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NUJ Active Friday 31 May

NUJ news

On Friday this week the union welcomed the decision by the High Court in Belfast to quash the warrants for the arrest of union members Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey. In his introduction in court, the Chief Justice said the two journalists were acting in "nothing other than a perfectly appropriately way in doing what the NUJ required of them, which was to protect their sources." Read the NUJ reaction online.

In London this week the union celebrated 30 years of work to improve ethnic diversity in newsrooms at the annual George Viner Memorial Fund ceremony. This year’s scholars were presented with certificates as they joined the scores of black and ethnic minority journalists helped by the fund at the outset of their careers. Read about the event on the NUJ website

The winner of the 2019 NUJ Stephen White award for best communication and reporting of science in a non-science context was Clive Cookson. Clive has been a member of the union for more than 40 years and he is the Science Editor of the Financial Times. Read about the award on the NUJ website.

Last week NUJ representatives travelled to Washington DC to call for US media giant Gannett and its shareholders to consider the views of its 800 employees at Newsquest in the UK. Find out more about the NUJ's Newsquest campaign via the website.

NUJ delegates at the TUC disabled workers' conference last week in Bournemouth condemned the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for running a misleading PR campaign about Universal Credit. Union reps were heartened to see support for NUJ members who face undue pressure from editors and managers to breach the union's guidance on ethical reporting and content creation. Find out more via the NUJ website.

NUJ members at Penguin and Random House in the UK have offered their support and solidarity to Australian colleagues trying to organise and following a comment piece about low pay in the book industry published by The Guardian.

The NUJ called on the United Nations and global community to roundly condemn the actions of the authorities in Syria who targeted UK journalists working for Sky News. Alex Crawford and her team were attacked with tank shells during the bombardment of Idlib last week.

In reaction to the news that Julian Assange has been charged with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified information through WikiLeaks, the union said this was the latest unacceptable act from the Trump administration who were determined to treat journalists as enemies of the people.

A decision by an Irish high court judge appears to have undermined the presumption of disclosure, considered central to any effective freedom of information legislation. In a comment piece for the NUJ website, ethics council rep Michael Foley highlights the potential ramifications.

NUJ job

The NUJ has a vacancy for a National Organiser in the broadcasting sector. This is a 12-month, fixed-term contract, based at the NUJ's head office in London. The role will be focused on recruitment and organising initiatives, collective bargaining and personal casework. The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Thursday 6 June. Find out more on the NUJ website.


Freelance workers face many challenges - everything from getting the pitch right to getting paid, working alone to managing accounts and tax returns. NUJ Brighton's Freelance Forum by the Sea is a one-day event to support journalists, writers, broadcasters, bloggers, podcasters, designers and photographers in successful pitching, tax and accounting, tackling loneliness and getting motivated. You'll hear from successful freelance journalists and other media professionals who've carved out solo careers. There'll also be plenty of opportunities to network with both speakers and fellow freelancers. The event takes place on Saturday 8 June in Brighton, more details are available online.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism have announced the details of their summer conference, the UK’s only journalism training event with an emphasis on teaching investigative skills. The event offers a mixture of talks, demos and hands-on classes which are designed to equip journalists with up-to-date investigative methods and tools. The conference will be held at Goldsmiths College in London on 4–6 July. Find out more about the event and book your place via the CIJ website.

The journalism department at City University have organised a public talk on Adverse Events: Vaccines and the Media. The event will take place on Wednesday 26 June and will look at the role of the internet and social media in fuelling vaccine hesitancy and the on-going outbreaks of measles in Europe and North America. The event will also discuss how journalists should distinguish pseudo-scientific claims about vaccines from legitimate concerns about their safety and efficacy, while avoiding giving a platform to anti-vaxxers. To find out more about the event and to register your interest please visit the university's website.

Media ownership

Britain has one of the most concentrated media environments in the world. Just three companies dominate 83 per cent of national newspaper circulation; five companies account for 80 per cent of national newspaper newsbrand reach; five companies command 80 per cent of local newspaper titles; and two companies own nearly half of all commercial analogue radio stations. The Media Reform Coalition have published their latest report Who owns the UK media? If you would like to order a copy of the report to be sent to you by post or would like to request a speaker for a chapel or branch meeting then please email:

Are you a domestic extremist?

The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) has launched a new campaign demanding the police stop categorising campaigning and protest activities as 'extremism'. The category "domestic extremist" has been used by the police to smear journalists and campaigners. There are real and serious consequences for people categorised in this way. A 'domestic extremism' label may result in intrusive levels of police surveillance and may restrict employment, travel, and other aspects of day-to-day life. In 2014 six NUJ members discovered their lawful journalistic and trade union activities were monitored and recorded by the Metropolitan Police. They launched legal action against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Home Secretary. The case is ongoing and you can find out about Netpol's new campaign online.

Returning to work

If you’ve taken a career break and want to get back to doing what you really love, ITV’s Career Returners Programme could be just what you need. Right now, ITV is partnering with Women Returners to offer experienced and talented professionals the opportunity to return to the career they love after an extended break. So if you’ve been spending time with family, been travelling, or have taken an extended break for any other reason, the ITV Career Returners Programme could be for you. They want to hear from experienced and highly motivated professionals who have taken a career break of 18 months or more. The closing date for applications is Sunday 2 June. More details about the scheme are available online.

Call for papers

The print media have played a significant role in the social and cultural life of every society and while they may not tell us what to think on any issue, they undoubtedly shape the environment in which we do that thinking. Throughout history the press has helped to shape how readers related to their world, sometimes by stressing commonalities in terms of national identity building, and other times by highlighting and/or stressing divisions in society. The Periodical History Forum of Ireland has called for papers examining the press and divided societies. The focus of their conference this year is how the print media have reported, represented, alleviated or perpetuated division in societies. Papers are not required to specifically address Ireland and may address any historical period. To submit a proposal please email an abstract of no more than 250 words and a 100 word biographical note to Ray Burke by Friday 7 June:

The Irish Journalist

The NUJ's Irish executive council has produced a special 28-page online edition of The Irish Journalist marking the murder of Lyra McKee. The Irish Journalist is edited on a volunteer basis by Carolyn Farrar with Brendan Carroll as production editor. Access the latest edition online.

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