The British National Union of Journalists has launched its campaign called Stand Up For Journalism. It seeks to remind us that the core functions of journalism matter more than ever in a digital age. Sadly though, this is the Media Union that doesn’t have its main periodical available online. And it is that ambivilence that the NUJ feels towards new media technology that has created a storm between those who think the union should embrace the Internet and those who want it to protect members against its consequences.
Roy Greenslade has now left the NUJ over this, though Paul Bradshaw thinks he is mistaken. Blogger and NUJ activist Donnacha Delong has written about the perils of the Internet, while the Guardian’s head of editorial development Neil MacIntosh has told the NUJ how to get its new media act together. US blogger Jeff Jarvis thought that the NUJ’s effort to describe how it would cope with ‘New Media’ was “whiny, territorial, ass-covering”. NUJ President Michelle Stannistreet has toldregional newspaper editors that the NUJ is not against new technology, it just doesn’t want its members left doing twice as much work.
It’s a splendid row and just what we need at a time when journalism is changing so rapidly. It is also a wonderful example of how new media platforms make a debate like this much more accessible, much more connected and a whole lot more fun.