Gary Younge gives Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture

  • 16 Nov 2022

NUJ members gathered in London to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the lecture.

On 14 November, Gary Younge, the award-winning journalist and author, delivered the first in-person Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture since 2019. Hosted by the NUJ and its Black Members' Council, the event was a resounding success recognising the pioneering journalist and her contribution to society.

Tony Adams, NUJ Black Members' Council vice chair, welcomed attendees and reminded the audience of Jones’ work with activist organisations campaigning against racist immigration policies, discrimination in the workplace and housing injustices.

This year’s lecture was titled "Who Let The Dogs Out? What racism tells us about news values and what the news doesn't tell us about Black people."

Addressing attendees, Younge praised Jones' role in making space for others. He said: “There has to be an understanding in a time when there are more opportunities now for Black journalists than there ever has been, of a responsibility to keep that space open and to make more space. Because none of us would be here without that space.”

Considering the lecture’s title, he said:

“There is value at times in asking why the dogs keep biting people. Who owns these dogs? And why do the same people keep getting bitten.”

Younge referenced his 2016 book “Another Day in the Death of America” and a series he was part of at the Guardian in 2017, “Beyond the blade”. He said: “Being a journalist, I wanted to start with the facts. Or rather the things that we think we know."

“The question of who counts and who is counted is not simply a matter of numbers, it’s about power. Collecting information particularly about people, demands both the authority to gather the data and the capacity to keep and transmit it. Those who have both the authority and the capacity need to feel that those they are keeping tabs on matter.”

Alex Pascall OBE chaired the lecture and reflected on his journey into journalism and his involvement in the trade union movement.

“I’ve been writing from the day I hit the streets of London and keeping it in an archive. It’s going to come out, it’s time. I’m 86 in a few days’ time and believe you me, I intend to keep going.”

He recognised Jim Boumelha, NUJ policy committee chair and member of the BMC, for his contribution and support over several years to the council.

Boumelha noted Lionel Morrison’s history with the BMC and the union as its first president, while thanking attendees who had made the journey to mark the special anniversary event. Commenting on the fight against racism, he stated it was “a constant struggle” and people engaged in the fight, knew “there is a constant need to transmit the baton to someone else.”

A video recording of the event will be available on the NUJ campaigns YouTube page and website soon.

Attendees at the 2022 Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture

Alex Pascall OBE, Tony Adams, Gary Younge, Jim Boumelha


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