The one-day student conference at the centenary ADM in Birmingham was attended by eleven participants from Edinburgh, Falmouth, Cork, Essex, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Swansea and Gloucester.
Following agenda topics were discussed: how to set up and what to expect from a student chapel, exploitation during work experience and an NUJ/NUS arbitration agreement in cases of student media disputes.
In the discussions, students expressed their wishes for more training regarding student media and addressed the main problem of finding a properly paid job in the media after finishing their degrees.
General Secretary Jeremy Dear and the outgoing president Chris Morley also chatted with us students, whilst Linda King explained the NUJ training opportunities and courses.
Catherine Holmes structured the student conference, whilst Chris Wheal acted as back-up.
The students were also invited to stay for the duration of the Annual Delegate Meeting and to publish their musings, pictures, audio and video recordings in a blog.
Paul Bradshaw, Senior Lecturer in Online Journalism and Magazines at the UCE (University of Central England) Birmingham, organised this year’s live web reporting:
“I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, although it was exhausting! And I’m definitely inspired to recruit some more students from UCE.“
The student conference was also positively evaluated by the participants. Lucy MacLauchlan, fresher at the University College Falmouth, says:
“The Student Conferences was an amazing experience and I would definitely like to be more involved with the NUJ. It was also really interesting to meet other students and hear about their involvement with Journalism through their Universities.“
The event included a surprisingly large international input, with two Irish student delegates, and other participants originating from Hungary, Pakistan, Germany and France.
Ifran Raja, who is in progress of setting up the first student chapel in Leeds, states:
“Well, I believe the NUJ student conference was a wonderful idea, especially for foreign students as they have more chances to see the British media closely, meet senior people in the media and they can create a perspective about the union as well. We don’t have such union activities in Pakistan for students nor in many other Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Japan or China.”
Colin Brown, who studies film and broadcasting at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, says:
“I really enjoyed being a student representative at the Conference and seeing the good work that the NUJ does. I never realised that the Union is involved in so many areas of important activity. We are very lucky to be part of such a progressive, caring and interesting Union”.