsquest strike strong

Action over job relocations

04 Johnston Press cuts photographers Fears for quality and accuracy

05 BBC pressed for action on bullying Joint appeal to director general

06 Last Post for Liverpool

But city gets a new Sunday edition

07 Blow as Northern Irish papers close Two of the best-known titles go

Features

10 Let’s go to Glasgow

A visit to Scotland’s first city

12 Ghost hunting

Ghost-writing can be lucrative

Regulars

09 Michelle Stanistreet 20 Technology 21 NUJ and me

Arts with Attitude Pages 22-23

Raymond Snoddy Page 17

Letters 24-25 and Steve Bell


news

Newsquest strike won strong local support

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ewsquest journalists in Yorkshire and the north-east said they were overwhelmed by the public support for a 24-hour strike to defend local newspapers against plans by their publisher to shift production of papers to a subbing hub in Wales, 270 miles away. The journalists held one-day strikes in Darlington, York and Bradford last month to fight for local production of local newspapers and to defend the jobs of 25 colleagues who have been told to move to Wales. Newspapers affected include the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Northern Echo and The Press in York. There are 10 jobs at risk in Bradford, five in York and 10 in Darlington. In York, NUJ pickets distributed leaflets explaining the strike to nearly 1,000 people. City of York council leader James Alexander

pledged his support and that of his colleagues for the journalists’ cause. Mr Alexander joined journalists on the picket line. Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands assistant organiser, said: “We had such tremendous support from locals, who all wanted to support their local newspaper staff. The nearby café brought us cups of tea and James Alexander, leader of York council, joined us on the picket line. This is sending a very strong message to Newsquest management that local people want their local paper to be produced by local journalists. It has been a very positive day in terms of getting support for our aims and people understood why we were forced to strike.” In Bradford, a bouquet of leeks was delivered to Perry Austin Clarke, Bradford Telegraph and Argus editor-in-chief, representing the jobs going to Wales. City council leader David Green visited the picket line and spent some time listening to strikers. Laura Davison, national organiser, also on the picket line in Bradford, said: “It’s been brilliant to see Bradford people hooting their hearts out in support of NUJ members striking today. It’s clear readers buy titles because they are part of their local community and that’s where they want them to stay.”

in brief...

We had such tremendous support from locals, who all wanted to support their local newspaper staff

Boost for new Scottish apprenticeship scheme

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new journalism apprenticeship programme, developed by the NUJ and backed by Scottish media groups, has been given £25,000 by the Scottish government. The money alongside investment from the industry

will deliver a new digital journalism route to the creative media modern apprenticeship scheme. Over the next year it is expected that up to 50 apprentices will be recruited. Alex Salmond, First Minister, said: “There

couldn’t be a more exciting time to be a journalist and there couldn’t be a more important time to encourage young people to consider a career in journalism. But we are starting see a worldwide shift. We must adapt to technological change and

find new business models.” Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said: “We have been working on this for some time and I am delighted that with Scottish government financial support this exciting project is about to come to fruition.“

MPS back Union’s football campaign

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parliamentary early day motion backing the NUJ’s campaign against football clubs that ban reporters has been supported by 28 MPs. The motion, sponsored by Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, condemns

Newcastle United for withdrawing facilities for journalists on the Newcastle Chronicle, Newcastle Journal and Sunday Sun. It notes: “similar actions by Nottingham Forest, Crawley Town, Port Vale and Rotherham United” The

motion supports the NUJ in “believing that journalists working for a free press in a democratic society must be able to express themselves as they see fit within the law, without fear of petty and vindictive corporate sanctions.”

Murdoch tax gain from Australia Rupert Murdoch’s group received a $882 million (£529 million) tax rebate from his native Australia last year. The payment by a “foreign tax authority” was revealed in accounts published by News Corporation in the US and related to a $2 billion claim by News Corp for historic losses on currency transactions by its Australian subsidiaries. Guardian gains from stake sale Guardian News and Media Group is expected to net £600 million from the sale of a 50.1 per cent share in Trader Media Group. As of April last year, GMG had cash and investments of £253.7 million. With the new £600m, that leaves GMG with around £850m at its disposal. Mail online ad sales jump 50% Mail Online ad revenues increased by almost 50 per cent to £14 million in the final three months of last year, more than offsetting a fall in print advertising. Parent company Daily Mail & General Trust said underlying advertising revenues across the print and online operation grew five per cent in the quarter to the end of December. digital revenue aids trinity mirror Trinity Mirror’s profits for the year will be ahead of expectations after improved trading in November and December, with total revenues down just one per cent year on year, compared with a seven per cent decline in the first 10 months of 2013. It put this improvement partly down to a 32 per cent year-on-year growth in digital revenue in the final two months of 2013. end of the Piers morgan show Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has had his CNN talkshow axed after it suffered continued falling ratings. Three years after Mr Morgan took over from US broadcasting veteran Larry King, he was told by CNN president Jeff Zucker it “was time for the show to end”. theJournalist | 3


news

Quality fears as Johnston Press cuts photographers

in brief... Minister backs NUJ in Nigeria gay row Joe Costello, Irish trade and development minister, has backed the NUJ’s stand against remarks made by Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, governor of Nigeria’s Delta State, at a Metro Éireann awards ceremony. Dr Uduaghan compared homosexuality to paedophilia in a reply to a call by Séamus Dooley, Irish NUJ Secretary, for an end to the repressive treatment of gay citizens in Nigeria. editor fined under new Russian law A Russian court fined a newspaper editor for publishing an interview with a gay school teacher. Alexander Suturin, editor of the Molodoi Dalnevostochnik weekly, was ordered to pay a 50,000-rouble (£874) fine on charges of violating a controversial law banning gay ‘propaganda’ among minors by a court in Khabarovsk. Lewis moves to helm of dow jones Will Lewis, former general manager of News International and recently chief creative officer of News Corporation, has been appointed acting chief executive of Dow Jones. The division includes the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones newswires.Lewis is said to be doing the job on an interim basis while a permanent CEO is found following the departure of Jack Fenwick. farewell to PA’s Ireland editor A journalist who has reported on Northern Ireland since the outbreak of the Troubles in 1968 has retired after 33 years with PA. Ireland editor for the news agency, Deric Henderson, started his career with the Tyrone Constitution in Omagh. ex sun executive goes to the DWP Richard Caseby, former managing editor of The Sun, is to be director of communications for the Department of Work and Pensions. He left News UK (formerly News International) after 24 years in August shortly after David Dinsmore’s appointment as The Sun’s editor. 4 | theJournalist

T

It is not just a matter of pressing a button on a mobile phone

he decision by Johnston Press to dismiss all staff photographers at its Midlands papers and Scottish titles will have a huge impact on quality and could lead to serious errors, the NUJ has warned. Johnston Press has said that all photographers will soon be leaving titles within the Midlands region following a review of the way photographic content is generated. It said that most of the photographers have taken an enhanced voluntary redundancy package. The titles affected include newspapers in Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire. Johnston Press has announced a similar move at its Scottish titles, which will no longer have staff photographers, but will

instead have freelance agreements. The company intends to replace the work of professional photographers with pictures taken from social media and those submitted by readers. The union is concerned that already hard-pressed reporters may be made to take photographs. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary, said: “This is a disastrous decision, not just for photographers, but for readers and advertisers of newspapers, who will notice a huge difference in the quality of pictures. It is not just a matter of pressing a button on a mobile phone. NUJ photographers and picture

Education Blog honour

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blog by NUJ Public Relations & Communications Council cochair Nic Mitchell was runnerup for honours in the Outstanding Online Education Commentary Award organised by the CIPR Education & Skills Group. Nic launched the blog at http:// delacourcommunications.com to

encourage more British students to consider studying abroad after attending a two-day NUJ ‘How to build your own website’ course in 2012. “I had just started my own consultancy and was helping Sweden’s Linköping University to attract more British masters students. So I thought why not blog about the benefits and

editors work to a code of conduct and are responsible for ensuring captions are correct and pictures verified. I hope Johnston Press has alerted its lawyers; dangerous mistakes will be made if a paper’s picture policy is left to the general public.” Andrew Wiard, chair of the NUJ’s Photographers’ Council, said: “The NUJ supports the role of professional image makers in providing images to the media. The fact that many bystanders now have cameras is no guarantee that newsworthy, well-shot, usable images will result, that caption information will be accurate and appropriate, or that the rights of creators of that content and those shown are respected.”

help break down the UK’s ‘love-hate’ relationship with our European partners. Getting shortlisted in the Education Journalism Awards was very encouraging. Coming runner-up to Jane Bird from the FT was a real confidence-booster.” New Statesman and Guardian commentator Peter Wilby won the Ted Wragg Award for sustained contribution to education journalism.

Jump in people working as journalists

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mid daily job losses in journalism the latest Labour Force has some good news: the number of people working as journalists, newspaper and periodical editors in the UK last year increased by 5,000 to 70,000. However, it’s not so rosy for full-time employed journalists. Their number dropped by 3,000 to 37,000. That figure though shows a happier state than in 2009 when 34,000 were in full-time employment. Part-time employed journalists numbered 5,000. There were 17,000 full-time self-employed journalists and 10,000 part-time self-employed.


news

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motion from NUJ representatives, addressed to Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, has called for a new approach on bullying and harassment cases at the corporation. The group chapel meeting said it was ‘disappointed and angry’ that the Dinah Rose review recommendations about dealing with bullying in the corporation are not yet being followed. It noted that some cases that started early last year have still not been concluded. Dinah Rose QC was brought in by the BBC to lead an investigation into harassment and bullying and make a set of recommendations. Her report was published last May. The BBC said the review was “set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to look at

current BBC policies and processes relating to sexual harassment as well as what it is like to work at the BBC more broadly with regard to respect and appropriate behaviour for staff and freelancers”. When the report was published it said that it would overhaul its bullying and harassment policy in conjunction with the unions. It also said it would remove derogatory statement restrictions also known as ‘gagging clauses’ from future BBC contracts and compromise agreements. The NUJ motion said: “This M/FoCs’ meeting expresses its disappointment and anger that the principles of the BBC’s Respect at Work policy, as recommended by Dinah Rose QC, are not being adhered to. It further notes that Respect at Work has already been diluted to Support at Work. “This meeting calls on the BBC to deal with all cases within the recommended time frame of 30 days and reiterates its demand that bullying and harassment cases are handled by independent experts external to the BBC. The NUJ will continue to do all it can to protect members who have been bullied and harassed and to ensure their cases are satisfactorily resolved.”

Christina Bollen/Alamy

BBC pressed for more action on bullying

The NUJ will continue to do all it can to protect members who have been bullied and harassed

Apology over digital media initiative

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ark Thompson, the former BBC director general, apologised to MPs for the failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI. He and other current and former BBC employees gave evidence to the Commons’

Public Affairs Committee. DMI was intended to allow staff to handle all aspects of video and audio content from their desks, but it was scrapped last year at a cost of £98.4 million. Mr Thompson said: “It

failed as a project, it failed in a way that also meant the loss of a lot of public money and I just want to say as the director-general who was at the helm when DMI was created and developed and oversaw in the end much of

Support for ITV pay deal

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UJ members at ITV have voted overwhelmingly to accept pay offer of 2.75 per cent or £1,000, whichever is the greatest for staff earning less than £60,000. All three unions in the negotiations have accepted

the offer, which will be backdated to 1 January. The NUJ vote was 85 per cent in favour and 15 per cent against. Sue Harris, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said: “Given the profits ITV are making, we had hoped for a

more generous across-theboard settlement. However it is a good deal for lower-paid members and goes towards addressing the pay gap. The overwhelming vote shows that members were positive about accepting the deal.”

the governance system…I just want to say sorry. The National Audit Office said the executive board paid insufficient scrutiny to the project over 18-months and the Trust had not done enough to challenge it.

in brief... world service to have advertising The BBC’s World Service is to broadcast some advertising and sponsored content that is not news and current affairs, subject to government approval. Peter Horrocks, director of global news, said commercial funding would constitute ‘only a small percentage’ of overall funding.The NUJ has said that any advertising could damage the brand and threaten impartiality. Strong growth for BBC world audience The total global weekly audience of BBC news across all platforms rose by 16.6 million to 256 million last year. The corporation’s global audience estimate claims that the news website and digital reach increased by eight million to 38 million a week last year. World Service TV audiences for Persian and Arabic have also grown rapidly, with 41.5 million viewers, compared with 28.7 million last year. George entwistle out of the picture George Entwistle, who resigned as BBC director general after only 54 days, is to be the only director general not to have an official portrait since the second world war. Mr Entwistle resigned at the height of the scandal over Jimmy Savile. komla dumor dies at the age of 41 BBC presenter Komla Dumor, one of Ghana’s best-known journalists, died suddenly at the age of 41. He joined the BBC in 2007, after a decade of broadcast journalism where he won the Ghana Journalist of the Year award. Last year he was named by New African magazine as among the 100 most influential Africans in 2013. London’s lbc moves to national stage London’s LBC talk radio station, which has been broadcasting for more than 40 years has gone national. Parent company Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio company, is investing millions into LBC after securing a licence from broadcasting regulator Ofcom. theJournalist | 5


news

Last Post for Liverpool but Echo gets a Sunday

in brief... Journalists death toll was 108 in 2013 The International Federation of Journalists has called for all governments to respect journalists’ safety and press freedom as it published the list of journalists killed in 2013. There were 108 journalists killed last year and another 15 died as the result of accidents while they were working on assignments. Alistair campbell joins GQ magazine Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has joined GQ as a key interviewer. He follows in the footsteps of Piers Morgan in a role to produce “heavy-hitting interviews covering the worlds of politics, sport, business and media”. Mr Campbell said: “To be frank, I did not think I was well dressed enough, or cool enough, ever to get approached by GQ.” Daily mail editor paid £1.8 million Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was paid more than £1.8 million last year according to the Daily Mail and General Trust’s annual report. With his pension, which he already takes, he grossed some £2.5m last year. Mr Dacre, 65, agreed a new rolling 12-month contract in September with a basic salary of £1,311,975 and a ‘supplement’ of £500,000.

Itv sells stake in scotland’s stv ITV has sold its remaining stake in Scottish broadcaster STV for £7.5m, ending a shareholder relationship dating back to the 1990s. An ITV spokesman said: “We decided that this was an appropriate time to take profit on our investment. 6 | theJournalist

No jobs were lost with staff transferring to the Echo, which will now produce a Sunday edition

Midlands Organiser, said: “The closure of The Post, as a freestanding publication, will snuff out a great and influential voice for Liverpool. It’s a shocking blow to the city at a time when it needs champions. The NUJ was sceptical when the title was converted from a daily newspaper into a weekly

“Time will tell on that. But for sure, there will need to be commitment to the project by the company over the longer term and a real collaboration with staff about how this can be achieved with the resources available.” Trinity Mirror said: “The Sunday Echo’s key components will be news and

format. We didn’t believe it would generate the revenues necessary in a difficult market.” Chris said that the launch of a Sunday Echo “clearly shows that there is still confidence in the printed word and I hope this investment will prove successful.

sport and it will fight for its readers and its city in the true tradition of the brand. There will be a strong focus on highquality coverage of Liverpool and Everton football clubs and in meeting the demand for minute-by-minute football information from the passionate support base of the two clubs.”

Virtual office for Hemel Hempstead

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he Hemel Hempstead Gazette is being published without having an office in what is thought to be the first time a newspaper has moved to a virtual office. Johnston Press sold the office of the weekly paper and the five journalists on the title, which has a paid-for

circulation of just over 9,000, now work from home. It has become common for staff on local weeklies to be moved from town centre offices to remote centralised locations but this move goes further. Staff have a laptop, which can be used for video-conferencing, and a

smartphone, which can also be used to shoot video and stills. John Francis, the editor, has said that there will be weekly meetings for all staff that will be held at venues in the town. He said that the days of members of the public dropping into the office with stories had long passed.

Lovely Jubbly – a new paper for Peckham

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eckham, the south London region made famous by Del Boy and Only Fools and Horses has a new local newspaper – the Peckham Peculiar. Four journalists, including editor Mark McGinlay, produce the paper that launched in January and

which will come out six times a year. It plans to focus on strong design and photographs. Peckham Peculiar’s team raised £5,000 to fund the first two issues and 150 local residents have contributed. Some 8,000 copies will

be available at train stations and other outlets.

Marc Tielemans/Alamy

Evening standard extends its reach London’s free newspaper the Evening Standard has increased its daily print circulation from 700,000 to 900,000 per day. The Lebedevowned title is now available at 250 new locations. The move comes ahead of the launch of a new TV station broadcast from the Standard’s newsroom. London Live is due to start broadcasting in April.

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he Liverpool Post has closed after 158 years of publication in the city. The paper, formerly the Liverpool Daily Post before it went weekly in January 2012, was printed for the last time before Christmas. Circulation had dropped to 4,000 since it was taken weekly by owner Trinity Mirror. Steve Anderson Dixon, the managing director of Trinity Mirror North West, said that the decision to close the paper was taken ‘with the heaviest of hearts’. He said: “Sadly, the Liverpool city region no longer generates the demand in terms of advertising or circulation, to sustain both the Post and the Liverpool Echo.” No jobs were lost with staff transferring to the Echo, which will now produce a Sunday edition. Chris Morley, Northern and


conference

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he sudden closure of two of Northern Ireland’s well-known newspapers has been described as “a major blow to local community life”. The Alpha Newspaper Group ended production of the Carrickfergus Advertiser, which was founded in 1883, and the Ballyclare Gazette in East Antrim. NUJ President Barry McCall said the move marked “another sad chapter in the history of regional journalism”. He said: “We have witnessed far too many communities being left devoid of locally edited titles reflecting the news in their own area. NUJ Irish Organiser Nicola Coleman said the staff – comprising an editor, three reporters, two photographers and two advertising staff, have been advised that they will receive only statutory redundancy entitlements. She said: “It is extremely regrettable that the company has decided on further closures and redundancies without negotiations. This mirrors our experience of Alpha Newspapers in the Republic, where a swath of regional titles were eliminated in one fell swoop.”

The newspaper group has said it hopes some of the staff can be redeployed on other titles. It said that the Carrickfergus Gazette was closed by its previous owners in 1991 and reopened by Alpha and that since then the newspaper has been subsidised by the group. The Alpha Newspaper Group is owned by former Ulster Unionist MP John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney. Belfast and District branch Chair Bob Miller said the closures were a major disappointment to journalists in Northern Ireland. He said: “Lord Kilclooney has an intimate knowledge of Antrim and is aware of the importance of the role these newspapers play in the community and civic life of East Antrim. The loss of both newspapers is significant but the closure of the Carrickfergus Advertiser, an historic newspaper in a town steeped in history is especially poignant.”

Maxwell, Dublin

Major blow as Northern Irish newspapers close

Another sad chapter in the history of regional journalism

M4OS Photos/Alamy

Jail for abusing reporter

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he union has pledged to continue campaigning against the online bullying of journalists following the sentencing of a football supporter for sending a threatening communication to a journalist aggravated by racial and religious prejudice. David Limond, who referred to Angela Haggerty, a reporter in Glasgow, as ‘Taig of the day’ and ‘scum of the

day’ and encouraged people to abuse her on Twitter, was sentenced to six months in prison at Ayr Sheriff Court. Paul Holleran, NUJ Scotland organiser, said: “This robust action sends a clear message to those individuals who think it is acceptable to bully, threaten and incite others to violence through the social media.”

Recognition success at Al Jazeera

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he NUJ and the broadcasting union Bectu have achieved a recognition deal at the British division of the Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera. Jenny Lennox, NUJ assistant broadcasting

organiser, said: “This is a fantastic result for the NUJ. The chapel worked hard to secure recognition and we are all really pleased with the result.” Mick Hodgkin, NUJ father of the chapel at

Al Jazeera, said: “NUJ representatives are looking forward to continuing our existing discussions with management now on the framework of formal negotiations. This will enable us to ensure that

the views and interests of members on pay and conditions and a range of other issues are properly represented in the decisionmaking process, as Al Jazeera English continues to develop and prosper.”

in brief... Longest serving political chief goes British television’s longest serving political editor Adam Boulton is to leave his role at Sky News after 25 years. He will anchor a new evening show based at Sky’s Westminster studio. Boulton joined Sky News as political editor when the channel launched in 1989, setting up lobby reporting team. Since then he has covered five general elections and interviewed five prime ministers. New SUNDAY TIMES political editor Tim Shipman, deputy political editor of the Daily Mail has been appointed political editor of the Sunday Times. He began his career at the Daily Express in 1997 on a graduate training programme. At the Express he became deputy foreign editor and covered the Kosovo war and the impeachment of US President Bill Clinton. He moved to the Daily Mail in 2005. Russia expels US correspondent Russia expelled a US journalist living in Moscow for the first time since the cold war. David Satter – a former FT correspondent and author of three books on Russia and the Soviet Union – was told.his presence was not desirable. Johnston press gains US executive Johnston Press has appointed US executive Jeff Moriarty as chief digital and product officer. Moriarty, who is currently vice president of digital products for The Boston Globe, replaces Henry Faure Walker who becomes Newsquest’s chief executive. Moriarty joins Johnston Press in April with the responsibility for developing the company’s digital strategy work experience to editor in six years Sarah Cox has been appointed editor of Bedfordshire On Sunday, six years after she first did work experience at the title. Cox then worked freelance for a news agency and a number of national titles before becoming editor of financial news website forexspace.com. theJournalist | 7


NUJ Training

For professional media workers and effective union reps The NUJ is committed to providing members with the advice and skills they need to pursue a successful career in the media or be an effective union rep. Our professional training courses will enable everyone from those starting their career to those who want to upgrade their skills to learn from professional tutors with practical experience in the media. The courses are suitable for writers, photographers, reporters, subeditors, broadcasters, publishers, illustrators, bloggers and cover all media roles. For more details on all courses and NUJ training visit: http://www.nuj.org.uk/work/training

Our courses will enable members (at reduced rates) and non-members to: • Learn journalists’ skills and master technology and design packages. • Know the best ways and where to pitch stories and deals. • Make sure you get paid properly for your work. • Make contacts in the industry. • Deal with copyright and tax issues. The NUJ can organise bespoke training for groups of members, chapels or branches when there is no specific course available to meet their needs. The NUJ also provides free training for reps so they can learn to • Identify the main roles and responsibilities associated with being an NUJ representative. • Negotiate collective pay and conditions agreements. • Carry out grievance, disciplinary and appeal procedures. • Recruit and retain members.


up front

Michelle Stanistreet on fighting for rights in the north east and in Egypt

Bringing home our campaigns

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asily the best part of the job of general secretary of the NUJ is the time I get to spend with members in workplaces and branches around the union. Walking around Darlington town centre, handing out leaflets with members and talking to passers-by about the importance of local papers, was one of those moments. The occasion was the 24-hour strike that saw Newsquest journalists in Darlington, Bradford and York making headlines rather than writing them, as they took to the streets explaining to local readers the reasons for the dispute. After dealing with the intransigence of Newsquest management, seeing just how shocked and outraged local people were about the prospect of the production of the newspapers being culled and outsourced to a new operation, over 270 miles away in Wales, brought home to the journalists that their actions were wholeheartedly supported by their community. The sound of hooting cars and buses throughout the day made it absolutely clear which side members of the public are on. It must have been ringing in the ears of David Coates, Newsquest’s Yorkshire and North-East managing director, as he sat at his desk inside faced with the emptied editorial floor. Readers could not believe that their journalists, relied upon by all the communities they serve, were being told to either uproot their lives and move to another country or face compulsory redundancy.

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That members stuck to their guns and that the strikes were so solid is a great tribute to all three chapels

This from a company that has regularly run leaders when local jobs are under threat to campaign for them to stay in the community. That members stuck to their guns and that the strikes were so solid is a great tribute to all three chapels. Fresh from Darlington – where blue skies and sunshine prevailed for the pickets – I was busy finalising plans for a demonstration outside of the Egyptian Embassy the next day. This was held to protest against the continuing attacks on journalists in Egypt – where journalists are routinely having their equipment seized, facing intimidation and attacks, where arrests are gathering pace and where six journalists have been killed in recent months, simply for doing their job. The demo was held on the eve of the trial beginning of four Al Jazeera journalists who have been imprisoned and ludicrously accused of being spies and terrorists.

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ur newly recognised chapel at Al Jazeera English did a brilliant job in getting members out to protest. And MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has done a huge amount of work through the NUJ’s parliamentary group on the situation unfolding in Egypt, came with me to meet the Ambassador where there was a forceful exchange of views. Our position is clear and has international backing from journalists’ unions around the world – all journalists detained must be released, and the strategic targeting of journalists and media workers to silence them at a critical time in Egypt’s history must stop. These campaigns – at Newsquest and for change within Egypt – are ones that need the collective support of NUJ members to win victories that are vital for us all. Please follow the updates and progress reports on our website, sign the petitions circulating, get your local MP to back the early day motions in parliament and send messages of support directly to our Newsquest chapels.

 For all the latest news from the NUJ go to www.nuj.org.uk theJournalist | 09


Linda Harrison arrives at Scotland’s first city in our series on media centres

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hile Glasgow may get eclipsed by Edinburgh in political terms, it certainly punches above its weight as a base for Scottish media. Several Scottish newspapers, national UK titles and major broadcasters have chosen to make Glasgow their home north of the border. One of the biggest media employers is the Herald & Times Group, owned by Newsquest. Its newspapers include The Herald and Sunday Herald and it remains very proud of its heritage (The Herald was founded in 1783 and is one of the oldest newspapers in the English-speaking world).

10 | theJournalist

The company also publishes the Evening Times from its city centre office – the tabloid is distributed in the west of Scotland – plus magazines such as The Scottish Farmer and various niche titles. In addition, it owns a printing plant just outside the city, which prints its own titles and other publications. Another major publisher is Media Scotland, part of Trinity Mirror. The group owns Scottish tabloids The Daily Record and Sunday Mail plus Scottish Business Insider Magazine and several regional titles and digital brands. Media Scotland also recently launched local paper Glasgow Now. Formerly The Glaswegian, the free weekly is part of a series of city titles that includes Aberdeen Now and Edinburgh Now. Meanwhile, Johnston Press has a Glasgow office for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday – it left its city centre premises for Glasgow’s South Side in 2009. Free paper The Extra is also based there plus a series of regional JP titles. Alastair Dalton, transport correspondent for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, says: “Most of the Scottish media are based in Glasgow. There’s a real east/west divide in Scotland, some people are surprised there’s a Scotsman office in Glasgow. While the main Scotsman office is in Edinburgh, there are usually up to 10 people in the Glasgow office, some permanent and others there temporarily who are based in Edinburgh. “From a work point of view, there’s a lot of transport based in Glasgow, such as Transport Scotland, ScotRail, Scottish Canals and Glasgow Airport.” Several national UK newspapers operate their Scottish editions from Glasgow. These include the Scottish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – the office covers news, features and sport and the paper is printed in Glasgow – and the Scottish Sun, which has 110 journalists and production journalists at its Glasgow base. News UK also has a printing plant in the city. DMG Media, formerly Associate Newspapers, also publishes free paper Metro (Scotland) and Northern & Shell has The Scottish Daily Express, Scottish Sunday Express and Daily Star of Scotland. Various magazines are based in the city, including Homes and Interiors Scotland, entertainment magazine The List and golf magazine Bunkered. There’s also The Digger, a weekly news magazine that specialises in crime in Glasgow. Away from print, the city is the Scottish HQ for much broadcast journalism. BBC Scotland and Scottish ITV network STV both have studios in the Pacific Quay area on the banks of the River Clyde.


news hub

john McGovern/Alamy

words from the streets • Alastair Dalton, transport correspondent for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday: “It’s quite a going-out city, there’s a buzz on the streets at night.” • Kirsty Logan, books editor at The List magazine: “Glasgow has a gritty glamour that never fails to inspire me. From spoken word to live music to comedy, film or performance, there’s always something new happening.” • Sean Guthrie, chief production journalist for the Herald and Times Group: “As Scotland’s biggest city there’s plenty of variety on all levels – in terms of culture, people and work. And there’s so much to do, you never get bored in Glasgow.” • Pete Murray, co-editor of UnionNews and a freelance video journalist and trainer: “I brought my kids up in Glasgow and it’s a great place to live – there’s great nightlife and it’s near the countryside.”

The news and current affairs department of BBC Scotland produces a range of shows for Scottish audiences and the networks. On TV, that includes flagship daily news programme Reporting Scotland, Newsnight Scotland, BBC Scotland Investigates and Sunday Politics Scotland. The investigations unit also makes editions of Panorama for the network while BBC Scotland news and current affairs documentaries air on the BBC News Channel. Recently awarded the Local TV licence for Glasgow, STV is planning to launch city TV channel GTV in 2014 in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University. It has 59 staff in Glasgow and STV News broadcasts two lunchtime bulletins as well as its evening news programme, STV News at Six. Evening news bulletins are also broadcast from Glasgow during STV’s current affairs programme Scotland Tonight. In terms of radio, commercial stations include Clyde 1 and Clyde 2, both owned by Bauer Media Group, and Real Radio Scotland, which describes itself as a ‘feel good station’. BBC Radio Scotland produces daily news programmes such as Good Morning Scotland, The John Beattie Show at lunchtime and evening show Newsdrive. Freelance journalist Pete Murray says Glasgow is very varied in what if offers journalists. The former NUJ president was born in Glasgow and moved back after several years working for BBC radio in London. “Glasgow’s a good centre for all sorts of journalism,” says Murray, who is co-editor of union-news.co.uk and a video journalist and trainer. “There’s an extremely good music scene and the sports scene is also hotting up with the Commonwealth Games coming next year. “It’s also very well connected for public transport. I travel a lot with work and it’s very easy to get to London by train.”

Pacific Quay is also home to The Hub, which offers space to internet start-ups, including content producers for websites. Jonathan Whitelaw is a freelance multimedia journalist and author from the city who now lives in Edinburgh. He says: “Glasgow has a very distinctive character as a city, both in a positive and negative light. This can sometimes lead to a Glasgow-centric attitude towards news in Scotland. Reporting any subject other than arts and culture for example will intrinsically have west coast dominance, simply because of the city’s cosmopolitan image. “Glasgow is also home to the majority of broadcasters and media providers for Scotland and therefore having a distinctive, local flavour to their output is an almost natural tendency. I’m not sure how deliberate that is.” He adds that it is a vibrant city “that affords almost any and all tastes in entertainment, education and employment opportunities”. Other journalists agree it’s very different to Edinburgh. “I moved here 13 years ago after 12 years in Edinburgh and there’s a big city feel to Glasgow,” explains Alistair. “But it’s not like London, you don’t feel suffocated and it’s not massively expensive. There’s also quite a diverse mix of people, with lots of student, particularly from Norway. “It’s a very easy place to get about on public transport. And there are just about all the big shops in the city – a past Glasgow marketing slogan was ‘Scotland with style’.”

the main employers BBC Scotland employs just over 900 staff at its Pacific Quay head office, with 157 in news and current affairs for TV, radio and online. Journalists produce content for daily TV news programme An Là for the Gaelic channel BBC ALBA, plus news and current affairs documentaries for the channel. Gaelic-language journalists also produce news for BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, the Gaelic language radio station. BBC Scotland recently announced a £5million investment package to provide extra content on the referendum. Herald & Times Group, owned by Newsquest has more than 500 staff in its Glasgow city centre HQ (including editorial), with satellite offices in Edinburgh and London. It publishes daily newspaper The Herald plus the Sunday Herald and the Evening

Times. The newspaper group additionally has a number of magazines and runs heraldscotland.com, eveningtimes.co.uk as well as various apps. Media Scotland, owned by Trinity Mirror this company has a total of 500 staff including employees in its head office in Glasgow plus regional offices throughout Scotland. Publications include the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Scottish Business Insider magazine and about 20 regional titles. The Glasgow office also has a digital team working on websites like www.dailyrecord.co.uk. The Scottish Sun, News UK the tabloid has 110 journalists and production journalists working in its Glasgow office. The company also has a printing plant in Glasgow.

theJournalist | 11


Ghost hunting Celebrities, sports personalities and other people with stories to tell will always need good writers, says Ruth Addicott

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f you went into journalism for the story, not the glory – and if your bank balance could do with a bit of a boost, then ghost-writing could be a career option worth considering. Barely a day goes by without a celebrity sitting on a TV sofa publicising their latest book and with 90 – 95 per cent of showbiz and sports autobiographies penned by ghost-writers, the work is there if you can find it. It has become a lucrative side-line for many journalists, some of whom have turned it into a full time career, but how easy is it to break into? Former magazine editor, Jacquie Buttriss, made the switch three years ago after a friend, who was a ghost-writer, asked if she would be interested in some extra work. Her first book ‘My Secret Sister’ shot straight into The Sunday Times Bestsellers top 10 and that inspired her to take it up full time. “I don’t really have any interest in famous people,” she says. “I love ordinary people with extraordinary stories.” According to Jacquie, real life can be just as lucrative; she is approached with potential new stories every day and has commissions lined up for the next three years. “I have been turning away work for quite some time now,” she says. One thing ghost-writers all agree on is the importance of getting on with the ‘author’ –Jacquie won’t take a job on unless she has met the person face to face. Keith Lodge, former sports editor of The Barnsley Chronicle, believes this was also key to ghost-writing Dickie Bird’s autobiography. Having worked on the sports desk for more than 35 years, Keith had followed the umpire’s career from scratch and they had become good friends when Dickie asked him to write his autobiography. Keith admits he was daunted at first, the closest he’d come to ghost-writing was doing the notes for the managers of Barnsley Football Club for the match day magazine. “The publishers weren’t too keen because they didn’t know me from Adam, but with Dickie insisting, I thought, I’ll give it a go,” he says. The book went on to sell more than one million copies and it became the best-selling British sports autobiography of all time.

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The biggest lesson Keith learnt was to forget about his own style of writing. “There are phrases I wouldn’t have used, but they are Dickie’s phrases,” he says. “You have got to enter the skin of the person you are writing for and make people believe it is their words coming through the pages.” Keith had no idea of the going rate and with a queue of journalists keen to take his place, he didn’t feel in a position to haggle. In the end he agreed a flat fee. “I think Dickie got a brand new Jaguar, my money went on a second hand caravan at Filey,” he says. Rates vary. At one end, there are rumours of ‘ghost-writing factories’ with students and retirees working flat out for three months for £3,000. While a more established ghost on a commercial book (approx 70,000 words or more) might earn £8,000 – £15,000 over two to six months. At the top end, a ghost might earn £400,000 – £500,000. Former freelance journalist, Andrew Crofts, has been a ghost-writer for 30 years and had more than 80 books published, ranging from real life to celebrities, business leaders and politicians. He says one of the biggest adjustments for journalists is writing at length (sometimes 150,000 words or more). “One thing you can’t do is voice your own opinions, you have to subjugate your ego and to sustain that for 80,000 words, journalists often find quite difficult,” he says. “You

A ghostly guide So how do you become a ghost-writer?

First, find an agent (check The Writers & Artists Yearbook). Do your research and make sure you approach the right sort of agent for the book you want to write. Then, write a proposal, including a biog of yourself and the ‘author’, an outline of the story, why it will be easy to market and any comparable books. If the agent likes it, they’ll arrange the financial split (celebrity ghost-writers receive around 30 per

cent of an advance), then submit a proposal and sample chapters to publishers. Alternatively, if the ‘author’ has the funds, you could go down the route of self-publishing and ask for an advance – a third to be paid on agreement, a third half way through and a third once the book is complete. The biggest gains are books that continue to sell year after year. There’s also potential to sell foreign rights and even film rights. “Ghosting is like acting;

you need to be able to step into the shoes of your subject and write as if it all happened to you,” says London based literary agent, Eve White, So what if you haven’t got a story and still want to become a ghost-writer? Jonathan Harris, from literary agency, Luxton Harris, is approached by new people all the time. “If they are a good writer and I believe in them as an agent, I’m happy to consider working with them,” he says. “Are there opportunities? Yes. Are there quality opportunities that are going to be big sellers? That’s tougher.”


books

have got to pace yourself, it’s no good trying to write about an actress in EastEnders who’s led a normal life, there has got to be a dramatic love life, court case or fight against illness – something to hold the readers’ attention.” However, one American publishing agent argues that journalists make the worst ghost-writers of all because “they just can’t get rid of the who, when, where, first paragraph approach”. The internet, however, has made it much easier to advertise and even attract opportunities from abroad. Andrew receives at least three requests a day and only has time to do three or four books a year. But how many of these could actually make it into print? “These days a huge number because people can self-publish,” he observes. “Often people will come to me with an interesting story and only their friends and family are ever going to read it, but if you can afford to, that’s not a reason not to write it.” Another skill of a good ghostwriter is being able to manage expectations – just because a story has been in a newspaper doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll make it into the window of Waterstones. Although it helps to have some knowledge of publishing, interview technique and ability to work under pressure is also crucial. Andrew recalls interviewing former Big Brother winner, Pete Bennett, who not only had Tourettes, but memory loss due to drug-taking. “As soon as he came out of Big Brother, we were locked in a hotel suite in London’s Covent Garden and it was obvious it was going to be difficult, so his mum came in and told the story with Pete bouncing off the walls around us, confirming and denying as it went along,” he says. “It worked really well because she had the facts and he had the charm and a way of putting it which was very individual.”

Andrew had a week to interview and a month to finish the book. Securing interviews can also be a struggle when working with celebrities. Pepsy Dening, who has ghosted for stars such as Sharon Osbourne, Twiggy and (reportedly) Victoria Beckham, normally has 40 hours of tape/interview transcripts of which she’ll then use about a third. “It’s very hard,” she says. “Sharon Osbourne is a classic example, she works on two continents, she’s travelling all the time and if she happens to be awake at two in the morning that’s when you work, even if you’ve been up since nine. When you’re ghost-writing, you cannot under any circumstances fall out with your subject.” So what’s Pepsy’s advice to journalists who are thinking about ghost-writing? “Don’t!” she says, with total seriousness. “You will be treated pretty shabbily because you will be right at the end of the pecking order.” According to Pepsy, so many journalists have turned to ghost-writing and work at the top end of the market has consequently virtually dried up. She says she only had one small assignment last year and that was a rewrite for someone who had fallen out with their ghost-writer. Widespread coverage of celebrity stories has made it easier to ‘cut and paste’ and with celebs often hankering for a bigger chunk of the fee, publishers are being forced to find writers who will do a quick turnaround for less. “It was very lucrative 10 years ago, then when the crisis hit, it went belly up,” says Pepsy. “Ten years ago I wouldn’t have accepted less than £100,000 for a 150,000 word book. Now it is very different. When I say to an agent, ‘where is the work?’ they say, ‘well, people are prepared to ghost for £6,000’. No one in their right mind, unless they were absolutely desperate, would devote nine months of their life to doing that.” The other issue for writers such as Pepsy is she is unable to promote her work due to confidentiality agreements. One publisher told her: ‘At your level, it’s word of mouth, people either know you or they don’t’. Just like journalism, ghost-writing involves a lot of talent, hard work and a huge amount of luck. “It is similar, but I think there are bigger chances of a big win,” says Andrew. “I can’t think what you could do in freelance journalism that would earn you the same as a bestselling book if you were on 50 per cent of the royalties.” theJournalist | 13


Liberatio David Hencke considers the sweeping changes in political reporting brought about by Twitter and blogging

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hen internet billionaires and entrepreneurs Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams dreamed up the idea of Twitter some seven years ago in a San Francisco playground the last thing on their mind would have been that they could revolutionise the reporting of the British Parliament. Yet almost without anyone realising one of Britain’s oldest and elitist journalist institutions – the Westminster lobby – has been transformed from a closed elite to a more open reporting institution that would make some of their top hat and frockcoat founders turn in their graves. When I joined the lobby in 1986 I was given an absurd set of rules, varying from not running after ministers to keeping secret from my editor anything said at the lobby briefing where a Number 10 spokesman meets and answers questions from lobby journalists. My arrival only just followed a situation where Ian Aitken, as The Guardian’s political editor, and still going strong as a columnist for Tribune Magazine, could lead the paper’s news list with the tag ‘a political tale’. Believe it or not the paper’s newsdesk was not quite sure what the story was until he dictated it from a phone booth in the press gallery at 7.30pm. Now after a series of evolutionary changes combined with the onset of new technology – the lobby is slowly but surely changing for the better. It began when The Independent, The Guardian and The Scotsman said they would boycott the secretive lobby briefing by Margaret Thatcher’s rumbustious Bernard Ingham – ending a tradition where journalists sometimes ran a line on a story if Bernard raised his left eyebrow while conveying some fact or other. Then finally Downing Street capitulated under John Major to sourcing the information and later agreed in the age of Blair and Brown to publish a summary of the briefing on its own website. But it is the development of the internet that has really changed events. First blogs, then Twitter and now Facebook are now changing the lobby again and ending some, but not all, of its Establishment image. The two journalists who stand out at the cutting edge of this change are Andy Sparrow, who runs the Guardian’s live

14 | theJournalist


politics

tion for the lobby? And both Number 10 and the Labour leader’s office see the instant advantage of Twitter. On the evening I talked to him, Ed Miliband’s office had just rung him, to get a tweet out saying he was postponing a visit to India because of the flooding crisis.

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nd this also goes for broadcasters. James Landale, the BBC’s deputy political editor, unlike old newspaper hacks, is already used to 24/7 coverage because of the way the broadcasting day was already scheduled from the Today programme, News at One, the Six O’Clock News, Channel Four News, to News at Ten plus of course the BBC News Channel. But that doesn’t mean that the internet hasn’t changed the pace. He puts it succinctly. Before the internet he said you would outline the story, explain its significance and call the news desk to explain what you wanted to do. “Since the internet you do all those things except the last as you have put the lot up already on Twitter.” And the rule also applies to lobby journalists working for the provincial press like Jonathan

Race to save iconic restaurant One victim of the lobby’s new relentless

schedule is the Gay Hussar restaurant in London’s Soho. Still a great favourite with the Left and with a mass of amazing cartoons from Martin Rowson depicting famous leftwing journalists, MPs and ministers adorning its walls. The place is a piece of living political and journalistic history. But it is not used so often by hacks who nowadays prefer to go to watering holes nearer

Westminster before they rush back to keep to 24/7 schedules. Now it is up for sale by Malaysian owned Corus Hotels but a group of journalists, MPs, former and still active lobby correspondents have combined to try and buy it under the wonderful banner of the Goulash Co-operative. The appeal has brought together a wide range of supporters from Tom Watson MP for West Bromwich East to the Tory funder and former deputy

tony french/Alamy

blog and Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome and Editor in Chief of Dods. Andy Sparrow is an award-winning journalist for his live blog – Paul along with Jonathan Walker, the Birmingham Post’s political editor, pioneered the use of Twitter in the lobby. Both Andy and Paul are old lobby hands who have worked for traditional newspapers – Andy, the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian – Paul, the Evening Standard before they moved online. Coincidently in the age of the dead tree press, they took out government ministers and MPs together for off the record long lunches to gather Westminster titbits. Since the age of the internet neither has the time to do this anymore – another sign of the changing lobby. Andy Sparrow’s PoliticsLive blog on the Guardian website has rapidly become a must read for anyone interested in following politics. Hugh Muir, the Guardian’s diarist and budding parliamentary sketch writer, said; “A friend told me if you follow Andy you don’t need the Press Association.” Andy himself sees his blog as aimed at “people, like teachers, professional people who take an interest in politics but haven’t the time to follow every development who can now get a detailed summary of what happened today in one place.” He thinks the effect of his blog is to open up politics, make it more accessible and also make the lobby itself – through instant comments on Twitter – more accessible and less of a closed shop. He also says the advent of Twitter it has made Westminster reporting more accurate. “In the old days if there was an important announcement and you wanted reaction you would come in and spend the whole time chasing up MPs for comment and perhaps end up with six before you wrote your article. Now you can pick up reaction from MPs from Twitter and as long as you ignore those obviously parroting a line given by the party, you can get a much wider and faster reaction to a policy which is altogether much more accurate than just getting the views of six people.” Paul Waugh who frankly says that he left the Standard because “I was fed up, you just couldn’t get stuff in ” finds PoliticsHome liberating because he can report as much as he likes and he obviously enjoys the interaction between MPs and lobby journalists even more. “If political journalists are news junkies, MPs are heroin junkies when it comes to political news. They just can’t get enough of it. “ He also says the internet has made Westminster more transparent. If you put a piece on the internet you can tweet it, link to the speech for those who want to read it in full, and also carry all the reaction, almost instantly.”

chairman Lord Ashcroft as well as Martin Rowson; former lobby journalist Julia Langdon and former Tribune editor, Mark Seddon. So far they have raised £177,000 from a share issue and have put in a second bid to buy the restaurant after the first was rejected. At the time The Journalist went to press it was not known whether it was successful.

theJournalist | 15


politics

Walker, who serves all the papers for Birmingham, Coventry and Newcastle upon Tyne. (Another sign of the declining fortunes of the press as they used to have separate lobby journalists). He describes himself as an online and print journalist and currently experimenting with using Facebook as well as Twitter to encourage readers. “Facebook attracts more ordinary readers, those who might be interested in politics or at least issues that affect them in their locality.” All the lobby journalists I interviewed found their job more interesting and much more fulfilling because of the opportunities afforded by Twitter and blogging. Those who still worked for newspapers were liberated by not being limited by print. They admitted that the pressure was relentless but doing a job they enjoyed outweighed this. They also felt that the grip of a few top lobby journalists laying down what ‘the line’ on a story should be – a frequent attack by those outside the lobby who view it as proestablishment – had been weakened if not fatally damaged by Twitter. But there is a new generation who are still highly critical of the establishment line of present lobby. The youngest lobby guy I interviewed, Adam Bienkov, 32, who works for politics.

The lobby was like going to Hogwarts... public school, white and male...

co.uk– was quite shocked by what he found. His route there – which will be followed by more people – came from running a successful blog that broke stories on London’s City Hall. He said: “Joining the lobby was like going to Hogwarts. I couldn’t believe how overwhelmingly public school, white and male it was. Nearly all the people are conservative with a small c or liberal, there is no really leftwing take on what is going on.” But he also found the net liberating in being able to report and comment. And although his news organisation, which interestingly is profitable, is owned by ultra Eurosceptic Tory Mp, Adam Afriyie, there is no editorial interference. There is no question that first blogs, then Twitter and now Facebook have changed the nature of the lobby. It is also on the defensive since Paul Staines on his libertarian and heretical website, Guido Fawkes, uses the internet to attack the lobby system. Lobby journalists tend to dismiss what they see as the Guido mantra that all MPs are crooks. If there is criticism of the Westminster bubble post Twitter it is that they use the tools provided by the internet to follow each other for leads rather than necessarily looking outwards for inspiration. That could leave the lobby as just a broader version of the old elite. But what is clear that Silicon Valley has changed the Westminster lobby forever.

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on media

Raymond Snoddy on the risks to journalism of new advertising approaches

The dangers of going native

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teve Auckland, the bluntspeaking managing director of Metro, the free newspaper, can tolerate many linguistic affectations. But there is one term that Auckland has banned and that is ‘native’ – as in native advertising. Native advertising is one of those neologisms that have emerged over the past 18 months. Suddenly ads that mimic the editorial content in the hope that the two will be indistinguishable are all the rage. Native is more prevalent online but is also making inroads in print. It’s a sub-species of another big idea of the times – content marketing, a concept still launching dozens of media conferences around the world. With content marketing the concept is more to do with, as the name implies, content, rather than advertising. The cunning thing is for the marketing types to provide some relevant content that consumers will be interested to read that will effortlessly ingratiate your brand. It must be of high quality and intelligent of course, but still copy that falls short of overtly declaring its true purpose and origin. Extreme content marketeers insist that if you provide the right sort of editorial you might not have to pay at all for boring, antediluvian advertising. It’s an individual relationship with the consumer they want. Does any of this matter? Least of all what you call it? Well yes, for journalists it really does. Old hands will denounce the fancy words, the supposedly new concepts, and mutter that there is nothing special, or even particularly

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new, about advertising supplements and sponsored feature spreads, whatever you choose to call them. Yet something has changed. The boundaries between what is genuine, independent, editorial content and the provisions of the marketing department are blurring. The disguises are more effective, more beguiling. And with regional publications facing a bloodbath of jobs the pressure is on those remaining to be a little less sniffy about where copy comes and in whose interests it is being published.

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Does any of this matter? Least of all what you call it? Well yes, for journalists it really does

hese attitudes are understandable and true up to a point. But sometime soon newspapers, and the journalists who work on them are going to make a stand, on what is independent copy and what it not. You can assume one thing – that amid native advertising and content marketing there won’t be uncomfortable journalism, or reporting that holds anyone to account. Is any content marketeer going to offer copy that portrays clients in anything other than a reasonable, if not actually a positive light? In a way the suggestion that native advertising and content advertising amount to something new has a positive side: it can therefore be debated anew as if something novel really is happening. The important need is for guidelines that can be generally applied so that individual journalists do not find themselves in the firing line between editorial and marketing standards. There is no business case for thinking it a good idea to mislead readers. In a very old fashioned way, as in supporting ancient virtues which are there for a reason, readers should always be able to see the boundaries between editorial and commercial purpose. Whatever fancy names you give it.

For the latest updates from Raymond Snoddy on Twitter go to @raymondsnoddy theJournalist | 17


law

2013 AFP

Cry freedom in Argentina

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ollowing a bitter four-year battle Argentina’s journalists’ union is celebrating a major victory for media freedom. It is one that could have implications across the world. The country’s Supreme Court rejected an attempt by one of South America’s largest multimedia corporations to block the Audiovisual Communication Services Law, passed by Congress in 2009, but subject to numerous legal and political challenges ever since. The law, praised by UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue as ‘a model for the continent and other regions of the world’ enshrines the right of access of all citizens to diverse sources of information and opinion, seeks to promote local, independent news outlets, and provide greater plurality and diversity of opinion by limiting the concentration of media ownership. Argentina’s dominant media corporation, the Clarin Group – which owns more than 250 newspapers, radio stations, TV channels and cable stations – argued the law is ‘an affront to freedom of expression’ and infringed its property rights, by forcing it to give up dozens of licences. But the court ruled the law was

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constitutional, declaring it “legitimate that a law sets general limits a priori, because this way it favours freedom of expression and prevents market concentration. Clarin’s freedom of expression is not affected by the law’s implementation.” Campaigners believe that the breakup of 20 media corporations will mean greater diversity of ownership and more opportunities for journalists. The law has already led to the creation of 365 new radio stations, 40 content producers and 100,000 jobs. The decision is a major victory for FATPREN, Argentina’s journalists’ union, and hundreds of human rights, civil society groups and community radio stations, who formed the Coalition for Democratic Broadcasting to advocate the new law’s 21 clauses. Among the measures are: • Communication is regarded as a public service. • The distribution of broadcasting licences in three broadly equal parts: public, private and not-for-profit – capping corporate ownership of the market at 35 per cent, the same as in the US. Clarin controls 47 per cent. • No group or individual can hold more than 10 open-air radio and TV licenses or 24 cable television licenses or an open television and cable

Jeremy Dear on a key legal victory for media plurality and journalists

The law has already led to the creation of 365 new radio stations, 40 content producers and 100,000 jobs

license in the same location. Clarin has 158 cable TV licences, 12 in Buenos Aires alone, controlling 60 per cent of the market. • At least 70 per cent of radio and 60 per cent of television content must be produced in Argentina. • Cable TV stations are required to carry channels run by unions, universities and social organisations. • A fund to help buy equipment and fund training for new stations. • A charter for decent working conditions. Guillermo Mastrini, an academic who helped draft the law, said efforts to limit the influence of Clarin were overdue. “Clarín controls the news agenda. It’s more powerful than News International. No government has confronted them before”. Martín Sabbatella, head of Argentina’s Federal Audiovisual Communications Services Authority said: “Latin America has made a break with the neo liberal model, which proposed the exclusion of the masses and concentrated economic and political power in a few hands. It’s time to give a voice to invisible people.” Now, new broadcasters are taking to the airwaves. Armando Kispe of Radio Pachakuti, the first indigenous station licensed under the law, said: “Having a radio station means we no longer need other people to speak for us. In other media outlets, we were censored.” Gustavo Granero, former General Secretary of FATPREN, said: “Our campaign exposed the false idea that journalism has an unquestionable power that makes it free of scrutiny regarding its quality and ethics. We created space to talk about democratising media, fought for a democratic law and won”. And while the Clarin group threatens international court action, Gustavo hopes the success will inspire others. “Clarin is not the only conglomerate out there. There are the Murdochs...”.


campaign

Russell Brand, girl guides and The Sun Rachael Glazier looks at the growing calls for No More Page 3

Tony Worpole/Alamy

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hat do Russell Brand and UK Girlguiding members have in common? It may sound like the beginning of a particularly crude joke, but the answer is as spotlessly clean as Brand’s ballot card: they are all supporters of No More Page 3. In 1986 the then Labour MP Clare Short introduced a 10 -minute rule bill asking for the removal of pornographic images from the press. The bill failed but in 2012 writer and actor Lucy Holmes started the No More Page 3 campaign. “I found I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the largest female image in The Sun was Page 3, even though Jessica Ennis had just won gold [at the Olympics].” The group’s petition on Change.org – David Dinsmore: Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun – now has 134,000 signatures, and the parenting website Mumsnet, which boasts 10 million visits each month, has recently added its weight to the campaign. Many women’s groups, teaching unions and other high profile organisations support the campaign, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, who recently spoke about sexism in the media at a Brighton and Sussex NUJ meeting,

wore a No More Page 3 t-shirt in the Commons last year. Supporters’ two main objections to Page 3 is that it is sexist, and that children can easily stumble across these sexual images because it is in a non-age restricted newspaper. “It subliminally reinforces the message to men (and teaches the notion to boys) that casual misogyny is okay,” says journalist and editor Sarah Drew Jones. “Women’s value and contribution to the news shouldn’t just be about what their bodies look like. The latest on Syria depressing you on page 2? Footy results not what you hoped for on the back page? Never mind, here’s a pair of nipples to cheer you up, mate! Thank god for girlies, eh?” Interestingly The Sun’s attitude to those campaigning against topless models in the paper has changed since they branded Clare Short ‘Crazy Clare’ and ‘Killjoy Clare’. Sun spokesperson Emily Coen told The Journalist: “We welcome comments from everyone regarding our newspaper and digital products. The No More Page 3 campaign is clearly a well-supported campaign and we would not for a moment disrespect those involved. However, we have carried out extensive research – with both men and women – and held numerous focus groups and there is resounding support to keep Page 3. “ The Daily Mirror has used the growing debate to its own end, running a spoof Page 3 in September 2013 to help reinforce its new self-styled

It’s hard to believe that this needs to be spelled out but women are people, not sexual objects

image as a more intelligent tabloid. Editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley doesn’t believe that The Sun getting rid of Page 3 would have an impact on the Daily Mirror’s circulation. “There are many differences between the Mirror and The Sun and Page 3 is certainly one of them. The Mirror has never had Page 3 girls – and I am proud of that,” he stated. “But to be honest it doesn’t matter if they choose to keep it or not. The differences in the papers are now so marked that one change, even if it appears to be a significant one, is irrelevant. In other words, Mirror readers won’t start running to The Sun just because it has finally dropped Page 3 – they are smarter than that. “ For Rin Hamburgh, a freelance journalist, Page 3 is another frustrating example of how the portrayal of women in the media needs to be changed. “It’s hard to believe that this needs to be spelled out but women are people, not sexual objects,” she argues. But broadcaster and journalist Kelly Rose Bradford believes there are other things to worry about: “Page 3 is just pretty girl in knickers smiling to camera. There is much worse partially clothed sexual imagery everywhere that is total objectification because it is so blatantly selling sex with innuendo-laden copy and ‘orgasm face’ models. Page 3 is practically oldfashioned by comparison.” theJournalist | 19


technology

social media switches on to privacy

S

Rosie Niven on the latest trends and kit

preview

ocial media’s emergence provided journalists with a powerful new tool, although it took us a while to use it to its full potential. Now social media tools are being used to find, gather, verify, curate, present and disseminate stories as well as build a rapport with sources and audiences. In fact many would say that some journalists rely a bit too much on social media. But recent developments could shake us all out of our complacency. Over the past year private social networks or so-called chat apps have grown in popularity. If the reports are to be believed teens are abandoning Facebook for networks such as WhatsApp, and Snapchat And if more users follow suit, journalists’ jobs could be getting a lot harder. The main reason for these networks’ popularity is the same thing that poses a problem for journalists: their privacy. Teens in the UK apparently like experimenting and being themselves away from the eyes of Mum or Dad. Meanwhile in countries such as China the social media app WeChat is providing a forum for interaction away from the eyes of the state. But this also means that the rest of the world, including journalists

livescribe 3 smartpen I am now going to review a pen. Yes, you did read that correctly. But the Livescribe 3 smartpen comes with a twist; it also records audio as you write and syncs it to your scribble using bluetooth technology via your smartphone or tablet. The pen looks like an oversized fountain pen with a metallic shaft about the width of my index finger. It is light and comfortable to use. You write on special Livescribe dot paper and a carbon copy of your

20 | theJournalist

And if more users follow suit, journalists’ jobs could be getting a lot harder

inked notes appears on your device, which you can email or upload to cloud services. To start recording you touch a record symbol in a corner of the page and a red light shows it is working. You can touch the notes on your device at the place that you wish to start playback. I found this worked well, although the app did crash on one occasion. The recordings were very clear and I didn’t have any problems with the battery or storage despite using it for two long notetaking sessions. On the third occasion the recording function failed, though this may

working as part of well-oiled User Generated Content (UGC) machines, cannot see this content unless individuals are part of their network. However, some journalists are working out how to overcome this. Trushar Barot, assistant editor of the BBC’s UGC and social media hub is part of a project looking at how chat apps can change the way people get and share news. Of course, the team he heads already has experience of this from the London riots when they received updates via Blackberry messaging. A recent trial with WhatsApp during Typhoon Haiyan allowed people in the region to send images, video, text and audio. The shift towards more private networks will mean that journalists will need to become more active at connecting with people on social media for UGC. A simple Twitter search may no longer do the trick. But there are also so many possibilities – a reporter who gets these networks right might find they get more exclusive content, better leads and a wider range of sources.And there is also scope for disseminating news, something that the Washington Post is exploring with Snapchat. So we might have to work a bit harder, but the results should be worthwhile.

have been user error. I was also unable to email the recordings to myself. While this product would be useful in an interview, it would potentially work best in long council meetings. However, the paper starts at £7 for a very small notebook and goes up to £30 and that’s after paying well over £100 for the pen. It is wise to check compatibility with your smartphone or tablet before investing. While Livescribe has a lot of potential, unless you are likely to be a heavy user, it may be worth waiting for this product to evolve into something more user-friendly.


Q&A

Lawrence McGinty is health and science editor at ITV

the nuj and me What made you become a journalist? Getting a byline in the Liverpool University paper on a review of the Kubrick film 2001. Plus getting into the cinema for free.

What other job might you have done? I suppose I might have been a teratologist (I applied for that but didn’t get it) or alternatively a fulltime organiser for the International Socialists.

When did you join the NUJ and why? 1973 (I think). It seemed not only the right thing to do, but also the natural thing to do. It was a post-entry closed shop at IPC magazines where I was working and why would you not join? After all, we were enjoying all the benefits that had been negotiated by our predecessors, so therefore it was quite natural to continue the tradition.

Are many of your friends in the union? Sadly, there are fewer now than before. Television has become a low-wage industry with a few on-screen stars being paid silly money and with management eating up a lion’s share. There’s not much left for the poor infantry.

istockphoto

What’s been your best moment in your career? I would like to say that doing a piece to camera with the sign-off ‘Lawrence McGinty, ITV News, at the North Pole’ takes the prize. But actually I have lots of little proud

moments when I feel that a health story that I’ve done has helped patients who are struggling to come to terms with illness, or help them gain access to treatment.

And the most frustrating...

And in the best moment in the union?

And villain?

Negotiating a pay deal with IPC Magazines that included a pension inflation clause that will help keep me in beer money throughout my retirement.

And the worst ones? Missing out on the job of Sunday Times science correspondent because editor Harry Evans left the paper and the new broom didn’t sweep the job my way.

What is the worst place you’ve ever worked in?

Lack of resources.

Who is your biggest hero? Ryan Giggs.

Rupert Murdoch.

Which six people (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? Sir Alex Ferguson, Michael Foot, Nye Bevan, Sir David Nicholas, Terry Lloyd and Margaret Thatcher.

What was your earliest political thought? That capital punishment is morally indefensible and stupid.

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

Thankfully, I haven’t worked in any terrible places. Most of them thanks to many years of trade union activism have been pretty good employers.

Survival would be good. Expansion would be even better; and it being more critical would be the best.

And the best?

Extinction.

ITN is undoubtedly the best employer I’ve worked for.

What advice would you give someone starting in journalism? Don’t. But if you must, work hard and negotiate hard.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job? Meeting people who have some amazing stories to tell.

And fears? What one thing would you most want to change in the next 12 months? The chances of Manchester United being able to win the premiership.

Who would you most like to see as an NUJ member? Stephen Fry.

How would you like to be remembered? As a decent working hack with a bit of a thirst. theJournalist | 21


Arts with attitude Some of the best things to see and do with a bit of political bite For listings email: journalist@NUJ.org.uk

indepth plays, politics, protest The story of a theatre company that refuses to be silenced

rform’

tre, we will pe ‘We are a thea

22 | theJournalist

World War II on screen, remembering the long-running Wapping dispute, radical films, photojournalism, the return of Rob Newman, a suffragette musical and how to occupy an oil rig… Films The Book Thief 20th Century Fox Released nationally in February 2014 Based on the international bestselling novel by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, an extraordinary and courageous young girl sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. She learns to read with encouragement from her new parents (played by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) and Max, a Jewish refugee whom they are hiding under the stairs. For Liesel and Max, the power of words and imagination becomes the only escape possible from the

It was in 2009 that I first saw the Belarus Free Theatre (BFT). They were performing their powerful play, Being Harold Pinter, in an anonymous room – possibly an old office – in Leeds. The play draws, in particular, on Pinter’s portrayals of the manipulative techniques of those in power, and it was unforgettable. Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus is a new documentary film following BFT, directed and produced by Madeleine Sackler. The film takes us to Belarus capital Minsk, months before the presidential election of 2010. President Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 leading to what has become known as the last dictatorship of Europe, and BFT has established itself as a brave ensemble unafraid to represent subjects considered taboo in a culture of censorship. They must therefore perform their plays, which are very discreetly advertised, in whatever space they can find and for free. It is poignantly clear how much of an appetite there is for their work as audiences happily cram themselves into tiny rooms in flats, despite awareness that they are risking potential arrest for simply bearing witness. The news that Lukashenko will remain president causes thousands to take to the streets in peaceful protest, arguing that voting has been rigged. BFT artistic directors Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, vocal supporters of the democratic opposition party, must flee the country or face immediate arrest. Khalezin has

tumultuous events happening around them. www.fox.co.uk Bristol Radical Film Festival 2014 Various venues in Bristol 3-9 March 2014 Founded in 2011 to showcase contemporary and historical works of overtly political left-wing documentary and fiction filmmaking, the Bristol Radical Film Festival has now become an annual not-for-profit event. The venues for the screenings and discussions in the festival include digital outreach projects, anarchist social centres, political squats, radical bookshops and some trade union centres. This year’s packed programme includes the celebrated freedom-ofspeech documentary McLibel, and a screening of the Soviet Classic, Man with a Movie Camera, entirely pedalpowered by ‘cycletricity’. www.bristolradicalfilmfestival.org.uk

already been silenced as a journalist; the three newspapers he worked for were shut down by the state before he co-founded BFT. The documentary follows the secret departure of BFT to New York and, later, the UK, where they perform Minsk 2011, a show inspired by events following the election. The play gains critical acclaim and praise for its ability to challenge and provoke audiences, but BFT know that their work is far from done – Lukashenko is still in power. The success of this powerful documentary is in the way that it weaves together personal interviews with the eight members of BFT together with footage of their plays and of the violent activity inflicted on civilians in Belarus by the KGB. It is at once intensely harrowing yet hopeful, and a particular scene epitomises this. In New York Kaliada and Khalezin explain to the BFT actors that they must return to Minsk, but that their security is paramount and any threats must be reported immediately. A forlorn silence is broken when one of them retorts: ‘And now we will distribute poison capsules’; they can’t do anything but laugh. This moving documentary screens at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in March, with other important films dealing with human rights abuses, and will screen on HBO later in the year. ff.hrw.org www.dangerousactsfilm.com Amy Powell-Yeates


arts Websites News International Dispute Archive The dispute at Wapping was a milestone in trade union and media history. Following a 25th anniversary exhibition which toured England in 2011-2012, a website has been created with documents, images, film and audio clips – a record of the sacrifice of the 5,500 who lost their jobs. The website was launched at the end of January by News International strikers and trade union supporters and can be found via the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom website. Additional material will be uploaded regularly to build a comprehensive archive for anyone taking an interest in the mid-1980s turning point of the war against trade unions and workingclass organisations. www.cpbf.org.uk Books Journal of the Plague Year Max Stafford-Clark Nick Hern Books, £12.99 One March morning, out of the blue, Max Stafford-Clark learned that the Arts Council had drastically cut its grant to his theatre company, Out of Joint, leaving it in danger of imminent collapse. This is his account of what happened next, as he set out to contest the cut, make the case for public funding of the arts and continue producing the work for which he and his company are renowned. The book aims to offer an exposé of the often Kafkaesque workings of arts subsidy in England in a truthful, personal and insightful exploration of the state of arts funding and carrying on in the face of adversity. www.nickhernbooks.co.uk Through the Lens of a Photojournalist John Jochimsen MX Publishing, £24.99 John Jochimsen – an NUJ member since 1950 – worked as a photojournalist for 50 years, devoting himself to the breaking news stories of the day. This book contains more than 100 of his most fascinating photographs from 1950 to 2000. From a unique photograph of Haile Selassie and Winston Churchill, to rare pictures of Queen Elizabeth II, the book has many examples of predigital photojournalism. Often risking

his life to document many world conflicts, the book aims to capture the social, political and scientific advances that defined the second half of the 20th century. www.mxpublishing.co.uk Daniel Bye shares the art of protest

Comedian and activist Rob Newman returns with a new show about evolutionary theory

Theatre Wrong ’Un National Tour Touring now until July 2014 A new one-woman suffragette musical, created by former Chumbawamba lead guitarist Boff Whalley and Red Ladder Theatre Company. It is February 1918 and after many years of protest, parliament is finally poised to offer women the vote. Annie Wilde is a Lancashire millgirl galvanised by a rousing mixture of injustice and conviction on her journey from schoolroom to prison cell in a musical drama that draws on class, privilege and hope in wartime England. Wrong ’Un is currently on an extensive tour of intimate UK venues. www.redladder.co.uk How to Occupy an Oil Rig National Tour 26 February-29 March 2014 In his playful and provocative show

about protest, Daniel Bye will show you how to blend in on a march, crash a boardroom meeting, avoid becoming romantically attached to an undercover police officer and a bit more. The production received a heap of praise from audiences and critics at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and pitches itself as a show that is for anyone who ever wanted to change anything. According to Bye, that’s everyone. www.danielbye.co.uk Comedy Robert Newman’s New Theory of Evolution Touring now until April 2014 Comedian, journalist, novelist and political activist Rob Newman makes a hotly anticipated return to comedy with his first complete show in seven years. The show is an exploration of the exciting new discoveries over the last decade in the field of evolutionary biology and an attack on the ‘selfish gene’ theory. This is Rob’s first full-length touring show since 2005’s History of Oil, which has been screened in cinemas worldwide. www.robnewman.com

preview The Bard is 450

Pre-digital photojournalism spanning half a century by NUJ member John Jochimsen

The annual Shakespeare parade in StratfordUpon-Avon. 2014’s parade is expected to be the biggest yet

2014 marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, and arts institutions, venues and companies up and down the country are preparing to celebrate in style. Indeed, celebrations have already begun at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London with candlelit plays, operas and concerts at the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. On the date believed to be Shakespeare’s birthday, 23 April, it will premiere a new production of Hamlet as part of a two-year worldwide tour. The Royal Shakespeare Company will open Gregory Doran’s productions of Henry IV Parts I and II, selected because, according to Doran, ‘they have been special occasion plays throughout history’. The plays will open at Stratford before moving to London’s Barbican. The company will also launch Shakespeare Nation, an initiative aimed at young people in Shakespeare starting in summer 2014 and culminating in 2016 (also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death) with a national tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As part of it, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by amateur groups. As if all that weren’t enough, the RSC will hold additional events for the birthday weekend over 26-27 April, alongside other celebrations that weekend in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

theJournalist | 23


inbox

letters...

tim ellis

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

A critical state Tim Lezard’s piece on the plight of newspaper critics (December/January) would have been more shocking had it not reflected a state of affairs that many of us could have foreseen years ago. Everyone’s a critic now – every illiterate blogger, every prolix commentator never good enough to be published in print, every schoolteacher who fancied ‘having a go’ at reviewing (while still teaching), every concertgoer and theatregoer now able to inflict a 2,000-word ‘critique’ on the gullible hordes who can log on. But among them are interesting and intelligent online voices who can now be heard where once they had no outlet. Printed newspapers never offered a plurality of view but a risibly restricted one. The provincial Press particularly was replete with god-awful critics who had no idea of what criticism meant or how to write it. Hundreds must have laughed at them before deciding to stop reading the paper. We journalists are quick to lampoon but are profoundly deaf to those who make fun of us. The real issue for professional journalists is that others who know more than they and are better writers are willing to contribute online for nothing. Why wouldn’t they be? Who wouldn’t want a million instantaneous readers worldwide? Nigel Jarrett, Music Critic, South Wales Argus

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Barry Fitzpatrick taught me the value of solidarity I was surprised and sorry to read in the latest edition of The Journalist that Barry Fitzpatrick has stepped down from the role of deputy general secretary of the NUJ. Over the past 15 years myself and colleagues have been very grateful for Barry’s unwavering support, negotiating skills, patience and tenacity in defence of journalists and quality journalism. In Enfield, nearly three years ago, Barry played a major role in supporting one of the first strikes in this country specifically over the deteriorating quality of the local press and ultimately helped secure major concessions from our employer. He was tireless in defending individuals in my old chapel, including myself in a disciplinary case that should never have seen the light of day. I will 24 | theJournalist

never forget the look on the head of personnel’s face as Barry slammed the table in righteous indignation and exclaimed: “I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life!” Barry taught me the value of solidarity and the fact the union will always be there for its members. He will be missed. Jonathan Lovett, Former FoC, Enfield

NUJ was lucky to have Barry, one of the finest Salutations to Barry Fitzpatrick whose help for anyone in the print media deserves a trade union gold medal. He was the best print union official ever go work for and knew how to reach out to the different style of journalist union activists. His sense of what could be achieved in a dispute and what was just puff and wind was amazing and the NUJ was

lucky to secure the services of one of the finest trade union officers in recent decades. Denis Macshane, NUJ president 1979

Enormously grateful to a top class team Having been a member of the NUJ for the past 18 years, I have always appreciated the information updates and training courses, as well as the security of knowing that I could call on expert support should that day ever arrive. That day did arrive late last year, when I encountered a work difficulty and threat to my livelihood. I am pleased to report that I was superbly supported and represented by national officer Fiona Swarbrick. Her expert attention and advice really made an enormous difference and helped me secure a positive outcome

to my employment issue. At all times I felt supported and confident that I really could trust her to steer my case safely. She is a top-class negotiator and I am enormously grateful to her. The excellent service continued with follow-on legal advice and management from Roy Mincoff, who was very careful to ensure I resolved the matter well. I think it says something very good about the NUJ that it employs and retains such high calibre staff. I will have no hesitation in continuing to recommend that other journalists join the NUJ. Name and address withheld

We resisted outsourcing but there was no victory Re ‘Resist the Scourge of Outsourcing’ in the December/January 2014 issue. While our chapel “resisted moves by management to shift the work of five sub-editors to a company in Northern Ireland”, three sub editors were made redundant. I am indebted to the NUJ and in particular Nicola Coleman. However, as one of those redundant subs, I’m not convinced this outcome is a victory for our industry. Lorraine Battersby, South West branch member, Ireland

Good luck to the fighting Newsquest journalists Best of luck and good wishes to all the Newsquest strikers fighting to preserve jobs and the quality of your newspaper titles. Local newspapers remain the lifeblood of communities. All of us working for weekly and daily papers know how hard it is now to find enough reporters to cover council meetings and how desperate it is to put stories straight online without an experienced sub-editor to first run their eyes over the copy. So many mistakes are made when locations, street names and vital local knowledge is lost. And with the inevitable fast turnover in stressed-out, underpaid young


* @

reporters who, except sub-editors, will remember the history of particular events in our towns and cities? Even precious photographs of the heritage of our towns, cities and villages are being discarded, forgotten, or shamefully lost. Websites may be starting to make money but only if those contributing to them: reporters and sub-editors, stay close to the communities they serve. Barbara Goulden, Former Coventry MoC and exMidlands NEC member

Please don’t shoot the messenger Mr Jones Roy Jones is, of course, right; I did make a cheap jibe at Barry Seddon’s expense. But then, considering the nature of Mr Seddon’s original ‘complaint’ – Michelle Stanistreet’s perfectly understandable usage of ‘monstered’ in one of her columns – I didn’t think it worth wasting an expensive one. All the same, Mr Jones does appear to be attempting to shoot the messenger, rather than recognise the message: that there are far more

steve bell

important dangers to the journalistic profession than the evolution of language! Paul F Cockburn, Edinburgh

And finally, Beijing, Mumbai and St Petersburg If anything did more to add weight to any jibe against older age, it was Chris Proctor’s And Finally, Dec/Jan. Peking suddenly becomes Beijing, he moans. Bombay decides to become Mumbai? And don’t start him on St Petersburg. How the devil do even young journalists keep pace with all these sudden changes? Thank goodness I retired 17 years ago as I would never have been able to stand the pace. Keith Turner, Norwich

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Please keep letters to 200 words maximum

Looking back to the heyday of photography Philip Wolmuth writes in ‘Photography’s Perfect Storm’ in December/January’s The Journalist that staff photographers have almost disappeared from the nationals. I stumbled across this picture of the Daily Express photographers lined up for the camera in 1960 in the www. dailydrone.co.uk, the brilliant Fleet Street memory fest site edited by Alistair McIntyre, a couple of years ago. Apparently Beaverbrook was somewhat taken aback by the shot and the thought of all those 64 in-house snappers on his payroll. I’m tempted to use the discredited term ‘Golden Age’. Jeff Wright, Life Member

Email your letters to: journalist@nuj.org.uk Post them to: The Editor, The Journalist 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP

Letters, emails, tweets According to our last readers’ survey the magazine’s letters pages are one of the popular features. However, that popularity does not mean many people are necessarily driven to send letters. Perhaps it’s no real surprise when comment is increasingly instantaneous through Twitter and Facebook. We want to keep the letters pages and hopefully boost and enliven them. So we plan to reshape them to take in shorter comments and the best of the tweets we see. Letters running to 200 words are great and very welcome but please feel free to send short comments and tweets. You can tweet me directly or forward tweets already sent. Here’s hoping to hear from more of you! Christine Buckley, Editor @mschrisbuckley

the owners

theJournalist | 25


and finally

Doing what it says on the tin Chris Proctor extols the NUJ’s name but says it’s hard to define journalism

t. We’re just as us have never seen our name in prin ng company. lishi -pub non a for likely to work online , bloggers, website We’re photographers, broadcasters we’re involved in managers and content providers; advertising. This video, books, public relations and more tolerant h muc latter group is why I’m now g. At least, I think, agin pack on about the guff and puff a few bob. NUJ Press Card. a journalist is making still get a kick out of showing my the rate for the job when got or auth I hope the admiringly OK, part of the pleasure is glancing in my new notebook. Someone to of the fresh- they penned the lines at the somewhat out-of-date pho ds for the inside front cover. s very much had demanded 300 wor faced dark-haired chappie who look ‘the ultimate Hence, I was about to experience also because as I imagine myself today. But it’s ned’ book with ope ly ‘easi an in writing experience’ st. ing sheets I’m rather proud of being a journali writ m miu ‘pre its in ry’ a ‘feel of luxu to retain our That’s why I’m glad we’ve managed ‘ suitable for use and soft touch paper’. The pages, y union names, e me ‘a identity as a craft union. Unlike man ante with most pen types’ would guar do. A declining . ‘the NUJ’ tells you what its members nce’ erie exp pleasurable note-making ts, firefighters, hundred number of people, like bakers, pilo This is copy par excellence. Three a in ted esen repr t most coun musicians and train drivers, are still the ’s That k! boo note words about a of them. one be to sed plea I’m n: unio the le is It sing journalists have to cover a civil war. history you get I like the sense of continuity and many in s’ new s rsea ‘ove to ted allot e ’ spac s their members from unions whose name proclaim newspapers. still that ies pan Com ry Live City e craft. It’s like thos Sometimes you can see ke unli se, Of cour reflect their medieval mysteries. copywriters dragging it . Confidentially, us, they are largely ceremonial now out, like the label I saw for lightermen, there’s been a decline in demand on plum and port chutney lers. s and shipwrights, pattenmakers and gird saying the product contained plum a belonging to r the I can’t imagine the same pride in afte risk aste an port. Or the bottle with GMB’. I’d find it anic’. -org union called ‘Unite’, ‘Unison’ or ‘the ‘non was it that lain word ‘water’ to exp ’t care for the don ’, nect ‘Con with ect conn to difficult there’s nothing I felt this was padding. But then, gine a sense of ima t can’ and t’ spec ‘Pro of pect pros wrong with padding packaging. sure they all work to match community in ‘Community’. I’m We need to expand our horizons s right that a ons. icati well for their members, but it seem mun com the endless expansion of is words should be ld shou union whose members’ currency e driv ent uitm Our next union recr journalists. onto ds wor well defined. The NUJ represents puts or s text who ne focus on anyo l dua Except... what’s a journalist? the have ld wou This . page k a mile off. If the a Faceboo stay can In days of yore you could spot one we so advantage of harvesting income, coat speaking ing train man in a trilby hat and grubby rain NUJ ing a unique union; and expand n’t a fence or a furtively to an old lag in a bar was to a clearly to open up concepts like spelling up her Furt rter. seek Facebook nark, he was unquestionably a repo n ofte e quit I ion. deprived populat ndents who espo corr ial spec were n chai e the target the food postings that only vaguely resembl ed gin and tonic in ng sported off-white linen suits, sipp hiding somethi from penned lines about language. Are they members’ clubs and occasionally I becoming a me? Is this the intention? Or am Etonians were the jolly good show their fellow old pattenmaker’s girdler? featuring a green I began putting up in the Tropics. Anyone I don’t want to sound paranoid, but d goo a and e voic nalist. jour eyeshade, a red complexion, a loud a be to was I d prou how on was an editor. this saying nati erso imp ken chic less t one head wha in w line kno Seven hundred words on, I don’t print publications. the in s pect They were all male and wrote for pros is. Hopefully it’s someone with Not any more. community. t. Many of Paper journalism is a minority spor

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mark thomas

26 | theJournalist


First, do no harm: 2nd international conference on health journalism

May 14-16 Coventry University • Massive cuts and health service change • Growing need for journalist training in health Speakers include: • Shaun Lintern – the reporter who broke the Mid Staffs story. • Alastair McLellan – editor, Health Service Journal. • Dr John Lister – veteran campaigner, London Health Emergency, and authority on health policy. • Sir Iain Chalmers – testingtreatments.org • Roy Lilley – leading health blogger. • Top international health reporters and educators: USA, Canada, South Africa, Italy, Netherlands.

Information/Book at:21/1/14 www.europeanhealthjournalism.com 12:59 Page 1

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We’re here when bad news hits... As an NUJ member you are entitled to FREE personal injury advice and representation provided by Thompsons Solicitors. You can claim for any accident – at work, on the road, or on holiday. Government changes mean that the high street law firms and claims companies you see advertised on TV can now take up to 25% of any compensation from injured people. Using your NUJ Legal Service provided by Thompsons Solicitors means you will get advice from experts and keep 100% of your compensation. Make the most of your membership. Contact the NUJ Legal Service today on 0800 587 7528 www.thompsons.law.co.uk

Standing up for you


Help to shape the future of journalism If you work in the publishing sector, including journalism, books and journals, magazines and business media, this is your chance to make a difference. We are looking for employers and professionals to take part in short online surveys, on matters ranging from skills gaps and training to the future needs of the industry. Your opinions will directly support our future strategy. Employers: register at www.creativeskillset.org/employerpanel Professionals: register at www.creativeskillset.org/workforcepanel Tweet us @SkillsetSSC #industrypanels Registration takes minutes.

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