Union and publishers must work together to shape the next century of news

Two battling organisations have celebrated their centenaries in the last six months — the Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Union of Journalists. The NPA marked its anniversary back in October with a service at St Bride's on Fleet Street followed by canaps across the road at the former Telegraph building, now home to investment bank Goldman Sachs. The NUJ will do so in rather more modest style this weekend at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham where it is holding its Annual Delegate Meeting. Both organisations see their respective histories largely in terms of conflict with the other. The newspaper owners see their great victory as being Wapping won against the restrictive union practices which they felt were holding back progress. And the NUJ's history celebrates hard-won pay rises and condition improvements, achieved with the threat of collective action, against owners who enjoy the luxury of a labour market flooded with would-be journalists. If anything is certain about the next 100 years, it is that the pace of change is likely to accelerate. And if journalism is to survive and prosper as it has done in the last century, it will be necessary for both sides to work a lot closer together. There is a chance for this to happen next week when the NUJ launches its 'national commission on media integration". It plans to study experience in the UK and abroad to find how 'media integration the convergence of print, online and broadcast can help both the business and practice of journalism. This is an endeavour which surely owners, shareholders, managers and journalists all have the same vested interest in. Let's hope that the second NUJ/NPA century starts with a more concerted approach between publisher and worker than the last one. As Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger writes in this week's issue of Press Gazette, this time we can't afford to hang about.

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