Journalism and the New Media

Report of the public meeting called by NUJ

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The latest public meeting called by the National Union of Journalists was entitled "Journalism in the Age of Blogging and New media". The discussion was led by invited speakers, Gary Herman of the NUJ's New Media Industrial Council and Chris Ratcliffe of the Hebden Bridge Web.

Chris Ratcliffe spoke first describing how the Hebweb started, gave examples of some of the rivalry with the local paper and then discussed some issues raised by the growth of the new media: what is journalism and how journalists are going to be paid in a future where local papers are no longer thriving. He pointed out the monopoly on news held by the local newspaper has been broken by the Internet. He said he thought that between us in Hebden Bridge we’ve created an effective model for how a community website can be.

Gary Herman talked about the early days of the Internet and the first Internet Browser, Mosaic which was developed by Marc Anderson. Other points he made included: everything was controlled by the US, the new media tends to be mainly used by the young and the NUJ represented people from a very wide range of backgrounds: newspapers, BBC, film makers, cartoonists, etc. Gary is optimistic that the "herd-like migration" of newspapers to the internet won't completely replace print media. It will be a very long time before electronic newspapers become a better delivery system to the places where most people want to read print newspapers - the three "B"s: bedroom, bathroom and breakfast.

Discussion points raised after each speaker had spoken included

  • Disagreement that the new media was for the young
  • Whether journalism should be recommended as a profession for young people looking for a career today
  • A show of hands of those present revealed how few actually read political blogs
  • Would the paper newspapers disappear altogether in favour of electronic news? Gary Herman thought each type of media would continue to exist side by side.
  • Whether young people used newspapers, Radio 4 and TV for info like their parents, or whether they relied more on the new media.
  • Whether the HB Times could ever change while it remains in the hands of Johnston Press
  • How seriously the libel laws need changing, for those authoring material for both the new and the old forms of media.

Gary Herman gave out leaflets entitled Digital Toolkit: Training Days for Media Freelances

Read Chris Ratcliffe's talk on Journalism and the New Media.

Previous NUJ meetings, reported on the Hebweb

Using the Freedom of Information Act (Nov 2007)
Investigative journalist Heather Brooke told a public meeting at the Stubbing Wharfe, Hebden Bridge yesterday evening that those who vote need to be informed.

Is the British press doing a good job? (May 2006)
Invited speakers: Chris Frost, Professor of journalism at Liverpool John Moores University and the Chair of the NUJ Ethics Council, and Campbell Malone, the solicitor, who challenges miscarriages of justice, notably the wrongful conviction for murder of Stefan Kiszko.

Broadband availability in Hebden Bridge (Dec 2002)
The meeting was held in the upstairs room of the Stubbings Wharfe and the three speakers were Chris Ratcliffe (Hebden Bridge Web), Steve Morgan (freelance photographer) and Guy Ohlenschlager (Poptel internet service provider).

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