I thought this would be a little bit easier, to be honest. Having taken redundancy last year and returning to university to do a Masters, I didn’t think I’d still be sitting here, nearly August a year later, without work.
Obviously, the economic situation in the country is a big negative and it’s even worse in the media. Even before the Murdoch crisis hit, media group after media group was making cut after cut after cut. This continues and, unless something radical happens to change the ownership structure of the media (I’m looking at you Leveson), it’s not going to get any better.
But, even given all that, I thought my skills and experience would be enough. I’ve been an online journalist/editor for more than 13 years. In that time, I’ve worked on a national news website, RTÉ, and spent more than six years in senior editorial positions on the websites of the world’s largest human rights organisation. I’ve been a major part of two major CMS and website builds in my time, the www.rte.ie relaunch in 2001/2002 and the www.amnesty.org relaunch in 2007, working closely with developers and designers.
I can lead teams of people, plan strategically and am pretty skilled in matching content to audience. And it that wasn’t enough, I do public speaking – in the last few months, I’ve spoken about the history of social media and its impact on journalism at a Social Media Academy conference. I’ve spoken about the problems of nationally-based internet regulation at Nominet‘s policy forum and spoken about the impact of cuts in the media on health and science journalism at the European Conference on Health Journalism in Coventry.
I have also chaired large meetings, starting with parts of the National Union of Journalists Delegate Meeting in April, in front of a few hundred delegates. Since then, I’ve chaired an event on social media and human rights organised by Article 19 to present work done for the Council of Europe to the Commissioner for Human Rights and I chaired the NUJ’s first public meeting on the situation in the News of the World and News International in July.
And then there’s my writing. What I’d love to be able to do is combine my work as President of the NUJ with doing something that would make me money. I’ve had two pieces published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site – The NUJ could have saved the News of the World and Strikers at the BBC won’t crumble both written after activity as President in relation to both workplaces. Unfortunately, I’m in a key position to write about things that the media isn’t very interested in reporting – trade unions and radical movements.
I’ve been feeling a little like Kevin Bacon recently – not in any real sense, but in the Six Degrees sense. I’m working on the Rebellious Media Conference organising group and I helped out with the second NUJ public meeting on Murdoch and I realised how many contacts I have. Name a radical political or activist group in London and I probably know someone or at least know someone who does – the same goes for pretty much all of the unions.
Alas, it appears most of the media is only interested in printing ill-informed scare stories about evil anarchists or one-sided anti-union rhetoric and few are interested in an insiders view of what’s going on. This is incredibly short-sighted as there is no sign that the activism we’ve seen since last November is going to die off, on the contrary, 30 June was only start. People are regrouping over the summer, it’s all going to get very interesting from September onwards.
In short, I am available for work. If you know anyone who needs an expert in online communications, please direct them to my business site: Autonomy Consulting. I can write, sub, edit, work with multimedia and quite a bit more. As it says in the title – I will work for a reasonable sum based on my skills and experience (and sometimes even less than that!)