Eight Journalist editor candidates set out their stalls

The eight shortlisted applicants to edit NUJ magazine The Journalist have each provided Press Gazette with a 150-word pitch explaining why they should get the job.

The vacancy for the position has come up following the retirement of current Journalist editor Tim Gopsill after 21 years.

The position attracts a salary of £51,325, the same amount paid to a national organiser of the NUJ, and involves producing the magazine six times a year.

Ballot papers for the elected position will be sent out this week. And a hustings involving all of the candidates is being held at the NUJ headquarters at Gray’s Inn Road from 7pm tomorrow night (Wednesday).

The candidates are:

Tim Arnold

My background includes being the first solo news anchor on Sky News, a reporter for the BBC in Belfast, and I was the journalist who got beaten up on camera during the poll tax riot. I have also worked for Reuters and Associated Press.

I am a former joint vice-chair of the Disabled Members Council, and represented BBC and commercial radio members on the Broadcasting Industrial Council, negotiating national agreements and personal cases at ACAS, and helped lead a BBC strike over government intervention in 1987.

My goal is to keep The Journalist as a paper edition but to develop online content with webcasts, similar to those which I pioneered for the Unite and Amicus unions.

This initiative would not cost any extra money since I would produce the webcasts myself, as an experienced broadcaster. I would aim to give every sector its own regular publication, in pdf format, too.

Christine Buckley

The editor of the Journalist is an important role in the NUJ and now is a crucial time for journalism. Across all media journalists are facing enormous and ever increasing pressure as jobs are cut and workload demands escalate.

They need their union more than ever and they need it to communicate effectively the news, issues and campaigns that matter to them.

I’ve worked on national newspapers for 20 years and before that on local papers. I’ve also worked freelance. I know how tough things can be for journalists. But I also know how effective the NUJ is.

For the last nine years, I was Industrial Editor at The Times, a role that brought me into contact with many inspiring and hard-working people in the unions.

I would like to bring my experience and enthusiasm to edit The Journalist.

Michael Cross

The Journalist should be an outward-facing, multi-media publication. A source of interest and practical help to old hands and newcomers – for whom the NUJ often appears irrelevant today. Such a publication would be the best possible advertisement for our union.

I have the skills to make it happen. I have held staff positions spanning the industry: on local and national newspapers, consumer and specialist print and online magazines, and have freelanced in broadcasting, commercial writing and books. I know what it is like to launch a daily paper and to file VAT returns for a freelance business. To run a campaign on Freedom of Information and to fight de-recognition and redundancies.

I stress my breadth of experience because if The Journalist is to do its job, it must talk to all existing and prospective members, reflecting the industry as it is – not as it used to be.

Frank Morgan

I want to make the Journalist a must-read in every newsroom and studio.

My aim is to tap into the vast pool of talent we have in our membership to do so.

The NUJ has a vital message in these difficult times across the industry and and I want that message to be heard. I’d work closely with all officials to make that happen.

I’ve been a journalist for 35 years, the last 15 as a news sub on the Daily Record. I’ve also been a reporter, feature writer and news editor.

I’ve also been an NUJ member for 35 years. I was FoC of Scotland’s biggest chapel for 8 years and served on the NEC and the Scottish Executive.

I aim to develop a much better online news service for members.

I’ve got the talent, the experience and the commitment.

Richard Simcox

It is Press Gazette’s duty to report both sides of a story.

It’s the Journalist’s job to make sure one side wins.

That’s why NUJ members pay their subs.

Whether we’re fighting for fair pay, union rights and editorial independence, or against job cuts and copyright grabs, the union must use every weapon in our armoury.

When chapels are striking or building up to action, that means using the Journalist on paper, online, by email and social media to spread support, encourage protests and raise money.

When confidence needs to be built, or government needs to be lobbied, the Journalist should provide the facts, analysis and history to ensure everyone is briefed and tactics are shared.

Add some humour, branch and chapel news, coverage of the union’s much neglected internal democracy, equality and ethical campaigning, letters, obits and solidarity with journalists abroad that’s my Journalist.

Find out more at www.richsimcox.co.uk

David Tilley

If my peers granted me the great honour of becoming editor of the Journalist I would make it a forum for members’ wide-ranging views and exemplary in terms of content, design and photography, while bringing humour, flair and the perspective of an activist and regional journalist.

I am 35, born and raised in the North West of England, educated in Nottingham, Marseille and Sheffield.

I have worked for three newspaper groups in Buckinghamshire and London, in a variety of roles from trainee reporter and sports sub to news editor and editor. During 11 years in the industry I have experienced huge changes in staffing and technology and know at first-hand the great challenges the media industry and journalists face.

My union activities have seen me work as FOC at Newsquest South London, while also chairman of the Greater London Newspapers Branch, negotiating pay deals, representing members and organising a strike.

Steve Usher

Members need the Journalist now more than ever, to reflect our workplace campaigns, analyse the rapid changes in our industry and help members get the information they need whether to enhance their career, get active in their union or understand their rights.

Journalism matters. The Journalist must deliver news, features and comment using an ever-growing spectrum of media platforms. It should inspire existing members and be a tool for recruiting new members. It should reflect the diverse opinions of the members it serves. But it should not be beholden to any of them. In its news coverage, objectivity is king.

Members’ subs pay the editor’s salary – the editor must never be above the members but be one of them, understanding their problems, reflecting their profession, championing their rights and freedoms.

I have the experience of standing up for journalists and journalism. I’d be proud to have the chance to do so as editor of the Journalist.

Mark Watts

My aim is to make the Journalist the foremost source of news about, and insight into, the media industry for journalists.

I want the Journalist to:

  • increase the frequency of its printed edition (preferably monthly);
  • break more exclusive stories about our industry, while maintaining its strong features;
  • launch a proper website.

I am a freelance journalist and broadcaster, a member of the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch and the Society of Authors, and the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre, which helps the media and other clients obtain information using the freedom of information act and other open-access laws.

I am the former chief investigative reporter on Sunday Business, where I was also joint FoC. I have worked on several other national newspapers (The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, Sunday Express), an evening newspaper (Hull Daily Mail), and television current-affairs programmes (including World in Action).

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