Former Times industrial correspondent Christine Buckley has convincingly won the ballot to become the new editor of the National Union of Journalists’ magazine Journalist. She polled 2,344 of the 4,807 valid votes cast, and led in the single transferable vote election from the first count until the last.
It’s a refreshing victory for a number of reasons. Members have chosen someone who is a good journalist and a good trade unionist from a strong field of eight candidates who put forward some constructive ideas. Much was made of the uniquely independent role of the Editor in the NUJ’s structure, but Christine was one of the few who seemed to recognise that the job was that of a union official as well as an editor. Members recognised this, and in voting for Christine also rejected the overtures of a rival candidate who disfigured the campaign with a series of rather nasty smears and intemperate language. It’s not the first time the nous of the union’s membership has been doubted.
One of my concerns about Christine, and to be honest about most of the candidates, was what came across as a focus on newspapers and news reporting. While these are the most organised and, it could be convincingly argued, most important areas of the trade, there are many other types of journalism and journalist under the NUJ’s umbrella. I wrote to her about this at the beginning of the campaign and after her reply I’m confident that she understands the need to give other parts of the trade, such as the magazine sector which I have worked in for most of my career, a greater profile.
The most positive thing about the campaign was the fact that so many people were prepared to make suggestions and get involved in the discussion about how to take our union journal forward – with the aim of making it a must-read in the trade in print and online high on the agenda. Christine faces a real challenge, but there’s a wealth of goodwill to be harvested.
Congrats Christine, and a big thanks to outgoing editor Tim Gopsill – a personality who will be much missed in the union and the trade. Although I suspect, and hope, we have not heard the last of him.