I started blogging in 2009 after I was elected to the NUJ’s National Executive Council (NEC). Originally I mainly posted reports from NEC meetings on my NUJ branch web site. Soon afterwards I set up my own site and after leaving the NEC (I lost the London region 2011 election). I changed the name of the site to ‘The Spark’ the name of the first union branch I edited in the mid and late 1970’s when I was publicity officer of NALGO’s Hertsmere branch in Hertfordshire. After leaving Hertsmere Council in 1982 I joined NALGO’s publicity department as a publicity field organiser. In 1993 NALGO merged with two other major public sector unions, COHSE and Nupe to become UNISON – where I remained in the communications department until September 1997.
On retiring from UNISON I became the national organiser for the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF).
In 2016 I completed nine years (the maximum I could service) on the steering committee (board) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) representing the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Sadly this also brought to an end my solidarity visits to journalists and other media workers, their families and friends in Turkey, many of which are reported on this blog. The same year and after nearly 19 years, I stood down as national organiser for the CPBF and despite the best efforts of my successor Josef Davies-Coates, and the CPBF national council, the organisation ran out of money and was forced to close in November 2018. The campaigning traditions of the CPBF continue in CPBF (North) which publishes a regular news bulletin (Media North) and has produced a number of publications on topical media issues.
I subsequently left Walthamstow in north east London in the summer of 2019, moving to Settle in North Yorkshire where I am a community activist, occasional blogger and secretary of the local climate change group ACE, Action on Climate Emergency Settle and area.
Below is the first entry on this blog page
Why you should vote for Barry White – 2009 NEC Election address
The NEC is the custodian of union policy and conference decisions. If elected, I will work to ensure that the NUJ remains a member led union, built on the principles of accountability, democracy, equal opportunities and transparency.
The present economic crisis affects us all as trade unionists and citizens. The reaction of the media owners has been to sack staff and attack pay and working conditions to protect profits. Our resistance has been strong and action has saved jobs, but the struggle is far from over. Members taking action need our solidarity and financial support. However, the job losses experienced put greater strain on those left at work and makes recruitment to the union an even higher priority. Losing members means lower income, putting a strain on the union finances and staff at a time when we need to be strong. We must continue to build on workplace and freelance organisation and turn more members into activists through wider training in workplace organisation and representation.
Our broadcasting members at the BBC and ITV have suffered massive job losses, attacks on their pensions and privatisation. The threat of ‘top slicing’ the licence fee has to be resisted, or the BBC will look for even more cuts in jobs and programming.
The economic crisis has also brought calls for further relaxing in media ownership rules. The union has a good record on campaigning against further deregulation and has made positive suggestions for alternative sources of financing commercial public service broadcasting. We need to develop these ideas and working with a wide coalition, campaign for them politically.
The revelation by Nick Davies that Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers paid out £1m to settle three privacy claims out of court, asks serious question about our press and coupled with the recent Desmond libel trial, shows the antics some proprietors will go to in an attempt to reverse their declining sales and profits. That’s why our union’s ‘Journalism Matters’ campaign, which takes issues of quality journalism to a wider audience, remains important. We must continue to speak out and campaign for ethical standards, media diversity and democracy, otherwise the future of the press locally and nationally looks bleak.
I joined the NUJ in 1982, and am currently the national organiser for the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.
Member since 1982. Joint FOC/MOC Nalgo Chapel mid1980s; frequent ADM Delegate; NEC member 2002-2004; NUJ representative on the European Federation of Journalists to March 2007. Former branch secretary of the Press and Public Relations Branch, now joint branch chair
NEC London Elections – Give Barry White your No 1 Vote
You should shortly be receiving your ballot papers for the London NEC elections. These elections, held every two years, are for the governing body of your union which leads the NUJ between annual delegate meetings (conference), so it’s important that you read the election material and vote.
I have served on the NEC before between 2002 – 2004 and wish to represent you again as one of your London representatives. My priorities are building members’ confidence to defend jobs and the future of journalism; recruit new members and create opportunities for young people who want to enter the industry.
In these times of economic crisis, cuts in jobs, closures and attacks on our trade union organisation, the NEC must continue to lead effectively from the front. But it needs a higher profile in the union and must improve its communication with branches, chapels and members.
The present economic crisis affects us all as trade unionists and citizens. The reaction of the media owners has been to sack staff and attack pay and working conditions to protect profits. Our resistance has been strong and action has saved jobs, but the struggle is far from over. Members taking action need our solidarity and financial support. However, the job losses experienced put greater strain on those left at work and make recruitment to the union an even higher priority.
Losing members means lower income, putting a strain on the union finances and staff. The NEC needs to ensure that we continue to build on workplace and freelance organisation and turn more members into activists through training in workplace organisation and representation. In addition jobs lost make it more difficult for young people to get work now and in the future. Youth unemployment is a fast growing problem and the fight for jobs is not just for one generation it’s for the futures of our industry and young workers.
I am asking for your first vote in these elections. I’ve been a trade union activist most of my working life and can bring experience and rank and file commitment to the NEC. You can find out more about what I stand for in the election address sent out with your ballot papers. So please vote. To contact me ring 07774 607419 or email at me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading this statement.