June 2012 Archives

So the NUJ is at risk of going bankrupt. Journalists are leaving the industry, membership is down. But I can't help but notice that in the recent begging letter from the NUJ, asking members for help, that freelances are only mentioned once and that's to tell us that our benefits of membership are to be reduced.

I can't help but think that if instead of focusing on the massively contracting area of the industry (local and regional press) that is pretty much doomed, the NUJ spent more effort on the expanding area (freelancing), it might stand a greater chance of surviving. Instead, as usual, it wants freelances to help those in salaried employment without their giving us anything in return.

I've been a member since 1999 and beyond one piece of legal advice, a training course and the Apple Store discount, I've not seen anything in return. I'm not expecting it but a lot of people will do, this being a consumer society.

What are the benefits of the NUJ for freelances, beyond the ability to donate money to salaried journalists who usually don't do a lot to help freelances (for example, giving each other freelance gigs to help boost each other's salaries, rather than offering that work to actual freelances, isn't helpful)? If the NUJ can answer that question, maybe it'll still have a future.

Here's the letter – what do you think?

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