NUJ Students: Lighting fires at ADM 2006

02 April 2006

Well done!

Slightly belated but well-intentioned 'well done' from me to all of you for your efforts last weekend blogging the NUJ's 2006 ADM.

I know many of you hadn't written for a blog before or covered any event like this, so I'm sure it was quite an eye-opener...

You can keep posting to this blog as often as you want, and hopefully a new group of student members can do the same thing next year. See you at ADM 2007!

Caption competition...

The only prize is your own amusement.

(That's Bob Smith and outgoing union president Tim Lezard, by the way...)

Bob Smith & Tim Lezard

26 March 2006

Right - I'm off

The last, but not the final comment on the blog from me...

I'm off for an early train; back to school, assignments, deadlines, searching for work placements - all the regular student stuff.

It has been a very interesting and fulfilling experiment for me and I hope we all will keep in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you - valclown@yahoo.co.uk.

25 March 2006

Police the Police

"You look like a terrorist," he said.

This was the statement made in response to a question I posed to a policeman last summer. Immediately following last Summer's attacks on the capital, the Metropolitan Police imposed a militaristic-style suppression of movement within London. I vividly remember the attacks on the city (I was working in an office on Liverpool Street) and some images and sounds will stay with me for the rest of my life. However, I will also remember being stopped six times in two weeks, searched six times in two weeks, swabbed, pushed around and finally told that "you look like a terrorist".

So how does this abuse of power relate to the NUJ and this conference?

Motion 55 "Police confiscation of material" raises issues relating to the relationship between the press and the police.

Firstly, it puts journalists in a weaker position to respond to dramatic events. Secondly, it puts journalists at personal risk if they refuse. And finally it undermines the ability to expose abuses of power by this organisation.

I fully endorse the speaker's suggestion to delete all unpublished material to pre-emptively remove it from the potential of being seized. Yet I would like to suggest, if not implore journalists to publish as much material on protests and activism to counterpoise the action of the police force.

After hearing that particular comment from a police officer I turned and said to him: "You look like a paedophile". Needless to say he did not appreciate my racial profiling, but a system that does not respect its own laws does not deserve our respect or support.

[If anybody wants to listen to the track from last night . . .http://www.ourmedia.org/node/193286]

The implications of false ID

The British Government's plan to introduce the ID card system has raised more than a few eyebrows.

To date, my belief was that its sole purpose was to fight terrorism. It turns out that there is more to the ID card system; your every move will be monitored, your information can easily be accessed by web hackers and to make matters worse, someone else can take on your identity. It sounds like Hollywood plot.

It could cost as much as £350 to get an ID card and if you refuse to participate, you could be fined up to £1000. Journalists are afraid that they will not be able to do their work without been monitored and that the freedom of speech that has been collectively fought for and protected for years will be out the window.

While this issue was being debated, Bristol member Tony Gosling (sporting a 'stop-the-war' t-shirt) was distributing mock-ups of Tony Blair's ID card. The text stood out: his reference number 91177, presumably standing for the World Trade Centre attacks and the London bombings.

Iraq: More dead journalists than UK soldiers

ADM debate often covers political issues, and the invasion of Iraq took centre stage this afternoon. According to the Yorkshire delegate who spoke on this issue: "It is not only killing our people; it's corroding our ability to report the circumstances in which our people are dying".

It was shocking to learn about the number of civilians who have lost their lives since the invasion of Iraq three years ago. But equally shocking was the claim that more journalists have been killed in Iraq than British soldiers.

It’s time to question what’s at stake. There has been so much debate and public protest about the war; I don't know what to believe any more. Does anyone still remember the purpose of the war in the first place?

Learning at ADM

The decision to come to this year's ADM meeting was so I could see things for myself on a first-hand basis. In previous years, having read emails sent out by the NUJ and wondering what ADM was all about, I really wasn't sure on what to expect or what the experience would be all about.

It has been an interesting experience, although travelling down was hectic because I had so much luggage. From now on, I've decided, I'm going to travel light and avoid taking up all the storage space on the train.

At the student ADM there were lessons to be learnt. The biggest lesson was that, as a student Journalist, whatever work you do, learn to get confirmation about the payment you are getting. You might not necessarily sign a contract, because sometimes that might be a laborious process and most likely put an editor off. An email confirmation will do the trick and you can always print out a paper version.

Journalism skills are transferable and whatever you start with is not necessarily where you end up. It seems sensible to be versatile and flexible because the industry is changing rapidly.

Attending the main conference has had more of a revelatory effect on me. Firstly, it felt like I was at the House of Parliament but without the heckling (mostly).

There are so many activities going on at the same time that it's amazing anyone is able to focus on the speaker. But somehow they do manage to vote on motions raised by delegates.

The process of getting a motion passed is not dissimilar to passing a bill in Parliament. It is read, someone seconds it, amendments are sometimes added and then conference votes by raising hands. If delegates vote for the motion it is 'carried, and if they vote against it is 'failed'.

Seeing the number of Journalists at this conference has re-enforced for me how competitive the industry is. We really are swimming with sharks. We need a Journalism survival plan!

I am at the apprentice stage, learning what is required to become a Journalist worth her salt. I already know that being a Journalist is hard work; you must define your worth for yourself and others so you can be reckoned with. I don't know it all yet, but what I have learnt in the last three days will help me take the next steps in my career.

Recommended conference reading

Sitting at the back of the conference hall is wonderful, preferably in the righthand corner, and I'd recommend it as a great place to get a view on all the extra-textual reading going on.

If you lose the thread in the agenda, don't look around for the page number because everyone is on a different page. Some have a flicking rhythm going on with their yellow booklet, others are reading different documents altogether.

One reading list from this weekend: the agenda, certainly interesting and accessible, but one may not be reading it in the ADM (when in the bathroom is good and at other moments of idleness); the most-excellent 'Where Have All the Good Times Gone? The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry' by Louis Barfe; filched copies of The Guardian; leaflets; stickers and, of course, the back of the Springbourne bottle (sparkling).

United against fascism

Xenophobia, a 'new form of racism', is one of the greater and most of-the-moment concerns facing the media and the instituion of the press.

A quick listen to the motions brought to the ADM since Friday has revealed how important it is to the members of the NUJ to stonewall the progress of organisations such as the BNP and limit the influence of fascism in the media in general.

On Friday we heard how the NUJ is able to expel fascists from the union. Today, ethics motion 33 proposes a conscience clause into members' contracts which protects them from being penalised for not wishing to promote xenophobic or racist material.

The Leeds branch called for the NUJ to bridge the gap between anti-fascist organisations that the NUJ supports. Nottingham highlighted the need for the president and members to lobby media outlets against the growing opportunities for the BNP specifically to broadcast their views. In short, the NUJ is united in its stance against racism.

A story I heard late in the bar last night has been running around in my head since. A student member from Leeds talked about the BNP's foothold in some areas of his university paper. In central London too, my experience is that student unions are a great place for the 'passionate' racist to break through student apathy and gain sympathy.

Public feeling is sensitive; perhaps Britain's cities are just vulnerable as the rural areas and smaller towns where the BNP target people's fears of immigration and terrorism. We can't let the BNP's influence sneak into our usually liberal, young and diverse student communities.

This time last week, I didn't know what a blog was

The BBC employs close to 4000 people to produce news online. The emergence of new media is having a major effect on journalism, and blogging is the latest new kid on the block.

And even last week I was asking what a blog was; it was the first time I'd heard about blogging.

For many people, blogs are an online diary or a personal log of thoughts, published on the web. Blogging is fast becoming a powerful method of reaching millions of people without the major challenges of printing and distributing a printed publication. The blog format has also been adopted by major newspapers like The Guardian - who sent one of its own reporters to ADM to cover the conference on its Organ Grinder media blog.

The Guardian is not alone. Catching up with the trend, Channel 4 has also launched a new website called 121 aimed at facilitating dialogue between people in the UK and in other countries. Channel 4 views it as: "A public pen pal session written in blog format".

Covering events at this year's ADM has been a learning process to get myself acquainted with blogging and I have to admit, it is great fun and easy to use. Once you get started, you want to keep going and blog your way up. I want to encourage students out there to take the time to familiarise themselves with blogs and online publishing.

Last week, I barely knew what a blog was, but as of today, I have posted seven news items on the web using the blogging system. It's easy to learn and don’t be afraid of the technology if you're not inclined that way. There are no cables involved - you just have to learn to navigate your way through. It may sound laborious but it’s only three or four steps. You can create your own web page and do what you like with it.

Get with the programme, or you'll be left behind...

Breaking web-access price news

Exclusive!

The cost of using the union's conference computer set-up has been slashed. Originally the price was £10 for the entire conference and £5 per day. But now the price is £5 for the rest of the weekend.

I wonder how many delegates that paid the full price come back for a refund - like you do post-Christmas when you take back half the presents you don't like. I'm certain they won't mind, but if you're reading this at on the 'Adelphi Macs' you've got a bargain on your hands!

What's it like to talk at ADM?

My name is Sarah Shaffi and I’m from Loughborough University. Yesterday, my first ADM, I gave a speech to delegates on behalf of the student team. For those of you delegates who missed the speech, this is our message to you:

I took part in the second annual student conference, which was held the day before the ADM. The 25 of us - twenty girls, five boys- possibly a reflection on the increasing number of female members in the NUJ - spent the day learning more about the NUJ and the way it works, as well as discussing what we can do for the union and what the union can do for us.

We understand that you spend a lot of money, and that you are concerned that there are other things this money could be spent on. But we’re here for this ADM because we have a real commitment to the NUJ and to journalism, because we appreciate all that you do for us, and because whatever you think about students, we do want to give back and show that your investment in us is worth it.

Being students, we know only too well the value of money. We know that every £10 the NUJ spends on us could have bought you three pints in the hotel bar. So one of the things we did when we made additions to last year's wishlist was to try and come up with suggestions that were as cost effective as possible.

We’d like to see more communication channels opened up between the union and the students. Sending members to students, or vice versa, is costly. An alternative method could be having a series of webchats with people in all sectors and roles throughout the NUJ. In addition, development of the student forum and better use of the website were discussed.

Of course, it’s not all about what the NUJ can give to students. From a monetary point of view, we talked about an increase in the subs we pay. We agreed that some sort of increase was needed, whether it was upping the one-off payment, or keeping the same amount but paying it in every year of our course.

We also spent time working on ideas for creating and recruiting to our own chapels. We want to work to make sure that more students join and fully participate in the NUJ, which will hopefully lead to these students getting jobs in their chosen sector and becoming fully paid-up members of the NUJ.

We know that getting a job in journalism will be hard, and that there will be knock-backs. But seeing success stories from last year has inspired us. And that’s been the key part of this year’s student experience.

We’ve talked to a lot of people and among all the greats stories, one stood out. We spoke to a gentleman who first came to conference in 1978. He told us that when he left, he left feeling truly inspired. And that is, without doubt, the best thing you have all given us - inspiration. Inspiration to do more, to work hard, and to come back year after year because the inspiration you’ve given us has helped us succeed.

Newsquest battle continues

Late Notice Motion 16, opposing Newsquest’s decision to move their pay date, was passed with a large majority. 

Newsquest moved their pay date back by two weeks leaving employees in limbo, struggling to pay bills while facing a six-week wait for their next pay cheque while Newsquest saves itself a tidy £250,000. 

Nikki Walsh, North West Lancashire branch, called Newsquest's decision an "attack on the financial stability of members".

Pregnant - not brain dead

The most interesting motion for me so far has been 161; discrimination against pregnant women.

Female journalists are not the only ones affected by this issue. It is fast becoming an epidemic in the business sector. According to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) unless something is done to reverse the trend: "One million women will suffer from pregnancy discrimination over the next five years".

There have been extensive reports in the past about the challenges of a working mother and this new development makes matters worse for the working women who also want a family. Is it now a crime to be a working woman who also wants a child? An EOC investigation found that: "More than seven out of ten pregnant women are treated unfairly at work and they are suffering in silence". It is estimated that women who are sacked because they are pregnant are loosing out on their share of £12 million in statutory pay every year, and it cost employers £126 million each year to fill their positions.

It has been an interesting debate at ADM and one motion that received huge support because of the negative experiences of female NUJ members who worked while pregnant. The argument, of course, is that pregnancy does not hinder a woman from doing her job.

She is pregnant - not brain dead.

Pregnant women may need more support while they are still at work, but they mustn't be punished. There are women who work all the way through their pregnancy; most notably the well-known athlete Marion Jones trained with her team mates right up to the end of her pregnancy.

The possibility that, as a woman, you may lose your job if you become pregnant is quite scary to comprehend. As a woman and a student journalist, I am concerned because I don't want to lose my job in the future if I decided to have a baby and raise a family.

There is an issue to be tackled and the only way forward is to become a collective voice. It's not only the women that are affected; her family will also be affected by her loss of income. It's time to fight the epidemic that has crept into our workplaces.

I push, therefore I am

After asking where fellow Newcastle branch delegates were, I was guided, almost with force, to the gold badge and members of honour dinner.

By this time my cheeks were ruddy enough to rival any old school pro and I stammered something about not wanting to intrude. I was introduced to a freelancer called Christina Zaba. (I hope I’m right about Christina’s surname as my attention was affected by dress envy at the time.)

Christina was discussing her intentions to become active in the NEC, and mentioned, as an afterthought, that she didn’t want to appear too pushy. Faces around the table went blank; what was this alien concept of pushiness? After silence, laughter ensued. It was obviously laughable that a building of journalists could possibly find anyone else too pushy. I push, therefore I am – a phrase, which could perhaps be used to sum up all journalists.

Next time I'll just go ahead and crash the party.

Student reps to be set up at every UK union branch

The National Union of Journalists has today extended its commitment to student members by voting to establish student officers in all branches of the union.

The motion, which was overwhelmingly carried at the annual meeting in Liverpool, was proposed by James Clegg, chapel secretary for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

He said: "I am proud to be part of this motion at my ADM debut. It is very important that we attract new faces."

Chris Wheal, chair of the union's professional training committee, urged delegates to vote for the motion, saying: "These students are going to be our future.”

The Student Liaison Officers would be unpaid lay representatives responsible for contacting prospective young journalists and inviting them to branch meetings.

Richard Edwards, Student Liaison Officer at the Leeds Branch, said: "It is a good way for people to get involved with the union and do good work."

The decision follows the passage of yesterday’s motion which agreed that student delegates should be a regular feature at future NUJ ADMs.

The motion was carried following a well-received speech by student delegate, Sarah Shaffi, 21, from Loughborough University.

More Shining shenanigans

Spooky.

Slightly less spooky when you learnt that the photo was taken outside the union's conference creche.

Thanks Alice.

Tate Liverpool: A confession

I have to make a confession.

Yesterday, instead of staying at ADM and keeping a track of what was happening here, I went to Tate Liverpool.I'm a fan of Tate Modern and contemporary art; its contradictory nature is what attracts me. The same piece of work can be described as brilliant and innovative on one hand, and as piece of 'rubbish' on the other. It is just battle of opinions with no losers or winners, and it depends on your own interpretation.

Anyway, exhibitions at the moment include 'International modern art', 'Art and documentary in Britain from 1929 to now' and, if you fancy something more traditional, there is a fantastic and inspirational collection of Turner's seascapes.

Any delegates that can live with the guilt of skipping conference for a few hours can walk to the Tate in 15 minutes...

Delegates scare the hell out of me

For me, describing what it's like to be consistently surrounded by 350 journalists is like being a little grey dormouse surrounded by huge, yet friendly, cats. They are warm, knowledgable, charismatic, learned, experienced and seasoned. And due to these reasons scare the hell out of me! How could I compare?

I didn't know what to expect during my time at this ADM, or how I would be recieved by the people I met. These people who will no doubt read my writing and rip it to pieces - and that's a scary thought. But isn't that the best way to learn?

Despite the fear factor I've found the past two days inspiring, even after sitting through hours of motions. I have found it refreshingly easy to get into conversation with 'real' journalists, even for several hours at a time.

But one thing that was painfully obvious within seconds of arriving; they do fit with a certain part of their stereotype - alcohol and cigarettes. Which is probably why my fellow students and I fit in so well!

Putting union minutes online

Official records of the union's meetings will now be made available online.

Members narrowly voted in favour of making minutes accessible to only to members, who have password-protected access to most of the NUJ's website.

One speaker against the motion objected because he said contact details are widely available for committee members. Journalists have to be able to pick up the phone and ask questions, he said, which they have done "since time immemorial".

US TV reporter rallies support over Iraq sacking

Late Notice Motion 15, regarding the health and safety of journalists, was passed following a passionate speech from US journalist Richard Gizbert.

Mr Gizbert, who was sacked by ABC News for refusing to go to Iraq, won an employment tribunal, which said he had been unfairly sacked by ABC News. It is the first time that health and safety provisions in UK employment law have been used to protect journalists.

This is not just an American case or one that concerns only war correspondants; the health and safety provisions are relevant to all journalists. Mr Gizbert noted that the laws could be applied to journalists who had been asked to cover the recent Hemel Hempstead oil fires, or to those sent to cover a train crash.

The case is a landmark one, and Mr Gizbert asked for the support of the NUJ to uphold the verdict, which could be used as precedent in similar, future cases.

Jeremy Dear, in an appeal for support, also highlighted another concern regarding Mr Gizbert's case. ABC has filed an appeal of the December verdict that said Mr Gizbert was protected by UK health and safety provisions. Now, while the case proceeds, ABC are driving up Mr Gizbert's costs, leaving him in debt until compensation is paid. The General Secretary urges NUJ members to donate to Mr Gizbert's cause, as it is one that affects all journalists.

Donations should be made to: Richard Gizbert Legal Defence Fund, c/o NUJ, Headland House, 308 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.

The terror of public speaking

I have now almost fully recovered from the experience of standing up in front of 300 delegates and making a speech.

In case you couldn't tell, I was shaking like a leaf behind the podium and it's a wonder I didn't collapse. Having said that, the experience was enjoyable because it gave the students a chance to have their voice heard by the union we want to one day (in the very near future) become full members of. And from the comments and discussions I had with people, they did listen and take on board what we were trying to say.

So once again, thank you to ADM for letting the students disturb their conference!

Delegates are actually very interesting

When I first got invited to the ADM, my initial thoughts were "conferences - aren't they boring?" To be quite honest, I expected the people to be very boring and stiff. Thankfully I was wrong.

It probably sounds a bit cliched, but the people here at the conference are very interesting and lively. It's very easy to just walk up to any member and get lost in a lengthy conversation about everything from Journalism to the meaning of life!

Over breakfast this morning I met a very interesting lady that told me about how she is the leader of a non-existent branch! Goodness knows how she is going to report back on the motions.

I was pleasantly surprised about the atmosphere here at the conference, and I'm pleased that other students will have the chance to come along in future years.

24 March 2006

New beginnings



It just occurred to me that green is the most prominent colour the NUJ’s logo, and to me that signifies new beginnings. That's the only colour I remember seeing ever since I joined the union in 2002 while studying for a GNVQ in radio and print journalism at CSV Media, not so far from NUJ HQ in Grays Inn Road.

So new beginnings: is every ADM a new era for the NUJ?

Motions in a muddle

The later in the day it gets, the more you realise that journalists really don't have a way with anything but words. And late in the afternoon, even words are a stretch.

Confusion reigned over motion 44, where the number and order of amendments puzzled the professionals and left the students' heads reeling. Comic interlude came from Portsmouth, whose five-word amendment was only supported by the branch itself. After getting through the amendments, it seemed as though only a very small handful of people had actually managed to keep track of what had been taken out and what had been added in. After a bit of light-hearted shouting, the decision was made to leave the vote until such time as the new Motion 44 can be written down and distributed to all voters.

Bruce Almighty

Last night, the student delegates at this year's ADM were treated to a three-course dinner at the hotel's French restaurant, Crompton’s. It was a blast.

Bruce is a likely candidate for the life and soul of the party and couldn't resist a pose. The NUJ training staff who have made this conference enjoyable for us all, were also there. It’s not only students who like to have fun.




Bruce, man of the hour






Chris Wheal (right) and members of the training staff team





Student delegates






Cara and other student delegates






Joan looking bright in green

Waffling at a minimum

First day at ADM, and I enjoyed it.

I had preconceptions that going to ADM would be quite dull. But I was pleasantly surprised - listening to delegates debating motions became really interesting.

I was surprised how much was going on outside the conference hall. Lots of delegates were sat persuading each other to support their motion, and inside. the speakers were generally good. Waffling was kept to a minimum and most stuck to the point.

And tonight the drinking continues...

Wheal: We demand the truth

Just how old is Chris Wheal? Has he been to sooooooo many ADMs that he's actually old enough for Werthers Originals?

We demand the truth!

The student conference: officially a regular gig!

Congratulations Students!

The ADM has just passed a motion that the student conference will take place alongside the NUJ conference every year! Woo!

We have all had a fantastic time, and still two days to go.

If you are a student journo reading this then make sure you get the chance to come along.

Gold badges galore

This morning’s ADM went without a hitch - it seems. Although at lunchtime it over-ran by almost an hour and the rumbling stomachs were almost audible.

But I must say, I have taken a lot away from the experience: I realised that journalists love to give each other gold badges and when it comes to rallying people together, they do it in style.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady had many inspiring words to say and was full of praise at how the NUJ is performing as a union.

Earlier in the conference I was surprised to learn that at ADM in Cardiff 1975, one agenda item proposed that the NUJ should either merge with another union, or close altogether.

But thankfully, today’s ADM witnessed the proudly stated announcement that the union has cleared all its debts.

Frances O’Grady praised the union for "punching above its weight within the TUC".

And the delegates were told how membership is growing, that the NUJ has one of the youngest memberships of any UK trade union (the majority of members are under 35) and that there is also a high proportion of female members. This gender balance is also reflected in the student conference, which has been attended by 5 males and 20 females.

But there is still an ongoing battle, in the words of O’Grady: "to uphold journalists and journalism, and fight exploitation".

Yes, the issue of pay raised its ugly head again. But I was pleased to hear the motion urging the NUJ to campaign for a minimum wage of £26,000 for journalists was carried earlier today.

What about trainees?

As a journalism student hoping to enter the fabulous world of newspaper journalism when I graduate this June, I have been disheartened at the wave of job cut announcements that have blighted the industry.

It has made me particularly anxious about the situation trainee journalists like me will face - whether it will be more difficult to land that first opening in an already competitive industry. On one hand I have been informed that trainees might not have any issues because they are cheap.

But at yesterday's newspaper fringe meeting, I heard how trainees have become easy targets because employees believe new entrants are less reluctant to fight back.

Does anyone have any comments to make about this? How do you think trainees have been, or will be, affected by the industry’s problems? Will there be any concern that young recruits might take jobs after a succession of job losses?

Anyone?

Where do I start to analyse my NUJ ADM experiences?

A good place to start is probably the first day - The Annual Student Conference - but I shall not be starting there! Oh no...!

Boozing/eating

So, to the first night of what we can politely call "entertainment" (to my fellow delegates that may not be in the know, this had nothing to do with any kind of stripping establishment in Liverpool!). Drinks were drunk and food was eaten in the nicer restaurant of our delightful hotel! I must echo Jemima's comment about the appalling mint/blackberry combo dessert at the meal - for me it really was not a turn on - I could politely term myself as a "human dustbin/vacuum" in terms of food consumption, but after eating my own meal and dessert I tried one spoonful of the "blackberry mint mousse delight" from somebody else's plate, I was not going to polish it off.

To use the appropriate language for this event, during the evening I put forward a motion that we should scrawl "LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS CLUB" (in distinct permanent RED marker pen) across our smart shirts and promptly march into the Everton Hall of Famers' celebration dinner which was happening within the confines of the hotel. My fellow members "Irish" (Andy "The Lad"), "Lofty" (leaning, yet tall as a lampost Mark) and "Cool Cat" (Ian with the slick black hat) seconded me on the motion. However, when the time came to move on it and action was needed, everything seemed to become extremely lacklustre. I then realised that the suggestion was (perhaps sadly?) the beer/cider mixture swilling around in my stomach talking, not me.

After devouring my meal we decided to hit the "town" (strange reference to this city!). A Witherspoon's establishment was the first port of call, however, despite Mark and I wishing to indulge in their "bargain" prices - our fellow students were not so keen. This being mainly due to the fact that there was a deadly, almost graveyard-like silence in the pub, due to the lack of music and therefore atmosphere, but more to the point PEOPLE!

Luckily Irish Andy was already tottering off (was it a sign of a stagger?) to find us an alternative, but little did I know that he'd choose an Irish bar that served Guinness! Would you believe? Perhaps the highlight of the night was the live Irish band playing classic native tunes! It was only upon me pressuring the three jolly fellas to play (ever so sweet) Molly Malone - with them finally relenting - that we became decidely rapturous and in good (ahem, GREAT!) voice! No-one in the bar was aware that only one of our number wailing the words was actually Irish; a casual bystander may have assumed that we were all Irish due to our committment and macho man-hugging!

We left O'Neills bar upon closing time. My memories of the walk back are very hazy, but "apparently" it was my idea to visit the golden arches known as McDonalds! I am resolute that it was not my idea, but I'm also left thinking who exactly I am trying to kid by saying that? I must confess that I do not drink that often, however, when I do indulge in a session, the eating of food from eateries that I would not even dream of stepping foot inside in the light of day seems to come hand-in-hand with it. I promptly - and I find this extremely hard to believe, having earlier been full from our restaurant meal - ordered and promptly tore through three big Macs and one McChikcen Sandwich. Naturally, I do not think that did my stomach any justice at all.

Mark was extremely passionate about staying out for - I quote him screaming: "Just one more drink!"

At one point I was certain he was on the verge of breaking down in tears and collapsing to his knees and begging us to go with him to "neck another"!

The night continued upon our return to the hotel when I'm certain that the porter did not wish us to continue drinking (after informing us that there were no bars in the whole of Liverpool were open) but we were adamant that it MUST at ANY COST! Luckily we saw the glimmer of light from the residents' bar, and were efficiently informed by a staggering Everton fan in a very smart suit that it was open until 3:30am, and "Wasn't it GREAT?!"

Needless to say, tales were told and more drinks consumed into the early hours...

What a night. What a crack! Bring on tonight and some Saturday madness!

I was mildly pleased when I was informed by a fellow student delegate after our student conference that when I turned up for the first Student meeting on Thursday in my suit and tie combo, she thought I was going to be hosting the conference, due to my attire!

A nice, if a little confused, compliment on my personal presentation. She may have been slightly shocked by fellow member Chris Wheal's attire, given this original thought process. But how often can a white t-shirt and black jeans combo go wrong? Unless you spill your entire morning fry-up plus ketchup on the t-shirt, you are seldom going to look like a fool. Save attending an Elvis lookalike contest!

Stuffiness

We were previously warned in the student conference that we might experience a bit of a "stuffy" atmosphere and "stuffy" people at ADM.

Well, it did happen. Mark and I were chastised for giggling during the newspaper sector conference when we were actually quietly plotting a skit for Saturday night...

It seemed sad after all the hard work to get us to join the union fully when our student memberships expire, that she approached us like this.

Thanks

A big thank you to everyone who has organised this NUJ Student "experience" as well!!

I almost forgot - in a Westwood (Radio 1 Rap Show presenter/DJ) style:

"A big shout out to all my fellow cats and delegates at the conference, especially the student ones that I'm sharing beer rounds with (on a shortly to become) nightly basis! Big up yourselves, and stay BIG in the game! One love and peace out - Brucey."

NUJ ADM in the news

There's a couple of sites with a few stories about the NUJ ADM and related stuff...

The Guardian Organ Grinder Blog has a bit on the conference and it's setting in the "old fashionably grand Adelphi Hotel". Quite interesting, and similar to this blog as it's being updated live throughout the day.

The Socialist Party website also has a bit about the NUJ's efforts to defend pay and conditions for journalists.

Finally, Jemima's own publication - journalism.co.uk has a story about this very blog! I wonder how that got onto that site, eh?!

Photo call!

All our blogging students required at 9.15 AM tomorrow, Saturday, for an official group NUJ photo.

Please bring hangovers.

Beware: Dodgy encounters

I have heard in some quarters that there is a perception of some Liverpudlian residents as less-than honest - a perception that I was completely ignorant of until I arrived.

For example: at the student conference someone joked about hiring security guards to protect the computers. I haven't come across one of these dodgy types just yet, although at lunch today four intelligent women were conned out of their money when a man came to sell them 'perfume' in the main hall. He claimed he had Parfum de Jean-Paul Gaultier (or whatever) and sold a box-set, hastily stashed in a bag, to one of the women.

When she opened it, it wasn't perfume by Mr Gaultier, but one that "smelled like cat piss". There were murmurings that they were ripped off by as much as £130...

Furthermore, last night a delegate found a strange man in his room. He left swiftly and said: "sorry I must be in the wrong room". But look lively people, and stay alert.

Remember - that really, really scruffy guy hanging out in the lobby probably isn't dodgy after all. It is fairly likely he's in the union...

Anyone under 21?

BTW, anyone fortunate enough to be under 21 should check out Young People in Television (YPTV).

They are running a free five-day event in Edinburgh during August, with workshops and career clinics etc. Patrons include Graham Norton and Vernon Kay, and YPTV has also done some 'even trendier' stuff with MYV for under 18s.

I second that motion!

Students should definitely have an opportunity to present a select number of motions at the ADM: for example, challenging establishment issues such as the refusal of publishers or journalism tutors to accept non-white faces on magazine covers. We can't just accept that as 'the way things are'.

I do feel similarly queasy about setting up a 'chapel' - a less cult-like name would give the NUJ an awful lot more credibility with younger members and help recruitment.

Good people

Definitely Jemima! Big big thank you to the person who handed the lost money in and to the kind organiser who offered her own money. It was really kind. I couldn't change my train ticket to stay longer but really enjoyed my time at conference - and will endeavour to blog the Amsterdam branch motion.

For now - a quick brief is that this motion is being put forward. We'll be writing about this in more detail shortly.

"This ADM instructs the NEC to grant posthumous NUJ membership to Dutchman Louis Seveke, murdered in Nijmegen on 15 November 2005, in recognition of his contribution to critical and investigative journalism. This ADM further instructs the NEC to appeal to the Dutch journalists' union, NVJ, as a matter of solidarity, to make a similar gesture."

The only expected nit-picking would be around the idea of giving posthumous membership, but honorary memberships are common and a rejection for these reasons would be scandalous - this man paid the ultimate price for his trade.

The 'touristy' bit

Just to clarify before you start reading this, I am in no way interested in becoming a travel writer in any shape or form.

Anyhoo - onwards - highlights included a free sample of cherry diet coke and a wimpy burger - I haven't had one of those since I was about 4!

Whilst getting completely lost (hence my slightly longer than anticipated absence this morning!) I ventured down to the Albert Dock and around the shopping district (which is surprisingly alright, although a bit tacky in places - especially the St. John's centre). I tried to nosey around the old Granada Studios (where This Morning used to come from) but they wouldn't let me in.

I have taken a few snaps on my mobile, but I haven't the foggiest about how to actually get them from that thing on to these high-tech Apple Macs. Help, anyone?!

Looking forward to life as a penniless writer?

Frances O'Grady just told conference that half of all journalists in the UK earn less than the average wage. Best put the Aston order on hold, eh chaps? Oh - unless you're in senior management of course. They typically earn 45 times more than their employees...

Standing up for my fellow students

The funniest thing happened.

Dad sometimes tells me I am not afraid to express my opinions, and so do some of my friends. Yesterday it became a useful tool in the freelance sector conference. A freelancer made a point about the developing practice of newspapers and magazines to take on students to write film reviews, but 'pay' them with a free meal or film tickets. In the opinion of this freelancer, that practice takes work away from freelance journalists.

I had to stand up and say something. I just had to.

What did I say? Well I stood up and introduced myself and that I was from the London freelance branch, then I decided to address his comment. I told my listening audience that they would have to understand that’s the only way we as students can gain any work experience. I suggested it would then be useful if the NUJ could put a structure in place that would mean no-one loses out and every one gains.

It is a fact that one is required to do a two-week work placement by their college or university as part of their course. I don’t believe in exploitation, but two weeks is sometimes not enough to learn the ropes. Yes, students should get paid for internships, which is a method some of the major newspapers have adopted. The point is that we are not here to take away jobs; we want to learn and pass on the baton as it is being handed down to us. Give us a fair chance and let’s work together. Remember, we are the future of the NUJ and Journalism domestically and internationally.

Dessert montage

Last night's food = good. Although the mint/blackberry combination was clearly wrong.

Journalism matters

I heard a thundering round of applause and decided to make my way to the conference room to find out what the commotion was all about. I missed the reason why there was such a roaring noise. So out of curiosity I asked one of the other student delegates.

The rapturous applause was for the speech delivered by Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, and Tim Lezard, outgoing president. Did anyone get that recorded?

We're Good People

Liverpool. Someone made a gag earlier about having to employ some very burly security guards overnight to babysit the computers. But really - we're all Good People.

Just now, one of our students rushed in saying she'd lost an envelope containing her expenses money in cash.

Not only was it handed in, but when she couldn't find the finance guy to collect it someone gave her the cash from their own pocket. Isn't that nice?



Jenny Lennox: She's Good People.

We have, like, totally arrived

"Alright our lot!"

I haven't worked out how to write with a Scouse accent yet, but I have seen the Liver Building. I've also checked in (The Shining, anyone?!), but was rather jealous to discover that one comrade had 'rescued' a three-quarters full bottle of Moet from the housekeeping trolley. He told me it looked like a relic from a failed (or should that be successful?) romantic endeavour of the previous evening - not, I should add, anything to do with the union!

He assures me his primary concern was to ensure that the bottle was recycled, although no doubt the contents won't be wasted either...

Anyway, encouraging comments about the blog already and interviews underway. Plus I just learnt that the fledgling new media council has exceeded its first-year membership target and now has more than 270 members. Many, many more to recruit though.

And there's a new NUJ website in the offing. According to someone that knows about these things, it'll be live: "As soon as we get our act together".

Anyone seen any tri-cycling children?

The NUJ: A strange cult?

The best quote I’ve heard so far came from George Macintyre from the Newcastle branch, who likened the Adelphi to "a fine lady wo has past her prime and gone a bit seedy". And Jemima Kiss said it brought The Shining to mind.

As a student however, my idea of luxury is to upgrade from a ten-bed dorm to a three. The joys of free food spread quicker than juicy tabloid scandal around the student newbies. And that was just the people who still had appetites after much drinking - sorry, I mean liaising - in the bar the night before. I could get used to journalism like this…

Referring to regional points of contact, there's something about the term "chapel" that leaves me uneasy, especially when "fathers" and "mothers" of chapels are introduced into the picture. Something about the choice of words brings images of a strange religious NUJ cult to mind. Maybe student delegates should come up with jargon like "crew" and "hood" to tempt new members in with the idea of street kudos rather than communal chanting.

I've just had an idea which I should have contributed to the student conference wish-list on Thursday - if only I had thought of it sooner. I recommend that the ADM allocates up to four final agenda slots for student conference motions. The labels could be SM (Student Motion): 1 SM 2 SM 3 for example. These motions would be exempt from the November deadline and would be discussed agreed on here at the ADM. I think this would facilitate more interraction and understanding between students and pros. Thoughts, anyone?

Does anyone out there feel as rough as me this morning?

Does anyone out there feel as rough as me this morning?

O'Neills pub was the venue for the night. I had absolutely no influence on the decision to go there. Well, maybe a little!

The Irish band got everyone in good spirits - especially Bruce and Mark, who didn't rest until their request for Molly Malone was granted. The night ended in McDonalds with greasy cheese burgers and chips to satisfy the 'munchies' before bed time. Roll on tonight!





Us, during the more civilised pre-pub part of the evening.

Where are our ethnic members?

I noticed there were not a whole lot of members from the ethnic minority at this year's ADM. Maybe it was just me - not, admittedly, a very scientific head count to rely on people I happen to have seen. But we can’t talk about being under-represented in mainstream journalism when we don’t make our presence known at major events in the calendar of the NUJ. And ADM is the biggest union event for us all to come together and make our collective voice heard.

So next year, prepare yourself! Pack your bags and make your presence known. That’s the only way you will have a voice and that message is for all of us. The NUJ is not for a few chosen ones - it is for everybody and that includes you, students.

And anyway, it's actually great fun mixing business and pleasure...

Norman Kember is released unharmed

http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13515489,00.html

Anastasia?

As some crumpled (and frequently, it has to be said, often apparently hungover) delegates filed in for the first day of conference they were treated to Anastasia on the PA. There were mutterings about Jeremy Dear's taste in music; can anyone confirm that?

There was also a decree that last night's unflattering bar photos of senior union officials should not be posted on the blog. Harumph. So I'll just have to save those for blackmail at a later stage. ("Blackmail is such an ugly word!")

Meanwhile, our students are writing up all sorts of things while trying not to hog all the training room computers...

The ADM Horror Show... I awoke this morning looki...

I awoke this morning looking distinctly like my blog photo. Unfortunatley that's standard for me - that is how I look first thing in the morning!

In fact that photo is rather more complementary than I actually am first thing...

Union to vote on posthumous membership for investigative writer

Netherlands branch is putting forward a motion to grant posthumous NUJ membership to Dutchman Louis Seveke.

Seveke was murdered in Nijmegen on 15 November 2005, but the branch wants posthumous membership granted in recognition of his contribution to critical and investigative journalism. The branch also wants the union's executive to appeal to the Dutch journalists' union, the NVJ, as a matter of solidarity, to make the similar gesture.

Emma Bevan and myself have spoken to Martin Stone, a journalist who has been living and working in The Netherlands for several years, and who wrote about the aftermath of the murder of Louis Seveke in the article 'In a lonely place'. He feels that the Dutch media has avoided talking about and investigating Seveke's murder; the third political murder in the country in four years and writes:

"Louis Seveke has never been described officially as a journalist, but he wrote a considerable amount for the left-wing activist journalists’ collective Jansen & Janssen. He had had several by-lined articles published in NRC Handelsblad, a well-respected Netherlands broadsheet. A book mainly written by him was published, with some help from mainstream publisher Uitgeverij Fagel, in 2002."

Louis Seveke was investigating and writing about sharp political issues. including what he alleged was the government 'covering up' its own role in 'terror' and the Dutch security services. But he was also very active in the left-wing political scene, wrote Stone.

"Not surprisingly, the large team of detectives began investigating Seveke's activist links, rather than his recently published article, which suggested a very different range of possible motives and perpetrators."

Louis Seveke, even though was not regarded as a journalist and was not a member of a journalists' union, significantly contributed to investigative journalism in The Netherlands.

Stone argues that Louis Seveke deserves to be a member of the NUJ and of the NVJ, and that membership should be granted posthumously. "It is," wrote Stone, "only a comradely gesture towards the memory of a well-liked man".

23 March 2006

Who am I? That's me on the left!



My name is Adaobi Ifeachor, but most people call me Bee. I’m 23 years old and I’m a broadcast journalism student at University College Falmouth in Cornwall. Welcome to our blog!Twenty-five students applied and were invited to attend the 2006 National Union of Journalists Student Conference in Liverpool. A number of us are staying on to attend the full ADM conference. It’s a real opportunity to meet working journalists and to see how policies and decisions are made.

Student Conference

The NUJ Student Conference took place today in the lavish surroundings of the Brittania Adelphi Hotel. For five hours union officials and delegates discussed issues such as recruitment and ideas on how to progress NUJ student activity.



A real highlight of the afternoon was when three student delegates from the previous year returned to report on their last 12 months.

Samantha Mansi (centre picture) is a second-year English literature and creative writing student at the University of Kent. Inspired by the conference, she attempted to establish a pseudo-chapel called the ‘Journalism Society’. Unfortunately, a few problems meant that the venture was short-lived but her efforts have inspired me to look into chapel-building possibilities in Falmouth.



Lynn Malone is now a working journalist. She shared her job-hunting tips and explained the benefits she's received as a union member.

Broadcasting Sector Conference

Following the student conference six separate meetings were held. They were divided into the following sectors:

Broadcasting
Freelance
Magazine and book
New media
Newspapers/agencies
PR and information

I attended the Broadcasting Sector Conference where the debate focused on the recent publication of the government’s White Paper on the BBC and the subsequent implications for public service broadcasting.



Granville Williams, pictured above, argued passionately that Ofcom may now be slowly encroaching on the independence of the Beeb.

Freelance fees guide gets a makeover

After 14 years, the NUJ's freelance fees guide has had its first makeover. It's taken a step in a different direction by going online. The idea for this project started two years ago on the stairs of the banqueting hall of the Adelphi Hotel, and went live on the web last night. It is well on the way to helping freelancers negotiate better pay rates for their work.

To find out more, log on to: http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide

Sub-species of freelance journalist

Apparently there are two types of freelance journalist out there: casual and contributors. That's the first time I have heard about that disctinction, so can anyone enlighten me a bit more?!

It would be useful to know more if we decide to go into freelancing of course. But I also know you really need to have worked as a paid staff, gained the right skills and experience, networked your way around different magazines and newspapers, have great contacts for your commissions and earned yourself a reputation as a good journalist. No small feat...

Congratulations to Sarah Shaffi!

Congratulations to Sarah Shaffi who has the (dubious?) honour of presenting a talk to the 300-strong ADM delegate population tomorrow teatime. A roomful of journalists? An easy crowd surely!

Chris Wheal's slightly disturbing incident

Our own Chris Wheal revealed a slightly disturbing incident from his past earlier today; a guest appearance on the now defunct Big Breakfast!

Giving insurance advice to the general public in his best suit and army helmet alongside Donna Air early in the morning is the height of glamour that we students can only <i>hope</i> to one day achieve, although apparently no-one cared enough to phone in for his words of wisdom!

A dirty word; how does Gordon Brown's budget affect journalists?

Condom!

As a student journalist I would rather not think about Gordon Brown, the budget 2006 or even taxation on condoms. This is simply because Gordon Brown is part of the current leadership of the government, budgeting is a scary skill (which us students find hard to do) and condoms are really damn expensive.

However, the budget has an important influence on my life as a student and the profession of journalism as a whole. In spite of this, yesterday's budget promises an overall gain for us all (as student journalists). It promises a small rise in our pockets and a projection of future economic growth. For instance, if you were earning £25,000 as a freelance journalist your net pay would rise from £19,110 to £19,159 - an increase of £50. (BDO Stoy Hayward)

Gordon Brown also forecasts economic growth of about 2.1 per cent over the next year. But is the budget all good news?

I take the opportunity to highlight the growing concern of newspapers and their revenues generated by advertisement. (The Daily Mail is an example of a national newspaper vocalising grave concerns). There has also been a suggestion that Brown’s economic portrait is a little generous considering the amount of debt the average person has - and the amount of debt a typical student owes.

In a surprise move, Brown has also axed the Government’s 'Home Computing Initiative' from January 2004. This scheme was a way for companies to loan computer equipment to their staff by taking advantage of a tax break. It seems that yesterday's budget (although offering hope for the overall economy) does not address areas of concern that are relevant to journalists such as a decline in advertising, growing debt and the provision of computer equipment.

Therefore yesterday’s budget remains a dirty word and I would prefer not to think about it!

Ian Thomas

20 March 2006

Our formal press release, FYI!

>>> The formal bit

A crack team of student journalists will be covering the 2006 National Union of Journalists conference live from Liverpool, showcasing the work of student members on a dedicated new website.

The union's new media council and the professional training committee have teamed up for the project, helping local students cover the event with text, video and photos.

Members are encouraged to join in and support the project by visiting the site, reading and commenting on stories and spreading news about the site. The organisers hope that the project will help promote the union of students and new media journalists.

"We have a huge challenge in recruiting the thousands of writers, designers and content producers that work in the digital media industry without the support of a union," said Jemima Kiss, new media council chair.

"We have a responsibility to promote what we do and show that we are engaging with this new audience, many of whom work and read news entirely on the internet. Working with our enthusiastic and blog-savvy student team to cover our main annual event live and online is the least we can do to publicise our work to the online community."

Check out the ADM 2006 student blog at http://www.nujstudents.org.uk

>>> The informal bit

Please support the project and encourage out students by reading the site and commenting on their coverage. We can't do it alone! Thanks!

Well, I guess someone has to get the virtual "PART...

Well, I guess someone has to get the virtual "PARTY" - so to speak - started, and as it looks like no one else is man-enough (no offence to the ladies or men of course!) I will jump in and wield my journalistic axe and shout "Let the blogging commence!"

11 March 2006

Right - let's get cracking

I've just been tweaking the site in readiness for our perky and incredibly enthusiastic student team. We're in the process confirming who exactly they are...

In the meantime, I've drafted some editorial guidelines, which are also a kind of to-do list. It would be great if this was on a wiki, but it's not. So if you have any suggestions please add your comments instead. (Although obviously we don't have to take any notice. Only joking!)

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Team,

In advance

- Before you arrive, familiarise yourself with the union's recent news through the NUJ website. You also need to look at the conference agenda (not the most entertaining read in the world, but it's essential) so you can identify what are likely to be the biggest issues. And it would also be very helpful to do some extra research of your own, which might be a posting about good local bars, some background to one of the conference's biggest discussion points or a few of this season's fash tips for the Saturday night event! (Joke. Probably...)

You also need to familiarise yourself with the blogger system (if you aren't already) so you know how to log in, post images and so on - as well as forwarding your mini-profile and a picture to Jemima for the 'about us' column. And then we'll get you to write an introductory post! Hurrah!

Please arrive on Thursday with three rough ideas for postings.

Check copy

- Check your copy before posting. And always ask a co-writer to double check it for content, tone and typos before it goes live.

Speed = essence

- Be quick! If you're writing about a motion that has just been voted on, don't wait until tomorrow to make it live.

Sharing is good

- There is no point writing for no-one, at least not for this project. So each of us needs to undertake a personal promotion campaign - email the site's address to everyone you know. I kid you not! Proper grown-up bloggers go to other relevant blogs, add their comments and then link back to their own sites - and that's a great way to build an audience. I'm not sure we've got time to do that really, but if you can give it a try, great!

Journalism is a con-ver-sa-tion, not a lecture, etc.

- Now you're signed up, log in and introduce yourself! Think of the blog as a conversation, as if you're talking one-to-one with a journalist friend that is kind of interested in joining the union but doesn't know anything about ADM. If you find something interesting or amusing, they probably will too. Did you hear a great joke in the lobby? See a celebrity journalist lurking in the bar? Were you really impressed by one of the speakers? Don't keep it to yourself - blog it!

Style

What we want to achieve is a mix of accurate, factual news reporting and an informal, personal tone that includes your own experiences. (Your own insights and observations at ADM - especially as first timers - are particularly valuable.) I imagine a few different types of postings - some might be straight news stories covering majorish events, some very short entries linking to conference coverage elsewhere (if it's picked up by a national, for example) and other, shorter, light pieces of observation. No ranty, wildly controversial opinion pieces please unless it is really strictly relevant.

And of course, if you are even slightly worried that something might be contentious or legally problematic - DON'T PUBLISH IT! Ask either Jemima or Chris first. It's all common sense...

Our mission

- Remember - if you feel you're losing the plot and aren't quite sure about what you're writing, refer back to our mission statement on the home page. The objective is to provide interesting, informative coverage about the conference. So is that shot of the general secretary falling off his bar stool really essential? (Jesting, Jeremy...)

* * * * * * * * * *

Our mission statement

The aim of this blog project is:
>>> To produce lively, interesting and informative coverage of the union's annual conference to inspire recruitment among students and the new media sector.
>>> To demonstrate how great the web is by publishing live text, audio and video content throughout the conference.
>>> To encourage debate by inviting readers to comment on our coverage, and openness by publishing our editorial guidelines.

This is not an official NUJ website, nor the NUJ training website. It is a blog run by student members of the NUJ, reporting from the NUJ's Annual Delegate Meeting, its yearly conference.

Students are briefed before the project and content will be checked regularly, but in the spirit of blogging content will not be moderated before publication. The NUJ cannot be held responsible for anything posted here.

Posts carry the writer's name and any queries should be addressed to the individual author. Any errors or inaccuracies will be corrected as quickly as possible.

If you feel something needs to be addressed urgently please call either Chris Wheal on 07831 268261 or Jemima Kiss on 07971 988630.

What's this all about then?

In brief, this is a project to help promote the union to the people on which it largely depends for its future - that is students, and those working in new media.

As an ADM virgin (ahem) last year, I was fascinated and quite inspired by all the goings-on at the conference. It's a great opportunity to meet other members; in my experience those that make it to ADM are the most work addicted and committed, but I could be wrong!

Seeing the processes of ADM reinforces how powerful the union is as a body - you can see and feel the opinions and hard work of all the members feeding into this bigger system of getting things done. Like lobbying Parliament to get them to take action to stop journalists being targeted in Colombia, or whatever - things that actually affect people's lives.

I came away feeling re-invigorated about the union and with new ideas and energy for our Brighton branch, so this year we planned to send four members - double the previous year. While I was there I did manage to blog on our branch site live from the conference floor, thanks to the centre's wireless network.

And then it occurred to me that a conference blog would be a great way of encouraging more members to come to ADM, covering the atmosphere and social side of ADM as well as the harder news stuff - and possibly even inspire more people to join the union. Maybe.

Blogging is the obvious way to cover the conference:
- it's virtually instant
- it's free
- it's easy to publish, with no particular technical knowledge required (just confidence!)
- it's easy to read and use
- it's a simple way of presenting a large number of postings for browsing
- it allows text, audio and video to be posted
- it can easily combine straight news reports with short entries and a more personal, chatty kind of coverage

... and so on.

Lastly, I'd also really like to encourage as many members as possible to read and join in with this project - especially members that might be a bit sceptical about blogging and the 'whole new media thing'.

I think this project will show how effective this publishing tool is, and how the union can use it to great effect. There's also a whole new generation out there doing just this kind of thing and the union needs to understand and embrace this new, new journalism (apologies Wolfe...). But that's a whole other debate!

26 February 2006

The first of many...

Evening all!

Aloha to the new NUJ blog for students. We're launching to cover this year's union Annual Delegate Meeting (that's ADM, or annual conference to the layperson...) where a team of energetic and enthusiastic students will be blogging direct...

More soon.