EPUK Editorial Photographers United Kingdom and Ireland. The private mailing list and public resource for editorial photographers

The full results of the NUJ/Drogheda Independent survey

20 September 2007 - EPUK

The full results of the EPUK survey into whether the NUJ’s Drogheda Independent house agreement has affected perceptions of the union among photographers.

Survey methodology

  • The survey was open to all photographers working in the UK editorial markets, regardless of whether they were an NUJ or EPUK member.
  • The survey pool were initially drawn from the membership lists of EPUK (around 800 members) and NVJPhoto (around 100 members) since their membership were already pre-vetted to meet the survey criteria. This list had duplicates removed, and non-photographer members of EPUK (the three representatives of NUJ, BAPLA and AoP) were not asked to take part. Those EPUK members who currently had their mail settings turned to no-delivery were not invited to join the survey for privacy reasons.
  • Each of the survey pool were sent an individual email invitation to the survey being sent which could be used only once to avoid multiple votes. The survey could not be completed without an invitation to ensure respondents were editorial photographers.
  • Each of the survey pool was invited to ask any other working editorial photographers to also complete the survey. These photographers were asked to email a EPUK moderator for an invitation and for eligibilty checks. A similar invitation was made in another EPUK-run list, the EPUK Weekly News (1700 members) which has no eligibility requirements.
  • Members of the survey pool were invited to take part even if they no strong opinions on the issues, or did not feel they knew enough about the issues. Three of the key questions in the survey has options for “I don’t know enough about the issues” as well as a “neutral” opinion option.
  • The survey was conducted online at a third-party survey website – Surveymonkey between the evening of Friday 14th September and noon on Wednesday 19th September.
  • The survey was kept entirely anonymous, and no records of email address, IP address or other identifying information were kept with the data collected.
  • There was no discussion of the survey on either the EPUK or NVJPhoto lists for the duration of the survey.
  • An editorial decision was made to not cover a breaking story concerning the Drogheda Independent on the EPUK website while the survey was ongoing to avoid prejudicing the results.
  • In total there were 358 respondents. 7.8% of respondents started the survey but did not go all the way through to the final screen. Their partial responses have been kept in the survey.
  • Apart from EPUK and NVJPhoto, respondents included members of f8andbethere (16%), the British Press Photographers Association (19%), the Scottish Press Photographers Association (3%) the British Association of Journalists (2%), the Association of Photographers (8%), irishphotographers.ie (5.1%) and the BIPP (2.9%)
  • The final page of the survey asked for any other comments from the respondents which were pertinent to the survey. 112 respondents added comments, a representative sample of which have been added to the information shown here. They appear next to the questions felt most appropriate by the EPUK moderators, and are listed to indicate whether the comments were made by a current NUJ member or not.

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Breakdown of respondents

Respondents were asked their country of residence, and whether they were, or ever had been, an EPUK member. This data is collated from answers to survey questions 1, 2 and 3.

How were the respondents to the survey broken down ?
By NUJ membership:
 
NUJ members 47.7%
     
Former NUJ members 17.6%
     
Had never joined the NUJ 34.7%
 
By geographical location:
 
England, Scotland and Wales 83.3%
     
Northern Ireland/ROI 7.5%
     
Outside the UK/ROI 9.5%
     


Respondent’s attitudes to NUJ membership

Depending on whether the respondent was a NUJ member, one of two different questions was asked. Respondents who were not currently NUJ members were asked the following question. This data is collated from survey question five.

Would you consider joining or rejoining the NUJ?

(Only respondents who were not current NUJ members were asked this question)

All respondents
Former NUJ members
Respondents who have never been in the NUJ
 
Yes 44.2%
  37.9%
  47.0%
     
No 55.8%
  62.1%
  53.0%
     

Additional comments left by non-NUJ members:

  • “I left NUJ when they put their subs up so they can meddle in politics. They are not very relevant to freelancers, especially photographers and produce the WORST magazine in the world. Funny huh!”
  • “I’ve considered joining the NUJ on two occasions in the past. Each time activities of the NUJ have lead me to believe that the NUJ is not working in photographer’s interests. The latest issue confirms to me that as a photographer, the NUJ is a complete waste of time joining. I consider it a union for staff writers at newspapers and nothing more.”
  • “I joined the NUJ in a spirit of solidarity after the encouragement of some of the most active photographers in the Union. They suggested that the NUJ was the only organisation powerful enough to make a real difference for freelance photographers who are up against the might of Getty and other large commercial empires. I was bitterly disappointed and so I resigned. I believe that the NUJ’s only interest in freelance photographers is in the collection of their fees which do not reflect the effort they put in on our behalf but are, frankly, far too high for what is offered.”

How do NUJ members feel about their future in the union ?

Respondents who were NUJ members were asked the following question. The data is collated from survey question six.

As a current NUJ member, which of the following statements best reflects your intentions ?
(Only respondents who were NUJ members were asked this question)
 
I intend to remain a NUJ member for the foreseeable future 48.8%
     
I intend to leave the NUJ but not to join another photographers organisation 1.2%
     
I intend to leave the NUJ and join another photographers organisation. 10.2%
     
I am undecided as to whether I will stay in the NUJ or whether I will leave. 39.8%
     

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “I intend to stay a member of the NUJ until I have lost confidence in their ability or commitment to representing the interests of photographers, however. I believe the onus is now on the NEC to demonstrate this commitment by pro-actively supporting the appointment of a photographers rep.”
  • “After the NUJ took the thirty pieces of Silver and sold out the freelance photographers I am contemplating leaving the Union. In thirty years membership the NUJ in Ireland has done NOTHING for the freelances photographers or reporters. What is the point being in a union that does nothing for its freelance members.”
  • “My involvement and membership of the NUJ, as a freelance photographer, is not only to defend my own interests but to fight for the rights and conditions of media workers across the board. It is also to be part of the wider picture and involved with issues which face journalists, media workers, trade unionists and people across the world. Whilst it seems to be that the NUJ is failing its freelance photographers, I think that the NUJ is generally a force to be reckoned with, and it is better to be part of this than only a member of a smaller and less effective body that just represents the self-interests of a tightly knit group.”
  • “The NUJ’s membership base means that it’s really the only credible recognised union of journalists. There are other organisations but they don’t have the critical mass to negotiate with employers, or the recognition. The NUJ seems to be moving towards being a union that only represents staff, and as the Drogheda debacle is ongoing, proving that they can’t even do that. The sad thing is that, as a relative newcomer to the NUJ, but not as a newcomer to trade unionism, I say “them”, not “us”.”
  • “The only reason I, and most other freelance photographers I know in Ireland (ROI), are NUJ Members is because the NUJ is the only gatekeeper in Ireland with the authority to issue Press Cards. If I were eligible I would apply to join the BPPA instead and leave the NUJ. The NUJ seems to care little for photographers and not at all for freelance photographers.”
  • “I have personally been profoundly let down by the NUJ and recently had to sell my house as a direct result of their mishandling a huge copyright case. We must however, stay in the Union and demand that they represent us. Pissing inside the tent makes more of a mess than pissing outside on the walls.”
  • “My NUJ membership now is simply for my press card. Once I’ve found a suitable alternative they will be losing my £17 per month”
  • “I am certainly on the verge of leaving the NUJ after 23 years. I have no confidence that its leadership can change. As a former branch committee photographers’ rep I can vouch that in Scotland at least the service given to photographers, and I know details of many cases, is utterly appalling.”
  • NUJ is happy to take subs from photographers but obviously doesn’t care about their concerns”
  • “The NUJ have just proved that they are not bothered about holding on to the photographic side of their membership. I am VERY disappointed with them.”
  • “I’m only in the NUJ to get a press card, when the BPPA become gatekeepers I will get it through them.”
  • “Although the NUJ is currently working against the interests of photographers it is still the only trades union we have. I will stay in and fight. The only reason that I would leave is if any prominent NUJ members were disciplined for their actions on this issue”

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Attitudes to the Drogheda Independent house agreement

All respondents were asked their opinion of the NUJ-negotiated Drogheda Independent House Agreement. This was survey question seven.

The NUJ’s Irish Office has signed a house agreement with the Drogheda Independent newspaper which includes a clause which allows photographs to be supplied by the staff reporters. Which of these five statements most closely matches your opinion of this clause ?
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly oppose the clause. 63.4%
74.7%
55.1%
80.8%
 
I moderately oppose the clause. 16.9%
13.3%
19.7%
7.7%
 
I have no feelings either way about the clause. 8.5%
5.4%
10.6%
3.9%
 
I moderately support the clause. 1.1%
0.6%
1.5%
  0 %
 
I strongly support the clause. 0.3%
0.6%
  0%
  0%
 
I don’t know enough about the issue to form an opinion 9.9%
5.4%
13.1%
7.7%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “The Drogheda inhouse agreement will collapse around itself and we as NUJ members will have to get better organised to campaign against this feckless deal and to reclaim the NUJ as a union for workers rights within the media. Let’s keep up the pressure and make the NUJ become the union that fights for us members. “
  • “I feel the Drogheda Agreement is a very serious threat to my livelihood”
  • “The local social ‘dinner dance’ ‘cheque signing’ etc type of Newspaper photography at the heart of the DI house Agreement ruction is not practiced by those most vocal in their disagreement to its implementation nor supposing they did, would they have ever signed a contract to undertake such work at the price offered!”
  • “The agreement to let reporters take pics show how highly photographers are valued – as in not at all. Its a difficult enough profession at the best of times and the time it takes to convince people that it is a highly professional occupation has just been torn to shreds and by the union that is meant to represent us – what kind of message does that give? “

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “As a freelance journalist I turned to photography a few years ago, in part because I wanted to enhance my journalist skills in a tightly competitive market. Partly this came out of my NCTJ course where there was a photography module which taught us how to take photos in on cheap digitals – for publication. It’s taken a lot of training, rejections and time to get to a decent standard (much more than I originally assumed) and I don’t like to photograph and report news stories together as I feel I compromise both angles and I won’t photograph for publications I write for if they want the pics for free. Last week I interviewed five journalists for a freelance job. Two of them offered photography as part of their range of skills. Neither had any photographic training or knowledge of the industry. One kept talking about how you could do anything these days with a large digital camera and the other said she wanted to work for free for the chance of getting published and putting her portfolio together. Neither had an understanding of the value of good photography (perhaps we should be making an effort to educate these guys too). The industry is changing and several photographers are now offering articles too – it works both ways and can work well for features.”
  • “In 1997 I was employed by a large national agency in the UK to become a trainee reporter with the view that I would save the company money as they would get words and pictures from one person without having to employ two people. In essence this was a good idea, I was already an experienced photographer and had a degree in politics from Cambridge University, so I was pretty literate. I struggled. I produced bad copy and bad photographs as I had half a head on each job. It was particularly difficult on hard news jobs as you can’t physically wield a camera and get all the pertinent quotes down at the same time. Then I had two desks fighting over me, both wanting their output first. If anyone should have been able to do this job with ease, I should, and I found it difficult. In my opinion, photos give a newspaper its identity. With rubbish pictures on the pages, the overall product looks poor and that switches readers off very quickly. Similarly, mistakes in copy, factual not literal, also turn readers off as they look to newspapers as a source of reliable comment and hate to be mislead by error as they feel foolish for believing what has been written. Once you lose credibility, your readership will desert you. If newspapers need to save money, and I don’t deny that they do as advertising revenue in the traditional fields of property and recruitment, melt away to the web, then they should look to source quality photography from good agencies instead, which is paid for by a service fee, such as PA, or a one off usage fee, such as REX. Reporters can’t report if they’re trying to think about a picture too, and photographers will miss the picture if they’re trying to get quotes down. Both skills are essential to a newspaper and employees will have a much higher productivity rate if they are not being torn in two directions.”

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The Emergency Committee of the NEC’s decision.

Respondents were asked their opinion of the emergency committee of the NUJ’s NEC. This was survey question eight.

The Irish Executive Council of the NUJ asked the union’s National Executive Committee to make a decision on whether the Drogheda Independent house agreement should be accepted or rejected. The Irish Executive’s own recommendation was that deal be rejected. The union’s National Executive Committee emergency committee endorsed the Drogheda Independent house agreement, against the recommendation of the Irish Executive. Which of the following statements best represents your opinion of the emergency NEC’s decision ?
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly oppose the emergency NEC’s decision. 63.0%
72.3%
55.7%
80.8%
 
I moderately oppose the emergency NEC’s decision 10.8%
12.7%
9.8%
3.9%
 
I am neutral about the emergency NEC’s decision 7.1%
3.6%
9.8%
11.5%
 
I moderately support the emergency NEC’s decision 0.9%
1.2%
0.5%
  0 %
 
I strongly support the emergency NEC’s decision 2.3%
3%
1.6%
  0%
 
I don’t know enough about the issue to form an opinion 16%
7.2%
22.7%
3.9%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “This is not a union that listens to its members, that was made very clear when they ignored the decision of the IEC to reject the DI deal, its looking more like a dictatorship than a union.”
  • “The proposed agreement is bad news for photographers, and I do not understand the NUJ executive`s position on it at all.”
  • “Very disappointed with the leaderships decision to intervene and overule the Irish. Twenty years a member, not sure whether to carry on now.”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “The Irish Executive know their territory and the National Executive should have supported them and should defer to them. Reporters generating image content for their titles does not enhance the effectiveness of that title. While I accept that the NUJ have an obligation to seek out agreements that are beneficial to journalists everywhere, it should not seek to represent one group of journalist at the expense of another. The NUJ have an obligation to properly represent all its members and, as I understand it, those protections are enshrined in NUJ rules that have been built over time. How can the NUJ be trusted with my future when it doesn’t seem to care about its own.”

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Union reputation and the Drogheda Independent agreement

All respondents were asked how the Drogheda Independent agreement had affected their opinion of the NUJ in survey question nine.

Which of the following statements best represent how your opinion of the union has been affected (if at all) by the Drogheda Agreement ?
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
It has strongly increased my estimation of the NUJ 1.5%
0.6%
2.2%
3.9%
 
It has moderately increased my estimation of the NUJ 1.2%
1.2%
1.1%
  0%
 
It has not affected my estimation of the NUJ 20.2%
14.2%
25.1%
  0%
 
It has moderately lowered my estimation of the NUJ 22.3%
21.6%
22.4%
19.2 %
 
It has strongly lowered my estimation of the NUJ 54.8%
62.4%
49.2%
76.9%
 


The NUJ and freelance photographers

In question ten, respondents were asked to rank their opinions of eight statements made about the Drogheda Independent agreement and the NUJ on a five point scale from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”. The individual statements were shown in random order for each respondent.

How much do you agree with the statement "The NUJ is committed to fighting for the best interests of freelance photographers"
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 46.1%
51.2%
42.5%
80.8%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 25.6%
25.3%
25.1%
7.7%
 
Neutral 9.9%
6.2%
12.8%
7.7%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 11.7%
9.3%
14.0%
3.8 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 6.6%
8.0%
5.6%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “I thought the NUJ was not only there to defend the rights of photojournalists, but to uphold the quality of journalism in Britain. Clearly neither of these aims holds true, and all involved in this sorry affair should be ashamed of themselves, though I doubt they’ll ever really understand what they have done.”
  • “The Drogheda Agreement was a disgraceful display of how the NUJ simply has no intention of serving freelancers especially photographers. “
  • “I don’t think the Drogheda agreement is in any way representative of general NUJ policy towards freelancers like myself. Though I am alarmed by it. My own experience of the NUJ is positive to say the least. When I was seriously injured while working abroad the Union was there when I needed it. My subs probably paid for about a 1,000th of what was provided for me. The Gen Sec and Freelance organiser were instrumental in helping me in the most difficult of times. Having said that, the Union very clearly needs a photographers organiser as a matter of urgency. The fact that the National Freelance Organiser’s workload is mostly taken up with snappers issues proves this point very well.”
  • “The staff in the NUJ’s Freelance Office work extremely hard for photographers unfortunately this does not seem to be the case throughout the Union. A number of NUJ photographer activists have work hard and promoted the interest of editorial photographers most notable Pete Jenkins. But the signing of the Drogheda Independent House Agreement and the unions disregard for the internal discussion on the issue, the treatment of NUJphoto and disregard for the union’s own rules by the Emergency Committee has done great damage to the confidence of NUJ photographers in the NUJ.”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “The NUJ are only interested in reporters, as a photographer they have nothing to offer me.”
  • “The NUJ is a union for Journalists and is not concerned about the rights of photographers. Photographers only remain in the union to get a press card other than that the union has little to offer.”

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Benefits versus losses at the Drogheda Independent

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "The negotiated gains for staff reporters at the Drogheda Independent are worth the possible financial losses that might be faced by freelance photographers working for the title."
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 68.7%
76.5%
62.6%
88.5%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 10.8%
9.3%
12.3%
3.8%
 
Neutral 12.7%
7.4%
16.8%
3.8%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 2.1%
1.2%
2.8%
3.8 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 5.7%
5.6%
5.6%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “An NUJ agreement should not just benefit the Chapel members, but the union as a whole, and it should not be detrimental to other sectors of the union, such as freelance or staff photographers. And as the agreement gives up staff rights to negotiate on future equipment and software installation, and abolishes any demarcations between job descriptions, that leaves a lot less upon which to have any strength in negotiations. Photographers and freelances may be minorities in the NUJ, but even minorities have inalienable rights, and within a union one of those rights is to have their livelihoods protected and not played off against the financial benefits to other union members (which is what has happened here). Otherwise unions would not have statements on “no compulsory redundancies”, because members who remain might benefit from other members being made compulsory redundant. Unions should follow “one for all and all for one”. And it is not just about financial losses to freelances and gains to staff reporters. There is the loss to freelances of part of their profession, career and their working lives. There is also the loss of quality, skill, experience and professionalism in press photography both by freelance and staff photographers (there won’t be any at the Drogheda Independent), which cant be adequately replaced by the paper’s reporters. That is a loss to both the paper, other staff left working there, and to the public the paper should serve. The fact is it should not be an either/or situation between freelance losses and staff gains. Either/or situations are what unions are supposed to protect all their members against.”
  • “The NUJ now has to decide whether freelance photographers are second class citizens expendable in the interests of staff writers, or to represent them as equals whose profession should be defended”
  • “All the issues surrounding the Drogheda Independent Agreement suggests that photographers (especially freelance) are not as valued as members of the NUJ as they should be and it may sing a warning that the Union won’t support them if it clashes with the interests of staff journalists”
  • “Photographers and Freelance members in general are the poor relatives of the NUJ family”

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Technology and cost saving

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "Reporters taking photographs is the inevitable consequence of technological change and the NUJ should support it"
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 61.4%
70.4%
54.7%
73.1%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 18.7%
16.0%
20.7%
23.1%
 
Neutral 10.8%
6.2%
14.5%
  0.0%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 6.6%
4.9%
7.8%
3.8 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 2.4%
2.5%
2.2%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “I have never felt that reporters taking photographs has been a threat – mostly … invariably … their images are crap – but it is worth reporters taking a camera with them in case there is no photographer about – and sometimes any image can be better than no image. A good photographer will always tell a story with a picture better than a reporter or a member of the public. I worked on a paper during a period when the NUJ was not recognised – and reporters were ‘required’ to take pictures – it was soon accepted that they could not illustrate anything – not even a vox pop.”
  • “Local papers will and are testing many ways of using staff and various forms of imaging equipment, it cannot be stopped and why should it? The NUJ should not have endorsed this element of the agreement because as a Union it traditionally supports job segregation, which is it’s strength and weakness. It should have found a middle way on this one. I feel some of the movers and shakers are over reacting against the NUJ’s position which is damaging to the Union.”
  • “I strongly recommend that the Drogheda Independent issues local Freelance Photographers with mobile phones to write, edit and submit written articles for publication.”
  • “Reporters have always taken pictures. In 1989 staff at the Bradford Telegraph began to use compacts in favour of commissioned photographers. So this debacle is nothing new. The NUJ did nothing to oppose this in 1989 and photographers were noticeably silent. I oppose the agreement but due to the above I refuse work from ‘local’ newspapers and similar clients. For example both the Big issue and BBC refuse to pay for photographers (but have no such agreement with say the phone company or journalists). Press photography as envisioned by this agreement and the current state of the market is a dead dodo. I personally only work for foreign newspapers now and supplement my income with repro fees and video work. There’s no other way to eat!”
  • “In the three years i’ve been a freelance photographer, i’ve known reporters who have taken pics for papers and photographers who have written pieces for their images. Neither of which i have found a threat on my profession. There are times when one is without the other and they do as good a job that they can with the circumstances provided. This is not a concern to me, however I would fear the thought that it is the intention of publications and journalist organizations that one person should do both jobs on a regular basis. I am a professional photographer who has no intention on writing the words to go with my images as I believe a good reporter is worth their weight in gold and are sure there is many reporters who would feel the same about their photographers and wouldn’t dream of crossing over in a financial gain let alone to crush the professions financially as this may do. I feel the problem could lie in the future where new journalists are forced to take pics by publications on the understanding that if they are intending on working with the papers then they must do all they can to ensure they get their foot in the door. We all know how hard it is to get a start in this profession. I am very concerned with the lack of correspondence and support from the NUJ to its members in this situation. The NUJ is meant to be an organization acting as a voice for its members for such issues and yet I feel this has been ignored in this instance.”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “Local papers will and are testing many ways of using staff and various forms of imaging equipment, it cannot be stopped and why should it? The NUJ should not have endorsed this element of the agreement because as a Union it traditionally supports job segregation, which is it’s strength and weakness. It should have found a middle way on this one. I feel some of the movers and shakers are over reacting against the NUJ’s position which is damaging to the Union.”
  • “Tech change will happen and image quality may drop by reporters taking snaps but photographers (like myself) need to look at higher quality outlets as the market changes – too strong a position against changes will not help us in the long term, we need to be kept on our toes a bit without letting the publishers walk all over us”
  • “Continued technological progress makes the use of dual role journalists inevitable. We cannot un-invent the wheel, we must learn to utilise it or follow the Dodo.”

Publications, quality and profit.

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "Publishers must exploit all possibilities of saving money on content in order to maintain healthy publications"
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 56.6%
65.4%
50.3%
61.5%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 18.7%
14.8%
21.2%
19.2%
 
Neutral 15.7%
14.2%
16.8%
15.4%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 8.1%
4.3%
11.2%
3.8 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 0.9%
1.2%
0.6%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “The NUJ has here entirely forgotten its role, principles and duties where freelances and the public need for quality journalism are concerned. All this now appears to be a tradeable asset in the NUJ’s efforts to support employers’ pursuit of profits. It is far the worst misjudgment I can remember in 25yrs of NUJ membership.”
  • “There seems to be an inevitable move by publishers to get the maximum out of their editorial staff. It follows that they would wish writers to be able to take images whilst on an assignment. New technology promotes the instant picture – a snap image – but it does not take into account the special skill a photographer has in producing an image that publishes and often more than adds to the written story. Unfortunately there does not seem to be an equal provision for the photographer who can "snap" a news item with an instant pen device. Quite possibly, in the near future, a photographer wishing to earn a living in journalism should also be a writer. That would be a degree worth having!”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “This decision is simply a way for publications to save money, it has nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining standards or embracing technology. The NUJ has failed its’ members and proved that freelance photographers are not important to them, in effect it has taken their money under false pretences”

The effect on the DI and elsewhere

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "The quality of the Drogheda Independent will be improved by the house agreement."
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 62.0%
64.8%
60.3%
73.1%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 16.3%
14.2%
17.3%
15.4%
 
Neutral 18.4%
19.1%
17.9%
11.5%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 1.8%
0.6%
2.8%
  0 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 1.5%
1.2%
1.7%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “Depending on the forum (and who says it) the Union is issuing many different messages. Photographers and the Photo Sub Committee are committed to high quality, service and quality standards. The validation of the Drogheda agreement does however suggest that others in the Union have a different view as to what quality Journalism means…. No one in the NUJ or outside of it, is going to believe that we represent high quality photojournalism whilst we endorse reporters routinely carrying cameras (or in the case of Drogheda almost certainly camera/phones). If the Union is going down this route then we need some firm and precise statements as to what Quality Journalism entails when it comes to photography… The ownership of a digital camera does not make one a capable photographer, in the same way that the ability to read and write and even use a computer does not make one a capable journalist or author. Equipment is just equipment, it is the person who creates the image or assembles the words…The best bet is for a proper, organised information campaign, which could (should) be led by the NUJ. But with the NUJ currently sending out such mixed messages, even this seems like a pipe dream. I think Andrew Wiard has explained it quite well: "The only way we can deal with this is by establishing best practice, by recommending the highest standards to our members, and where we have the strength insisting that in normal circumstances work is done by skilled professionals, staff or freelance." And until the union actually makes a commitment to this and follows through, I see no way forward, and we will be continuing a retreat comparable to Napoleon in Russia.”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “I can’t imagine what came over the NEC! It may be financially advantageous to proprietors to have reporters taking photos but the quality of the images and, therefore of the whole publication, will decline.”

Template for similar agreements

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "The Drogheda Independent house agreement will form a template for future agreements elsewhere"
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 9.6%
11.7%
7.8%
7.7%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 5.1%
3.7%
6.7%
3.8%
 
Neutral 13.6%
11.7%
15.1%
  0%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 29.8%
27.2%
30.7%
23.1 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 41.9%
45.7%
39.7%
65.4%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “I think the agreement is, probably, the thin end of the wedge. In less than 5 years, there will be very few staff or freelance snappers working for any publication. Most pics will be from scribblers and, so called, citizen journalists.”

Additional comments left by non NUJ members:

  • “If done in Ireland, Britain next.”

[page]

Confidence in the NUJ Irish Office

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "I have confidence in the Irish Office of the NUJ"
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 32.5%
40.7%
25.1%
53.8%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 13.9%
10.5%
16.8%
19.2%
 
Neutral 41.6%
37.7%
45.3%
19.2%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 8.7%
8.0%
9.5%
7.7 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 3.3%
3.1%
3.4%
  0%
 


Confidence in the NUJ Leadership

Respondents were asked the following question as part of survey question ten.

How much do you agree with the statement "I have confidence in the NUJ leadership "
All respondents
NUJ members
Non-NUJ members
NI/ROI respondents
 
I strongly disagree with the statement 44.9%
43.2%
45.8%
61.5%
 
I mildly disagree with the statement 25.0%
30.9%
20.1%

26.9%

 
Neutral 21.7%
13.6%
27.9%
3.8%
 
I mildly agree with the statement 4.5%
6.2%
2.8%
7.7 %
 
I strongly agree with the statement. 3.9%
6.2%
3.4%
  0%
 

Additional comments left by NUJ members:

  • “The attitude of the NUJ stinks, in this matter and the way that they have appeared to bully the NUJphoto list. The Executive are contemptible and I shall not be staying with them.”

[page]

The NUJ compared to other gatekeepers.

Respondents were asked to rank the top four press card issuing bodies from one (best at defending the rights of photographers) to four, or indicate whether they did not feel they knew enough about each one

Please rate the following ‘gatekeeper’ organisations in the order you feel best reflects their effectiveness at defending the rights of photographers, starting with selecting "1" for the organisation you feel is best at protecting photographers’ rights, "2" for the second best, and so on. If you don’t know enough about a particular organisation, select "N/A"

All respondents
 
  1 2 3 4 N/A
           
BAJ 3.8% 1.3% 3.1% 2.2% 89.7%
           
CIOJ 0% 1.2% 2.7% 2.1% 93.9%
           
BPPA 20.4% 15.2% 7.9% 1.8% 54.6%
           
NUJ 12.0% 13.6% 18.5% 32.7% 23.1%
           
AOP 26.3% 18.7% 4.6% 1.5% 48.9%
           
           
NUJ members only
 
  1 2 3 4 N/A
           
BAJ 2.0% 0.0% 4.6% 3.9% 89.5%
           
CIOJ 0% 1.3% 5.0% 2.5% 91.2%
           
BPPA 22.5% 19.4% 6.9% 1.3% 50.0%
           
NUJ 21.5% 16.5% 21.5% 32.3% 8.2%
           
AOP 23.4% 17.7% 2.5% 2.5% 53.8%
           
           
Non-NUJ members only
 
  1 2 3 4 N/A
           
BAJ 5.2% 2.3% 1.7% 0.6% 90.1%
           
CIOJ 0% 1.1% 1.7% 2.2% 94.9%
           
BPPA 19.8% 13.0% 8.5% 2.3% 56.5%
           
NUJ 4.6% 10.3% 16.6% 33.1% 35.4%
           
AOP 28.7% 20.2% 6.2% 0.6% 44.4%
           
           
NI/ROI respondents only
 
  1 2 3 4 N/A
           
BAJ 0% 0% 0% 4.0% 96.0%
           
CIOJ 0% 0% 3.8% 3.8% 92.3%
           
BPPA 26.9% 7.7% 3.8% 0% 61.5%
           
NUJ 7.7% 7.7% 26.9% 34.6% 23.1%
           
AOP 15.4% 30.8% 0% 0% 53.8%
           
           

Additional comments from NUJ members:

  • “I have been an active member of one union or another (NUJ, NUPE, NALGO,Unison,NUS etc) since the age of 16 (I’m now 49), and am active in recruiting other photographers/journalists to the NUJ. Since Drogheda, if a young photographer asked me if it was worth joining the NUJ, I would have to say “It depends. If you believe in trades unions, then ‘Yes’. If you are just looking for an organisation that will look after your interests as a photographer, you may be better off joining the AOP or the BPPA
  • “A single, unified body representing the needs of the professional photographer is long overdue. Specific divisions could recognised Commercial, Editorial, etc. and could also include recognition for technical and ethical standards that would be protection for consumers/clients. Any chance of a merger between say AOP, NVJA and/or others?”

Additional comments from non-NUJ members:

  • “I’ve yet to find an association that I feel might represent my corner as a photographer, in particular in offering good backup in copyright theft and other instances where legal representation is required. NUJ certainly isn’t it – once, I might have aspired to being a member, but this latest agreement and other oft-reported issues makes certain that I will never part with money to the NUJ.”
  • “I believe it’s now time for ALL the photographic professional associations to come together as one and fight a united front to promote professional photography. At the moment it seems from an outside point of view that they’re each only interested in feathering their own nests and promoting their “chums”.”

Editor’s note: anyone wanting to add comments to this survey can do so at the accompanying news article

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