Edinburgh Freelance 16 October

At tonight’s meeting, we’ll be focusing on the NUJ’s Delegate Meeting (DM) which is in Southport, 19–22 April.

After our excellent September discussion about new ways of supporting journalism, we will have two motions to propose and discuss. If you have any other potential motions, do bring your ideas along.

Thanks to Joyce McMillan for drafting these two. Please think of additions and amendments.

This DM welcomes the work of the NUJ’s Scottish Office in seeking to discuss the possibility of new co-operative ownership models for local newspapers in Scotland threatened with closure or severe editorial cuts, including the 24 Scottish local titles recently designated as vulnerable by Johnston Press. This ADM instructs the NEC to step up NUJ support for co-operative ownership models in the media, as a vital way forward for properly funded journalism in an age when purely commercial models are becoming increasingly problematic; and to initiate a programme of work on co-operative ownership in journalism that should include:

• the commissioning of research into successful models of co-operative ownership, e.g. the West Highland Press, with a view to making them more widely understood
• the provision of systematic support and information for groups of member journalists exploring the possibilities of forming co-operatives to take over threatened titles, or launch new ones
• the designation of a member of staff with experience and knowledge of co-operative structures, to work with members interested in pursuing co-operative options, and to promote the idea among NUJ members
This DM notes the many different funding models now being pursued by members, particularly freelance members, in pursuit of viable ways of making a living from journalism in the 21st century. These range from crowd-funding and subscription systems to joint projects between consortiums of investigative journalists and larger organisations in the media and beyond, and form an ever-changing landscape of new possibilities for those entering journalism today, or trying to sustain their careers in changing times. DM further notes that providing members with information about these possibilities, and how to manage them, is now a key function of the NUJ at local and national level.

This ADM therefore instructs the NEC to commission a substantial research project, over at least a year, into the range of business models now being used by NUJ members to sustain their work; to hold at least one national day conference, or a series of regional ones, designed to reflect on and publicise the findings of the survey; and to make full use of those findings not only in offering general support to freelance members, but in designing future journalist training, both through the NUJ itself, and in media education more generally.
We’ll be looking for two delegates to send to Southport and there will also be an opportunity to put your name forward for one of the NUJ’s executive and industrial councils.
MONDAY 16 October

Stills Gallery
23 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh EH1 1BP
0131 622 6200

If the door is closed, please ring the bell.


I look forward to seeing you there.