And so, the annual National Union of Journalists (NUJ) delegate meeting (ADM) draws near; with a variety of motions and amendments up for debate on November 19-22 (final agenda available at this link – PDF).

Among them, many issues that directly concern online media: both in terms of how the NUJ communicates through the internet, and how to engage with online journalists.

How to attract new blood?

For the New Media Industrial Council (NMIC), member recruitment among the digital community is key. For this purpose, it commissioned freelancer and former newspaper journalist Vivien Sandt to research digital media, looking into employment patterns in the UK and Ireland to help the council form a new strategy. Sandt will present some of her findings at the ADM 2009.

How should the Journalist handle its web presence?

Another topic up for discussion is how campaigns and The Journalist should be managed online. As the fight for The Union publication’s editorship rages (see the Journalism.co.uk forum for some lively discussion), the Press and PR branch proposes this motion [excerpt]:

“(….) Union rules allow that [the Journalist] editor has editorial content only over online content taken from the Union’s journal. ADM believes this is insufficient for the editor’s new role (…)

It proposes a motion to change the rules to allow that ‘the editor shall have additional editorial control over union and other website pages holding content taken from or associated with the union’s journal written or commissioned by the editor’.

Leeds branch wished to clarify this: ‘that all editorial content on the NUJ website shall by under the independent control of the editor of the union’s journal, unless the editor agrees to cede control of specific content for a specific purpose and for a specific amount of time’.

That is bound to raise some questions over the relationship between the Journalist and other parts of the NUJ, especially with its support of another motion proposed: ‘ADM further instructs the NEC to implement, without further delay, the integration of the Journalist’s editor into the Union’s Campaign and Communications department’.

North Wales Coast branch, which proposed the original motion, claim that the mixture of internet strategies has pushed the Journalist ‘into becoming a cross between a picture led kind of OK magazine and Agony Aunt Letters column’.

[See what the editor hopefuls suggest for the Journalist website at this link to the Journalism.co.uk forum.]

How should the NUJ engage with social media?

This motion proposed by Magazine is bound to create some discussion: the last para has already been recommended as void by the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) for ‘uncertainty of meaning’”…

This ADM notes that:

1) Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging are irrevocably changing the face of journalism.
2)That many of this new wave of journalists believe the NUJ’s attitude towards them is out of date.

This ADM instructs the NEC to address this problem by working with the blogging community and Twitteratti [sic] to bridge this gap and create a framework that embraces the NUJ’s journalistic principle while maintaining the press freedom enjoyed by bloggers and twitterers.

London Magazine further suggests a survey should be carried out, organised by NMIC.

Want to get involved?

The New Media Industrial Council is currently seeking NUJ members to represent these areas: London (1 out of 2) Midlands (1) Black Members Council (1) Disabled Members Council (1) North East (1). The non-geographical seats have to be nominated by the bodies concerned, and all NMIC members must be NUJ members working in new media. Those interested can e-mail the council’s chair (Gary Herman) in confidence on this address: gary.herman [at] gmail.com.

Judith Townend is a member of the National Union of Journalists (Brighton & Mid-Sussex branch) and is co-opted to sit on the New Media Industrial Council – beginning after the ADM 2009.

Online journalism at the NUJ ADM: The Journalist, Twitter and new blood

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