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H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H Print is our strongest link

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As honorary general treasurer during one of the NUJ’s previous bouts of financial difficulty, I know from experience that any attempt to save money generates opposition. Savings are sometimes essential, but even so the possibility of abandoning the print version of The Journalist worries me. The fact that The Journalist has always arrived by post in members’

homes is, I believe, as important as the content of the magazine. No one has ever had to remember to go to the NUJ website looking for it, or rely on noticing a digital version alongside the flow of online marketing material which, at busy times, is often just glanced at or ignored. A printed copy of The Journalist sent to your home is the closest the NUJ can get to the personal touch. It is a link between the union and each member. The union is not just an insurance company where customers pay their

premiums and then, unless they run into trouble and need to make a claim, may not even remember the name of the insurer. Part of the NUJ’s strength relies on everyone, including those who never become activists, regarding their membership and the work of the union as a bit more significant than that. The cost of printing and distributing individually addressed copies of

The Journalist is an investment in reinforcing every member’s own connection with the NUJ. For the money, the union gets a print magazine which, because it does not have to compete with the ceaseless pressure for people’s time from other online material, stands a chance of being more thoroughly read. My greatest worry is that the disappearance of the printed magazine

would leave those members who are already least involved with the union feeling even more distanced from it. Alan Pike Life member and former national executive council member


NUJ should show it still has faith in print media… I was disappointed to read that The Journalist is to remain a digital- only publication for the time being (news, December). First, the publication was reduced

from monthly to bi-monthly frequency, and now you have removed what for many members will be their only tangible communication with the NUJ. As it happens, I earn the bulk of my

income writing for a website. Yet I simply don’t find reading from a screen a relaxing experience, particularly when I’m stuck in front of one all day writing. I skim quickly through the PDF of The Journalist, whereas I used to

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spend several tea breaks and lunches reading the printed magazine. That doesn’t bode well for advertisers, who I note you need more of. It’s understandable the union must

make savings in the current climate. But perhaps the NUJ could take a lead from another association I belong to. It asks members to opt in for print; otherwise, they get digital. That saves some costs and keeps everyone happy. Reinstating the printed edition would

also be a vote of confidence for members still making their living from print. If the union can’t demonstrate its faith in such a medium, who can? Owen Ralph Manchester

… an ulterior motive is suspected… I am in some difficulty to work out the status of The Journalist. The last delegate meeting ruled that it should appear in print six times a year. It seems that this has already been discontinued – if members were informed, I certainly didn’t get the email. To access The Journalist, we now have

to go to the NUJ website and see whether a new edition is displayed down at the bottom of the home page. I wonder how many NUJ members

regularly search the union’s website – a union that was interested in advertising its services to members would email

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the membership every time a new issue of the online Journalist is published. To increase the confusion, there are

two regular emails – NUJ Branch having joined NUJ Informed – containing much that would often have appeared in The Journalist. Are these being developed as replacements? Certainly, they are both sent out regularly – no need to check the website for them. It is almost as if the upper reaches of the union wish to get rid of The Journalist, so that a small number of people could control exactly what information leaves the building. I recall being a delegate at an ADM – Whitley Bay, I think – where a passionate debate ended with a motion endorsing the direct election of the editor of the Journalist to ensure an independent channel of information for members and a forum for their views. I assume that the excuse for ending

print publication is cost at a time when the NUJ is saving enormous amounts of money because people don’t have to travel to attend meetings. In lockdown, where chapel members as well as freelances are often working in isolation, The Journalist is an important connection with the union. Perhaps the union’s laudable efforts

to help save threatened publications could start with its own. Tom Lynch Edinburgh Freelance Branch

… a unique snapshot in the history of words is lost… I look forward to the return of The Journalist in print soon. When Julia Bell writes in her book Radical Attention about being “zombified by the machine” and the trap of “doomscrolling” she is alerting us to the need for choices in how we engage with the world. Print still offers a snapshot of events and, as Sven Birkerts suggests in the online Atlantic Monthly Unbound: “A word on the page at some level partakes of – participates in – the whole history of words on pages, plays


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