ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN  JOURNALISTS

UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

The AEJ is active across Europe. Please visit www.aej.org and check AEJ Newsletters to see what it is doing for its members

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AEJ in the UK

The AEJ links major European newsmakers and journalists in Britain in a professional and social network.

Our membership includes journalists from national newspapers and broadcasting organisations, and freelances, writers and researchers. The UK section provides useful support as well as access to newsmakers who are not always easily available.

Membership is open to both UK and non-UK nationals and activities are funded by an annual fee and entry charges to our professional lunches.

The membership fee is £30. Journalists under the age of 25 pay a special rate of £10.

Please click on our links to see our activities, including the activities of the AEJ at European level, our lunchtime meetings under News/Events and Past Events, and our annual general meetings.

Membership of the Irish Section of the AEJ is open to journalists in Northern Ireland

 

 

40 Years On

The UK Section celebrated its 40th birthday with a party on 30 October 2008, organised jointly with the Foreign Press Association, whose 120th birthday also fell that year.

Roger Broad, a founder member of the British Section of the AEJ, recalled its birth:

In 1968 Britain’s second attempt to join the European Community had failed. But les événements in France that summer suggested that de Gaulle’s time was drawing to a close and the way might soon be free for a successful new bid for membership. So it proved.

At the time I was the European Commission’s press officer in London, and that autumn I attended a seminar on European affairs organised by the Federal Trust. There I met Günter Wagenlehner, a German journalist, who said that the annual congress of the Association of European Journalists was to be held shortly and that he would like to see some journalists from Britain there. Later, at very short notice, I was asked if I could bring three journalists over to Bad Hoennigen, near Bonn, early in December for the Congress. Paul Hodgson, then with Panorama at the BBC, Maurice Woods, London Editor of the Eastern Daily Press, and Stephen Hugh-Jones of The Economist were able to come.

The Rhineland was extremely cold and we were scattered round different small hotels in the small spa town. We also had our first taste of the characteristic displays of rival temperament that tend to mark such gatherings of European journalists from many different nations. We four Britons were admitted as individual members and it was suggested that we should form a British Section.

In Bad Hoennigen we also met Ezio Bacino, an Italian journalist living in London. Early in the New Year we met up, together with a couple of other potential members. We decided to form a luncheon club for meetings with movers and shakers from the political world and others with something of interest to say about Europe. Our first guest was Ted Heath, then Leader of the Opposition, who brought along his political assistant, one Douglas Hurd.

Since then the UK Section has had its ups and downs but on the whole it has thrived. The peak of our youthful vigour was probably reached in the early 1970s, when British membership of the Community was a burning political issue. At that time our Section's membership reached something like 70, which meant that we regularly attracted some 30 members around the table for the lunch meetings. For many years our meetings were held at the St Ermin’s Hotel in London.

The UK Section was founded on the basic principles of political and economic independence. The succeeding years saw AEJ congresses in Bordeaux, Luxembourg, Rome and, in 1971, Bristol – with a final session and a glittering reception in Carlton House in London, hosted by Ted Heath, who was by then Prime Minister. It was another 20 years before we gathered the energy and funds to organise another.

At the AEJ’s London Congress in 1992, we housed most of the delegates at the St Ermin’s Hotel, with the formal meetings being held in the QEII conference centre. The event was a resounding success.

Paul Hodgson served several years as International Chairman. At home Maurice Woods was our first chairman, with myself as secretary and treasurer until the mid-1970s, when I felt my own position with the Commission and later the Parliament risked the Section being seen as a Brussels satellite. Don Hatwell took over at first. In later years, as many members well remember, Kevin d’Arcy took over for the running of the Section for an extended time, with Paul Hodgson fils as Chairman. Happily, the Section now finds itself once more in good heart, with a healthy membership of more than 40. Some older companions have inevitably fallen by the wayside down the years or died.

There is plenty of enthusiasm among members now for the Section to mark its 40th birthday towards the end of this year in some special way. The best present of all, I venture to say, would be to have a Prime Minister today with the same kind of enthusiasm and regard for the AEJ’s activities and role as Ted Heath showed in the years of our infancy.

Roger Broad, October 2008

 

William Horsley's remarks at the reception

 

 

 

 

 

Recent titles by AEJ members

Volunteers and Pressed Men
Roger Broad

Fonthill Media 2016

 

Safety of Journalists Guidebook (2nd ed)
William Horsley

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Representative on Freedom of the Media, May 2014 (available online)

 

To Be A Phoney
Don Hatwell

Troubador, February 2014 (Listing, Amazon, ebook to follow)

 

The Radical General: Sir Ronald Adam and Britain's New Model Army 1941-1946
Roger Broad

The History Press, 2013 (Listing, Kindle available)

 

Castro and Stockmaster: A Life in Reuters

Michael Nelson

Matador, 2011

(Amazon listing, Kindle available)

 

Writing for Broadcast Journalists

Rick Thompson

Routledge, 2nd edition, 2010

(Amazon listing, Kindle available)

 

Reporting a Life

Don Hatwell

Matador, 2012

(Amazon listing)

 

London's Second City: Creating Canary Wharf

Kevin d'Arcy

Rajah Books, 2012

(Amazon listing, Kindle available)

 

The Crazy Life of Brendan Behan: The Rise and Fall of Dublin's Laughing Boy

Frank Gray

Authorhouse, 2010

(Amazon listing, Kindle available)