Wednesday 30 September 2009

NUJ confirms Journalist shortlist

The NUJ today confirmed the eight shortlisted candidates who will stand in a ballot to succeed Tim Gopsill as editor of the Journalist.
They are Rich Simcox, who edits Activate magazine for the Public and Commercial Services union; Michael Cross, a freelance who has written for the Guardian and has worked for the New Scientist and the Independent; Steven Usher, Daily Star FoC; Frank Morgan, Daily Record; Christine Buckley, ex-Times; Mark Watts, freelance, FoI campaigner and investigative journalist; Tim Arnold, freelance with broadcasting experience; Stephen David Tilly, Trinity Mirror content editor.
The ballot starts on 6 of October and lasts a month. All candidates have been invited to a hustings meeting to take place between 7pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday 7 October, at the NUJ’s headquarters, 308, Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.


Fiona O'Cleirigh said...

If the speed with which the candidates have supplied details on themselves is any indication of editorial zeal, then it looks like a race between Richard Simcox, Michael Cross and Mark Watts. And out of those three, I think I'd have to choose Mark. He appears to have the most varied, and solid, journalistic experience in both newspapers and television.

Bill Goodwin said...

There are three strong candidates. I have worked with Mark Watts over the years and agree with Fiona - he has the most sold and varied background in newspapers and television.He did great work exposing the dark arts of journalism at Sunday Business and in his book on Benjy "the Binman" Pell. He is also one of the most organised people I know.If he brings these investigative skills to the journalist he'd do a great job.

Anonymous said...

How does working on the telly equip you to edit a trade union magazine?
Richard Simcox is the one with the right journalistic and trade union experience.

Donnacha DeLong said...

I gotta agree with Anonymous, no offense to the other candidates, but Rich is a strong union activist with a lot of experience doing trade union communications on the web and in print. Just being a good journalist isn't enough for this role, we need someone with strong commissioning experience who can connect with a wide range of activists in the union. Rich is the right guy for the job.

Tony Collins said...

I agree with Bill Goodwin and recommend Mark Watts. [Tony Collins, Computer Weekly]

Fiona O'Cleirigh said...

'Working on the telly' is quite good experience if a sizeable portion of your readership also works on the telly and would like to be represented. But producing visually coherent, accurate and entertaining news programmes on a daily basis would also suggest editorial skill, no?

In Mark's case, this merely backs up a rock solid reporting background on national newspapers - and, as it happens, considerable commissioning experience from his time as the chief investigative reporter on Sunday Business. Even Mark couldn't have written the whole lot himself.

Fiona O'Cleirigh said...

By the way, Mark's going to be on BBC News tonight, doing the newspaper review slot. It's normally on at around 11.20pm.

Tim Lezard said...

If being a good journalist was all that was required, it would be a tough call between these candidates.

However, I believe:

i) being a good print or broadcast journalist doesn't means you'll automatically be a good editor. Neither does it mean you understand how best to use new media for campaigning

ii) this post is as much about campaigning for our members and for the future of the industry as it is about providing a decent read for our members.

That's why I'm backing Rich Simcox. He ticks both these boxes, combining the necessary journalistic skills with his campaigning experience.

Unknown said...

You are right Tim. Mark Watts has plenty of editing and commissioning experience at Sunday Business and on the Express. He has also plenty of experience of new media - he is a consultant on a major web publishing project, and edits a web site devoted to Freedom of Information.

He has put up some more details about his campaign at

kevin cahill fbcs said...

From Kevin Cahill

The Journalist ought to be both the flagship for investigative journalism and the flagship for the NUJ. The assault on journalism over the past two decades has virtually extinguished investigative journalism in the UK. Yet investigative journalism was the dream that made most of reporters. There are some strong candidates on the slate, but by some distance Mark Watts has more of the key qualifications than any other candidate. And the fact that he has a public face in the media is actually extremely important to the future credibility of the Journalist. Obscurity in this day and age is a positive negative (!)Whoever gets the job has to be able to represent the magazine and the Union on TV and in public. And Mark has a solid union record and profile.