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www.nuj.org.uk | december/january 2015
thefirstcasualty War reporting as propaganda
Contents Main feature
14 Remember how it wasn’t
Reporting the First World War
always enjoy writing these few words introducing the magazine. But this time I’m especially pleased to write them as it means I’m still in my job! Since the last edition of The Journalist came out, the election for the editor’s role closed after a lengthy campaign. I’m very pleased that I was re-elected with a convincing majority of the vote. Commiserations to the only other contender Tim Dawson, the NUJ’s vice president and a committed activist for the union. I’m sure he will continue to serve the NUJ well. I try to use the modest resources we have to make The Journalist as professional and outward looking publication as possible so that it can be a good shopfront for the union and a magazine that a journalists’ union can be proud of. There is always more that we can do and a new election is a good time to refresh the magazine. For the next issue I plan one or two changes including introducing a page for new starters in journalism – students or young workers early in their career. I’m always open to suggestions so please let me know your ideas – email@example.com Happy Christmas and a very good 2015
Christine Buckley Editor @mschrisbuckley
Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Design Surgerycreations.com email@example.com Advertising Melanie Richards Tel: 01795 542417 firstname.lastname@example.org Print Warners www.warners.co.uk Distribution Packpost www.packpostsolutions.com
NUJ 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP email@example.com www.nuj.org.uk Tel: 020 7843 3700
Manchester office firstname.lastname@example.org Glasgow office email@example.com Dublin office firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover picture Jess Hurd
03 Legal action over surveillance Union backs six journalists
04 Working together on mental health Important guidelines in Scotland
05 Fresh closures and cuts
Local newspapers hit again
06 The battle against police snooping Reports on conference highlights
08 Landmark ruling on holiday pay Millions could get more money
13 Journalist, MP, prisoner...
The changing life of Denis MacShane
18 Let’s go to Nottingham
A visit to a famous sporting city
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
Legal action launched to stamp out surveillance
he NUJ has launched a key challenge to the police’s actions against journalists with legal action on behalf of six journalists who have been subjected to surveillance by the Metropolitan Police. Last month The Times reported that the Met Police, which serves London, has 2,000 records on its National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, which relate to journalists and photographers. The union is demanding that the police stop gathering information about journalists and wants all information on file to be destroyed. The six are: Jules Mattsson (The Times), Mark Thomas (the comedian and journalist) and four photographers: Jason Parkinson, Jess Hurd, David Hoffman and Adrian Arbib. They accessed their files via the Data Protection Act. Ms Mattsson said: “In the disclosed information from my file, there isn’t even a hint that I’m suspected of any offence, nor do I have a criminal record. Instead the entries held about me contain such obvious statements as the fact I am ‘always looking for a story’ and ‘has previously recorded police officers.’” Mark Thomas said: “The fact that none of the journalists are suspected of criminality
but all of them cover stories of police and corporate wrong doing hints at something more sinister, that the police seem to be spying on those who seek to hold them to account.” Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “There is no justification for treating journalists as criminals or enemies of the state, and it raises serious questions for our democracy when the NUJ is forced to launch a legal challenge to compel the police to reveal secret evidence collected about media workers.” The NUJ is to mount a campaign to stamp out surveillance. Surveillance conference and reports, pages 6, 7; Michelle Stanistreet, page 9; Raymond Snoddy, page 17
Journalist editor is re-elected
UJ members have re-elected Christine Buckley editor of The Journalist in a ballot that closed last month. Christine won 3003 votes (64 per cent of the vote) and the only other candidate Tim Dawson won 1712 (36 per cent). The turnout was 19.5 per cent. Christine said: “I’m very proud that NUJ members have re-elected me as editor of The Journalist. The magazine is very important
There is no justification for treating journalists as criminals or enemies of the state
for keeping busy working journalists in touch with their union. I have tried to make it a professional, outward looking publication to engage as many people as possible. I look forward to continuing that.” The NUJ is the only trade union that elects the editor of its magazine. The editor is elected to ensure editorial independence from the union’s leadership and to allow members to choose their editor.
Telegraph mounts big digital push
he Telegraph has overhauled its operations to put a far greater emphasis on digital content. Jason Seiken, Telegraph Media Group editor-in-chief, said that a new ethos for the group will focus on: one integrated print/digital newsroom;
two shifts per day with one from 6am and one ending at midnight; three workpace speeds from fast for breaking
news to slower for a feature; and four key skills for journalists: social, video, analytics and search engine optimisation. There is also a drive for journalists to use more interactive elements with news stories.
Henry edits the today programme Lenny Henry, the comedian and actor, is one of the guest editors of the Today programme during the Christmas period. Henry has criticised broadcasters for not including enough people from ethnic minorities. Other guest editors include former Bank of England governor Mervyn King and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. No more facts to face in BBC cuts The award-winning BBC Radio 4 consumer investigations series Face the Facts is to end as the Corporation cuts costs. Presented by John Waite, cousin of Terry Waite, Face the Facts’ investigations have often made news themselves since the programme began in the mid-1980s. clodagh Hartley cleared in court Clodagh Hartley, The Sun’s Whitehall editor, was cleared of arranging unlawful payments of £18,000 for stories, including information on the 2010 budget. She is the first reporter from the paper to be acquitted in relation to Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden investigation into alleged payments by newspapers to public officials. coulson goes free after five months Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications boss, was released from prison after serving less than five months of an 18-month term imposed in July after he was convicted of conspiring to intercept voicemails. Herald’s first new format since 1888 The Catholic Herald has switched from a newspaper to a magazine format. It is the weekly publication’s first transformation since 1888. The change was agreed at the company’s AGM this year. The Herald plans to double its print run, and it will also increase its cover price from £1.50 to £2 from March next year. theJournalist | 3
Working together on mental health issues
reaching out to young journalists Journalists aged under 30 were offered a 25 per cent discount on NUJ subscriptions for three months if they joined the union last month. The deal was part of an initiative to encourage younger members to play a part in the NUJ. A networking group for younger members is also being set up. Information is available from email@example.com Union presses Time Inc over rights The NUJ is seeking a meeting with Time Inc, who bought IPC earlier this year, in an effort to protect freelance rights. The company has begun issuing contracts requiring freelances to assign their copy and other rights. brighton argus editor quits for PR The editor of the Argus in Brighton has resigned after nine years in the job for a PR role. Michael Beard told readers in an article that he was “ready for a new challenge” as his plans to work in a communications role for Public Health England were announced. Paxman enjoys lunch at the FT Now that he’s left Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman has joined the FT as a contributing editor. And he brings a most essential quality of old-style journalism... FT editor Lionel Barber said: “I am delighted to welcome Jeremy... He is a wonderful writer, an acerbic interviewer, and a charming luncheon companion.” 4 | theJournalist
The media have an enormous duty to deal with certain issues in a sensitive and thoughtful way
pdated guides for journalists reporting mental health and suicide have been published by the NUJ in Scotland with support from the Scottish government. The guidelines were launched with a special symposium on the issue last month at the University of Strathclyde— The Importance of Working Together — attended by academics and journalists as well as people with personal experiences to relate. The NUJ guidelines were prepared with significant input from Dr Sallyanne Duncan, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Strathclyde, whose research interests include media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide. The Scottish government also supported the guidelines with funding
Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
Success for members at PA Two NUJ members at the Press Association whose jobs went after PA lost a contract have settled claims. Clare Hoppett, a deputy team leader at PA’s Howden centre in East Yorkshire, and Kath Haigh, a listings producer, concluded their cases shortly before an employment tribunal hearing. The agreement was with PM81, the company that took the contract for Mirror Group Newspaper TV listings from PA.
and with input from a range of organisations which included Choose Life, See Me and the Samaritans. NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran, said: “The media have an enormous duty to deal with certain issues in a sensitive and thoughtful way. Since the NUJ’s first guide was produced, there has been a vast improvement in how journalists report mental health and deaths by suicide. However there are still lessons to be learned as certain
recent events have shown. Public attitudes to mental illness have also improved vastly and nowadays the public are not slow to protest when mental health issues are presented inappropriately in the media or elsewhere.” Scotland’s public health minister Michael Matheson welcomed the guidelines. He said: “Media reporting of issues around mental health, mental illness and the very sensitive topic of death by suicide has improved considerably over the last few years, and I am confident that the revised guidelines will help continue this trend.” Dr Sallyanne Duncan said the Leveson inquiry, the reporting of the suicide of actor Robin Williams and the Scottish government’s new strategy for the prevention of suicide and self-harm all meant the NUJ publication was particularly topical.
Square up to bullies at work
he Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU), of which the NUJ is a member, has produced a code of conduct on bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace guidelines for staff and freelances. The guidelines explain the difference between bullying, harassment and discrimination. The code is part of the Creating with Conflict campaign, which published a survey early this year showing that creative industries are a hotspot for bullying. The results showed shocking levels of ill-treatment, inappropriate behaviour and a
culture of silence, with only one-third of those suffering bullying and harassment reporting the incidents. The survey found that eight in 10 women who reported bullying, harassment and discrimination said gender was a factor. Age was also significant, with those in the youngest and oldest age groups most affected; just over half (51 per cent) of those aged 51- 60 and 16-30. Stop Bullying – NUJ handbook is available on the union’s website – www.nuj.org.uk
Union mounts a recruitment drive
fficers and activists at the NUJ are redoubling efforts to recruit and retain members of the union. In common with many unions the NUJ’s
membership is being hit by job losses and by people switching careers. At the same time though journalists are in greater need of union protection
as their jobs change and demands increase. The union is looking to train more lay reps to represent union members with personal grievances,
thereby freeing up officers to spend more time on recruitment work. For more information on joining the NUJ please go to www.nuj.org.uk.
Fresh closures and cuts hit the regional press
ocal newspapers have been hit by fresh rounds of cuts triggering the closure of titles, many job losses and the further casualisation of photography. Seven Trinity Mirror newspapers in the south, including the Harrow Observer, Reading Post and Surrey Herald are closing this month. Approximately 50 editorial and noneditorial jobs will go as the company moves from print to new digital operations. The company said it would focus on driving more traffic to its news websites. Also to close are the Surrey Herald, Surrey Times and Woking Informer. At the same time Johnston Press has announced up to 19 job cuts at Yorkshire titles. Staff at the Yorkshire Publishing Unit, which has 19 titles including the Yorkshire Post and
Yorkshire Evening Post, Scarborough News, Halifax Courier series and Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group, were told the budget would be reduced by eight per cent. The company said the cuts are on top of the seven photographers who are at risk of compulsory redundancy in Yorkshire. This follows similar moves in the south. North western photography will be mostly freelance with only three photographers covering Wigan, Preston and Blackpool. The Scottish borders chapel face four photographer redundancies as the Scotsman titles are being merged with the potential loss of 45 jobs. The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News are affected. Meanwhile, an NUJ health and safety survey across Johnston Press found journalists suffering high levels of stress as they work long hours, are subject to unrealistic time pressures and not properly consulted about changes. Some 82 per cent said they were subject to unrealistic time pressure – with 44 per cent saying this was often or always; 80 per cent said they were pressured into working long hours.
in brief... Yorkshire post pay offer is accepted Journalists at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post have ‘reluctantly’ accepted a pay offer of £591 a year across the board. The deal takes effect from last July. The joint chapel said that salaries have fallen by 15 per cent in real terms over the past six years.
Some 82 per cent said they were subject to unrealistic time pressure
Chiefs at Trinity mirror leave Trinity Mirror’s Newcastle Journal editor has left the company along with its group managing editor and group legal director. The moves come as part of a ‘streamlining’ exercise that will see Mirror nationals editor Lloyd Embley become group editor-in-chief and take on editorial responsibility across all titles outside of Scotland.
inquiry urged to protect local coverage
he union has called on culture secretary Ed Vaizey to institute a ‘short, sharp inquiry’ into the future of local newspapers, following a meeting at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) last month. The meeting heard from newspaper groups, industry experts and the NUJ. In a letter to the culture secretary
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “With the general election looming, there is genuine concern that many newspapers no longer have the capacity to provide the coverage necessary in order to inform and enthuse communities about local and national politics and issues of importance in their areas.”
Michelle told the meeting at the DCMS: “We need newspapers to ensure democratic scrutiny, accountability and to encourage informed and active citizenship. My concern is that we are in danger of reaching a tipping point where l ocal journalism will not be able to fulfil this role.”
ames Harding, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, is offering regional newspaper editors free BBC content and has said that the corporation could fund some of the bill for local court reporting. He made the offer in a speech at the Society of Editors conference and his comments follow the home secretary Theresa May’s accusation that the BBC was ‘destroying’ local newspapers because of its large online news presence. Mr Harding said that such criticism was ‘wrongheaded’ but he conceded that the BBC’s move to share news might seem like the corporation was trying to mend relations with regional newspapers ahead of the renewal of its royal charter and licence fee.
BBC offers to share content
big issue loses out to new free titles The newly relaunched Big Issue has suffered a circulation drop to 82,329 last year as vendors compete with an increasing number of free newspaper and magazines. It launched in 1991 and in 2000, before the rise of the free titles, it was selling up to 250,000 copies a week. entries grow for UK blog awards The National UK Blog Awards received a record number of entries for next year’s award ceremony. More than 2,000 bloggers entered compared with 900 for this year. The UK Blog Awards – taking place in April – cover 12 industry categories including health, travel and automotive and two subcategories for young and innovative bloggers. free online data journalism course There are only days left for a free online training course in data journalism. Available until the end of December, from the European Journalism Centre it features experts including Birmingham City University’s Paul Bradshaw and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Steve Doig. http://datajournalismcourse.net/ theJournalist | 5
Battle against police snooping
rotecting your source, as every journalist knows, is sacrosanct. Journalists live and die by their sources and it is their duty, under the NUJ code of conduct, to protect them. But, as a conference on surveillance, organised by the NUJ, was told, all it needs is the signature of a police superintendent for the authorities to get hold of a journalist’s telephone records, without their knowledge. Journalists are coming under direct threat from the police. A Freedom of Information request revealed the Metropolitan Police holds more than 2,000 records relating to journalists and photographers on database held by its National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit. That is why the NUJ has taken up the cases of six members who have had their lawful journalistic and union
activities monitored and recorded by the Metropolitan Police. Times journalist Jules Mattsson, comedian Mark Thomas (pictured) and photographers Jason Parkinson, Jess Hurd, David Hoffman and Adrian Arbib are being supported in their legal case. Jason Parkinson’s file revealed the police were monitoring his movements and his social media activities. The colour of his
boots and even a visit to the supermarket were put on the file. They held information on his address, former address and the name of his ex-partner. He said: “The Met Police have behaved like the Stasi. My detailed files read like I am some kind of public enemy, simply for doing my job as a journalist.” The authorities used antiterrorism legislation to detain the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Grenwald,
who was working on the Edward Snowden leaks, and confiscated his laptop and other electronic material. Derby council used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) so they could follow the local paper’s local government correspondent into a Starbucks where she was meeting council employees. These are reasons why the NUJ is launching a campaign to fight for journalists’ rights and protect them from surveillance. It will prepare and promote resources for journalists; support the Press Gazette’s Save Our Sources campaign; work with the NUJ’s parliamentary group to lobby against legislation attacking journalist and civil freedoms, form an alliance with civil rights groups and work with the International Federation of Journalists on a global campaign.
The Met Police have behaved like the Stasi. My detailed files read like I am some kind of public enemy, simply for doing my job as a journalist
Reporters need legal protection
all Photos by Luca Neve, www.lucaneve.com
he use of the RIPA to snoop on journalists has become systemic, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, told the home affairs select committee. She said that police were using the act to routinely bypass the need for judicial scrutiny to discover journalistic sources by using RIPA to go through phone records and other data. All it requires is the approval of a superintendent, she said. The practice came to light when Sun political editor
6 | theJournalist
Tom Newton Dunn discovered the police had obtained his phone records from Vodafone, when they were trying to discover his source of the Plebgate story. Journalists at the Mail on Sunday writing about the former MP Chris Huhne’s speeding fraud were also targeted. Michelle told the committee that journalists must have protection similar to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act that requires judicial oversight of applications to seize journalists’ data.
Dealing with Old spooks and new
uke Harding, the Guardian’s former correspondent in Moscow has experience of old and new school surveillance. In Moscow he was followed by men in black
leather jackets. His home, where he lived with his young family, was broken into by secret police who bugged the rooms and on one occasion left a sex manual by his bed. In 2011, he was arrested and
deported by the Russian authorities. When he was working on stories provided by Edward Snowden’s leaks, he was followed by CIA operatives in crew cuts who had smarter ways to spy on
him, together with people at GCHQ. His computer was accessed remotely and minutes after a meeting in Rio de Janeiro with fellow journalist, Glen Greenwald, he was followed.
This is real, not science fiction
t is not science fiction,” said Edward Snowden, speaking to a meeting of journalists, trade unionists and civil rights activists in London via a videolink from Moscow, where he remains in exile for revealing one of the most shocking stories of our time. The security services are using latest technology to watch everyone, all of the time, everywhere. “It is happening every day and its scope is increasing,” he said. It has become routine in so-called liberal democracies across the globe, not just the dictatorships or usual suspects of human rights violations. It was fitting that the conference was hosted by the Guardian, which published Snowden’s leaks, and as a result had a visit from engineers with hammers
from GCHQ. The newspaper’s staff had to watch while computers and hard discs where destroyed in the building’s basement. Holding up his mobile phone, Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, said, “This is a tracking device; it would be simply irresponsible if you carry an iPhone to a meeting with a source.
“If you speak to the spooks, the content of your conversation is almost the last thing they want. Metadata, contained in the phone and computer, tells them where you are, when you are speaking, how long you are speaking and they will be able to find out who else is there. They are not using warrants to get this information. It has never been simpler for them
to identify your source; it’s on a plate.” He said it was vital that whistleblowers, who come to newspapers, know they will be safe. “If the authorities are able to get at the identities of these people, our jobs as journalists are over,” he said. Surveillance and intimidation of journalists is not new. Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists, said for the past 20 years his organisation has been battling against regimes which put pressure on journalists to reveal their sources. He said: “In the past few years there has been a new dimension since 9/11; new laws in the so-called war on terror have provided the basis of an assault on civil liberties and a clamp down on freedom of speech for journalists.”
If the authorities are able to get at the identities of these people, our jobs as journalists are over
What can journalists do?
ournalists need to understand technology so they can do a better job of protecting their sources, said David Boxall (pictured), the Guardian’s head of information and security and one of the leading experts on safeguarding journalists and their sources. He said: “Your phone is not your friend and emails are not safe.” Journalists, he said, must start using technology, such
as Tor https://www.torproject. org/ which is designed to allow users to users to surf the internet anonymously, so their activities and location cannot be discovered and PGP http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy so they can send messages confidentially. There is also Tails https://tails.boum.org/, another tool to help you use the internet anonymously and WhisperKey https://
www.whisperkey.io/, which allows users to send secure messages. One tip mentioned was putting your phone in a cocktail shaker to make it harder to track (making sure you drink the Martini first) or using a manual typewriter. However, a sophisticated audio bug would enable decoding of text from the minutely different sound of each keystroke.
time to Climb aboard the Onion Router
or, The Onion Router, is a version of the Firefox browser with extra security steps built in. It breaks up the data you send to the internet into chunks, encrypts those chunks and passes them randomly via relay points on to their final destination, the website you want to browse securely.
It’s at the final hop – the exit node – that your data is put back together. In theory, the way data are broken up and bounced on to the website makes your web traffic very secure. But, because Tor is open-source and maintained by volunteers, you are relying
on the goodwill of the strangers providing the relays and the exit node. Tor is a good start, but anyone seriously concerned about anonymity will take other precautions, such as running Tor in a virtual machine and operating from behind a proxy server, which disguises your IP address.
theJournalist | 7
Landmark ruling gives a boost to holiday pay
in brief... guardian wins amnesty awards The Guardian won two Amnesty International Media Awards for exposing the exploitation of workers in Qatar’s World Cup preparations and for digital innovation. The digital innovation award went to The Shirt on Your Back, an interactive depicting the Bangladeshi garment industry in video, words and pictures. orwell prize 2015 opens for entries The Orwell Prize 2015 is currently accepting entries to the prize for Books, the prize for Journalism, and the new social policy reporting prize, The Orwell Prize for ‘exposing Britain’s Social Evils’. Entries close on 15 January 2015. To enter go to www.theorwellprize.co.uk Ofcom reprimand for russia today Russia Today has been threatened with statutory sanctions by media regulator Ofcom after it breached broadcasting regulations on impartiality with its coverage of the Ukraine crisis. The regulator flagged up four reports broadcast in March covering with the situation in Ukraine. twitter news chief goes after a year Vivian Schiller, who was appointed to run Twitter’s news unit, has left the company less than a year into the role. Schiller, a former NBC and NPR executive, was given the new position of head of news and journalism partnerships at the end of October 2013. The move comes amid a consolidation across the media division led by new head, Katie Jacobs Stanton. reporter’s killers are executed Two men convicted of killing a journalist from UK-based Universal TV were executed by firing squad in Somalia. Ali Bashir Osman and Abdullahi Shariff were convicted of the killing of Mohammed Mohamud Tima Adde, a reporter who was shot in his car a year ago. Somalia is recognised as one of the most dangerous places for journalists. 8 | theJournalist
Failing to count overtime when calculating holiday pay is quite simply wrong
illions of workers could now receive more holiday pay after a landmark tribunal ruling said that regular overtime and commission payments should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay rather than just basic pay. The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled after a case brought by Unite, Britain’s largest union involving employees from Hertel, the industrial services company; Amec, the engineering business; and the roads maintenance company Bear Scotland. The 16 Unite members, who were electricians, scaffolders and semiskilled operatives, worked on a project at the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire until it came to an end in 2012. During that time they were consistently required to work overtime and received payments for travel time. But payments for that work were not included in holiday pay, meaning that the workers received considerably less pay when they were on holiday,
compared to when they were working. The appeal tribunal ruling follows an appeal by Amec and Hertel over an earlier Employment Tribunal decision in February which found in favour of the workers and recent decisions by the European Court that workers should receive normal pay when on holiday. Howard Beckett, Unite executive director for legal, membership and affiliated services, said: “Up until now some workers who are required to do overtime have been penalised for taking the time off they are entitled to. This ruling not only secures justice for our members who were short changed, but it means that employers have got to get their house in order.” Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Failing to count overtime when calculating holiday pay is quite simply wrong. This ruling is a victory for people who work long and hard, and who deserve to be properly paid when they take well-earned leave.”
Union praises Brian Farrell
he NUJ paid tribute to the ‘quintessential public service broadcaster’ Brian Farrell, who has died aged 85. Brian presented some of the leading current affairs programmes on Ireland’s RTÉ for more than 40 years and was a life member of the union. Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, said: “Brian was the quintessential public service broadcaster. He was one of the finest interviewers of his generation, asking questions the viewer wanted asked
– always dogged, always determined but always courteous. Colleagues remember his generosity of spirit, a willingness to share information, ideas and wisdom and a sparkling sense of humour. He believed in public service and brought to several posts, including the Commission on the Newspaper Industry, the Arts Council and the National Archives Advisory Council, common sense, academic rigour and an understanding of Irish society.”
Nottingham trio win life memberships
ife memberships were presented to three NUJ stalwarts of the Nottingham branch. The award is given to those journalists who have been members of the union for 40 years and it is unusual to have three life
memberships presented at the same time. John Hess, the BBC’s political correspondent in the East Midlands, started work with the Coventry Telegraph in 1974, then moved to the Birmingham Mail before joining the BBC.
Allister Craddock began his career in London in 1969 before joining the BBC in Nottingham. He moved to Central Television before joining an independent television production company. Rod Malcolm began as
a freelance in Ilkeston in 1969 before moving to the Nottingham Post. He was one of the 28 journalists sacked by the Post following 1978’s strike over pay in provincial newspapers. He has been a freelance journalist ever since.
Michelle Stanistreet on how the NUJ is fighting the police’s ability to snoop on journalists
A vital need to protect sources
ike many good stories, this one came to light through some sharp-eyed journalism spotting a giveaway line in a heavily-covered report. The document in question was the Metropolitan Police’s report into the handling of the Plebgate affair, and a note of how they accessed the phone records of the Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), it turns out that rather than go to all that bother of serving production orders and arguing their case before a judge, a signature from a police superintendent gave his colleagues carte blanche to rifle through journalistic material. What’s more – as became clear as Press Gazette ran with this story, digging up new information on a daily basis – the Plebgate-motivated snooping was no one-off, and nor was this practice restricted to the Met, but rather just one of many cases in the last 14 years where police authorities shown complete contempt for journalists and their sources. What is truly shocking is that the desire, in this instance and many others, to pursue witch-hunts of their own staff completely outstripped any consideration of the damage this would do to public trust in journalism. Identifying the source of leaks and disciplining them was the primary motivation – and in the process scant public resources were deployed to do so. The irony in the Newton Dunn case is that the Crown Prosecution Service refused to charge the officers implicated
The NUJ believes these cases to be just the tip of the iceberg
because it believed that a jury would judge that it was in the public interest for details of the Plebgate incident to be leaked. After all, one institution’s ‘traitor’ or ‘leaker’ is another man’s whistleblower, bravely ensuring that information they believe should be in the public domain actually sees the light of day. The NUJ believes these cases to be just the tip of the iceberg. How is a potential whistleblower supposed to have trust in a journalist to keep their identity confidential, when all normal protections of journalistic material have been bypassed by the police? Virtually every serious investigation is launched on the back of whistleblower who needs to remain anonymous for their protection. Without them we would not know about the child abuse in Rotherham, MPs’ expenses, the abuse of disabled people in care homes, the situation at the Mid-Staffs hospital and many other stories vital to the public interest. We can’t have a situation where journalists are seen as instruments of the state, used by police as a short cut in their investigations. That’s why the NUJ has battled successive cases where members have been subjected to production orders. It’s why we’ve taken our stance on protecting sources all the way to Europe in the Bill Goodwin case – and it’s why we’re supporting the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s attempt to take its case to the European Court of Human Rights to get a ruling on the Act’s incompatibility with the convention. Technology has moved a long way from when RIPA was first passed. Journalists work in a digital world. Seizing records reveals a vast amount of information through the metadata held by their phones and computers. Following our recent conference on the surveillance of journalists, held at The Guardian in conjunction with the IFJ, we will be rolling out a major campaign to ensure that NUJ members can continue to do their utmost to protect their sources, and carry out their work properly and safely.
For all the latest news from the NUJ go to www.nuj.org.uk theJournalist | 9
Linda Harrison travels to a city with a no-nonsense approach and a love of sport
ottingham is a city that’s famous for its sport – and proud of it. “It’s a hotbed of sport including three Football League clubs in the county, the world-famous Trent Bridge cricket ground and the National Ice Arena, home of the Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Club and a venue for the biggest names to come and perform gigs,” says John Lomas, sports editor at weekly newspaper the Chad. The city also recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of Torvill and Dean – both Nottingham natives – winning their Winter Olympic gold medal at Sarajevo.
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“I have been to so many fantastic places with my job,” says John, “but I can’t ever see me wanting to actually live anywhere else. It may be as far away from the sea as you can get in this country but I do feel very lucky to have been born in Nottingham and worked in the county as a journalist for 36 years.” There are several newspapers in the area but the main title is the Nottingham Post. Founded in 1878, it changed its name from the Nottingham Evening Post four years ago and is today owned by Local World group. The company also has free sheet the Nottingham and Long Eaton Topper. The Chad series of newspapers covers various areas and is part of the Johnston Press group. It has an office in the Nottinghamshire market town of Mansfield. The Advertiser Media Group produces a three-edition, independent weekly – Newark Advertiser, Southwell Advertiser and Bingham Advertiser – covering a mainly rural part of Nottinghamshire. “Sadly quite a few of my earlier employers have gone through the years – The Beeston Gazette, South Notts Echo, Long Eaton Advertiser and the Recorder,” says John. “Selling newspapers is tough everywhere. But the city media has embraced new technology, and online is definitely a growth area.” ” City-based channel Notts TV went live in May. Providing a local news service, it’s operated by a consortium that includes Nottingham Trent University and the Nottingham Post. The BBC and ITV have bases in the city. Nottingham is the BBC’s headquarters for the East Midlands region – operations include BBC Radio Nottingham and regional TV news programme East Midlands Today. Main base for ITV’s Central News is in Birmingham; a smaller office in Nottingham has five journalists and two crews. Commercial radio stations include Global Radio’s Capital FM and Smooth stations plus Gem 106 in the East Midlands. The Nottingham NUJ branch is diverse – members work in newspapers, broadcasting, photography, PR, cartoons and media training. It has more than 250 members, including 100 student journalists. “The city is lucky to have such good journalism courses at Nottingham Trent University so there is a competitive vibrancy in town,” says Diana Peasey, chair of the Nottingham branch for 16 years. Diana, ex-BBC, describes Nottingham as a lively city that generates a lot of big stories, including the miners’ strike, Kegworth aircrash and gangland murders… She adds that Nottingham was once a thriving news centre
words from the streets Kevin Stanley, BBC Radio Nottingham journalist: “What I love about Nottingham is its no nonsense approach to life. People in Nottingham aren’t afraid to speak their minds at all and that means they’ll tell you what they really think!” Helen Beighton, reporter with the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad: “The city centre is adopting an almost European feel with outdoor seating areas, events in the Market Square and a host of independent shops and cafes popping up everywhere. It has many of the advantages of a city larger than it is while retaining the attraction of a friendly, provincial city.” Ali Emm, editor of LeftLion magazine: “For a relatively small city there are so many amazing things happening that are down to the people who live here. No matter what you’re into, you can get involved and feel part of a community, which I think is relatively rare and it makes for somewhere that is amazing to call home. “
but it has seen a lot of organisational changes across most forms of the media over the years. And structural changes in newspapers and broadcasting reflect the national trends, with people seeking information and news from different sources other than the traditional channels. “The new kid on the block, local television, is trying to present a new collaborative approach to broadcasting but resources are a problem,” she says. The city’s magazines include LeftLion. The free printed and online culture and listings publication covers music, sport, art and theatre. It’s voluntary led and has more than 250 people on its books as contributors for photography, illustration, design and writing. It has six paid staff in editorial and sales and marketing. “The live music scene here is second to none,” says John. “Venues of every size offer something every night of the week. The nightlife is absolutely amazing. Being a city with two universities helps as it seems to be party night every night. We have a host of theatre venues topped by the fantastic architecture of the Theatre Royal and the innovations of the Nottingham Playhouse.” Other magazines include Breeze, a free local monthly, and Life&Style magazine in Newark, which covers arts, fashion and culture. There’s also Life Magazines in the minster town of Southwell, which produces glossy A5 local lifestyle publications. BBC Radio Nottingham journalist Kevin Stanley adds that the wider creative sector is also thriving,.“It has several growing PR agencies and a new wave of digital providers – helped by the city council’s branding of the Lace Market area as a new ‘Creative Quarter’,” he says. Freelances in the area love Nottingham’s central location.
“For me, the value of living in Nottingham from a work perspective is – and it sounds very negative – the ease with which you can travel elsewhere!” says Dean Hardman, a freelance journalist and also communications manager for England Athletics. “Basically, if you get offered work anywhere in the Midlands, north or south, you’re in a good position to get there because the transport links to London are excellent and the M1 is easy to get to, as is the M42, the main route to Birmingham. It’s a great place to live for someone who wants to be available for a wide range of jobs in disparate parts of the country.” The railway station recently had a £50 million revamp and the city is soon to get a second line of its tram system. Freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison, who has written for the BBC, the Guardian and Prima, adds: “One advantage to living in Nottinghamshire is that I have two cities on my doorstep – Nottingham and Derby – as well as three others only slightly further away (Sheffield, Leicester and Birmingham), which makes me ideally located for covering events in the East Midlands.” Helen Beighton, senior reporter at the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad, points out that it’s also only a hop, skip and a jump away from beautiful countryside and outdoor activities. “I am Nottingham born and bred, so am slightly biased, but Nottingham really is a great place to live,” she says. “It has an unfair reputation for crime due to the legacy of gang problems a decade ago but this does not reflect the experiences that most people have.” Helen adds that the cost of living and house prices are affordable, even on regional journalism wages. In fact, for John, there’s only one issue with Nottingham – the distance from the coast. “But once a year the city council brings the seaside to the city by turning the Old Market Square into a mock seaside with sand, a small ‘sea’, deckchairs and all the usual seaside entertainment,” he says.
where the work is • The BBC has about 140 staff; operations include BBC Radio Nottingham producing East Midlands Today, Inside Out East Midlands and Sunday Politics East Midlands plus online services for Nottinghamshire. • Local World has more than 40 editorial employees, It owns daily newspaper the Nottingham Post, covering Nottinghamshire and parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. It also has free title the Nottingham and Long Eaton Topper.
• Johnston Press has 11 editorial staff in Mansfield office, producing the Mansfield and Ashfield Chads, Hucknall Dispatch and Alfreton Chad. In Worksop 10 editorial staff produce the Worksop Guardian, Retford Guardian and Gainsborough Standard. (The latter title serves Lincolnshire) • Advertiser Media Group has 14 full-time and part-time editorial employees. Its weekly paper has three editions: the Newark Advertiser, Southwell Advertiser and Bingham Advertiser.
theJournalist | 11
Jason Parkinson looks at the protection needed for journalists covering dangerous situations
Staying safe under fire
he most unlikely events can deteriorate into a dangerous situation for journalists. This year has been no exception with anti-government protests across Turkey, peaceful protests that rapidly deteriorated into civil war in Ukraine and social unrest around the Brazilian World Cup. Those who are planning to cover such events here and abroad need to know what to expect and what equipment is essential. UK policing primarily takes the form of riot police using shields and batons. Long shields are used to form defensive lines; short round shields signal imminent offensive baton charges. Front lines are backed up with horses and dogs. Horses form physical barriers and on occasion charge the crowd. Police dogs have a reach of over three metres and are trained to be indiscriminate. Journalists, protestors and police officers have fallen foul of this. British police also use pepper 12 | theJournalist
spray. The basic equipment to combat this is a sturdy helmet, and some use shin pads for added lower leg protection and goggles to protect the eyes. Occasionally stab vests are used for covering far right protests. A photographer was saved from serious injury by a vest after he was sprayed with a flammable liquid and ignited. A well-stocked basic medical kit is essential, containing eye solutions, antiseptic, bandages and burn gel pads. In France, Germany, Italy and Spain the primary police tactic is to keep protestors at a distance. CS tear gas is most commonly used. It blinds, burns the skin and asphyxiates. Studies on exposure have shown evidence of causing long-term respiratory damage. A fully working gas mask is vital. Some European countries also use rubber bullets. The simplest deterrent is to operate using the cover around you. Even a ricochet off the floor or wall can cause serious injury. For such assignments it is worth acquiring a bulletproof vest or basic stab vest.
Even a ricochet off the floor or wall can cause serious injury
Vests are not cheap. For example Level 4 ballistics are around £550, stab vests around £120, but they are worth the investment. Germany also uses water cannons. Again the only deterrent is to use the solid cover in your surroundings and work from there. Direct blasts from water cannons have caused very serious injury, particularly when they hit the face. People have been blinded. The May Day protests in Turkey saw a photographer suffer a broken arm after being hit at short range. In the summer, the Metropolitan police acquired three water cannons, although they cannot be used without the Home Secretary’s approval. Greek police use tear gas alongside CS powder bombs that explode and shower large areas with an irritant powder. They also use high-pressure portable CS spray cannons. Repeater shock grenades are thrown into crowds the repeater bounces into the air on the first explosion, then a further five explosions cause damage at chest and head level. Turkey adopts heavy water cannon use, tear gas saturation and a limitless supply of rubber bullets fired from sub-machine guns. Protective gear should be worn at all times. The Turkish police force have been heavily criticised over the last two years for firing tear gas rounds at head height. Once out of western Europe live round use becomes more common. Then a bulletproof vest and helmet should always be worn and hostile environment training is advised. Wherever your assignment lands you, one thing worth remembering is this simple rule – it is better to have the safety equipment and not need it rather than need it and not have it.
diaries © Shakeyjon/Alamy
Journalist, MP, prisoner… Francis Beckett reads about the prison life of Denis MacShane and how he has embarked on a fresh reinvention
enis MacShane is good at reinventing himself, which is fortunate because he’s had to do it rather a lot. He did it when he was fired from the BBC for calling a Conservative cabinet minister a crook, live on air, after which he became NUJ president in 1978. Today, at 66, most of his savings gone on an unsuccessful attempt to stay out of prison, he’s reinventing himself again. Next spring there’s a new book called Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe, and right now there’s a book called Prison Diaries. Prison Diaries is an extended colour piece about day-to-day prison life that allows the reader almost to taste what he tasted and smell what he smelled. It reminded me that Denis, before
politics took him, was a really good writer. It says two things. First, we put far too many people in prison, and we treat them inhumanely. And second, he, Denis, should never have been one of them. I don’t know how anyone can read it without being convinced of his first proposition. When he was an MP, he took no interest in prison reform, and neither did most of his colleagues. There are no votes in it. Journalists take no interest in it because they have never been in prison, and neither have most of their readers. But Denis has now been an MP, a journalist, and a prisoner, and he has some disturbing questions to ask. Why are prisoners’ books, notepads and biros taken away? Denis had to smuggle stubs of biro and the unused backs of official forms into his cell to write his diaries, which he now thinks may have improved the immediacy of his writing. Why was he locked in his cell for up to 23 hours a day over Christmas and not allowed to see his partner or his children? Why are prisoners strip-searched at random? “A man half my age peers at my genitals as if I had a secret weapon hidden there. It is a foul, humiliating
When he was an MP, he took no interest in prison reform and neither did most of his colleagues
process without the slightest reason or justification given my age and my docile behaviour here.” Why is their brief exercise period frequently cancelled at no notice, why do some prison officers humiliate those in their charge, why do the authorities tantalise prisoners by putting off the day when they are due to be released with a tag? And what are we doing locking up elderly, disabled men like Denis’s new friend Benny in Belmarsh, the toughest and highest security prison in Europe? Benny manouvres himself slowly around Belmarsh in his wheelchair, because when his 77-year-old mother, in dreadful pain and with two months at most left to live, said “Please end this, please let me go, please” he put a pillow over her head. Why was Denis in Belmarsh? He wasn’t an escape risk. Other MPs convicted of expenses scams went to open prisons, but Denis does seem to have been singled out for harsh treatment. The police had decided his crime was too small to prosecute. He’d repaid the £12,900 he wrongly claimed and there was no personal gain. Then a cross-party committee of MPs called his crime very serious, so the police reopened their investigation, although there was no new information. Many on the extreme right saw him, correctly, as the most effective proEuropean in Parliament. The relatively civilised europhobe Daniel Hannan wrote: “Who will the BBC find to defend Brussels on air? Seriously – who?” I don’t excuse Denis, but I think he could easily have received a noncustodial sentence. There are some who campaign to send more people to prison and make it tougher. But Prison Diaries may be just the weapon their opponents need to show that they are wrong. Prison Diaries by Denis MacShane is published by Biteback. www.bitebackpublishing.com theJournalist | 13
Remember how i
Roy Greenslade analyses the pressures that were brought to bear on journalists tasked with reporting the First World War
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real honour After the war, several correspondents
laid on, and senior officers lined up to be interviewed. He wrote: “We each had accepted knighthoods. Two a servant, who brought in who refused the honour – a tin tub and filled it after Hamilton Fyfe and Henry he had brought early Nevinson (pictured right) – morning tea.” deserve special mention. But he could not bear Fyfe regarded it as a bribe to be cut off from the to keep quiet about the life of the troops and inefficiency and corruption he had witnessed during the wangled permission to stay in the trenches war. He had distinguished himself early in the war with with a friend who was reports for the Daily Mail on commanding a rifle brigade battalion. He recalled: “No the retreat from Mons. Conscious of the wretched correspondent, I learned, had done this. They knew conditions suffered by the only from hearsay how life junior officers and the in the front line went on.” common soldiers in the Fyfe, who had previously trenches, he went where other reporters failed to go. edited the Daily Mirror, later edited the Daily Herald By 1917, Fyfe was and also stood twice, astounded by the facilities unsuccessfully, for the provided for journalists Labour Party in two general on the western front: a elections. comfortable chateau, a Nevinson, the other lavish supply of food, cars
knighthood refusenik, was a campaigning journalist who had previously exposed the slave trade in Angola in 1905. He also founded the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage. He initially reported for The Nation from the western front and then joined the expedition to the Dardanelles. Wounded during the Gallipoli landings, he recovered and later supported the republican side in the Spanish civil war.
The Art Archive/Alamy
ar brings out the best in journalists and the worst in newspapers. There is more than a grain of truth in that adage when applied to the First World War, but – as with all generalisations – it doesn’t quite stand up. A century on from the war that did not end all wars and we are able to see more clearly all the pressures that affected what got published and what did not. In so doing, there are reasons to celebrate the actions of most of Britain’s reporters and some of the editors. But the publishers are a different matter. Journalists were confronted by a combination three powerful forces when trying to inform the public – the government, the military and their own newspaper proprietors. Before the war broke out, the majority of British newspapers were guilty of war-mongering. Most of them went on to become tame purveyors of what has come to be known as “atrocity propaganda.” With tacit government approval, the German enemy was demonised by fabricated stories of barbarism. Editors were the eager recipients of unverifiable claims in which innocent civilians were reported to have been murdered in all manner of grisly ways. It is certain that Belgian and French citizens were executed as reprisals by the German army in the early months of the war. But other outlandish and gruesome claims were wholly untrue. They included the public raping of 20 Belgian girls; the severing of a Belgian child’s hands; the bayoneting of a two-year-old child; and the tying of nuns – in some versions, monks – to the clappers of church bells. The most sickening of all was a story that German factories were boiling down the corpses of their own soldiers in order to distil glycerine for munitions. Post-war commissions of inquiry found it impossible to corroborate any of the atrocity stories. When it came to reporting the war itself, journalists and their editors were confronted by censorship, which was imposed from the opening of hostilities. One piece of legislation, the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), gave the authorities power to stifle any criticism of the war effort. One of its regulations stated: “No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause
disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty’s forces or among the civilian population”. It was aimed at preventing the publication of anything that could be interpreted as undermining the morale of the British people, but DORA did not stifle all negative reporting, as we shall see. The overarching story of First World War coverage was one of government control exercised in company with a complicit group of committed pro-war press proprietors. But these owners, in playing at politics, sometimes challenged censorship. Then the public, and the men fighting at the front, were the beneficiaries. The most famous example occurred in May 1915 when Lord Northcliffe, the then proprietor of The Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, unleashed his campaign about the shortage of artillery munitions at the front. The lack of high explosive shells was discovered by a Times reporter, Charles à Court Repington, who managed to overcome the frontline ban on war correspondents because
w it wasn’t of his friendship with the commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force, Sir John French. His story was seized on by Northcliffe in order to undermine Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, and to destabilise the coalition government led by Herbert Asquith. It catapulted David Lloyd George into the post of Munitions Minister and was the precursor to him eventually replacing Asquith as prime minister. Northcliffe’s campaign against Kitchener, a national hero, was anything but a circulation gimmick. People burned copies of the Mail in the street; the paper’s offices were put under police guard; and a million readers deserted along with several advertisers.
Northcliffe was quoted as saying at the time: “I mean to tell the people the truth and I don’t care what it costs.” He was vindicated once that truth emerged; sales and advertising returned. He had a singular advantage in being critical of the war effort because he was assured of support from Lloyd George, with whom he connived in order to oust Asquith. Opposing war before it happens is one thing; doing so afterwards is another. Although C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian, was initially against the war, his stance changed after hostilities began. “Once in it,” wrote Scott, “the whole future of our nation is at stake and we have no choice but do the utmost we can to secure success.” At the outbreak of war, Kitchener banned reporters from the front. But two determined and enterprising correspondents – the Daily Mail’s Basil Clarke and the Daily Chronicle’s Philip Gibbs – defied the ban and acted as “journalistic outlaws” in order to report from the frontline. Gibbs was arrested, warned that if he was caught again he would be shot, and sent back to England. Clarke, after
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reporting on the German bombardment of Ypres, returned never tight enough to ensure that all the facts were hidden home after a similar warning. from readers. Eventually the government relented by allowing Some British blunders did go unreported, as did German “accredited reporters” access to the front. Five men were victories. The bloodiest defeat in British history, at the chosen: Gibbs (for the Daily Chronicle and Daily Telegraph); Somme in 1916, in which 600,000 Allied troops were killed Percival Philips (Daily Express and Morning Post); William or wounded, was poorly reported at first. But some of the Beach Thomas (Daily Mail and Daily Mirror); Henry Perry horrors were published. Robinson (The Times and Daily News) and Herbert Russell Later, Beach Thomas admitted that he was “deeply (Reuters). ashamed’ of what he had written, adding: “The vulgarity of They and their newspapers agreed to have their copy enormous headlines and the enormity of one’s own name did censored by a poacher-turned-gamekeeper: C.E. Montague, not lessen the shame.” the former leader writer of the Manchester Guardian. Gibbs defended his actions by claiming that he was Montague was, wrote Gibbs, “extremely courteous.” But attempting to “spare the feelings of men and women, who, Montague was not enamoured with “the average war have sons and husbands fighting in France”. The truth was correspondent” and he contended that the soldiers disliked reported about the Somme, he later had the gall to write, their articles. “apart from the naked realism of horrors and losses, and Their despatches served to imply, wrote Montague, that the criticism of the facts.” soldiers “enjoyed nothing better than ‘going over the top’... But Gibbs was candid enough to admit the truth about The tone of this roused the fighting troops to fury against the some reporting: “We identified ourselves absolutely with the writers. This, the men reflected, in helpless anger, was what armies in the field. We wiped out of our minds all thought of people at home were offered as faithful accounts of what personal scoops and all temptation to write one word which their friends in the field were thinking and suffering.” would make the(cm) task ofxthe officers and men more difficult The rate for a classified ad is £25 scc (£25 x height columns). Over the following three years several other journalists or dangerous. discount issueswaswill be 20% discount. such as John Buchan, Valentine Williams,10% Hamilton Fyfe andfo 2 or 3 issues. 4 or more “There no need of censorship of our despatches. We Henry Nevinson – were given accreditation. Censorship was were our own censors.”
We identified ourselves absolutely with the armies in the field. We were classified our own censors
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Raymond Snoddy on the law that threatens serious investigative journalism
You’re right to fear the RIPA
he Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) has an almost music hall sound to it – a creation of the Department of Administrative Affairs. But RIPA is no laughing matter. Powers bestowed to enable data to be intercepted in the battle against serious organised crime and terrorism, has been misused by police fishing for journalistic contacts. When the bill was passed the then Labour Government was warned – to no avail – that a formal exemption was needed for journalists. Metropolitan police used RIPA powers to find out who leaked the plebgate police log to The Sun. Essex police took advantage of the legislation to trace a source in the Chris Huhne speeding points affair. No-one knows how many other journalistic cases there have been, although RIPA requests are running at the rate of around 100,000 a year. And police only need the authority of one superintendent. The misuse of RIPA threatens to undermine all serious investigative journalism. Sources and whistleblowers will run for cover if they are in danger of being exposed. Lord Falconer, Labour’s Attorney General when RIPA was launched, has even recently acknowledged that “if the police’s cockeyed view of RIPA is right then whistleblowers beware.” A further insight into police attitudes came last month when Scotland Yard mistakenly received from Vodafone the telephone records of 1,750 News UK employees. Instead of returning them, the records have been kept for
Now, at long last, the tide seems to be turning in favour of journalists
months, copied and analysed in detail. Now, at long last, the tide seems to be turning in favour of journalists. The Vodafone breach is being investigated by the Information Commissioner and senior politicians are queuing up to denounce the misuse of RIPA by police. At the Society of Editors conference Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said the legislation should never be used to spy on reporters and whistleblowers “going about their lawful, vital business.” He promised to ensure Home Secretary Theresa May was fully aware how important the issue was for journalism. Justice Minister Simon Hughes has promised that the Coalition Government will reform the law to make it more difficult for police to uncover journalistic sources. Hughes has pledged that in future police would need a judge’s authorisation to access journalist’s phone records. Let’s hope the reform passes into law before the next general election. At the conference there was also condemnation by Mr Javid of the creation by “Luxembourg’s unelected judges” of “the right to be forgotten.” This was “censorship by the back door” although it is unclear what, if anything, the UK can do about it short of the misguided step of pulling out of the Human Convention on Human Rights. Google gets up to 1,000 requests a day to take names – even of convicted fraudsters – off the online record and grants around 42 per cent of requests. The good news is the information is not deleted, though smarter search methods will be needed for retrieval. The other small piece of better news on freedom of the press is the dog that is not barking at the moment. Not a word is being said about trying to impose a Royal Charter on the press. The attack dogs could be unleashed again after the election. But it is more likely that the newspaper industry’s independent regulatory body, IPSO, will be given time to establish itself. Another small step in the right direction.
For the latest updates from Raymond Snoddy on Twitter go to @raymondsnoddy theJournalist | 17
Grab your camera… and a drone Simon Creasy looks at how aerial technology is increasingly helping photographers record big news events
hen professional photographer Lawrence Clift read on Facebook that St Mary’s Catholic School, in Leyland, Lancashire, was on fire last year, the first thing he instinctively reached for before dashing to the local school to catch pictures of the blaze was his DSLR camera . . . and the second was his Phantom drone. On arriving at the scene, Clift was granted permission from the chief fire officer to deploy the drone directly above the inferno. “I was only there for about 15-20 minutes,” recalls Clift. “I took off, landed, came home, edited the footage from the on board camera, put it on YouTube and got in touch with the BBC, and all that took me about an hour.” It was an hour well spent. The BBC aired his footage on the evening news and the following day Clift sold his video to Sky News and ITV; he also sold still images to a number of different newspapers through a news agency. However, someone got wind of the fact he’d received payment for the footage and he was later contacted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which issued a caution for using a drone for commercial purposes without permission. It was the first reported caution for such an offence by a photojournalist in the UK, but it’s unlikely to be the last. Until recently, unmanned aerial drones (UAR) – also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – were only used by the military and hobbyists, but over the last few years sales of drones have increased dramatically with business behemoths like Google and Facebook recently investing heavily in drone technology. News organisations have also started to explore the use of drones, with the most dramatic example to date being CNN’s deployment of a drone to provide aerial shots of the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped through the Philippines last November. CNN’s use of the technology in its coverage of a natural
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disaster is something that Robert Picard, director of research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and co-author of the report ‘Remotely piloted aircraft systems and journalism: opportunities and challenges of drones in newsgathering,’ expects to see more of in the future. “They don’t replace journalists or photographers on the ground, but they give an interesting visual perspective that helps to tell the story and their use is inexpensive, which means they can be used more often than helicopters and that news organisations who couldn’t afford helicopters will now be able to get aerial photography,” says Picard. Their affordability clearly makes them an attractive proposition. Picard estimates that for £250 you can get a drone/camera setup that can do adequate still photography and for around £1,000 you can get really good hi-definition videos, although these costs are coming down all the time. What’s really tantalising journalists, though, is the prospect of using them in combat zones. In theory, war reporters would be able to use these unmanned vehicles to get shots from the frontline without endangering their lives – rather than run the gauntlet of a sniper alley, the photographer could safely deploy a drone to fly overhead to get the desired shot. It looks like a no brainer on paper. However, Matthew Waite, journalism professor at the University of Nebraska and founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, warns that using drones in a combat zone carries a number of dangers. “Signal detection and direction finding has been around for
flying within the law At present, the laws
around the general use of drones in the UK are fairly relaxed. There is nothing to stop anyone flying a small unmanned aircraft of 20kg or less, as long as they comply with the safety restrictions laid out by the CAA (for more details visit the CAA website). However, if someone wants to use a drone for commercial work, or if they’re flying a drone fitted with a camera within congested areas or closer to people or properties (vehicles, vessels or structures) that are not under their control, then they need to obtain a ‘permission’ from the CAA. It’s at the permission point that the CAA “raises
the bar slightly” so that it’s reasonably satisfied that the operation is safe, explains Gerry Corbett, UAS programme lead at the CAA. “Permissions are required for activities that we consider are slightly riskier. For example, for commercial purposes, the risk is greater because operators will be moving round the country and operating in unfamiliar areas, and clearly, the risks involved in flying close to people,” he says. “For a permission to be granted, we also require operators to provide an ‘operations manual’, detailing the practices and procedures they will follow when flying, and evidence of the pilot’s overall airmanship skills and
awareness, and his/ her ability to operate the aircraft safely.” Despite the projected greater use of drones by news organisations and other interested parties in the UK in the future, Corbett says that there are no plans to change the laws as it’s felt that they are currently appropriate. “The intent of these regulations is to protect people and/or properties that are not involved in the activity,” he explains. “The regulations are also aimed at being as ‘light touch’ and proportionate as possible, so there is a great deal that can be done – especially for private or recreational flights – without the need to approach the CAA at all.”
Drones deployed in the Oscar Pistorius trial
a long time, so sitting there tethered to a device through a radio signal is an excellent way to direct artillery fire down on you. I don’t think we have a scientific term for that other than ‘bad’. That’s not to say you couldn’t programme them with an autonomous route, and given the cost of these things, if it gets shot down you’re only out a thousand bucks – a human life is worth considerably more than that.” It’s not the only downside to using drones. Flight time is fairly limited – you’re looking at between eight to 15 minutes depending on the batteries and that includes the amount of time it takes to get to the location and altitude that you need to get the shot that you’re looking for. They’re also pretty lightweight devices so they can easily be blown off course. However, many of these hurdles will be overcome in time and as their usage increases, journalists will work out in what contexts they are most effective. Neat though the solution sounds for war reporters, combat zones may not be the best application. Waite feels that in addition to using drones to cover any “story with a large spatial extent”, the “real frontier and unexplored area is using them to gather data and especially scientific data that we can use in investigative and accountability reporting. Using them to map areas using different kinds of sensors like multispectral cameras or do things to interact with the physical environment taking water or air samples. That’s the real future unexplored use”. Another as yet unexplored (albeit less worthy) area is of course use by paparazzi to get candid shots of celebrities in compromising situations. “If you have mayor of Toronto taking cocaine and you can fly up and look in the window to get a picture of him doing it, there’s an issue of privacy,” says Picard. “The question for journalists is where do you draw the line in the use of these?”
If you have the mayor of Toronto taking cocaine and you can fly up and look in the window to get a picture of him doing it, there’s an issue of privacy
This ethical debate is one of the reasons why the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (ARPAS) was founded last year. The organisation aims to promote and support the growth of this fledgling industry and has drawn up a code of conduct that it wants drone users to abide by. “Journalism is an appropriate place for the use of drones, but we’re nervous that people might not use them in an appropriate way for the industry,” says ARPAS chairman Philip Tarry. “That’s why we want journalists to be part of our association so that they can represent the interests of the media industry, but so far we haven’t found many people who are willing to say ‘I’m a stakeholder in this industry, I foresee the trouble that potentially lies before us and I’m willing to help’.” Tarry says that part of ARPAS’ remit is to communicate with the authorities to make sure that regulations governing the use of drones are both fair and relevant. But Clift, for one, doesn’t feel that the regulations currently meet this criterion. He thinks the CAA is more interested in clamping down on commercial drone users, whereas the focus should be on safety. He also bemoans the regulatory lack of clarity. “I knew I was doing wrong, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to fly commercially, but I didn’t know which of the regulations applied to me.” His run in with the authorities hasn’t deterred him from using drones, however. Clift is currently going through the CAA permissions process so that he can fly drones for commercial gain and says he already has a client “waiting in the wings” once he’s approved. With countless other reporters, photojournalists and camera operators undoubtedly doing exactly the same, it can only be a matter of time before drones earn their wings in journalism. theJournalist | 19
the relentless march of technology
Rosie Niven on the latest trends and kit
he other day, I reflected on a piece that I wrote for this magazine four years ago exploring some of the specialist journalism roles that were then emerging as a result of technology. Some of the job titles emerging in 2010 are now established, including data journalist, social media editor and community manager. But others have disappeared, among them SEO reporter, and other roles have emerged including interactive journalist. Technology has also had a massive influence on what we cover, as well as how we work and what our job title is. I recently read a blogpost by Dave Lee, a technology reporter on BBC online, questioning the survival of his own role. He noted that many of the biggest technology stories are now being uncovered by journalists working on other beats. He cited a number of stories, including the Edward Snowden revelations, which were broken by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with a background in law. This, he suggests, shows the vulnerability of the kind of journalism many technology specialists had previously been encouraged to practice, namely focusing on the kit, not the real story.
preview online data resources Google Docs Google’s spreadsheet application Sheets is a great free alternative to Excel, but the internet giant’s services for data journalists do not end there. It also provides online forms, which makes the inputting of data a breeze, and fusion tables are a useful way of mapping geotagged data. It is also worth learning a simple formula This which will scrape data from tables in web pages and then
20 | theJournalist
Technology has also had a massive influence on what we cover, as well as how we work and what our job title is
add it to your worksheet, which is a real time saver. https://docs.google.com/ OpenRefine One of the drawbacks of online data is that it can get messy, and that can mean misleading data stories. But cleaning data is often timeconsuming and boring. Open Refine can help. This web-based opensource tool allows you to delete spaces, remove duplicates and standardise information in a table. It’s a bit complicated at the start, but can save much time once mastered. http://openrefine.org
“Simply, we need to give up thinking of ourselves as technology reporters, and instead become tech-savvy hacks on other beats,” Lee argues. It remains to be seen whether the technology specialist will die out or evolve. Perhaps, as Lee suggests, we are all technology journalists now, as digital technologies increasingly impact on the world we report on. If anyone is threatened by this development, I would argue that it is not technology specialists but those who watch with dismay as the influence of digital technology grows in their specialist beat. There are, of course, still many important stories in which technology doesn’t play a role. But an understanding of technology opens the door to so many more, whether a journalist covers a local beat or international civil rights issues like Greenwald. Of course, being tech-savvy might not be essential in order to be a journalist, but neither is 100 words per minute (wpm) shorthand. Yet both make your job a lot easier. And as someone who tried and failed to master shorthand, I’d argue that anyone who has reached 100wpm should find getting up to speed with the latest technological developments a doddle.
TableauPublic There are a number of tools that you can use to visualise your data but TableauPublic is one of the best established. Dubbed the YouTube of data visualisation in some quarters, it creates interactive visualisations with the data still accessible by clicking on the image. The visualisation can be embedded in your work and also appears in the Tableau community where you are able to view other people’s work. Download the free software to get started. http://www.tableausoftware. com/public/
Mary Maguire is head of press and broadcasting at the public service union Unison
the nuj and me What made you become a journalist? I would love to say that I was driven to uncover injustice, hypocrisy and scandal. But really the truth is that I was an avid reader of Superman comics and thought that Lois Lane was a woman having serious fun. Although I was never tempted to dye my hair navy blue.
What other job might you have done/have you done? I was a papergirl. But at school, everyone wanted me to become a teacher. If you were a girl, you aspired to teach or nurse. There’s nothing wrong with either, they are great professions, but I wouldn’t have had the patience. I fancied myself as a ballet dancer.
When did you join the NUJ and why?
share, leaving someone else with less. You know who you are.
And the worst ones?
Which six people (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party?
Standing outside Labour Party HQ in Walworth Road, London, on a cold May dawn in 1992 behind Neil Kinnock and knowing the Tories had won. And seeing the devastation the current Tory/LibDem cuts are causing to people who deserve better from their Government.
What is the worst place you’ve ever worked in? A dry cleaners in Hampstead. My dad was in the Union of Postal Workers and on strike in a long-running dispute. We had no money, so I stuck at it. The stench of cleaning fluid, burnt plastic and a bullying boss sticks with me.
And the best? Unison – of course.
When I started work. It was the appropriate union to join. It was what we did.
What advice would you give someone starting in journalism?
Are many of your friends in the union?
Join the union. Don’t talk, listen. Don’t bullshit. Check your facts. Protect your sources.
Many of my friends are union members, many I have made through membership of the NUJ and working for Unison.
What advice would you give a new freelance?
Jayaben Desai, Boudica, Aristotle (the philosopher, not the shipping magnate), Walter Tull, J. K Rowling and Delia Smith – someone has to do the cooking.
What was your earliest political thought? It’s not fair.
What are your hopes for journalism over the next five years? That newspapers, regional, local as well as national, survive; that standards improve; that bias bites the dust; that pay rates rise particularly in the regions. You did say hopes!
And fears? That none of the above happens.
What one thing would you most want to change in the next 12 months? The Government.
Join the union. Meet your deadlines. Check your copy. Get the money upfront.
Who would you most like to see in the NUJ?
Helping achieve a minimum wage to lift millions out of poverty pay and working with Nelson Mandela – awesome.
Who is your biggest hero?
How would you like to be remembered?
And in the union?
Getting recognition and negotiating
The one who takes more than their fair
What’s been your best moment in your career? vy Close Images/Alamy
rights for the NUJ alongside other trade unions.
The woman who gets up at 5am to scrub floors so that she can feed her family.
As the world-renowned, the awardwinning, the highly-celebrated, the most magnificent ballet dancer. But, failing that, as a committed trade unionist. 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 All about panto? oh, no it isn’t
Hope at e full cast of Anti-panto: Th
22 | theJournalist
t the Royal Cour
Treat yourself or a friend to a new book release, a trip to the theatre, the cinema or an exhibition. From a Brecht classic to The Best of Benn, there is plenty to see and do with a political punch this Christmas and into the New Year Exhibitions A Land Fit for Heroes: War and the Working Class, 1914-1918 The People’s History Museum, Manchester Until 1 February A Land Fit For Heroes examines how the First World War changed society, radically altering the social, economic, cultural and political outlook of the British people. This exhibition looks at why people supported the war (and also those who actively refused to do so), the role of women in the war, how domestic life was radically changed and the influence that the war had on politics and the Labour movement. It also looks at life beyond the end of the war. www.phm.org.uk
Pantomime, with its roots in the travelling, comic street theatre form Commedia dell’arte that originated in Italy in the 16th century, can provide some great family Christmas entertainment. Indeed, it’s so popular that it is rare for theatres to programme anything other than this festive favourite throughout December and January. However, it’s refreshing to discover two examples of bold programming that will, this season, provide more politically themed alternatives right through Christmas and into the New Year. Tangram Theatre Company will present an adaptation of The Dragon – Yevgeny Schwartz’s 1943 critique of Stalinist Russia, reworked for London’s intimate Southwark Playhouse studio by Daniel Goldman and the company. A terrible, three-headed dragon holds a Russian town to ransom. Upon arrival, Lancelot immediately falls in love with the beautiful Elsa, who is due to be sacrificed to the dragon. In true knight errant spirit, Lancelot challenges the dragon to a fight to the death, only to discover that not only do the townspeople love the dragon but, led by the town’s mad mayor and his sleazy son, they’ll do anything and everything to stay in chains. A far cry from eccentric horse costumes and Widow Twanky, the minimalist ‘anti-panto’ will
Film Unbroken Universal Pictures UK general release from 26 December Academy-Award-winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who in World War Two, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisonerof-war camp. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s popular book, Unbroken brings to the screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit. www.universalpictures.com Theatre Scuttlers Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester 5 February - 7 March The Scuttlers were Manchester’s original gangs. Throughout the 1870s and beyond, the streets of Openshaw, Gorton, Ancoats and Salford were
tell its story entirely through an ensemble of 10 actors and musicians, with no set or theatre lighting. Tangram attracted much praise for its recent production of Fuente Ovejuna so this is likely to be worth a watch. Meanwhile, across the capital at the Royal Court, Jack Thorne has written a new fable, Hope, as a response to the squeeze on local government. The play follows council leaders Mark and Hilary as they navigate their way through £22 million in spending cuts. Thorne has written prolifically for stage and screen, most recently attracting critical acclaim for Let the Right One In and This Is England ’88. Directed by John Tiffany (Let the Right One In, Black Watch), this is likely to be the ideal pantomime antidote. Various events will also take place alongside the production. These include ‘The New Order’, for which three playwrights have been commissioned to write their own political broadcast, and ‘Political Playwright at your Table’, which allows audiences to hear a playwright reading their script in a secret location within the Royal Court. www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk www.royalcourttheatre.com Amy Powell-Yeates
arts terrorised by rival groups of young mill workers fighting for control. With their bell-bottoms and floppy caps they fought with blades, fists, feet and the heavy ends of their leather belts. Rona Munro’s story, based on real court reports, begins one hot evening in August; the mills are constantly at work and the neighbourhood gangs are circling each other, vying for territory. Tension builds and a fight erupts that changes lives forever. This story is one of young people navigating a life with respect, where a sense of place and purpose can only be found on the streets. www.royalexchange.co.uk The Absence of War National tour 6 February - 25 April It’s now or never for George Jones. The charismatic leader of the Labour Party needs to get out of opposition and into Number 10. Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he’s their man. But how much compromise is he prepared to make? And how can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the House of Commons? A vigorous new production of award-winning playwright and screenwriter David Hare’s funny, stinging political drama is directed by Jeremy Herrin (previous credits include Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and This House) on a timely national tour during the build-up to the 2015 General Election. This is a co-production between Headlong, Rose Theatre Kingston and Sheffield Theatres. www.headlong.co.uk The Caucasian Chalk Circle The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh 18 February - 14 March Revolution – a city turned upside down. A young servant girl must make a choice: save herself or sacrifice everything to rescue an abandoned child with a price on his head. Written in the wake of World War II by Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is considered one of the greatest plays of the last century. This timeless parable asks questions about justice and how to do right when the world goes wrong. www.lyceum.org.uk
A march in London 1915 in A Land Fit for Heroes exhibition
Jeremy Herrin revives David Hare’s state of the nation play
Books The Best of Benn Compiled by Ruth Winstone Hutchinson, hbk, ePub eBook An extensive collection of diaries, memoirs, speeches, letters and other writings by one of the 20th century’s most charismatic politicians, this volume includes speeches, articles and interviews made and given over seven decades in the House of Commons, the Morning Star, the Guardian and at conferences. The collection showcases Benn’s brand of electrifying speeches, thoughtful journalism and passionate advocacy of often unconventional causes, as well as his fascination with technological change and philosophical dilemmas. www.randomhouse.co.uk Turn now the Tide Joe Neal The Choir Press Following the nostalgic poetry collection Telling It at a Slant, Turn now the Tide is the new collection of poems by journalist, writer and NUJ member Joe Neal, exploring the worlds of memory and nature with poignancy and humour. Within the pages you will find political parrots,
lost years and repurposed wooden legs. The poems have also been recorded and can be heard on the book’s website. www.turnnowthetide.com Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds IB Tauris, hbk Aneurin – Nye – Bevan was one of the pivotal Labour figures of the post-war era. As minister for health in Clement Attlee’s government, Bevan’s role in the foundation of the NHSchanged the face of British society forever. The son of a coal miner from South Wales, Bevan was a life-long champion of social justice and the rights of working people and became one of the leading proponents of Socialist thought in Britain. Drawing on first-hand interviews as well as some recently released sources, the acclaimed author Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds provides the first full-life biography of Bevan in over two decades, stretching from his birth in Tredegar in the South Wales Valleys in 1897 to his death from stomach cancer at the age of 62 i n 1960. www.ibtauris.com
preview ISLANDS Bush Theatre, London 15 January – 21 February
Aneurin Bevan’s story
Holding tax-evaders to account: theatremaker and performer Caroline Horton
Oxfam estimates that $18.5 trillion is siphoned out of the world economy into tax havens by wealthy individuals alone, while Christian Aid has calculated that 1,000 children die every day as a result of tax evasion. Up-and-coming theatremaker Caroline Horton, who attracted praise from audiences and critics alike with her previous show Mess, returns with a new play interrogating the culture of tax havens that allow a few to have it all. This black comedy with music promises to take its audience into a secret world where it seems no one has to pay for anything – a world with the philosophy, ‘This is my world, I am the king, I make the rules and everyone else can f**k off. This is offshore.’ Following a development period of preview shows in Cambridge, Reading, Newcastle and Warwick, the production opens at London’s Bush Theatre. Developed in consultation with specialist economic advisers including John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network, commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and Harlow Playhouse, and produced by China Plate. www.bushtheatre.co.uk
theJournalist | 23
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Email your letters to: email@example.com Post them to: The Editor, The Journalist 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road London WC1X 8DP
print is a vital link I recently took over Communications and Media for the Emergency Planning Society, the professional association for – you guessed it – emergency planners, who work mainly in local government and the NHS to help prepare us face floods, terrorism, disease and general Armageddon. Two years ago, the society’s journal, Resilience, went online. It would save money and demonstrate that the organisation had joined the 21st century and that cheered everyone. But in an extensive membership survey held last year, the biggest gripe was … ‘we want our printed version back’. It wasn’t just the convenience of printed matter that members wanted to return to. The journal flopping through their letter box on a regular basis prompted them to remember what they paid their subs for, a physical reminder of the rewards for their continued commitment rather than a ‘take it or leave it’ virtual one. So the printed version is back. I raise this in case any bright spark in the NUJ, in this exciting digital age, is thinking of putting The Journalist online only. Don’t! The union would lose a point of monthly contact with large sections of the membership, who can’t face yet more time going goggle-eyed at transmitted light, having already spent most of their working day staring at screens. Long live print! Bob Wade Editor, Resilience
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH From advert-cluttered websites to dead trees I was amused on reading that Local World’s latest strategic report did not mention newspapers in any way. Their advert-cluttered websites are so unremittingly awful that I have given up trying to read online and gone back to taking my local paper (the Hull Daily Mail) in the dead tree format. Sam Hawcroft Hull
Why do we elect the editor of The Journalist? I voted to re-elect Christine Buckley as editor of The Journalist. But I have enormous reservations about our union making people re-apply for their own jobs. If an external employer treated one of their journalist employees in that 24 | theJournalist
way, I would hope the NUJ would have something to say about it. It is wrong on many levels: • It creates uncertainty for the postholder in a climate where more and more employees, including journalists, lack job security, pension rights and much, much more. •W hen vacancies do come up, it will put off many suitable candidates from applying. Why would a good journalist employed elsewhere risk their existing position in order to take part in a very public election? It’s not a sensible way of attracting the best candidates. I can understand why the general secretary should be subject to such a process. But there seems to be no logic in extending that to the Journalist editor
post. If that is the case then why not make every position in the NUJ subject to re-election every five years? I would like to see the NUJ revise its position on this and to treat its own journalist employees in the the way that it would expect other employers to treat their staff. Having to reapply for your own job every five years is simply not fair. Penny Vevers London
Private education doesn’t always mean privilege So kids from private schools have a better chance in the media – are you surprised? (The Journalist, October/ November.) They tend to get a better education and are taught the rights and wrongs of spelling, punctuation and
presentation – surely much needed skills in the media world and often overlooked at the local comp. Private education should not be knocked; instead the state sector should ask what private schools are doing right and try to emulate the many excellent aspects of education they offer. Frankly, I object to the idea that kids from private schools come from a ‘privileged background’, since both my husband and I left school at 16. However, thanks to being taught in the old-fashioned way, we have never been held back and both now have relatively good careers in the media – and yes, our two kids go to private school, where you are just as likely to meet the offspring of cab drivers as you are to find the children of wealthy bankers. Please don’t hold it against them and kids like them, if their parents made the many sacrifices necessary in order to give them the best education. If they are successful in the media, good luck to them. It’s probably because they were taught properly, wherever they were taught, and not because they come from a privileged background. Laura Collins London
Your magazine needs you! Our letters page is a small one this edition. I’d love to be bigger! Please send thoughts and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter comments are also very welcome, please send to @mschrisbuckley Following my re-election I plan a few changes for the next edition. I’d really like letters and comments to continue to be a key part of The Journalist. Some people have requested future dates for the magazine. Next year’s schedule will be circulated to branches and on the website. We will also flag up deadlines for the next edition here. Please send most news and letters to us by February 13 and late news by February 23 for the next edition. Christine Buckley Editor
Extra help for members
Share the success
For more than 100 years NUJ members and their dependants have been helped by NUJ Extra and its predecessors. Now NUJ Extra needs extra help from the next generation of journalists. We’re asking members to sign up to make regular donations of just £5 a month to continue our good work.
The NUJ’s new mentoring scheme is an exciting opportunity for those wishing to share their experience and expertise, and for those willing to benefit from it. As a member of the NUJ you can sign up to be trained as a mentor. On the two-day course – which is accredited by Lewisham College – you will be taught all about the kinds of skills you need to be a mentor, have a chance to practice your skills off-site, and learn how to handle virtually any situation. Whilst you will have your own areas of expertise, you don’t need any experience in mentoring to be a mentor – all you need is confidence and to want to help others. If you’re reading this and thinking that being mentored is something that would interest you, then sign up. So far we have trained mentors who specialise in skillsets as far ranging as music to multimedia journalism, sports journalism to social media.
During this time of austerity and cutbacks NUJ Extra must continue the level of support needed by journalists and their dependents. In addition to helping a small number of long-standing beneficiaries, we also help members in tight spots, sometimes a result of accidents and sudden illnesses. We can help out short-term and provide advice and support to come up with a long-term solution: for instance, we once paid for an advert in a major UK national newspaper to help sell a remote Welsh cottage at a price much above the local estate agent’s suggestion, and we bought a freezer for a member with Crohn’s Disease so she could stock up on special dietary food for when she felt too ill to shop or cook. Now we need an army of NUJ members to sign up to give £5 a month. You can do this through direct debit or through Payroll Giving. By adding Gift Aid, your £5 would be worth £5.25 to us. It’s easy to do – just go to our website (www.nujextra.org.uk) or contact Lena Calvert on lenac@ nuj.org.uk and she will send you the appropriate forms and information.
NUJ Extra has been doing that little bit extra for 100 years. Please, we need you to do that little bit extra now.
To receive more information on the mentoring programme, please contact ColletteM@nuj.org.uk
theJournalist | 25
... g in th o n g in rt o p re sy u b e ’r e W Chris Proctor on the art of covering stories when very little is happening
onents of It is a paradox that the greatest exp recognised. t leas s one the tly our craft are frequen reporters are irs affa ent curr and c omi Political, econ mnist are not. It feted and admired, while gossip colu ol can write scho e is a travesty. A person from a stat bing today. bom e we’r try down the name of the coun about yarn ping grip a e It takes Oxbridge to mak wife. ne evening last month, Manchester his with nt aura rest a to g goin Wayne Rooney ty e City played CSKA Moscow in an emp writ to ired Conceive of the imagination requ s were flop pt stadium because the Russian host exce hing about rich people who don’t do anyt of t abou g being punished for the behaviour thin ing rest inte around being rich? The only e. ine their supporters in a previous gam exam you if over disc them is carpet, as you will the ground: the significantly Only 650 people were allowed into the homes of the mega-wealthy and and – s boy ball50 , sors spon 300 s, gate telly on the wall. 150 club dele poor. Both have a large flatscreen sts. nali d sofa facing it. The 150 jour Both have an expanse of over-size no brief for the een sofa and Let me say at the outset that I hold betw the distance pay you to watch only difference is lth thing is wea le restriction of jollies. If someone will who telly. That space is what the especially as it us that ince conv a football match, good on you. But, to job e’s eon about. Yet it is som der what our 150 and a ing inat was shown live on the telly, I won fasc ul mog a e mak s those ten yard did? s e. colleague worker tedious. It is quite a challeng le of our number It is clearly reasonable for a coup et revelation carp t grea this , tally den Inci s of fair play. It to turn up as independent observer has forged a great change aution for a prec ent prud a ed may even be consider in my attitude towards . itory in Putin terr match played behind closed doors money. Previously ian Russ ic the bion No one would consider it beyond unmaterialistic, I am now ed by a side he to massage the number of goals scor motivated to amass huge But does it take from favoured. That is part of his charm. wealth in order that I can sit so far times inflated cow to pay it 150 recorders to verify how many have er long the television that I no skin is kicked between two posts? any attention. either score a at political No serious debate is involved. You This is basically what reporters do eds exce om seld ber num the as And ’t. don you or the organised goal gatherings. They keep away from ices of an abacus in main four in a game, it requires the serv them entertainment. You won’t find the outcome with the all rather than an Einstein to assert are e halls because, although ther journalist to crowds and confidence. Even if you appoint one attendant features of activity, like be to seem ld still the end of at keep score for each side, there wou ing, walk ul osef purp gestures and this score-plusto off hat my take I 148. of lus n I worked a surp the week nothing has changed. Whe my fellow scribes of s sand thou the all to their and , with four to annoy me ing is happening in PR, reporters used at are ‘Wh , know who every day boldly go where noth to constant repetitious demand s. These are the them ng telli and report upon it in fulsome term busy was I n you going to do?’ whe from PA went master-craftsmen of our trade. what we were thinking. Alan Jones a s take It t. even an on rt repo can art a tinker’s cuss Any upst so far as to insist that no-one gave iction, enthusiasm conv with rt repo to d min ed only a story train what my employer thought: it was k of industrial Alan, I really of and sincerity on nothing at all. I thin air if something happened. I desp factories, who laining a exp , reporters, backdropped by smoking way half do. I’ve tried to meet him continuing’; court est any sugg to convey breathlessly that ‘talks are able been not scenario. OK, I have of technical job? The his ’s that ly reporters who recount another day sure but : such as ity actual activ called and the were s esse witn no n the rest whe ts, up e poin l mak lega least he can do, as a professional, is e correspondent t. abou is defendants didn’t show; the crim rting of it. That is what top class repo expect early who says that although the police Nothing. arrests, there aren’t any.
26 | theJournalist
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Together we can make a difference Ten reasons why you should be in the National Union of Journalists • Protection at work • C ommitment to improving the pay and conditions of journalists • Free legal advice service • T he leading trade union in the fight for employment rights • Expert advice on copyright issues • Skilled representation at all levels • Your own national press card • Strong health and safety policies • A champion in the fight for press and broadcasting freedom • Major provider of training for journalists
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Stay ahead of the game in a competitive industry Whether you want to learn to build a website, court reporting skills, turn data into a story, become a travel writer, publish a book or add PR skills to your freelance portfolio, the NUJ can help. The union’s programme of competitivelypriced training courses, tutored by experts in their fields, will improve your professional and technical skills.
“Keeping your journalism and technical skills up to date are vital in today’s fast-moving industry” Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary
Learn new professional skills: • Use your journalistic skills to add PR to your portfolio. • Get noticed by travel PRs and learn how to write engaging copy. • Put together a great feature that keeps editors returning for more. • Get started as a freelance and do deals that stick, study copyright law, finance and tax. Hone your technical expertise: • Build yourself a website that costs less than £50. • Curate and aggregate web content, add images, video and audio and master basic HTML coding. • Learn or brush up on your Teeline shorthand skills. • Become proficient in the desk-top publishing programme InDesign Courses are available to members and non-members.
Find out more about all NUJ training at www.nuj.org.uk/work/training/
The Journalist Magazine, December 2014 / January 2015 edition.