Time to vote on The Journalist’s future editor

It’s election time again and your opportunity to vote to decide who will be the editor of The Journalist for the next 5-year term of office.

Under the NUJ’s rules, the editor of the union magazine has editorial independence over its content and is elected by a ballot of all members, with voting rights under NUJ Rules.

Following the recent deadline for applications, nine candidates are standing in the election – Jane Anderson, Christine Buckley, Samantha Downes, Alanna Gallagher, Marc Jones, William McCarthy (known as Bill), David Nicholson, Matthew Salusbury (known as Matt) and Lynne Wallis.

Each candidate was given 100 words to answer five questions about how they would approach the editorship of the magazine if they win the election for the role.

Ballot papers go out on Wednesday 16th October 2019 and members have until Wednesday 6th November 2019 to return their votes.

Branches may decide to organise hustings where you will get a chance to speak to the candidates in person – check out the NUJ’s website for up to date information on any planned events.

Regardless of who you vote for, please do exercise your right to vote! This is your opportunity to decide the direction and priorities of your union magazine for the next 5 year term.

Jane Anderson

1. How can The Journalist better reflect the breadth and diversity of its membership? The larger branches and chapels, understandably, tend to dominate the news coverage in the magazine but we desperately need to hear more from smaller, local units. And I would like to see the work of our NUJ Councils reflected (black members’, disabled members’, equality, 60+, photographers’, Continental Europe, ethics). The issues they address affect all of our readers at different stages of their careers. Let’s offer more for NUJ student members – they are the union’s future. I would introduce a “My Kind of Day” column, with interviews from a broad and diverse range of members, not just NUJ “star names”. 2. What role do you see for The Journalist in promoting the industrial and campaigning work of the union as the voice of professional journalists in the UK and Ireland? The Annual Delegates’ Meeting remains a frankly unappealing mystery to most members. We need to pick up on the electrifying debates and how the resolutions passed impact on our future, as both individuals and part of a trade union. The Journalist needs to be the go-to place for comment on key media stories. Indeed, I believe the magazine’s website should be where these stories are broken or covered in depth. The hard work of the NUJ and its officers, often behind the scenes, must be shouted about. It is time for our campaigns to be promoted with vigour. 3. How would you enhance the digital and online presence of The Journalist, in line with DM Policy? We must increase our presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram –

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GIUSEPPE FRUSTERI/RADIO TIMES not with clickbait but with attention-grabbing headlines that will generate followers, responses and debates. As mentioned above, the online version of The Journalist needs to be more pro-active: we should be breaking stories and commenting on hot topics, such as the recent rulings on Naga Munchetty. We should be the trusted voice when it comes to media issues, not playing catch-up after the event. The NUJ offers podcasting masterclasses but where is our own? We definitely need a regular podcast. We have, after all, both the talent and the resources. 4. How can the The Journalist engage more effectively with members? I would set out a readership survey, asking members what they always turn to, avidly avoid, sometimes glance at or would like to see more of. Without wishing to come across all John Reith, the role of The Journalist is to inform, educate and entertain NUJ members. We are pretty good at the first two but, with the exception of Chris Proctor’s column, deficient at the latter. It’s a magazine with a purpose – but that should not exclude a lightness of touch where appropriate. Picking up a copy should be a guaranteed cover-to-cover read with content by members for members. 5. What is the role of The Journalist in communicating union policy and activities? Much of our policy is created at the ADMs. As a former MoC, I appreciate it is difficult to whip up interest in these gatherings. But this is where The Journalist steps in, shining light on the issues discussed, running transcripts or audio/visual online (NEC permitting). NUJ Councils should be encouraged to file brief reports of their meetings and campaigns across the year. We have to be transparent rather than come across as a closed cabal. If The Journalist is, as I suspect, the main contact for many members, then let us ensure it embodies the values of the NUJ.

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