Monday, 12 September 2011

UnionNews - the news service for trade unions - launches today

UnionNews launches at TUC Congress on 12th September. Co-editor Tim Lezard explains why he founded an on-line news service for trade unionists
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 UnionNews.
For in Sunday’s Observer, three general secretaries pinpointed why there is a need for 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. UnionNews will redress that balance 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.
Activists are our target audience, so we’ll be encouraging you to join on-line union campaigns, to post on solidarity message boards during strikes, to make donations to strike funds and use our soapbox column to get your message across.
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.
Sounds good? Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet has to say: “I welcome the arrival of UnionNews because it’ll give unions the coverage they deserve at the same time as connecting activists from all unions together to create bigger, and more successful campaigns. I shall certainly be encouraging our members to log on.
You heard her – what’s stopping you from logging on? is live now!

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