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NUJ commends podcast which "covers queer culture with a Scouse voice"

5 July 2018

The NUJ commended two of its members and a major regional publisher at this week’s TUC LGBT conference in London.

The union publicised the work of Liverpool Echo journalists and NUJ members Emilia Bona and Josh Parry for their weekly Queer Liverpool podcast – and the Reach group (formerly Trinity Mirror) for backing the initiative with time and resources.

The first edition was recorded in May and since then they have discussed topics ranging from coming out to being disabled and gay. Emilia and Josh described their podcast as “covering queer culture with a distinctly Scouse voice”.

Another podcast, in conjunction with a Liverpool FC supporters group and The Anfield Wrap, a podcast and fanzine, addressed the topic of premier league footballers remaining closeted. The two Liverpool Echo journalists said they were proud the company had put its name to it. Emilia said:

“The initial response has been overwhelmingly positive and people seem genuinely excited about the podcast. A lot of people have commented on how pleased they are their regional newspaper is backing a podcast that celebrates our city’s diversity.”

NUJ LGBT conference delegate Adam Christie said:

“The appearance of the podcast and the company’s backing indicate that attitudes towards LGBT+ issues and sexuality in the mainstream media are not entirely negative. When unions are so often challenging newspaper executives, it makes a pleasant and refreshing change to be able to welcome such initiatives and praise them.
“The NUJ members at the conference are calling on the TUC, its LGBT+ committee and affiliated unions to encourage members to support the podcast and use similar initiatives from journalists and media workers which cover LGBT+ life positively and constructively.
“Taking part provides the NUJ with an opportunity to remind members of other unions about our Code of Conduct and the determined efforts NUJ members make every day to make sure our work respects high ethical standards."

The two-day TUC LGBT+ conference took place at Congress House in London before Saturday's Pride in London celebrations.

The vital role of the media in tacking homophobia and transphobia was stressed at the conference. Séamus Dooley, assistant general secretary, told delegates that the NUJ is always willing to co-operate with sister unions in promoting high standards of journalism and enforcement of the NUJ Code of Conduct.

A Prospect motion calling for unions to engage with employers on activities to enhance the lives of LGBT+ workers contained a generalised criticism of “some sections of the media” hostile to the campaign to promote diversity in the workplace. Moving an NUJ amendment Séamus reminded delegates that the term “the media” was all encompassing. He urged unions to recognise that not all media organisations were the same and journalists frequently had no influence on editorial policy. The NUJ has, he said, a proud record on promoting equality and would continue to defend the promotion professional standards.

The union was  also represented at the conference by Guy Thornton and Natasha Morris, legal and equality officer. Guy spoke to a motion about violence in the workplace, saying all should be able to feel safe in the workplace. He also took part in a debate about Brexit, says that as a journalist based in the Netherlands, he felt strongly about the impact of Brexit and the wide-reaching issues this raised for many journalist members.

The TUC  said it supported the NUJ local news matters campaign to give a voice to LGBT+ in the local community by promoting proper investment in quality local journalism.

Conference agreed that a motion supporting  gender self declaration would go forward to Congress. PCS delegate Saorsa-Amatheia Tweedale criticised the Morning Star for its coverage of trans issues.

Tags: , equality, lgbt+, tuc, tuc LGBT+ conference, liverpool echo, podcast, queer liverpool, anfield wrap, reach, trinity mirror, pfa, feu, Federation of Entertainment Unions, homophobia, transphobia, code of conduct