The Journalist Hustings

Candidates divided over how to take magazine online and charging for it

Candidates at the hustings last night. From left to right:

Last night seven of the eight candidates for the next editor of the NUJ’s magazine the Journalist were at hustings hosted by London Press & PR Branch at the NUJ’s head office in Kings Cross.

Each candidate was first given five minutes to introduce themselves and their candidacy after which questions were taken from the audience.

Between the seven candidates almost all sectors of the industry were represented, with a heavy leaning towards print. Candidates varied greatly in their union involvement – Christine Buckley, Michael Cross and Mark Watts all used the phrase “I’m a journalist, not an activist”

One of the most divisive subjects between the candidates was the level of involvement that online should have. Some said it should continue in it’s current form as ‘complementary’ with a PDF of the print edition, others were much bolder in their proposals of daily news items online, more discussion of issues and the use of social media.

Candidates were asked how they would generate income outside the central funding allocated to the magazine, Steve Usher said “The magazine is a potential goldmine to fund all the web work we need to do. It goes out to over 40,000 ABC1 journalists, advertisers offered that will go for it big time” Richard Simcox proposed that revenue should be increased by the recruitment of new members, not advertising. He quipped “I’m a union rep, not an ad sales rep” Mark Watts said that as the Journalist was specialist content he would charge non-union members for access online.

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