I’m an independent journalist, a member of the National Union of Journalists, and I subscribe fully to its Code of Conduct, so I’d draw your attention to Clause 14:
A journalist shall not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial product or service save for the promotion of his/her own work or of the medium by which he/she is employed.
However I’m also an active and engaged citizen who has to make a living, and there are inevitably areas where I am involved in the subjects I write about and there are clearly many occasions where I have opinions. There is a difference between reporting – where I will always strive to be objective, always give all sides an equal voice and always provide my readers or listeners with as much information as I can – and commenting, where my views and voice can come to the fore. I hope that everyone will be able to see the difference.
I don’t own shares, apart from the ones that my personal pension plan owns – and I have no idea what they are. Most are in European and ethical investments, but I don’t know the names of the companies. I don’t think working journalists should own shares or have options unless they are in the company that is employing them, and even then I think it should be a matter of public record.
I am involved in a number of organisations, and I am a member of the Labour Party, the National Council for Civll Liberties (Liberty), the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the National Trust. I am a member of the Open Rights Group, trying to keep your internet free enough for you to read this sort of stuff.
I am one of the editors of the Working for an MP website, www.w4mp.org, which is paid for by grant-in-aid from the House of Commons.
I am a member of the board of Writers’ Centre Norwich and a trustee of the Cambridge Film Trust.
From November 2009 I am working as Head of Partnership Development part-time at the BBC, as a member of the Archive Development team under Director Roly Keating.