Whine on the Tyne

Normally, the first day of the NUJ conference proper sees most people in fairly fresh form. But thanks to a combination of hospitality and hostility last night, it’s a fairly subdued start to proceedings. Here’s my view for the next three days.

And here’s the conference hall, in the distinctly 1960s surroundings of the Newcastle Civic Centre

So what about that hospitality and hostility?

Last night I had the choice of socialising with some colleagues, old and new, in the oldest pub in Newcastle. Or, alternatively, deciding which of two fringe meetings to attend – to discuss the union’s controversial recovery plan. The only recovery plan of interest to me this morning concerns how much caffeine and water I can physically consume.

I only get half the story of hostility from the fringe meetings. It seems that some people tried to shout down the speakers, and tell them why the alternative recovery plan was wrong. Most of this won’t mean anything to most people reading this blog. But the gist of it is that this is hardcore politics – infighting, if you will. It’s the sign of things to come over the next few days.

On the positive side of things, a number of our NUJ student members attended the drinks reception, all seemingly keen to enjoy, rather than endure, their first conference. Young talent restores your faith in this profession. They’ll soon become as cynical as the rest of us!

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