The NUJ must keep to its core mission

Posted on 04/11/2009

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A PR and a member of the National Union of Journalists? Surely not. Heresy some will cry. Well, I am one.

Before I get on to the editor of the Journalist debate, perhaps I’d best set out why I joined.

Years ago the NUJ helped me in a contract negotiation and my membership has been kept up since then – afterall, who knows what will happen in the future. I also believe the NUJ’s code of conduct for PRs is one worth upholding and that it’s better to have a vibrant union movement than none at all.

I made my mind up who to vote for in the Journalist election before the NUJ Left debate came to a head and based on the following criteria:
– Do they grasp the absolute importance of new and social media to the Union?
– Did they have the vision to make Journalist a relevant and interesting publication for NUJ members?
– Did they acknowledge the breadth of the membership of NUJ from PRs to book editors?

In the statements I read as I cast my ballot, sadly, none of the candidates truly met all of the criteria – so it was always going to be a case of the least worst option.

But the NUJ Left debate has only confirmed my belief that, as the union for journalists (and wider media community), the NUJ must not compromise members’ political neutrality – regardless of how much we may believe in campaigns personally. There are other organisations to support which will help bring about the changes in social justice, peace and equality many members would like to see.

The NUJ’s fight should be on media freedom, workplace rights, salaries and the maintenance of a vibrant, investigative and challenging media community.

And from the PR side, it should concentrate on placing “the NUJ among those leading the fight for the highest professional and ethical standards in public relations practice” as it claims it will do in the NUJ working practices for press/public relations and information officers.

So, now I would add to my criteria that I also hope that the next editor of the Journalist creates a title which reflects these priorities.

Perhaps I should have waited to cast my vote!

Posted in: media, nuj