NUJ Scotland

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Newsquest Chapel Award in Safe Hands

award 17Health and Safety rep. Damien Shields and FoC Sean Guthrie eventually got their hands on the Frank Maguire Award for Health and Safety delivered by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the NUJ at the STUC earlier this month.

Following seven consecutive years of redundancies, severely affecting staffing levels at Newsquest titles The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times, the NUJ chapel changed tack. Working with the NUJ organisers they introduced a health and safety approach to handling the stresses and pressures on remaining editorial staff. The involvement of the chapel in directly influencing new editorial structures and standing up to job cuts has changed industrial relations in the way the company and union work together. The threat of industrial action had indirectly led to the start up of The National, the daily title which suppports the independence campaign and at the same time an increase in the influence of the union in editorial areas. A much more constructive approach by a new management team also helped with the improved relations.

FoC Sean Guthrie said: ” We are chuffed to pick up this award. It is an example to union members and mangement as to how a more inclusive approach to restructuring can work. Everything for us is about health and safety, staffing levels, workloads, decent equipment and software and better communication between both sides all add up to a better workplace. Pay is another area which can stress people out and we are hopeful of engaging with the management in the next few weeks to explore the introduction of a new salary structure.”

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The life of a precarious worker, by freelance journalist Claire Sawers

Freelance journalist Claire Sawers spoke about her experiences as a freelancer at the recent Stronger Voice for Women in the Media event in Glasgow last month.  Advantages include getting to choose your colleagues and avoiding the moaners!  Here is what she said.

We’re all working in conditions where it’s now more and more common to have a zero hours contract, to work precariously, in the unstable gig culture, with no guarantees, no safety net of a pension, sick pay, benefits or HR support.

Many of us will be conscious that budgets in our different sectors are shrinking, teams and roles are being reshuffled and employers are constantly reorganising themselves to meet changing demands.

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A Stronger Voice for Women in the Media – event round-up

Women journalists shared their working life experiences at an event as part of the NUJs Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project held at the University of Strathclyde.

The common theme emerging from all speakers was that women shouldn’t be on their own when challenging employment, sexism and equality issues and that they should support each other wherever they worked.

Dr Sallyanne Duncan, head of the postgraduate studies in digital journalism at Strathclyde, opened the event by pointing out that 54 per cent of journalism students were female. “Women dominate journalism in education, but what happens after is a different story,” she said. Continue reading

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Survey Results – Stronger voice for women in the media

A survey of journalists and media workers in Scotland has revealed that 75 per cent of women have suffered discrimination at work, compared to just 16 per cent of men.

The most common forms of discrimination women face relate to promotion and career advancement opportunities (35 per cent), inappropriate comments (34 per cent) equal pay (31 per cent) and flexible working (20 per cent).  Only 16 per cent of men who responded had encountered discrimination, the most common form being paternity issues with eight per cent reporting problems.  Other problems men faced included flexible working, equal pay, promotion and career advancement opportunities (three per cent respectively) and inappropriate comments (two per cent).

The NUJ in Scotland undertook the survey as part of the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project, funded via the STUC under the Trade Union, Fair Work and Modernisation Fund.  Continue reading

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‘Light-hearted’ political coverage of women shouldn’t be an excuse for sexism

Journalist and researcher Fiona McKay was invited to write an article on the media’s representation of women in politics as part of NUJ Scotland’s Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project.  She will be speaking at the project event next Wednesday April 19 (6-9pm).  She writes mainly for the Herald and Times Group and is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Strathclyde, looking at gendered media representations in Scottish politics.  The aim of the Stronger Voice project is to improve representation of women working in the media and how women are represented by the media.

“Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” said the Daily Mail’s staggeringly sexist front page, unabashedly splashing Theresa May’s and Nicola Sturgeon’s pins as the focal point in their coverage of talks about Brexit and a second Scottish referendum.

While there was a large degree of national outrage and media criticism (and rightly so), there was also an audible sigh and collective eye roll; surely as a nation, we should have moved on from this kind of gendered commentary, particularly around two of the UK’s top leaders?

As the Daily Mail later clarified in its second edition, this was supposed to be “light-hearted” take on the negotiations. Left-wing detractors were accused of lacking a sense of humour and “proportion”. Continue reading

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Future of Newspapers and the Importance of Local News conference

On 31 March 2017, the NUJ in Scotland organised a day conference on The Future of Newspapers and the Importance of Local News.

Held at The Hub in Edinburgh, the day brought together politicians, academics, journalists, broadcasters and others interested in the media to discuss the challenges facing the industry and put forward ways to improve engagement in local media.

Speakers included US academic, Robert McChesney, from Illinois University, a leading author on the media who has proposed a Citizenship News Voucher scheme;  Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Sport and External Affairs; and Ian Stewart, Editorial Director at Scotsman Publications. Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran led discussions around McChesney’s proposal to introduce a ‘voucher style system’ for the public to buy newspapers, and welcomed Ms Hyslop’s commitment by the Scottish Government to work with the NUJ in Scotland on investing in journalism. Continue reading