NUJ admits its first freelance blogger

Policy grumbles ended positively last night when the NUJ accepted its first application from a writer whose sole income is derived from freelance blogging.

In a post on his website, Jeremy Dear, its general secretary, said the union has taken the unprecedented step of giving membership to a person whose only job is blogging.

Disclosures obtained by Press Gazette claim the policy-first was forced by Conrad Quilty-Harper, a student at Hull University, who is a freelance writer for Engadget.

Postings by Mr Quilty-Harper on flickr, the photo sharing website, reveal his unique entrance has been far from ‘business as usual’ for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Despite his role as freelance writer, the union’s Freelance branch initially rejected his application for membership on the grounds that he is a full-time student not enrolled on a media course.

Over on his own blog , Mr Quilty-Harper tried to make sense of the union’s policy U-turn.

“Am I really the first to join the NUJ as a full-time blogger?,” he asked in an online entry.

“It seems like half The Guardian’s online staff are bloggers by profession…, and I’m sure there are plenty of other mainstream media reporters out there who are members of the NUJ, yet their primary job role is blogging. What’s different about me?”

In the same post, Mr Quilty-Harper said he applied to the NUJ “mainly to see what it was like and whether I would succeed, partly in an attempt to enact some basic changes at the NUJ.” He described the application process as “archaic”.

Jeremy Dear has explained what’s so different about the latest approval for membership, presumed to be Mr Quilty-Harper’s.

“Whilst we have hundreds, if not thousands of members who write blogs, this is the first person who earns their entire living solely from freelance blogging,” Mr Dear wrote.

“Who says we’re not attracting new media workers?”


13th November 2007

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