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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.
NUJ - what's it for?

My union, the National Union of Journalists, does many good things. I've worked at two places where it has provided invaluable support to striking journalists. It campaigns vigorously against the low pay and poor conditions that afflict many in the industry.

However, it has a student union-like desire to get involved in 'big politics', the latest manifestation of which is the proposal that the NUJ should affiliate to CND.

Why on earth? What has this to do with journalism? The current issue of the union's magazine carries support from Tony Benn, John Pilger and Hilary Wainwright. Benn argues that we should affiliate because journalists die in wars; Pilger says journalists should stand up and be counted and Trident is a waste of money; Wainwright says missiles create conditions of institutionalised war that lead to the suppression of the truth. On the other side of the argument are Polly Toynbee, Nick Cohen and Peter Hitchens, who say that the union should be as non-political as possible, since members will hold different views on political issues (Nick Cohen, also argues that CND is an unworthy organisation that cosies up to Iran).

I agree with Toynbee, Cohen and Hitchens. The union should concentrate on issues that affect journalists, as journalists. Nuclear weapons is not one of them. I hope NUJ members vote against affiliation (but I'm not counting on it).

PS The NUJ should be congratulated on allowing internet voting on this issue - it shows that they are committed to reaching as many of their members as possible, rather than allowing things to be stitched up by a committed minority.
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You expect it from the redtops but it was slightly surprising to see the Independent christen the East Anglian serial killer the "The Ipswich Ripper".

The term summons up a particularly brutal form of killing (cf Jack the Ripper and the Yorkshire Ripper) so is, to say the least insensitive (though maybe the Independent doesn't think the families of dead prostitutes are worth bothering about).

Just as importantly, giving killers nicknames glamourises what they do and gives their crimes some of the lustre of fiction. Naming him "the Ripper" will very likely boost the ego and self-importance of a sick man who can now boast to himself, thanks to the Independent, that he stands in the line of the most famous serial killers in history.

UPDATE: Sky is now reporting that at least one of the victims was strangled, which makes the 'Ripper' monicker plain wrong. Will the Indy still be using it tomorrow?
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At an Australian media awards ceremony an (old, fat, pissed) newspaper columnist storms the stage and attacks a (young, urbane) online commentator. Almost too perfect a metaphor for the frustration and stress the paper press is experiencing these days. The journalist, an Aussie poloitical commentator, says he was suffering from a migraine and was taking medication.

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