Join us, Tuesday December 13th, for an evening of friendship, mulled wine and mince pies, where we will turn our attention to groups who feel increasingly excluded, vulnerable and friendless in today’s Britain. Continue reading
Category Archives: upcoming events
To exit or remain: what’s at stake for us in Oxfordshire?
We’ve invited Antony David, managing director of Solid State Logic, a local high-tech business, and Robert Wilkinson, a former teacher and a trade unionist, to tell us what they think, and explain why they will be voting “in” and “out”, respectively. We’re inviting you to come and join the discussion. Continue reading
7pm Thursday February 18th, Oxford Town Hall
“Grassroots junior doctors have been central to countering government spin, using social media and other strategies to generate stories and coverage in a truly 21st Century campaign”
So says Oxford-based Dr Rachel Clarke, former TV journalist turned junior doctor, who has been involved in coordinating that media strategy at a local and national level.
Rachel will be a guest speaker at our February branch meeting, to talk about the issues at stake in the junior doctors dispute, the campaign of disinformation being waged by the government, and how junior doctors have used social media, in particular, to expose their lies.
Thursday Sept 10th, 7.00-8.15pm, St Aldates Tavern, opposite Oxford Town Hall
Discussion with videoclips led by Jason Parkinson
Videojournalist Jason Parkinson spent 10 days in August recording events around Calais, one of Europe’s many migration frontlines, which he first visited in 2007.
He used his camera to document the realities of daily life for the people trapped in this permanent transit camp on the Calais dunes, and to give a voice to people like Alpha, pictured below, to tell their stories – (you can see the full 5-min video here.
At our September meeting, Jason will show some of his footage, talk about his experiences and lead a discussion about covering the stories of migrants and migration.
This part of the meeting will start at 7.00pm and will be open to anyone interested in joining the discussion.
As part of the Palestine Unlocked festival (www.PalestineUnlocked.com) the Oxford NUJ branch is hosting a roundtable discussion about how news from Palestine is gathered and reported. This is a public event
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles, Oxford
Date/time: Tuesday June 16th, 7.00pm
The discussion will be preceded, at 6.30pm, by the formal opening of an exhibition of photographs taken by Nablus-based photojournalist Abed Qusini, which will be on display until Friday June 26th. (For details of opening times please see below)
Our knowledge of what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza depends in no small part on the ability of Palestinian journalists to gather and report news stories.
They work against the odds. Continue reading
7.00pm, Thursday November 13th, upstairs in the St Aldates Tavern, St Aldates (opposite Oxford Town Hall)
Who can get access to what information about my personal and professional life, and the lives of those I interact with – and does it really matter?
Branch member Matthew Teller will be speaking at our October branch meeting about his work as a freelance travel writer specialising in the Middle East.
The meeting is 7.00pm Thursday October 9th, upstairs in the St Aldates Tavern, St Aldates, opposite Oxford Town Hall, and it is open to non-members
In this guest blog post, Matthew talks about his efforts to navigate “a journalistic path between the unthinking demands of tourist board PR, and the equally unthinking demands of breaking news”, and asks whether political aware travel writing is gaining ground.
Come to the branch meeting to hear more and join the discussion,
WRITERS work alone. Freelancers tend to, anyway, and I’ve freelanced most of my life. That’s one of the reasons why the NUJ – alongside writers’ guilds and other trade bodies – is so valuable, creating networks and fostering working communities among writers and journalists.
So I’m honoured and delighted to have been asked to speak at the NUJ’s Oxford & District meeting on October 9th. It will be an informal affair: hearing about other people’s lives, and how they got to wherever they happen to be, is always fascinating. I’m proposing a hefty dose of that.
I write mostly about the Middle East. I’m lucky to have lived in Jordan, Jerusalem and other places, and privileged to have been able to travel widely on assignment across the region. A couple of clips: I wrote this from Egypt last summer, just before the military coup: http://quitealone.com/2013/07/05/hope-floats/
And my Radio 4 documentary on military relations between the UK and the Gulf aired last month – details here: http://quitealone.com/2014/09/23/sandhurst-and-the-sheikhs/
Beside the BBC, I write for newspapers and magazines both here and around the world.
My background is in travel writing, nowadays perhaps the most degraded and discredited branch of journalism of them all. It wasn’t always inconsequential, PR-driven and irredeemably fluffy, of course: there was a time when what we would now recognise as travel writing was virtually indistinguishable from foreign affairs reporting – and I’m interested in how we might be seeing something of a return to that today.
With the enormous growth in tourism, the point of much mainstream travel writing has changed. Edginess has dissipated, description has faded and discovery has atrophied. For most people, most of the time, travel writing now means glorified tourist-board copy, telling safe stories about safe destinations from familiar standpoints. That’s not always the case, but travel journalism, digging below public narratives, and travel writing, challenging perceptions of people and places, both face existential threats amid the shrinking of our industry. Editors willing to push boundaries are hard to find. My word rates not only haven’t moved in fifteen years, they’ve mostly gone down.
A new genre?
Yet, along with the ubiquity of travel “content”, especially online, I’m sensing change in the air. The hunger for good stories, well told, will never die, and travel writing feels like it may be splitting. TripAdvisor and its ilk – clearly hugely popular – serve a purpose, as do Lonely Planet and Rough Guides (for whom I’ve written several titles), but have you been reading the website Roads & Kingdoms, for instance? Or have you been tracking Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Salopek, blogging for National Geographic?
Politically aware travel writing is gaining ground. Navigating a journalistic path between the unthinking demands of tourist board PR, and the equally unthinking demands of breaking news, feels new. And the countries the weekend supplements prefer to cover – the Frances, the Italys, the Antiguas and the Australias – aren’t at the core. It’s the places that don’t count as destinations – Central Asia, say, sub-Saharan Africa or my neck of the woods, the Middle East – where this new approach is being honed, feeding into how we, at home, imagine different places to be “newsy” or “touristy”. It’s an exciting time.
I’d be interested to discuss all of this, and more, on the night. See you there!
Thursday July 3rd, 7,00pm, upstairs in the St Aldates Tavern,
Opposite Oxford Town Hall, St Aldates
An open networking event for journalists and would-be journalists working online and/or in broadcasting and print, as reporters, feature writers, photo/video-journalists, editors, PRs, designers, bloggers, front-end developers and more.
This is the second in our new-style branch meetings which aim to be more informal and inclusive, and follows a very successful June meeting where we piloted the new format.
Tim Dawson, chair of the NUJ’s Freelance Industrial Council, who writes regularly for a range of national newspapers and magazines including the Sunday Times, New Statesman and Times Education Supplement, blogs at http://tim-dawson.com/ and is co-publisher ofhttp://newmodeljournalism.com/, will present a short overview of some of the innovative ways journalists are using the internet and digital media to find new ways of working, and new ways to promote themselves and earn a living from what they do.
Steven Mathieson, a freelance member of the Oxford NUJ branch who has spent many years on the Guardian, specialising in information technology in healthcare and government, will talk about his experiences using the internet to reach a wider audience, build his profile, gather information, advertise his book CardDeclined, and crowdfund his reporting on the Ends of Britain via the Beacon journalism platform. He will set out why he thinks raising money from subscriptions is a more workable model than advertising for sustaining quality journalism.
We will also have contributions from Sonja Francis the editor of Thame.net, who moved from a background in local newspapers to set up the web-based news service, as well as from members who started off on the web development side and are now looking to expand into creating content.
If you have experiences good or bad in using digital media to earn money from journalism – offering web-based services or using the internet to boost your profile, find new clients, network within your specialist area, gather information – please come to the meeting and share them. If you are looking for tips and advice on getting started, or maybe for opportunities to collaborate, then this is the place to be.
The meeting is open to all NUJ members, whatever media sector you work in.
If you are not a member but are interested in joining or learning more about the union and getting started in journalism, you can apply to attend the meeting by sending an email to email@example.com subject line ˂making journalism pay˃