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UK journalist associations, unions and groups supporting the media

Supportive associations

Declining sales for print, closing publications, furlough and shrinking editorial teams – it’s a difficult time to work in the media. Whether staffer or freelancer, the following associations, unions and support groups are doing their part to highlight issues happening across the profession and support those working within it.

NUJ – National Union of Journalists

Welcomes: Staffers and freelancers in broadcasting, national and regional newspapers, magazines, books, public relations, photographers and more.

When it was founded: 1907.

What are the benefits of joining: NUJ Extra, its registered charity, helps members and their dependents in times of need and the union provides legal support and training. NUJ also works to defend press freedom and ensure the health and safety of journalists while they work.


BAJ – The British Association of Journalists

Welcomes: Staff and freelance journalists working across newspapers, magazines, broadcast and online media.  

When it was founded: 1992.

What are the benefits of joining: In-house legal advice on employment and copyright issues, UK Press Card accreditation, links to job listings, graduate vacancies and more.


The Chartered Institute of Journalists

Welcomes: Anyone employed in the field of journalism.

When it was founded: CIoJ was founded (originally as the National Association of Journalists) in 1884.

What are the benefits of joining: The Institute is both a professional society and a trade union that protects its members in the workplace and campaigns for better conditions. Its professional side deals with ethics and standards in the media and protects journalistic freedom.  


Foreign Press Association

Welcomes: Foreign correspondents across all media – print, news agencies, broadcast and digital.

When it was founded: FPA counts itself as the first and oldest association of foreign journalists in the world and was founded in 1888.

What are the benefits of joining: FPA is the only association that can provide foreign journalists with access to parliament and holds government, city and royal events throughout the year. A weekly bulletin with news for members is sent out every Friday.


The Society of Women Writers and Journalists

Welcomes: Women writers and journalists

When it was founded: 1894.

What are the benefits of joining: The society promotes opportunities for women to ‘write and be heard’, no matter their race, religion or geographic location – members receive in-house magazine The Journal, a newsletter with news and activities, a SWWJ press card and invites to events.


Women in Journalism

Welcomes: Women working in print, broadcast and online, at every stage of their careers, in the UK and overseas.

When it was founded: Eve Pollard launched the association in 1994 – read more about the inspiration for its creation here.

What are the benefits of joining: Mentor schemes, priority booking for WIJ events (future events planned include WIF Lit Fests with authors Sam Baker and Claudia Winkleman) and job opportunities.


The Media Society

Welcomes: ‘Anyone with an interest in the media’ – members include journalists, broadcasters and PRs.

When it was founded: 1973.

What are the benefits of joining: While the coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on The Media Society’s events for now, membership grants access to big hitters in the industry with knowledge to share.


The London Press Club

Welcomes: Journalists and others interested in the media (students, printers, designers, cartoonists, producers).

When it was founded: Its inaugural dinner at Anderton’s Hotel in Fleet Street was held in 1882.

What are the benefits of joining: The Club keeps its members updated on new developments and issues in the media and is known for its social events, from its annual ball to monthly drinks.


Society of Editors

Welcomes: Editors – managing, editorial, training, in-chiefs and deputies working across national, regional and local newspapers, magazines, radio, television, education, digital and legal media.  

When it was founded: 1999.

What are the benefits of joining: Monthly news updates, networking and events, advice and support, as well as discounts on conferences, books and Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust membership.


Association of European Journalists

Welcomes: Staff and freelance contributors to television, radio, national, regional and specialist newspapers and periodicals as well as digital media.

When it was founded: 1962.

What are the benefits of joining: The AEJ supports press freedom, fact-based reporting and commentary free of political, religious and commercial bias – membership grants advance notice of upcoming events and lunchtime briefings and access to seminars and press events.


Journalists’ Charity

Welcomes: Journalists, and their dependents, who are going through difficult times.

When it was founded: In 1864[JO2]  (by Charles Dickens, no less)  

What are the benefits of joining: Committed to offering help and guidance to journalists across all ages and backgrounds, the association can provide access to confidential advice, emergency support and financial assistance. Career development opportunities are also offered in networking events and its awards for those demonstrating outstanding contributions to journalism.


If there are associations, unions, or support groups you’ve found particularly useful during your career in the media that we can highlight, please do get in touch and let us know.

Send a request for what you need to finish features, review round-ups and more with the Journalist Enquiry Service, a complimentary resource for UK media professionals: try it here.

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