Will they boycott reality?

The National Union of Journalists in the UK is planning a Europe-wide day of protest against cuts in journalism.

One wonders whom they’ll picket: the internet? the economy? their readers? reality? Whom can they boycott this time (at least this isn’t Israel’s fault; that was the NUJ’s last grand political act). Protesting is so empty, so unproductive, ultimately so silly.

Media Guardian reports:

The union said the day of protests was a response to the “accelerating threat to journalism and journalists from devastating cuts across the industry, resulting in chronic under-resourcing, downward-spiralling working conditions, job losses and falling editorial standards”.

“This will be a day of huge importance. The time has come for us to stand up as one and send a loud, clear message that our industry is in deep crisis,” said Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary.

But what are they going to do about it? Perhaps instead they should have a national brainstorming day to find and invent new ways to serve the public in all media. Or perhaps a national training day to show all these keyboard addicts how to use and make audio, video, blogs, wikis, search, social networks, and more. Or I’d like to see a national networked journalism day in which the pros share the tricks of their trade with the public to encourage more and better acts of journalism. Or maybe even a national efficiency day, in which the journalists find cuts that can be made instead of reporting. Or maybe a national entrepreneurial day to find ways to create new sustainable journalistic businesses that will not only pay those journalists but give them a piece of the equity.

Media are changing and so are their business realities. Not much — not anything — one can do about that but find new opportunities and change alongside. Protesting and wishing things wouldn’t change might make you feel better. But what does it accomplish?

: Roy Greenslade would disagree.

: The NUJ likes boycotts. This organization of journalists — professional journalists — showed their stripes when they voted to boycott Israeli good.

: Here was the NUJ’s effort to regulate citizen journalists and here was some professional reaction at the Guardian.

: See the discussion on this post at Comment is Free.