Nottingham Branch had two delegates at this years ADM at Southport. Also somewhat to our amazement there was a second year journalism student from Nottingham Trent University. Welcome. We had no idea she was coming which is of course a shame since we might have made a greater contribution to student ADM when funding was discussed at earlier branch meeting.

I’ll start by saying that this years ADM was a lot more businesslike and more centred on journalism and professional work-related matters. Previous years in my limited experience have tended to centre on wider political issues and NUJ affiliations, with many of the same people speaking time after time to these motions. Some of us have been critical of this in the past and I’m pleased to say that this appears to have changed. On Sunday morning however #145 was remitted. Speakers said it had nearly reopened old wounds, when previous motions on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict were considered to be so partial. When the condemnations and the called-for boycott caused so much heat before.

Overall, there was a general sense of gloom, I felt. Because of job cuts and wage stagnation that is obviously such a feature of current journalism. It is surprising then that didn’t seem to infect the student members to much.

The two main financial matters were headlined by motions concerning the frequency of ADM’s and the subscriptions increase. Motion #1 by what seemed to me to be a tortuous route of a process of elimination, as we waded through the amendments. We eventually arrived at the compromise position of 18month DMs. Motion #54 on Subs rise was also passed, but the idea to automatically link subs to any future rise of inflation was rejected.

Motion #72 on the establishment of virtual branches was dropped because the Netherlands Branch members were not there to move it. I thought this a shame, since I’ve always thought it relevant to not only rural, international and new media members, but also to skillsets like photographers. I am pleased also that a motion of much personal interest to me, #12 on asking for NUJ support and legal safeguards for UK Indymedia, concerning the police seizure of servers and equipment. It was passed unanimously.

Nottingham supported #125 on the ‘Photographer Matters’ Campaign and was passed. Also #92 was concerning “Special Procedure Material”, documents defines under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. There is concern that this is widely ignored by police. Further that there is now sometimes conflict with the recent anti-terrorism laws. ADM is asking for a legal guide to be produced to advise and address such conflicts. This was also carried.

The dangers of journalism in some parts of the world were highlighted with contributions from Zimbabwe and Russia. During discussion on #141, it was pointed out that every year the number of journalist killed, seriously injured or generally targeted continues to rise. One of the speakers got applause and appreciation from the platform for the idea of having a ‘roll-call’ of names at future DM’s to illustrate this rise. Delegates stood in silence in the memory of journalists killed doing their job. It was passed.

Students were congratulated on a number of occasions from the floor and the platform, for their coverage of the ADM proceedings. With writing, podcasting and photography, the material was accurate and excellent. They maintained a blog of the proceedings at http://www.nujadm.org.uk. At one point the president pointed to a student scoop, in that they had got the officers election results on their blog ahead of the official announcements on the ‘big screen’. Ongoing developments were regularly posted on Twitter #nujadm and on a dedicated Facebook page at: http://tinyurl.com/ycds6xw. together with video on YouTube etc. It was then perhaps a bit of a shame that some officers made slight of such media as “Twatters” This comment being much re-tweeted!!

Later, at a new media event, activists discussed how to recruit ‘web workers‘. Chris Wheal said that this may best be achieved by “Perhaps not insulting potential members might be a start”.

Motions #94 onwards concerning the BNP, racist policy and the code of conduct were discussed. However, the General Secretary came to the podium within minutes at the end if this debate to say that he information that some of the photographs, many taken by the students, were already on the Redwatch site. [‘Red Journalists’ etc]. There was then some heat as some members said that they thought photographers should not be photographing speakers at the ADM! However, many of us wondered that if we couldn’t photograph journalists at a conference … what other section of society could we ever photograph? It was more widely agreed that we wouldn’t be intimidated from our activities This was their objective, after all. Anyone with concerns were offered security arrangements.

Further to this issue, a member from the London Freelance Branch told us about the death threats that he and others had now received for their coverage of the English Defence League events and assorted groups.

Motion #68 concerned photographers continued struggle in getting better representation within the NUJ. Moved by Bristol and E.Yorks, called for the establishment of a Photographer’s Industrial Council. There was then some exchange in which the motions wasn’t in order, in which case it’s strange that SOC hadn’t so ruled earlier. There was talk of the current financial climate. Money was one of the original objections to an Organiser of course. Eventually agreed to remitting it, on getting a statement from the NEC, that they would be expedite progress on his.

A video was made of this statement, just in case…. another photographer later pointed out that: “What we are left with is a likely range of options to put to a future DM, which will include:
1) a full photographer’s sector, PIC and NEC seat.
2) an NEC seat and a members council …or something else”.

Mysterious innit.

EFJ Report “Photojournalists: An endangered species in Europe?

General Secretary, Jeremy Dear introduced freelance photographer Guy Smallman. He was injured during the G8 protest in Geneva in 2003 and has won damages in his case against the State of Geneva. He had to undergo two rounds of emergency surgery after a police concussion grenade exploded at his feet, causing permanent damage to his left leg.

It has taken six years in a legal battle with the authorities over his right to compensation. Although he won the initial case, the State appealed. On Friday during the ADM we heard he has finally won his case. In his speech to ADM, He thanked the NUJ and the legal advice team for their support. Guy said: “They said they had acting within their guidelines which they clearly hadn’t, unless you think it acceptable to throw high explosive at journalists as they’re running away.” http://tinyurl.com/yj3rmkx

Sunday was only a brief session finishing by 12.00 in which staff, officers and administration where thanked for their service. We now have a new President in Pete Murray from the Glasgow Broadcasting Branch and the Vice President is Donnacha Delong from London Freelance branch and New Media Industrial Council. Both in place now for 18 months. Interesting times for the union.

URL Refs:
NUJ ADM 2009
Student ADM Blog
Twitter
Flickr
Facebook
YouTube
Online journalism at the NUJ ADM: The Journalist, Twitter and new blood

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