KAY CLARK, Deputy Editor of the Bristol NUJ website and a professional PR, was a first-time Branch observer at this year’s Delegate Meeting in Southport
Many in PR regard the NUJ (if they regard it at all) with the fondness one has for a dotty uncle whose old-fashioned and slightly eccentric ways raise a smile and occasionally an eyebrow. An awful lot of my PR colleagues don’t see the Union as particularly relevant to our profession and wonder how much of the activity we could have any valid input into.
So I arrived at the DM, to observe, and with not a jot of expectation as to what the next three days would hold, or whether any of it would be accessible to me, or relevant to the problems facing PR.
With no expectations, one would not imagine it possible to be surprised, and yet in many ways it was surprising. I found I thoroughly enjoyed time out of the PR-focused bubble with comrades from the wider media, and the mind-stretch that happens when you suddenly find you have changed your view on something you really thought you knew.
Energetic and never dull, the conference was packed with an accessible, lively and active mix of pertinent motions and notions debated, sometimes hotly, by delegates drawn from the widest corners of the media. The conference never lacked pace or interest and was topped off with several good-sized helpings of confusion.
The biggest surprise was how much it felt a lot like coming home, home to the entire Media industry represented in all its wonderful and weird iterations, home to the ethics and energy of real reporting and honest debate.