How NUJ votes

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) elections are complex, involving block voting by sectoral, national and political groups. All of which will impact on the outcome of the Journalist editor election.

There are eight candidates. I personally know three of them better than most (marked with a ‡). Several have used the NUJ’s email to send out messages to members and those messages are reproduced at the bottom (click the name to go direct to their statement).

How block voting works

Rich Simcox is the candidate backed by the NUJ Left (opens new window). The NUJ Left is a ragtag alliance of tankies (pro-Stalin “send in the tanks” communist party members), anarchists, Trotskyites, Maoists, socialists and left wing Labour Party supporters. I’ll put my hand up to being one of the many misfits within this grouping.

If you have seen Monty Python’s Life of Bryan portrayal of the sectarian hatred between the various popular/peoples’ fronts, you’ll realise that getting NUJ Left agreement on anything is pretty hard.

I disagreed with the way they decided to back Rich Simcox before nominations had even closed. Several other “lefties” are not backing Rich Simcox as their first preference vote (we get to vote in order).

The freelance sector

Michael Cross has the backing of the freelance sector. That does not mean all freelances back him and the freelance sector encompasses many who are in staff jobs. It is a name for the sector that tends to be more centre-right (the right of the NUJ is still left of anywhere else) and has, in the past, coalesced around former deputy general secretary Jake Ecclestone.

This group contains many great NUJ activists and journalists, including Michael Cross. I worked closely with several of them on the political fund no campaign (see my about me page).

Broadcast news

There is a Broadcasting block vote, again, traditionally considered to the right, politically.

Broadcasters pay more in subs than the rest of the union and predominantly work in the BBC in better-paid jobs. The BBC pays for two staff to be on full-time secondment to the union, which means broadcasting is one of the best-serviced, and therefore best drilled and organised, sectors.

You would assume their block vote is going to the broadcaster candidate Tim Arnold (backed by former general secretary and broadcast organiser John Foster, according to Hold the Front Page – link opens new window). But Time Arnold’s Sky, rather than BBC connections may have undermined that. Many key broadcasting bigwigs are backing Steve Usher of the Daily Star.

A nation once again

Ireland and Scotland have traditionally been blocks of votes too. Certainly it is difficult to progress within these constituencies if you are seen to back a rival. Frank Morgan has the Scottish vote tied up.

Who will the Irish vote for?

Frank Morgan will be a strong contender because of the Celtic alliance. He is supported by leading Irish activist Barry McCall and others and is very well known there. Apparently he has an Irish mother, is a frequent visitor and tends to socialise with Irish delegates at the union’s annual conference the Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM).

But Northern Ireland activist Kevin Moore is supporting Steve Usher who is well known among national press sector and has plenty of top officials backing him

Independent: the job is, are you?

I know many people are concerned that the editor must be independent of the NUJ leadership, not just standing up to the current leadership but to stand up to whoever is in charge.

That is a worry about Rich Simcox, for example, who currently runs an activists magazine for the PCS union. It is closely aligned with the leadership. Rich and I have been trying to arrange a beer to chat about this.

Valued opinion

A valued opinion, comes from good friend and fellow magazine activist Martin Cloake, who has backed Christine Buckley, about whom I know very little.

Bill Goodwin, the journalist who refused to reveal his sources of confidential information at The Engineer (I was his FoC) is backing Mark Watts, a respected investigative reporter and long-standing colleague of Bill. Mark Watts (link opens new window) has a long list of supporters too.

And all the successful, jobbing freelancers, as opposed to activists, I know are backing Michael Cross, who I have worked, with, for and on (subbing his copy on magazines we produce). His facebook campaign (link opens new window)

The non-aligned

The key will be whether or not large numbers of non-activist members vote. They could decide who edits the Journalist.

Statements emailed  by the NUJ

Tim Arnold

Dear Colleague

Magazine journalists know only too well the problems that are hitting our profession. Titles closing… widespread redundancies… impossible rotas… low pay… longer hours… ridiculous workloads. I could go on. Having written for many periodicals over my 30 year career, I believe this election is of huge importance to our members in this vital employment area. So I do hope that I can rely on your first preference vote for the post of Journalist editor.

I also believe that the printed Journalist magazine is not broken, and doesn’t need fixing. However, as someone with a great deal of broadcasting and on-line experience, I know that the NUJ website is poor, and the webcasts are lamentable. Is this how we are going to present our profession to the world?

The NUJ’s communications channels are a crucial weapon in fighting the current problems that threaten us. We have to modernise the way we communicate. Now.

I am the only candidate for the post who also has the demonstrable journalistic and technical skills to transform the union’s on-line presence with radio and television web-casts for no extra investment.

In fact, I helped the two trades unions, Amicus, and Unite, to make high quality podcasts that have radically improved the way their members connect with the union centrally. I also have experience of providing highly relevant, small circulation pdf magazines, distributed by email.

So elect me, Tim Arnold, and make a real difference to your career in periodical journalism with:

  • your own publication, distributed by email, to stay in touch with the key issues affecting the magazine sector
  • by ensuring the printed Journalist remains an award-winning winning publication
  • and introducing a dramatically re-engineered website, featuring network quality radio and tv podcasts about the topics that matter to journalists working in periodicals.

These promises are realistic. They are achievable. And they involve virtually no extra production costs to the union whatsoever. I am the only candidate with the proven skill set and experience to deliver on these promises.

All you have to do is to cast your first preference vote for me, Tim Arnold.

Of course, you may well have already pledged your support to another candidate. In which case, please put me down as your second choice candidate. But whatever happens, please vote.

Yours sincerely

Tim Arnold

Michael Cross

Hello, my name is Michael Cross and I’m standing for election as editor of The Journalist.

There is one essential choice in this election. Whether you want a journal that speaks just to activists or whether you want one that speaks to the whole profession, including a generation for whom the NUJ may appear archaic and irrelevant.

If you share my belief that the NUJ needs an outward-facing multi-media journal, please return your ballot paper now with a 1 in the box next to my name.

Thank you.

Michael Cross

For more information on my career, union activities and plans for The Journalist please see the material accompanying the ballot paper or go to my Facebook group (link opens new window)

Frank Morgan



THESE are tough times for all journalists. That’s why the editorship of The Journalist has never been a more important job. I believe that The Journalist editor needs to be an integral part of the NUJ leadership working closely with officials across all parts of the union.

I have all the right credentials for the job as a leading lay activist for the past 35 years.

I have been a member of the NEC and Scottish Executives; I’ve been to at least a dozen ADMs; was FoC for eight years at The Daily Record and Sunday Mail, Scotland’s biggest chapel; I was the deputy FoC on strike for almost a year at Aberdeen Journals in 89/90 in the fight to save union recognition there.

I have always fought hard on the basic issues, jobs, pay and conditions and press freedom. If elected I would be keen to continue that work.

I am being backed by this year’s NUJ president, James Doherty, and a number of previous presidents and union activists across the nations and genres of the union in my campaign.

I have been a working journalist and a proud union member for 35 years. I’ve never wanted to run for full-time office – until now. After the last two disastrous holders of the editor’s chair, the NUJ simply cannot stand yet another maverick hell-bent on causing chaos within the union for their own narrow agendas. We need someone who will make The Journalist a “must-read” publication in every newsroom and studio in the UK and Ireland. We need someone who will listen to the membership (especially those outside London) and reflect their views. We need someone who will bring a professional outlook to the job. That is why I am putting myself forward for the job.

I’ve also been on strike to defend the NUJ and negotiated with some pretty hardline managements. I know both sides of the job, as an editor and a union activist. That’s why I’m asking you to vote for me.

Morgan: A real journalist for The Journalist.

Dave Tilley

Hi, I’m Dave Tilley, a candidate to be the next editor of the Journalist, and you’re probably thinking ‘oh no, not another NUJ candidate’s email in my inbox’.

I hope you can spare a couple of minutes to read my email and find out a bit more about me and my campaign.

I am 35, born and raised in St Helens, Merseyside and have been a journalist for nearly 12 years, working for Johnston Press, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror in a number of roles from trainee reporter and sports sub to news editor and editor on titles in London and Buckinghamshire.

As a union member for nine years, I have held a variety of posts, including FOC at Newsquest South London and chairman of the Greater London Newspapers Branch, and have been involved in a range of campaigning activities, from representing members to negotiating pay deals, leading a strike and holding recruitment nights.

If elected I would seek to do the following:

be a voice for grass roots members and ensure all readers’ views are represented by an inspirational, independent Journalist in print and on an accompanying, integrated website

launch a Journalist website and social networking site, linked to the NUJ’s main website, to recruit new members by showing what the NUJ can achieve and, in a members’ area, host and encourage discussion and immediate comment, particularly among members who aren’t as active in the union

tackle isolation, particularly of freelance members, by creating and maintaining online discussion and help in forums and networks, viewed regularly by the editor

make the Journalist an informative must-read online and in print, full of tips, help and advice for members to get the most out of their working lives and NUJ membership

ensure the Journalist has a positive outlook in terms of taking action, effecting change, empowering members and doesn’t act as a moaning shop

Since I started my campaign I have heard many members’ views on the Journalist and I am always willing to hear your views on the future direction of the magazine and what you like and dislike about it.

To find out more about my campaign please visit my Facebook group David Tilley Journalist Campaign and share your thoughts and ideas. (opens new window)

Please make me your number one choice for editor of the Journalist.

Richard Simcox (all external links open new windows)

Our union and our industry are facing challenging times.

We need a Journalist on paper and online that can unite and inspire us.

I am the only candidate who is currently editing and overseeing the production of a trade union magazine and website – for a union with 300,000 members.

I will produce a magazine in print that I would be proud to send into workplaces to raise our union’s profile and recruit new members.

And I will use the latest technology to give journalists the chance to be a part of the union every day – not just once every two months.

More about me and my plans are on my website

And a broad range of journalists have already said they trust me to do the best job for the NUJ

Please join them and vote for Richard Simcox as your first preference.

Ballot papers must be returned by noon, Friday 6 November.

Thank you.

Richard Simcox

Steve Usher

Steve Usher: The Professional Choice.

National newspaper journalist for 25 years.

NUJ member since 1978.

FoC at Express newspapers for 13 years.

I believe the Journalist should be:

  • about journalism not politics
  • written about not written off
  • about the many not the few
  • sought out not chucked out
  • vibrant in print, vital online
  • a credit not a debit
  • daring and ambitious

Do you agree?

These NUJ members and leading journalists do and are among those backing my campaign to become Editor of the Journalist:

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Head of Publishing; John Fray, former NUJ Deputy General Secretary; Pierre Vicary, NEC London member and Secretary BBC World Service Branch; John Barsby, NEC member East Anglia; Ray King, NEC elect representative for Newspapers and Agencies; Chris Howe, FoC The Telegraph; Michael Roddy, FoC Reuters; Francis Wheen, Writer and broadcaster; Richard Wray, Communications Editor, The Guardian; Lena Calvert,Equality Organiser, NUJ; Hélène Mulholland, Public policy correspondent, The Guardian; Brian Williams, FoC The Guardian; Rachel Baird, Christian Aid; Simon Hinde,; David Crouch, Financial Times; Frank Prenesti, former FoC Thomson Reuters; Andy Bruce, Economics sub-editor, Reuters; Robin Gibson, Racing Post; Suzanne Roberts, Johnston Press Peterborough, former MoC Spalding Guardian; Pan Pylas, Associated Press; Jon Hopkins, Stefano Ambrogi,Maytaal Angel, Jessica Mortimer, Toby Chopra, Simon Jessop, Thomson Reuters; Haoyu Zhang, NEC SE England member, Chair of BBC WS Branch and FoC BBC Chinese Chapel; Michael Workman,Chair BBC World Service Branch, FoC Bush House News & Current Affairs Chapel; Nahed Abouzeid,FoC BBC Arabic Chapel; Tory Blair, Full-time BBC Secondee (pay official); Olex Hyrb, FoC BBC Ukrainian Chapel; Anna Mainwaring, MoC BBC TV News Channel; Nina Killen, MoC Express Newspapers Broughton; Emma Herring, Former NEC member, Newsletter Editor and Branch Secretary of London Press and PR Branch; Steve Miller, Head of Journalism Courses at UCA Farnham, formerly Head of Publications at Amicus/Unite; Ferne Arfin, National Co-ordinator, Writers In Prison Network/NUJ Pathways to Journalism; Bill Bowder, FoC Church Times; Simon Rocker, FoC Jewish Chronicle; Sarah Chambers, MoC Archant Ipswich; Keith Webster, Daily Mirror; John Carey, Press officer, Cambridge City Council.

Usher in a new era. Let’s tell the whole story – not the same old story.

Vote Steve Usher 1.

Journalist. Not politician. (opens new window)

Links (open new windows)

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One Response to How NUJ votes

  1. ana says:

    very good and informative analysis, I’m sure it will be helpful for every one who is not that much involved in union politics. Thanks.

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