Wednesday 9 September 2009

New media journalists think NUJ 'out of date'

A motion put forward by the NUJ's Magazine Branch for the forthcoming Annual Delegate Meeting calls for the union to tackle the problem of being seen as "out of date" by new media journalists.
The mag branch motion states: "This ADM notes that:
1) Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging are irrevocably changing the face of journalism.
2) That many of this new wave of journalists believe the NUJ's attitude towards them is out of date.
This ADM instructs the NEC to address this problem by working with the blogging community and Twitteratti to bridge this gap and create a framework that embraces the NUJ's journalistic principles while maintaining the press freedom enjoyed by bloggers and twitterers."


Anonymous said...

For a look back at the old days:
an old newspaper advertisment exists
aimed at students to become reporters. Done around 1940 it shows
how newspaper work inside, what a
reporter does, where he begins, etc.
It's pretty much like an old movie,
and has that fascinating tranquil
quality (and hopefully fits in to
the article somehow).

Donnacha DeLong said...

Quick plug - if anyone reading this wants to engage with the union on this issue, the new media sector runs a discussion list:

There's also the NUJ group on Facebook:

Martin Cloake said...

There are certainly some odd attitudes in parts of the NUJ, as there are in most groups of people, but this is all a bit vague. Are social media platforms changing just journalism or are they changing the way we communicate? The two things are not the same. How is "the blogging community" to be defined? And if we must use the term "Twitteratti", we need to define that too. Do bloggers and twitterers really "enjoy press freedom" or simply the freedom to comment?
There is work to be done, but too often when people say "the NUJ doesn't understand new media" what they really mean is "the NUJ doesn't agree with my view of new media". I've seen this debate so many times over the years.
It may be interesting to note that many of the student journalists I teach ask for more sessions on basic journalistic principles and rather less name-checking of new communication platforms.

Russell said...

The NUJ freelance supplement is good for those of us unlikely to step into traditional jobs (I have a niche through working in law, rather than a journo qualification). However, the days of traditional journo positions is currently on the wane - witness at least one national paper being written largely by interns - and the concept of "unions" has been taking a bashing for decades now. I'm proud to be a NUJ member, but agree it needs an update. National Confederation of Journalists anyone?

Donnacha DeLong said...

You might want to read this: before you scrap the idea of unions in the media entirely. The new media sector of the NUJ is the growing at an amazing rate and, given that we're going to launch a major recruitment campaign in the sector in the new year, likely to grow even faster next year. There might be fewer journalists in traditional publishing, but there are lots of them outside the traditional sectors just waiting for the NUJ.

Jon Slattery said...

Thanks for the posts everyone. The issue of the NUJ being "out of touch" with new media keeps resurfacing.
There is is one thing the union is doing right. I think the NUJ's new media training courses are excellent. I started this blog after doing the introduction to new media, which was far cheaper than anything being offered by private companies.
But, I think there is a problem building a union culture among the fragmented editorial staff working in new media.
When I first joined a newspaper the FoC took me out for a beer and explained the benefits of joining the union. Most of my colleagues were in the NUJ.
Building a chapel from scratch is very difficult. But, judging by the number of hits this post got, helped by a mention on, there is a lot of interest. It deserves a good debate at ADM.