Thursday 25 June 2009

NUJ on Brum: Scaremongering or just doing what any journalist would do?

A post on the The Journalism Hub, a blog launched this month by the people behind HoldtheFrontPag, asks "was the NUJ guilty of scaremongering when it claimed yesterday to have seen internal Trinity Mirror documents which could mean the closure of eight weeklies in the Midlands and a change in frequency for the Birmingham Post?
HTFP publisher Paul Linford says: "A number of journalists' jobs will inevitably be lost, and there is an argument for saying that the NUJ should have kept quiet about this until the people affected had been informed in the usual way."
Paul says the story on HTFP, based on the union's claims, "generated an interesting debate in the comments section. While most readers thought the NUJ was simply doing its job, a significant minority thought the union had acted irresponsibly, with one accusing it of having "put the fear of God up people."
It seem so me that journalists should be the last to complain if their newspapers are the subjects of leaks and exclusive stories.
I can't imagine any reporter on the Birmingham Post or Mail sitting on a story about a major manufacturer in the Midlands proposing to shut eight factories in Birmingham because the workers hadn't been told anything.
Also scaremongering suggests the story is untrue. If so, why didn't Trinity just categorically deny it?


Rich Simcox said...

Bang on, Jon

Paul Linford said...

You've quoted us slightly selectively there Jon. Our piece on The Journalism Hub was merely posing the question rather than attempting to give a definitive answer and highlighting a debate that was already taking place in our comments section.

Jon Slattery said...

Sorry Paul,
I didn't mean to shoot the messenger.
I think it is an interesting debate - especially for journalists who can act strangely when they are in the news rather than reporting it.