I've been thinking about attitudes to both students and journalists recently.
Firstly, if you're a student journalist, is it harder to get someone to talk to you if you say you're a student rather than a freelance journalist? In a 2 day period recently, I was researching news interviews. It took around 25 phone calls, 6 emails and some Facebook messages to secure 2 interviews. Some people I spoke to weren't willing to talk to students, some weren't willing to talk at all and some said I wasn't a proper journalist anyway.
One of the most entertaining responses was from a train company representative who told me students needed to submit interview requests 7 days in advance. Trying to explain that we were working on real time news, not predicting what will happen in 7 days proved futile.
It was entertaining phoning pr officers for many organisations. Some of them seemed to go on the longest 20 minute breaks I've ever witnessed. The inability of people to confirm if a press statement was issued was also surprising. I think there is a sense of paranoia that journalists are out to be sensational. We're out to tell the story of what happened in as much detail as we can find. But if you don't talk to us or issue statements, it's quite difficult for us to do our job.
Finally, trade unions are a very valuable support for workers. I am a big supporter of trade unions. However, why does it take 6 weeks to get a membership card for the National Union of Journalists? It's almost Christmas and only now at the end of our first term am I able to prove I am an NUJ member.