UnionNews: from news values to our values
As a journalist and activist I’ve spent more years than I care to remember promoting trade unions, so it’s rather nice to have the compliment returned and having trade unions promoting my own latest venture – the on-line news service for trade unionists, UnionNews.
In last Sunday’s Observer, three general secretaries very neatly pinpointed why there is a need for projects like UnionNews. There was Len McCluskey from Unite saying: ‘When anything’s reported, it’s strikes and disruption, even though 90-odd% of the time we’re involved with companies and organisations, it’s helping, adding value.”
The NUT’s Christine Blower added: “There aren’t a lot of positive demonstrations of trade unions in the media”, with the RMT’s Bob Crow agreeing: “The media are hostile – they have a go at unions – because they think there’ll be infringements on their profit line.”
Like them, I have long been concerned by the poor and unbalanced coverage in the media of trade unions and the lives of their members. I hope UnionNews can take a step towards redressing that imbalance, by reporting news from a trade union perspective.
Together with my co-editor, broadcaster and video journalist Pete Murray, UnionNews will apply strong news values to all our stories, using a nationwide network of NUJ freelance reporters and photographers to report on conferences, strikes, campaigns, events and other issues of interest to trade unionists, both at work and outside the workplace.
Adhering to our maxim ‘investigate, collaborate, agitate’, we shall also write in-depth features, carry academic research and report on legal cases affecting trade unionists. Our editorial policy is one of strict independence. We are affiliated to no political party and shall apply the same news values to all stories carried on our website, regardless of which union they feature.
Activists are our target audience, so we’ll be encouraging you to join on-line union campaigns, to post on solidarity messageboards during strikes, to make donations to strike funds and use our soapbox column to get your message across.
Join us from tomorrow, when we’ll be launching the site at TUC Congress. We’ll have regular video coverage of the event, and live blogging of the week’s business. I hope you’ll find our coverage to be rather different from most of the reporting trades unions are going to receive next week.