A while back I posted a short online poll to guage Irish journalists’ perceptions of the NUJ.
My motivation for doing so was my own ambivalence towards the organisation, stemming from not having had much to do with them, having witnessed their toothlessness in the face of tough management, and having had some disagreements with them right at the start. (They sent me to the ADM in Scarborough as a student delegate, which was an eye-opener)
That said, I pay my dues and carry the card. I take advantage of the discounts, too, and I’ll be going along to the Freelance Forum next Monday too, which sounds like it will be worthwhile.
The responses I got were interesting.
The survey was taken by an even split of freelancers and staffers, and the first batch of questions dealt with their contact and attitudes to the NUJ.
44% said they had never had cause to contact the NUJ during their membership.
42% said they had found the NUJ to be less than ‘moderately’ helpful.
84% said they were moderately helpful at best, leaving 16% of respondents with a more positive than not perception of the NUJ.
27% of respondents said the NUJ were no help at all.
A quarter of respondents said that they saw no value at all in NUJ membership, with 30% saying it was ‘moderately’ valuable, and 11% saying it was ‘supremely’ valuable.
When asked how representative the organisation was of them, 36% said it was not representative at all.
On the money side of things:
There was an even split of those paying/not paying by direct debit.
67% said they paid their NUJ sub out of a sense of obligation or a feeling that it represented ‘insurance’ if something were to go bad.
60% were wholly unaware of NUJ member discounts; another 33% had never availed of them.
Of those that had (just 7%), the Apple store was the most used discount.
14% said they would absolutely consider cancelling their membership having take the survey. (Remember, 25% said they saw no value whatsoever in NUJ membership)
29% said that taking the survey had made them think about cancelling their membership but that they would probably keep it nonetheless, which is the category I’d fall into, but I didn’t take the survey.
43% said that the survey had not affected their feelings either way.
What was even more interesting were the responses I got outside of the survey. I had people email and tweet me about their NUJ dealings, with a lot of people saying that they paid the NUJ sub but didn’t know why they did it. They just couldn’t bring themselves to cancel the direct debit.
The survey was far from exhaustive, had a small sample and was a mere exercise in curiosity, and is still online for anyone who wants to chip in their responses.