Thursday, 2 July 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From has social media turned us into a nation of voyeurs? to more support for Gareth Davies over Met's harassment notice

Sid James in Carry On Abroad

Simon Kelner in the Independent on the media coverage given to the breakup of Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk's marriage:
"Social media has turned us into a nation of voyeurs, and those who know about these things have clearly estimated that there is an appetite among the general public to read about the Danczuks. Not because of Simon’s work in campaigning against paedophiles (his book about Cyril Smith led to an inquiry at Westminster into historical child abuse) but because his wife has large breasts, and she’s not afraid to show them off. We may be a sensitive, mature society, but when it comes to a woman with big bazoomas, we are about as evolved as Sid James in a Carry On movie."

Roger Mosey in the Guardian"Politicians should not waver in their commitment to listed events. The biggest sporting moments should be available to everyone in the UK, irrespective of their financial means. Imagine London 2012 behind a paywall, with the triumphs of Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis seen only by those who paid a subscription; or contemplate the future of the Champions League now wholly owned by BT or the lessons of cricket only live on Sky. However good a job the pay broadcasters do, public service and maximum access for all are still things that matter hugely in the world of sport."

Neil Wallis after being found not guilty of phone hacking, as reported by Press Gazette: "I just want to say I will never get over this. I've been virtually unable to work for four years. It's taken my health, my family's health and all because of a campaign against journalists."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian: "Where is the Taylor Swift of news? Not for glamour or youth, though lord knows the business could do with both, but someone with the singer’s ability to convince technology companies to pay for their work."

Charles Moore at the end of his column in the Telegraph: "These pages have been redesigned. It is a known fact about redesigns that words are always lost in the process. Why is it, then, that any words are left in newspapers at all? It is because, I am glad to say, words never stop growing. They can be cut back by determined gardeners, but they will only creep back in again. Watch this space."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "I hate Which? magazine. I hate every single thing it does and every single thing it stands for. I hate having to share a planet with people whose job is to test kettles. And I hate, even more, people who read their findings before deciding what sort to buy. It’s an effing kettle, for God’s sake. Just buy the blue one."

Index on Censorship ‏@IndexCensorship on Twitter backs Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies over the issuing of a harassment notice against him: "Reporters who put questions to criminals should not receive police harassment letters."

Investigative journalist Andrew Penman in the Mirror urges readers to sign the Press Gazette petition backing Gareth Davies: "Every week I  confront alleged rogues, so I presume it is only a matter of time before the police come banging on my door. That’s a view I base on the appalling experience of local newspaper reporter Gareth Davies."

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors: "It is not the place of the police to threaten journalists about who they question. Ironically, anti-harassment law came about as a result of media campaigns to prevent stalking. Journalists know the law and its principles are enshrined in editorial codes for both newspapers and broadcasters. With those constraints in place, the police should have no role in telling journalists who they should or should not question."

News Media Association chief executive David Newell in a letter to the IPCC: "It is a matter of the deepest concern to us and our members that journalists complying with their ethical and legal responsibility of seeking a right of reply to, or comment on, a story they are investigating could have PINs [Police Information Notices] imposed on them for doing nothing more than complying with the requirements to which they will be held by the Courts as a matter of defamation or by IPSO as a matter of accuracy.”


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Shameful - IPCC rejects reporter's harassment notice appeal over fraudster investigation to US support for Newsquest strike

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the decision by the Independent Police Complaints Commission to reject an appeal against the harassment notice issued by the Met to Croydon Advertiser chief reporter Gareth Davies, who was investigating a fraudster (top): "This decision by the IPCC is a disgrace. Davies acted as any reporter worth his or her salt should have done. He approached a convicted person and, when rebuffed, he did no more than send a follow-up email. This was not harassment. It was journalism."

Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell  in a letter to the IPCC: "Mr Davies is a well-regarded local reporter who was investigating a story that was clearly in the public interest. The individual that Mr Davies was investigating complained to the police who, without checking whether Ms Desai’s claims were true, issued a warning to Mr Davies advising him to desist. This is a very worrying attack on press freedom and to that end I have sent a copy of this letter to the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Justice and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports."

David Banks ‏@DBanksy  on Twitter: "Peter Preston, ex-Guardian Ed said a reporter's most important quality was persistence. Met Police now define that as one email, one visit."

Press Gazette has launched a petition to have the harassment notice cancelled.

Richard Desmond, in an interview with the Guardian, claims that if he could read just one daily paper, excluding his own titles, it would be the Guardian: “No, I’m not joking. I like the Guardian. I think it tells the truth.”

Sathnam Sanghera in The Times [£] on Katie Hopkins: "Which brings us to the not uncommon theory that Hopkins is damaged in some way. You don’t have to be Oliver Sacks to understand that those who target the vulnerable, as Hopkins does routinely, often turn out to be vulnerable themselves. And journalism, like banking, is one of those trades where dysfunction is actually rewarded."

Steven Swinford in the Daily Telegraph on Justice Secretary Michael Gove's grammar guidance for civil servants: "The guidance also included instructions never to start a sentence with 'however'. However, Mr. Gove himself frequently used that word to start a sentence when he was a journalist."

Mick Hume in the Sunday Times [£]: "Listening to those who want more controls over the hated 'popular press', it helps to recall that the word 'popular' has its origins in the Latin populus — the people. Attacks on the 'popular press' and 'mass media' are often codewords for the elite’s fear and loathing of the populace, the masses who are supposedly stupid enough to be duped by media messages telling them how to vote, whom to hate and which celebrities to worship."

Former BBC editorial director Roger Mosey in The Times [£]: "BBC local radio identified for its staff its typical target listeners, imagined as a middle-aged couple called Dave and Sue. A leaflet for all local radio stations included a section on their hypothetical attitudes. 'Now it’s an established everyday reality that Dave and Sue live and work alongside and socialise with people from different ethnic backgrounds,' producers were told. 'They are interested in and open-minded about adapting aspects of other cultures into their own lives — in entertainment, medicine, belief, food, clothes and language. Their community-minded attitudes mean they are interested both in projects which advance social cohesion in this country and in international development issues.' It must have been something of a shock to the writers of this leaflet when many real-life Daves and Sues joined Ukip."

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall in a missive to Mosey, also reported by The Times [£]: “Does anyone in the BBC’s policy unit/Thought Police read Richard Littlejohn? They should. He reflects popular opinion far more accurately than the views of those whose idea of a good night out is reading the Indy over a vegetarian meal in a Somali restaurant.”

Bernie Lunzer president of the US media union News Guild-CWA, in a message of support to NUJ strikers at Newsquest: "What these journalists are fighting for, we are all fighting for. Our members face exactly this kind of greed and arrogance from Gannett and other corporate media owners. They reward top executives with fat salaries and bonuses but plead poverty when it comes to raises for employees, even though they are working harder than ever. In the strongest possible terms, the Guild calls upon Newsquest/Gannett to show its employees the respect they deserve by paying them fair wages, maintaining adequate staffing levels, ending the constant cycle of cuts and reinvesting in its news products."

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trinity Mirror's targets to being screwed by Richard Desmond

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser, on Trinity Mirror's plans for the West Midlands: "The proposed introduction of individual web targets for writers is a major departure from industry norms. It raises all kinds of questions about what sort of journalism will emerge and how stories are selected and covered. Our members in the Midlands are rightly uneasy with what they have so far been told about these targets, how they will be used and what effect they will have on their journalism...The management said it no longer sees its newspapers as papers of record. This is an insult to their readers, who need to be told about what is happening in their councils, health and police authorities, schools and environment."

Alan Geere in Press Gazette: "Yippedeedoo, at long last something 'unprecedented in the industry', just what we need to revitalise the dying patient."

David Higgerson on his blog: "Audience targets aren’t something to be fearful of if they’re done in the right way. And there is no incentive to go about them the wrong way. Journalists should always be asking whether they are doing something because it will interest readers, or just because they’ve always done it. It’s what the many new competitors ask themselves when they get going. It’s a big question, but the answer helps us focus on making our journalism essential daily reading for our audiences. For those who have been so quick to announce this as the end of journalism, I can’t help but think they’ve fallen into the oldest trap of all: Not letting the facts get in the way of a good headline. I think that’s called clickbait these days."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley"As regular readers will know, I despair of local newspaper websites that post national or even international clickbait. It has no relevance to readers, is of no value to advertisers, and irritates the shit out of people who expect local news from the local media. Trinity Mirror’s latest cowardly withdrawal from the front line of news will only make things worse. They may not be waving the white flag quite yet, but they certainly deserve a white feather."

Jonathan Dimbleby talking to the Radio Times: “The BBC has enemies, it has powerful enemies. It has powerful enemies in the press and powerful enemies in Westminster. Some for ideological reasons, some for straight commercial reasons.”

Richard Osley, deputy editor of the Camden New Journal, blogs about the retirement of Islington Tribune reporter Peter Gruner: "It’s not radical to wonder whether there are too many newsrooms with hardly a face aged over 25, full of reporters with instantly expansive job titles but with stories that have come almost solely from social media. I can’t think of a story that Peter lifted off someone’s tweet. The contrast with the way that Peter, when in the mood, got his stories and the way young reporters fresh out of an expensive course do tells a tale in itself. That’s not to say that new and old don’t have their place but here was a guy who, shock horror, picked up the phone and spoke to contacts, and sometimes went and met people for coffee."

Hugh McIlvanney in the Sunday Times [£]: "What was foreseen as Newcastle United’s public confirmation of Steve McClaren as the club’s new manager wasn’t public at all. Only selected media partners, Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror, were permitted interview access to McClaren. All other reporters were shut out. Though an undercurrent of contempt for journalists is hardly unknown elsewhere in football, Wednesday’s pantomime was unmistakably characteristic of the demented fiefdom Newcastle United seems to have become under the ownership of Mike Ashley."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "When Leveson was first called to inquire four years ago, national dailies sold 9,774,845 copies a day and national Sundays 9,661,298. Those figures respectively are now 6,992,804 and 6,624,137. At this rate, there’ll soon be nothing recognisable left to regulate anyway."

Mick Hume in the Sunday Times [£]: "The free-speech fraud around the Paris killings did not come out of the blue. Almost everybody in public life pays lip-service to the principle of free speech. Scratch the surface, however, and in practice most will add the inevitable 'but . . .' to button that lip and put a limit on liberty.  It is the culmination of a steady loss of faith in freedom of speech and the ability of people to handle uncomfortable words or images. In recent years it has become fashionable not only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the 'offence card' to trump free speech and demand that they be prevented from saying it."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "The Mail has grave reservations about giving increased surveillance powers to the state but we believe passionately that public safety is paramount. By sabotaging investigations, Twitter and the rest (who, by the way, make a living out of spying on their own customers and selling on personal data) have become the terrorists’ best friends."

Henry Mance, lunching with Richard Desmond, in the Financial Times: "In Richard Desmond’s hands, simple objects become terrifying. There’s the receptionist’s bell that he uses to interrupt executives in board meetings, or the cups of tea that occasionally fly over underlings.  For me, the terror begins when he picks up the wine list. This is Coq d’Argent, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Bank of England. The prices look like cricket scores — and Desmond is on the hunt for an innings victory. 'We’ll have that one,' he says, before I can intervene. As the sommelier skips away, the sum of £580 lingers on my retina. So this, I think, is how it feels to be screwed by Richard Desmond. It took less than 10 minutes."

Henry Mance ‏@henrymance  on Twitter: "Last night I asked Richard Desmond if he was annoyed by the interview. He turned to his security guy and said, 'Use nice concrete, yeah?' "


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From this journalism business is easy - just find corrupt people - to are local papers no longer journals of record?

Andrew Jennings in the Washington Post: "This journalism business is easy, you know. You just find some disgraceful, disgustingly corrupt people and you work on it! You have to. That’s what we do. The rest of the media gets far too cozy with them. It’s wrong. Your mother told you what was wrong. You know what’s wrong. Our job is to investigate, acquire evidence.”

Jonathan Calvert‏@JCalvertST on Twitter: "Don't think they love us. This is how Fifa responds to this morning's latest sensational @thesundaytimes revelations."

Breaking News Feed on Twitter: "The writer of the world's most legendary headline has died, RIP Vinny Musetto."

David Yelland ‏@davidyelland on Twitter: " Ah, so long Vinnie, fabuloso headline writer at @nypost - a lovely warm man, poet, total New Yorker..."

Michael Deacon in the Telegraph: "Saying voters are brainwashed by the press is snobbery. Essentially, the argument translates as: 'I, a Left-winger, am much too intelligent to let my views be swayed by the media. Unfortunately, the proles are incapable of critical thought, and therefore lift their opinions whole from the pages of The Sun. It is inconceivable that they could have formed their opinions independently; after all, independent thinkers always vote Labour, like me. Oh, why must the people I claim to stand up for be so thick?' ”

John Cleese ‏@JohnCleese on Twitter: "Piers is now asking when I'll be funny again. 'It's been a long time' Answer: 'Piers,when are you going to be talented. It's been a lifetime'."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "Memo to the world's media reporters: until @rupertmurdoch loses the word 'executive' from his title, I wouldn't get too excited..."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "The Mail on Sunday’s circulation triumph is (cliché alert) a landmark moment. A middle market title is now the best-selling Sunday newspaper title, outselling all four red-tops and its own market rival, the Sunday Express. Toppling the Sun on Sunday from its perch is some feat and surely heralds the day - possibly in 2016 - when the Daily Mail will also outsell the weekday Sun."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "More nonsense in Mail on Sunday about my views on Europe. Very different in quality from Daily Mail."

Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "The Press Recognition Panel has announced consultations around the UK - the main issue should be the date for its winding up."

Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson, in a letter to the editor of the Coventry Telegraph, as reported by Press Gazette“Redundancies are always a sad business and very sadly they seem to come in a never ending stream at the Coventry Telegraph.Your newspaper is a mere shadow of itself. After the present redundancies, your paper could be left with just four reporters and as few as 20 editorial staff in total. You will have hollowed out your capacity to play the important role of a free press in a modern democracy. Coventry is fast becoming a vibrant dynamic city again. What a pity that our newspaper has abandoned its responsibility to scrutinise and hold to account those of us in positions of responsibility.”

Trinity Mirror memo about staff cuts at the Birmingham Mail and Coventry Telegraph, as reported by HoldtheFrontPage: “The days are long gone when we could afford to be a paper of record and dutifully report everything that happened on our patch."

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Blatter out to Alan Rusbridger bids goodbye to the Guardian

The Times in a leader [£] : "As the extraordinary dimensions of the Fifa scandal came into focus on Wednesday one of the American reporters who broke the story tweeted: 'Dear World, We don’t even like soccer and we’re going to clear up Fifa for you.' The footballing world owes the FBI a debt of gratitude but it should also hang its head in shame. Cleaning up football is everyone’s business."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "As the Fifa corruption scandal threatens finally to engulf Sepp Blatter, it’s a timely reminder of the value of a free Press – in this case the Sunday Times – which has done so much to expose how rotten football’s governing body truly is."

Culture secretary John Whittingdale in the Sunday Times [£] : "If real change really does come to Fifa, football fans the world over will long be grateful to the tenacious British journalists who helped to make it happen."

The Sunday Times in a leader [£] : "The Fifa arrests and charges are a reminder that an “Anglo-Saxon” free press, prepared to spend money on high quality investigative journalism working in alliance with American power, is still often the only way to tackle corruption in high places."

Lionel Barber ‏@lionelbarber on Twitter: "If they think it's all over, it is now #BlatterOut"

Nick Cohen in Standpoint: "For all the sectarian fervour he has aroused, John Whittingdale is not saying he will end the licence fee. For all its attempts to intimidate journalists, the SNP does not want to close the BBC but seize control of it. Scrupulous politicians know they must show restraint if free societies are to remain free. In London and Edinburgh unscrupulous politicians know that an 'independent' broadcaster that can be threatened with cuts to its grants and bullied in a way no truly independent journalist would ever accept, is much too useful an institution to destroy."

BBC director of news James Harding, quoted by the Guardian, on political parties' complaints about the Corporation's General Election coverage: “Labour was angry about the focus on the SNP, the Tories regularly questioned our running orders and editorial decisions, the Lib Dems felt they weren’t getting sufficient airtime, the Greens complained about being treated like a protest movement not a party. Ukip railed against what they saw as an establishment shut-out, the DUP felt Northern Ireland parties were being treated as second-class citizens, the SNP questioned what they saw as metropolitan London bias at the BBC.”

Nick Robinson in the Mail on Sunday:  "On a rather bad mobile line I was sure, at first, that I was being asked if I could recommend anyone to take charge of Ed Miliband’s presentational difficulties. I began to rack my brains until it began to dawn on me that I had misheard. I was being asked whether I would consider taking on the job of spin doctor, with a role at No 10 to follow, naturally. That’s right – me. For the rest of the conversation I had to resist the urge to roar with laughter and inquire whether the caller had got the wrong number. Instead, I politely expressed my thanks for being considered and explained I remained committed to journalism (just as I did when the papers reported a long time ago that I’d been approached to work for ‘the other side’.)"

Robert Peston in the Radio Times on complaints about his presentation style when he joined the BBC:
"They hired various presentation specialists, all of whom have gone on to seek other careers, I'm sure, because it was a total failure. And then, I had been moaning away about how the economic world as we knew it was about to come to an end because of all these banks taking these stupid risks - and lo and behold it happened.  I got one or two decent stories, and suddenly people stopped obsessing about the way I said things and started to take an interest in what I was saying."

Alan Rusbridger in his farewell to readers of the  Guardian: "From the day I arrived, the Guardian felt like a warm bath – a place of sanctuary for free thought and writing."

Sir Harold Evans on Rusbridger on Press Gazette: "Alan Rusbridger by great daring, flair, fine judgment and consistent courage has over 20 innovative years of editorship done a remarkable thing: he has enhanced the worldwide reputation of a great newspaper without apparently breaking a sweat. What's he taking? It has been very good for journalism and all of us."

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Why local papers can't fight to what Labour had in store for the media

Alan Rusbridger, speaking at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, as reported by the Guardian: “Local newspapers, they basically can’t fight. They basically can’t afford the cost of even a couple of solicitors’ letters.”

lisa o'carroll ‏@lisaocarroll on Twitter: "Fifa says it's a good day for Fifa. Nope. It's a good day for the Sunday Times and investigative journalism."

Fergal Keane ‏@fergalkeane47 on Twitter: "#FIFA Lasting respect for @AAndrewJennings and @BBCPanorama who had the guts to go after FIFA when so many failed to do so."

Michael Crick ‏@MichaelLCrick on Twitter: "FIFA arrests also an indictment of all sports journalists who turned blind eye, or accused Panorama & Sun Times of endangering World Cup bid."

Laura Davison, NUJ organiser, in a statement:  “The NUJ will be writing to the new Culture Secretary and others to highlight what is happening in Newsquest London and across the company. This programme of devastating cuts will make it much more difficult to hold people in power to account and to produce the high quality content readers and advertisers want. Our members are putting forward absolutely legitimate concerns about increased workloads, the impact on quality and the need for investment in editorial and these must be addressed.”

Peter Preston in the Observer: "What the Mirror did a decade or more ago needs a good kicking and maybe a good sacking. Uphold the law. But the law can be self-serving ass if it lets its awards lurch out of kilter. The editor of the Guardian rightly laments the chilling effect of legal costs on probing reporting. Local Trinity Mirror newsrooms may come to lament the impact of this episode on a company that doesn’t have Murdoch’s resources. There’s necessary pain in all this to be sure; but be careful to look for the gain."

Martin Evans in the Telegraph: "The Metropolitan Police is continuing to spend  half a million pounds a month investigating allegations against journalists... figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the spending is continuing apace with the bill reaching almost £4 million for the last eight months."

Camilla Cavendish in her last column for the Sunday Times [£]: "I feel I leave the industry in better shape than many predicted. And as I disappear to be a small cog in the vast machine of government I hope that journalists — and readers — will continue to hold the powerful to account. Including governments."

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£] on his days as a celebrity gossip columnist: "After a while, and not even a very long while, it began to wear me down. So much shame, so much hassling of your idols, and for what? You’d get home at 2am, drunkenly chuffed that you’d managed to discover why Richard E Grant wore two watches (one was his dad’s) or which language Jude Law’s kid was learning at school (Chinese), yet still with a niggling, bleak sense that maybe there wasn’t a Pulitzer in this. Then you’d stagger into the office, and tell people, and find out that the bastards had said the same thing to the guy from the Indy two months ago."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times  [£] : "Which brings me on to the newspapers, which are full of writers who want to be seen as serious and wise. They seem to think that being funny is a sign of weakness. Happily, this one has AA Gill, who can spend two whole columns ricocheting around Pseuds Corner but then right in the middle of a discourse on pre-Byzantine architecture make a laugh-out-loud joke about turds.  He’s rare, though. Because think about it: when was the last time you read anything in the Daily Mail that was funny? Or, apart from Matt, in the Telegraph? Yes, The Grauniad is funny, but usually not on purpose."

Polly Toynbee on what Labour would have done if elected, in the Guardian: "One bill [Lord] Falconer drew up with particular relish: over-mighty media ownership would be curtailed. A bill would have restored something like the rules before Margaret Thatcher abolished limits on the press and broadcasting one owner could control, when she granted Rupert Murdoch unprecedented market dominance. Newspapers would have been pushed to fall in with Leveson. Since all titles but the Guardian and Mirror backed David Cameron, Labour had little to lose by restoring more media plurality. Yet it fired new levels of ferocity. Will anyone dare again?"