YourSay... ç inviting letters, comments, tweets

Please keep comments to 200 words maximum

H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H Investigative victory

Anton McCabe’s article in the last issue of The Journalist described how Rodney Edwards of Enniskillen-based weekly The Impartial Reporter exposed repeated failures by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to arrest paedophiles (Police action after abuse reports, July/August). As a result, the truth has come out and the victims are getting support. This is a classic example of a campaigning local paper

exposing injustice and holding a public body to account then mobilising public opinion to force the police to investigate historic crimes and admit past failures. This mirrors the North Yorks Enquirer’s (NYE) experience

following its exposure of the Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli paedophile ring in Scarborough, and the refusal of North Yorkshire Police to investigate it. Even now, the chief constable will not examine information the NYE has on historic cases and has withdrawn all contact with NYE journalists. Both cases illustrate the importance of local media.

Because of its closeness to the local community and approachability, local news outlets are extremely effective in investigating crime and public bodies. It is a very great shame that so many local titles have disappeared, with the resultant loss of scrutiny of local issues. Tim Hicks North Yorks Enquirer


How could NUJ afford to send seven on Tunis trip? It was illuminating to hear about the tight budget that The Journalist’s editor works under for each issue (Letters, July/August) and the constraints this imposes on editorial content. I was troubled, therefore, to read in

the London Freelance bulletin that the NUJ sent no fewer than seven delegates to the World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Tunis (Together in Tunis, Freelance, July). They were among “the 245 delegates representing 187 unions and associations around the globe”, which works out at an average of just over 1.3 delegates per union. Clearly, it’s important that the NUJ is

represented at such a gathering – but sending seven people to a four-day event with all the costs that involves

24 | theJournalist

looks like an extravagance the union cannot afford. I would be interested to hear a justification for this decision. Alexander Garrett London Freelance Branch

The NUJ’s international solidarity work and involvement in the IFJ are important parts of its work. IFJ congress meets every three years and the NUJ’s delegation, which covers the UK and Ireland, is elected by our delegate meeting and includes the general and assistant general secretary. Costs were kept low thanks to discounts on airfares and hotels negotiated by our sister union. The NUJ sends delegates to represent us on other important work – including the TUC, ICTU, EFJ and TUC equality conferences.

Michelle Stanistreet NUJ general secretary

Thanks for the practical help in print and in class I’m writing to say how much I enjoyed the July/August issue of The Journalist – I really appreciate the increased focus on practical articles and case studies, such as the features on writing for publications outside the UK and on transcription services. Even the frequent casual references to

shorter word counts, reduced fees and lack of responses from editors to pitches are useful in reminding me I’m not alone in my experiences. Other people’s stories of how persistence paid off in the end inspire me to keep going in search of commissions. A recent NUJ Wales one-day course on business skills for freelances has helped me streamline my record- keeping and encouraged me to chase late payments – it’s still a ridiculously

Email to: Post to: The Journalist 72 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NB Tweet to: @mschrisbuckley

time-consuming task, but the course has encouraged me to do it with more confidence. Thank you, NUJ! Clare Stevens Powys

How far is too far away to work on a local paper? This is a serious question. I work on two weeklies in Gloucestershire where the editors have questioned where I live. I live only an hour’s drive from both. However, the first editor said to me, “I

would never have employed you if you lived so far away” (35 miles) and the other is now saying, “I want you to live local and go to pubs to pick up stories”. The latter actually lives 30 minutes

away from the office himself – in a different country. We are in Lydney on the border of England and Wales. My trip from my home in Trowbridge in Wiltshire takes, at worst, an hour and 10 minutes and is taken only on the quieter days of Weds-Friday. Monday and Tuesday – press days – are spent 40 minutes away in Newport in Gwent. My editor asked me several months ago whether I was willing to buy a house near the office. I said “maybe”. I got the job. Now he is insisting I get a place nearer Lydney, “so you can go to the pub and get nuggets of stories”. Sorry but this is nuts! People

commuting to London take longer than an hour to get to work and so do others across the country. Two editors think travelling an hour to work makes you unfit to do the job, even though I have been commended twice by the management of both companies for my work and commitment. Anyone else had similar issues? Gary Baker Gloucestershire branch

We’re not all going on a summer holiday “But if you’re freelance, while you’re abroad enjoying a break from work…”(Leader, July/August). Eh? I haven’t had a holiday in eight years, which is (coincidentally?) the


£30 prize


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36