Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The truth amidst the gloom

The BBC, The Guardian, DCMS and more police harassment of journalists has dominated the last few days work.

There's been industrial action at BBC Worldwide, meetings with Guardian members and management, more calls from photographers about the stop and search of journalists at the Climate Camp in Kent and a very useful meeting with advisers at the DCMS on the future of public service broadcasting. On top of that I've been involved in pay talks at the South London Press where we are edging closer to a new pay and grading system as well as providing advice over redundancies down at The Argus in Brighton. I've had a telephone hook-up with our delegates to this year's TUC conference to discuss the agenda and amendments (the NUJ has submitted motions on civil liberties and media ownership). We are to submit amendments on Redwatch and redundancy consultation rules. I've also been in touch with the family of Kate Peyton about the NUJ providing a statement at her inquest.

All of this has been happening amidst increasing gloom swirling round the media industry and more and more jobs being lost.
The latest to announce cuts are Johnston Press. Our reps have been quick off the mark today and are angry that a company which is still making a huge profit is busy taking an axe to editorial jobs and undermining journalism. Whatever you say about Johnston Press you could say about ITV who are pleading poverty whilst rewarding senior management and shareholders and lobbying Ofcom and DCMS to jettison more public service broadcasting requirements.

There's a growing sense of panic across the industry - and yet the profits keep rolling in. And yet Media Guardian reports newspaper advertising was expected to grow by 17 per cent over the next five years, a faster rate than the past five years.

And Gavin O’Reilly in his capacity as chair of the World Association of Newspapers added: "Newspapers are a vibrant, relevant and commercial proposition for readers and advertisers alike". So it must just be a case of bad management then?

Over the past few days I've also focused energies on issues for our own employees - I've been in pay talks with staff reps, discussions over staffing, budget meetings and talks about a possible new building. Sadly I also said goodbye to Debbie Smith who as well as being a key part of our campaigns and communications team organised the union's annual conference - and was a good friend. She's off to heaven - well, to be press officer for Charlton Athletic, but for her that's heaven. Some people are weird...

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Yay I'm famous!
Sounds like your busy as usual. I'm off to organise a top game against Yeovil!