Friday, 1 January 2010
Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves says goodbye with a scathing attack on the NUJ
Marc Reeves, who has just left the editorship of the Birmingham Post, has written a blog on The Drum about what he will miss and what he won't about working in newspapers.
One thing he certainly won't miss is the NUJ. Reeves writes: "If there’s one group in the ‘regional press community’ that has done more than conservative management teams to hobble the industry, it’s the luddite, politically dominated, myopic, change-averse and frightened union (OK, I’ll say it – the NUJ).
"In their view, newspapers have but one purpose: to serve and employ journalists, and every role, structure, process and tradition is to be preserved at all costs. For people who make a living questioning received wisdom and campaigning for change in society, journalists are strangely protective when it comes to their own environment.
"The certainty that the union would oppose any change has only helped confirm change-averse managers in their own conservatism. They’d choose to fight the simple battles over job cuts, and avoid the more fundamental challenges of cultural and technological change.
"As unions and management conspired in their different ways to preserve the old world order, journalists lost their jobs in their thousands anyway. I’ve worked with some brilliant on-the-ground NUJ reps who cared passionately about their members’ interests, but who also understood the changing media world. "Unfortunately, they have been sadly let down by the sabre rattling and hysteria of their national masters. If I had an NUJ card, I’d follow Roy Greenslade and return it."
Reeves says he also won't miss the conservatism of newspaper managements and "the breathlessly keen PRs called Jemima".