Thursday, 4 February 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From revengeful right-wing press out to get Cameron on EU to MPs urge government to save local press from destruction



Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"The press has never forgiven Cameron for the Leveson Inquiry  into the phone-hacking scandal, after Nick Davies’ Guardian expose. Leveson’s unenacted press regulation hangs over their head: some further scandal could oblige it to be enforced. Murdoch’s humblest day didn’t last long, with Rebekah Brooks back in the saddle, James Murdoch back in charge of Sky and angling to take over the whole company. What better leverage or revenge does the press have, than to humiliate Cameron over the EU referendum? A natural thuggish instinct urges these papers to prove their bully-power over governments. Tasting blood with that 'It’s the Sun Wot Won It' boast over Kinnock’s 1992 defeat, sheer delight in brute power fires up Murdoch, Paul Dacre and their imitators."


Peter Sands in InPublishing: "Sir Martin Sorrell, whose agency WPP spends an annual £76 billion in advertising, told the Society of Editors’ conference in October that paywalls were the way to go. 'If you have content that has value, consumers will pay for it,' he said. He knows better than anyone of course. But the issue for some might just be the ‘value’ bit. I go through newspapers and websites searching for content which readers will put their hands in their pockets for. It can be a fruitless task. And if The Sun couldn’t make a paywall work, what chance for the Posts and Chronicles?"


Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists, on its 25th annual report showing 2,297 journalists and media workers have been killed since 1990, including 112 killed in 2015: "This milestone publication charts the trajectory of safety crisis in journalism and bears witness to the IFJ’s long running campaign to end impunity for violence against media professionals. These annual reports were more than just about recording the killings of colleagues. They also represented our tribute for their courage and the ultimate sacrifice paid by journalists in their thousands who lost their lives fulfilling the role to inform and empower the public."


Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Beyond the Guardian’s own business clumsiness or bad luck, its losses point out a broader digital news reality: There is yet no foreseeable way to cover the costs of digital growth, and digital 'success' is wholly measured by growth. Therefore, success is in some way a suicide pill." 


Mary Hamilton, executive editor for audience at the Guardian, on the paper's decision to cut down the number of places where it opens comments on stories relating to some contentious subjects – particularly migration and race: "At their best – when they are respectful, thoughtful, interesting, or constructive – comments make our journalism better. At their worst, they can diminish its impact, reduce its credibility, and harm our writers and their subjects, while making those constructive comments impossible to find or recognise."


Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "Of course, you can block users who are abusive, but that’s like standing in a Bangladeshi sewer after Ramadan finishes. You can flail about as much as you like and wail loudly about the importance of free speech. But ultimately you’re going to get covered in excrement. This is Twitter’s big problem. It’s being policed by the Stasi. And of course, when they react angrily to what you’ve said, the Mirror and the BBC and The Guardian see this as evidence that you’ve done something wrong. So they run a story saying, 'Twitter has reacted with fury . . .', which then causes the whole site to become angrier still. Really, they should drop that bird logo and replace it with an endlessly spinning red flag."


Regional journalist, quoted in Press Gazette survey: "I fear for my job, the young people coming into the industry and the public who will soon live off nothing but attention-seeking, fact-free, gossipy clickbait."


liz gerard ‏@gameoldgirl on Twitter: "Hands up all who spotted CS Lewis in @TheSun splash head. And hands up anyone who thinks it relevant. Thought not."


Man United manager Louis van Gaal meets the press, as reported by BBC Sport: “You make your own stories and I am concerned that people believe what you write. This is the third time I am sacked and I am still sitting here. You write all these stories and then I have to answer questions about them. I am not doing that, it is awful and horrible.”


Early Day Motion tabled by Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland: "This House is concerned by the announcement that Johnston Press, which publishes titles including the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Lancashire Evening Post, The Scotsman and Derry Journal, is to cull almost 100 editorial posts; notes that this announcement comes just days after Newsquest announced that up to 25 journalist posts are to be axed across its Scottish titles; further notes that year-on-year cuts in jobs and closure of newspaper titles have resulted in the loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press, and the closure of more than 150 newspapers since March 2011; believes that local and regional news coverage is an essential feature of civic life and a healthy democracy; and therefore calls for active government intervention to prevent the destruction of these vital community assets and to establish a short, sharp inquiry to produce a coherent strategy for defending local journalism.”

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's 'fragile foundations' to is this the best local headline of the year so far?



David Pemsel, chief executive of the Guardian News & Media, announcing plans to cut costs by 20 per cent“We need to create a confident and secure footing to then be able to be as innovative and progressive as we’ve always been. I don’t want to just pile on the ‘let’s be innovative and bravely go into this new world’ when the foundation is that fragile.”

Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: "The Guardian’s abiding problem, however, is that the people who run it seem unable to add up, or at least read a balance sheet. Company revenues are up 10 per cent over the past five years, which isn’t bad in these straitened times. Alas, costs rose by 23 per cent, with 479 new editorial and commercial staff hired to work on a paper that already has many more journalists than its rivals."

Michael Wolff ‏@MichaelWolffNYC on Twitter: "Guardian defenders said it could live off the interest on its almost billion pounds trust. But in a year it's spent 10% of its principal."

Tony Gallagher ‏@tonygallagher on Twitter: "Can anyone tell me where in the paper is The Guardian story on its horrendous losses?"


The Daily Telegraph reports: "Jack Straw, a member of the five-strong panel reviewing the Freedom of Information Act, advised a paying client how to avoid the release of information relating to the parliamentary scandal in which he was engulfed.  Mr Straw told his client, a commodities firm, that it could argue that emails he exchanged with the Foreign Office on its behalf contained “commercially sensitive” information that should not be made public under the legislation."


BuzzFeed News reports: "The watchdog set up by the government to oversee a new system of press regulation has spent at least £589,000 of public money in its first year of existence, despite having no one yet to regulate, BuzzFeed News has learned. The Press Recognition Panel was founded to oversee a new system of press regulation following the Leveson inquiry into media ethics following phone hacking at the News of the World. However, a lack of support from the media industry means the panel, which has been promised up to £3 million of public funds over three years, currently exists in isolation, with a staff of six and no press regulator to oversee."


Peter Preston in the Observer on reporting opinion polls: "Papers and broadcasters must test the information they display. They have a duty not merely to mention sample size or methods used, but comparative costs of various surveys (more expense should mean more skilled resource) and the record of individual pollsters. They need someone to hand like Professor John Curtice who can crunch his own numbers. They need the utmost caution when they blithely turn data into a shock headline. And if that entails much less zippy certainty at too high a cost so we don’t get another 1,942 polls by 2020? Well, into every media life, a little chastened scepticism must eventually fall."



Andy Coulson in PRWeek on his new PR company Coulson Chappell: "I’ve always wanted to establish and grow my own company and in Henry I have the perfect business partner. From our combined experience Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice."

John Prescott ‏@johnprescott on Twitter: "I see Andy Coulson has got a new job in PR. I left him a good luck message on my mobile."


Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on a 38 degrees petition calling for Andrew Neil and Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked for inviting Stephen Doughty, the shadow foreign affairs minister, to announce his resignation on the Daily Politics show: "Calling for journalists to be sacked for doing their job is farcical. This was a legitimate story any journalist would have wanted to run on their show. You cannot run witch hunts against journalists just because you don't like the news they report. In the same way we supported journalists – at the BBC and elsewhere - who were attacked on social media by people from both sides of the argument on independence during the Scottish Referendum, we will not tolerate people who try to suppress legitimate news coverage."


Home Secretary, Theresa May, in a speech at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Irish Embassy, said it was not right that people had been put on pre-trial bail: “Not just for months, but sometimes years without being charged, and their life put on hold”.





Charlie Ashcroft ‏@charlieashcroft on Twitter: "The Central Somerset Gazette with an early contender for headline of the year so far."


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the joy of scoops to columnists bring Bowie 'hysteria' down to earth



Robert Peston, interviewed in the Guardian: “There is no better fun than getting a whiff of a scoop and then landing it. It is the best fun ever, and if anybody in our trade tells you otherwise they shouldn’t really be in our trade."


Newsquest NUJ group chapel motion: “This group chapel expresses deep concern at the lack of communication between regional centres and the Newport hub. This is an inherent flaw in the system established by Newsquest and calls on management to address this urgently to safeguard the quality of the products and the journalism produced. To be clear, the criticism made is of the system, not the people having to work within the system. Unnecessary pressure and conflict is being caused to all as a result.”


Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard: "Newsquest’s cost-saving decision to create centralised production hubs in Newport, South Wales, and Weymouth has not proved as efficient as hoped. The company’s editors have not been thrilled with the headline-writing skills of sub-editors located many miles away who lack relevant local knowledge. I would guess that this particular problem will gradually be solved by sensible compromise. What it indicates, however, is the way local papers are moving ever further from their audiences. In a digital world, where everyone is a click or two away from everyone else and everything they want, it is easy to forget the virtues of maintaining a local presence. Publishers may have no economic alternative but to cut and run, but they do so at their peril."


Rosie Brighouse, legal officer for Liberty, on the judgment regarding David Miranda’s 2013 detention at Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act: “This judgment is a major victory for the free press. Schedule 7 has been a blot on our legal landscape for years – breathtakingly broad and intrusive, ripe for discrimination, routinely misused. Its repeal is long overdue. It is also a timely reminder of how crucial the Human Rights Act is for protecting journalists’ rights. Once again it has come to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of power by the State.”



Johnston Press in a trading update: “As part of the group’s portfolio review, a number of brands have been identified that are not part of its long-term future, as they fall outside its selected markets, do not match the audience focus, or do not offer the levels of digital growth sought by the group. A process has been initiated to explore the sale of these assets to identified parties."


The Times in a leader[£]: "A second inquest into the death of Poppi Worthington is soon to begin, entirely due to media intervention. This disturbing case should stand as a reminder that justice in the dark is no justice at all."


Labour Party report on why it lost the General Election: “It is the fate of every Labour leader of the opposition to be the target of ferocious attack from partisan sections of our media. However, Ed Miliband faced an exceptionally vitriolic and personal attack. Even before he courageously took on the public concerns that led to the Leveson inquiry, elements in the news media seemed determined to try to destroy him.”


John Prescott on TwitLonger"I thought Andrew Marr's interview this morning with Jeremy Corbyn was a disgrace...All journalists should recognise the public wants to here what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday. So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors. If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them."



Sherif Mansour, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, on the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran: "We welcome news of the release of Jason Rezaian, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place. The farce of a judicial process that kept him in custody for 544 days has earned Tehran nothing but scorn from the international community. The Iranian government should begin taking steps immediately to improve its press freedom record by releasing all journalists imprisoned in relation to their work."


Henry Mance in the Financial Times: "The Guardian newspaper is braced for significant job losses after it burnt through more than £70m in cash last year, according to people familiar with its performance. The left-leaning publisher, which runs one of the world’s most popular news websites, is preparing to embrace austerity as it cuts costs across the business."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell  on Twitter re-FT Guardian story: "Sad news for journalism, but also a check on those journalists happy to glory in their condemnation of paywalls."


Fraser Nelson in The Spectator on Philip Webster who has just retired from The Times: "I once went on a press trip with him, when Blair was in the habit of jetting around the world trying to drum up support for the Iraq war. During the flight I spent ages on my laptop, fretting about how to report it all – writing draft after draft, making edit after edit. I was sitting across the aisle from Phil, who was reading a novel. When the plane landed, he switched on his mobile and started to dictate a story from the top of his head, glancing at his notebook only to read out quotes, which he had written in his Pitman shorthand (his was the fastest in the lobby)."


Giles Coren in The Times [£] on the reaction to the death of David Bowie: "The hysteria was positively Diana-like (indeed the two had much in common — all skinny and sad, obsessed with hair and clothes, desperately shagging everything that moved) and that is because Bowie (like Diana) appealed to hysterical people. People who make a massive great fuss about the teeniest thing. People who think clothes matter. People who can’t decide from one minute to the next who they want to have sex with...On Thursday, The Times flagged up an instalment of Bowie’s life story with the headline 'Debauchery seven days a week'. I mean, fine. We’ve got to sell newspapers (just like Bowie had to sell records). But debauchery is a bad thing. It’s what the Roman Empire declined into."

Camilla Long in the Sunday Times [£] on starting a Twitter storm on David Bowie: "I wanted to say how much I distrusted the fake crying and everyone pretending they were 'in bits', an infantile cliché I loathe for its insincerity both literally and as a metaphor. So I put out a few messages, including one in which I said people should 'man the f*** up and say something interesting'.  I’m now on day 7 of threats and abuse from angry Bowie fans, people telling me to kill myself, or saying I’m a 'bitch' or a 'witch' or ugly or worse. And, well, I don’t mind. For a journalist this is often part of the territory."

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From when an evening paper had 85 journalists and was like a live blog to why a good newspaper can beat the web for quality



Jeremy Vine on his first day as a trainee reporter on the Coventry Evening Telegraph in 1986, as told to the Guardian: "There were 85 editorial staff and it was all manual typewriters. When it was close to deadline, and the whole office was typing, it sounded as if the room was going to take off. It was almost like hearing birdsong. For me, it was just like a dream to be turning up at work [as a journalist]. The paper had three or four editions a day. There was one called the 3pm edition and one called the late final, so the paper was almost like the equivalent of a live blog now."


Johnston Press editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford in a memo to staff: “We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes."


The Johnstoon Press NUJ group chapel in a statement: "It is very difficult to see how the company can continue to function after yet more editorial job cuts. The lack of consultation also raises concerns that this could be to make short-term savings which will ultimately be self-defeating. Newsrooms around the company are already carrying high levels of staff vacancies and we hope the company is fully aware of this. Meaningful talks need to happen as a matter of urgency and our members should be involved in any decisions about possible restructuring."


Press Gazette on the Johnston Press job cuts: "The latest proposed job cuts at Johnston Press will mean the company’s editorial headcount has more than halved since 2009...According to the company’s accounts, in 2009 it employed 2,222 editorial and photographic staff and 1,029 production staff. In 2014, Johnston Press had 1,133 editorial and photographic staff, and 355 people in production. These numbers are likely to have fallen further in 2015 and, with the latest cuts, the editorial and photographic count is likely to be around 1,000."


Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at a press conference after a question about Wayne Rooney, as reported by BBC Sport: "You have criticised him, I don't...You too. Fat man. There."


Sun journalist Neil Custis told BBC Sport he was the reporter Van Gaal was talking to and later wrote: "You are right Louis I am fat. I had a knee operation four months ago that stopped me running and going to the gym."


BBC’s live political programmes editor Robbie Gibb defends the way Labour MP Stephen Doughty announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet live on Daily Politics: “It is a long standing tradition that political programmes on the BBC, along with all other news outlets, seek to break stories. It is true that we seek to make maximum impact with our journalism which is entirely consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines and values.”
grounds that it wasn't as good as PA."


BuzzFeed News: "The Daily Telegraph has installed devices to monitor whether journalists are at their desks, BuzzFeed News has learned. The newspaper confirmed the move in email to staff after multiple employees said they came into work on Monday morning to find small plastic monitoring boxes attached to their desks. Journalists were baffled by the unannounced appearance of the boxes. Staff resorted to googling the brand name and discovered they were wireless motion detectors produced by a company called OccupEye that monitor whether individuals are using their desks."

BuzzFeed News: "UPDATE: The devices have been removed following this story."


Lord Kerslake in The Times [£] on the Freedom of Information Act: "Given its success, you might expect the government, which regularly declares its commitment to greater transparency, to celebrate its success and look for ways to strengthen it. Instead it has set in train a process that, unless challenged, will lead to a watering down of the act."


Harold Evans, interviewed in The Observer: “A good newspaper is a mosaic of attractions, and investigations are a part of that broad appeal. So far the web can’t imitate that quality of a newspaper.”

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: Charlie Hebdo feels 'alone' to is press doing propaganda for terrorists?


OneYear On: The assassin is still out there
Charlie Hebdo financial director Eric Portheault, quoted in the Guardian, on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the magazine: “We feel terribly alone. We hoped that others would do satire too. No one wants to join us in this fight because it’s dangerous. You can die doing it.”


Maria Eagle MP ‏@meaglemp on Twitter: "Pleased to have been appointed to new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport...And will be calling on the Government to proceed with the implementation of the proposals put forward by Leveson."


Michael Crick ‏@MichaelLCrick on Twitter: "With Corbyn, broadcasters have again started using word 'moderates' to describe non-Left in Labour. They should stop doing so. It's unfair."


Tom Mendelsohn in the New Statesman on Labour's communications chief Seumas Milne: "Milne needs to realise that we don’t have a Pravda, no matter how much he wishes we would, and that he has to start playing the game. If he can’t, or won’t, it’s time for him to be disappeared."


Newsquest group production director Leighton Jones, in a memo to editors, reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “In order to create a more efficient workflow and address the concerns of some of you that you change 80 per cent or more of the headlines that are supplied, it has been decided that headlines, subheads and straplines on stories will no longer be written in the copy-editing hubs."


Chris Morley, NUJ Newsquest group coordinator, in a statement: “Large numbers of experienced and highly talented sub editors who knew their towns and cities inside out were discarded by Newsquest through wasteful redundancy, many with years of loyal service, to create the two hubs. The NUJ warned loudly and clearly that producing local papers hundreds of miles away would hit quality. We warned that the staff, often inexperienced, being recruited to the hubs, especially at Newport, were placed in an impossible position by the company with lack of training and support and having to contend with vast numbers of titles. The results were all too unfortunate to behold and now it seems the shrinking band of remaining editors have at last accepted that the NUJ warnings were valid all along and lack of quality is undermining their titles with the reading public."



Elizabeth Rigby and Francis Elliott in The Times [£]: "Ministers are extending freedom of information laws to cover charities but they are expected to press ahead with plans to strengthen the government’s powers to veto requests."


Barry Glendenning, in the Guardian: "Van Gaal is by no means the first football manager to make little secret of his contempt for those tasked with chronicling the day-to-day activities of his team – but few have ever gone about it in a more consistently entertaining way. We should be grateful that United’s weekend victory over Swansea City looks certain to keep him in a job; United’s performances on the football field this season may have been characterised by a lack of entertainment but their manager’s press briefings remain compulsive viewing."


The SubScribe blog: "Oh dear. It was bad enough when papers persisted in calling Mohamed Emwazi 'Jihadi John'. The nickname, bestowed before we knew his real identity, gave an air of Hollywood hero to a calculating murderer. As hostage after hostage met their fate in the desert, we disseminated Isis propaganda in the form of their orange-robed humiliation as they knelt before man-in-black Emwazi and his machete. It took a long time to grasp that this was not the way to portray those men murdered simply because they were from the West. But the 'Jihadi John' habit was too hard for most to break, even after his real name was released. It was a convenient shorthand, instantly recognisable. But that didn't make it right. Now, six weeks after the death of Emwazi, another Briton in a black balaclava has appeared in another Isis snuff video. And what do we do? Proclaim him the 'new Jihadi John'. Shame on you Daily Telegraph. You should know better. Don't you realise that this is propaganda. You are doing the terrorists' job for them."

The Guardian in a leader: "No free society can impose a total blackout on videos of the kind that Isis has again released, least of all under the transformed conditions of the internet era. Yet a sensible free society should not play the terrorists’ game unthinkingly either. A free media still needs to observe self control. News organisations are right to censor violent videos on grounds of taste. They should also be careful not to glorify the hostile perpetrators inadvertently. They do not want to hand the jihadis the megaphone they crave, or amplify the one they already have. That mistake was made too often in the coverage of Mohammed Emwazi. By surrendering our airwaves to this latest video, we risk repeating the error and doing the terrorists’ job for them."

[£]=paywall


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Media Quotes of the Year 2015: Charlie Hebdo, FoI, Save Our Sources, Plebgate, hacking, Clarkson, Oborne, Brooks is back, General Election and more





On January 7 terrorists killed 11 people after opening fire at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.


Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard: “I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.”

RIPA and Plebgate



Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford: “It is unprecedented in my experience for every national newspaper editor to agree on anything. So it is highly significant that here [in a joint letter to the PM] they have said with once voice that RIPA needs tougher controls to protect journalists' sources. Giving police the ability to secretly view the phone records of law-abiding journalists is not compatible with an open democratic society.”


Sean O’Neill in The Times [£]: "Scotland Yard deliberately concealed the full extent of its snooping on journalists during the investigation into the so-called Plebgate affair. An official report revealed last year that the Metropolitan police had gathered call and text logs from the mobile phone of Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun, to discover the source of his story about the infamous clash between Downing Street police officers and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip. The police report, The Times can reveal, kept secret the fact that detectives used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to trawl for data from the phones of two other Sun journalists, Anthony France, the crime reporter and Craig Woodhouse, the political correspondent."

Clarkson suspended



The Sun[£] in a leader on Jeremy Clarkson: "He may occasionally be a kn*b. But he is our kn*b. He is the People's kn*b."

Rusbridger cautioned



Alan Rusbridger on Comment Is Free after being cautioned by police over the use of a tripod on Hampstead Heath: "What could I do? We’d been caught bang to rights. Like our colleagues defending charges at the Old Bailey I found myself mumbling that I didn’t know that what we’d done was illegal. But, as any schoolboy knows, ignorance is no defence."

New editor for Guardian



Kath Viner on being appointed editor-in-chief of the Guardian: "I intend to lead a media organisation that is bold, challenging, open and engaging. It will be a home for the most ambitious journalism, ideas and events, setting the agenda and reaching out to readers all around the world.”

Sun drops Page 3 



Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "In February, the first full month without Page 3, the Sun recorded its lowest sale since early 1971, less than two years after Rupert Murdoch acquired the title."

Harassment warning


Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies who lost an appeal against a harassment notice served on him by the Met Police for trying to interview a fraudster: "So, in contacting a criminal at her home on one occasion then
sending her two emails over the space of a fortnight, I had 'gone beyond a reasonable course of conduct'. If that were true then every journalist in the country should be given an harassment warning."


Hacking apology



Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday Peopleapologises to all its victims of phone hacking: "Some years ago voice-mails left on certain people’s phones were unlawfully accessed. And in many cases the information obtained was used in stories in our national newspapers. Such behaviour represented an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people’s private lives. It was unlawful and should never have happened, and fell far below the standards our readers expect and deserve."


Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, in a statement"The CPS has looked in great detail at the comprehensive files submitted to us by the police, both in relation to corporate liability at News Group Newspapers and against 10 individuals at Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged phone hacking. After a thorough analysis, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and therefore no further action will be taken in any of these cases."

Oborne quits Telegraph



Peter Oborne on Open Democracy on why he's quit the Telegraph: "The Telegraph’s recent coverage of HSBC amounts to a form of fraud on its readers. It has been placing what it perceives to be the interests of a major international bank above its duty to bring the news to Telegraph readers. There is only one word to describe this situation: terrible."

Regional Press in tough times


Pic: Jon Slattery
George Osborne in his March Budget speech: “Local newspapers are a vital part of community life – but they’ve had a tough time in recent years – so today we announce a consultation on how we can provide them with tax support.”


NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on regional press publishers, speaking to the Lords Communications Committee"The titans, who run these groups, either here or from the United States, are to blame for the failure of their own business models. They enjoyed lavish profits for many years and didn't re-invest in journalism. They have cut and cut costs to maintain high profit levels and have not cared they do not have enough reporters to send to council meetings or cover such vital areas such as health and education and matters of importance to local communities. Now they see the BBC is ripe for the picking and have gone hell for leather to secure money from the corporation."

Sun journalists not guilty



David Dinsmore ‏@davedins on Twitter: "Tomorrow's p1. Put together by a great team in tribute to a great team."

Cleared Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan, interviewed by Press Gazette: “It’s been a very barren, painful and miserable existence.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Journalists are citizens. When they break the law they should be prosecuted. But when successive juries in long, complex and colossally expensive cases refuse to convict them, those pressing charges should pay attention."

Refugee crisis



Simon Usborne in The Independent on Katie Hopkins: "Hopkins has children to feed and dress - and we can unfollow her, and avoid what she writes and says. Free country, free speech. Just look the other way. But when a national newspaper, which gives this brand an audience of two million people, happily prints language that might give Hitler pause, is that still OK? Or is it worth responding this time, even if she’ll love every minute?"


amol rajan ‏@amolrajan  on Twitter: "We knew this would offend and shock. But Aylan Kurdi's horrific death can spur the action thousands desperately need."


Corruption exposed



Nick Cohen in the Observer: "Do not forget either that Rahman at all times enjoyed the mulish support of Ken Livingstone and elements of what now passes for the British left. The BBC, the Daily Telegraph, Private Eye and Ted Jeory, a fantastic Tower Hamlets reporter, who exposed on his blog the corruption stories that local papers wouldn’t print, fought back. But with honourable exceptions, London’s leftwing press ignored the stink in its own backyard and dismissed the accusations against Rahman as evidence of a 'deep substrate of' – you guessed it – 'racism'."

Ted Jeory in the Independent: "I started my spare-time blog in 2010 when I realised my former paper, the East London Advertiser, was no longer able or willing to keep an eye on the detail of the council administration. I kept plugging away where it should have been. For that, I received numerous legal threats from the town hall. None succeeded. But the retreat of so many local papers is deeply worrying. How many other Lutfur Rahmans are there out there?"

Politics: General Election, Corbyn victory and a pig



Jon Snow ‏@jonsnowC4 on Twitter: "Sun delivers a new low in UK journalism: Foul front page: Calls itself a newspaper:3 pages that tell you why few want to go into politics."



Peter Preston in the Observer"No ifs, no buts. This, in the small, stifling area of the universe where journalists and politicians mingle, was a bonfire of the certainties, a pyre of punditry. No one – except John Curtice and his exit pollsters – emerges with reputation intact. No prophet of a columnist saw this coming. No editor believed it possible. Everyone settled for the supposed stasis of a parliament hung, drawn and divided into multi-party segments. So the one great lesson for May 2020 and elections beyond is inescapable. We’re used to the pollsters telling us what’s happening (as opposed to finding out for ourselves). We somehow believed the politicians have an inside track – until we saw their mouths gape incredulously on Friday morning. Data journalism is only as good as the data it deploys. Shoe leather and inquiring minds still count."


Lynton Crosby in the Telegraph: “The problem with political commentary and punditry in this country is that it’s conducted by a bunch of people most of whom live inside the M25 who could never live on the £26,000 that is the average annual earnings of people in this country. Most went to Oxbridge, talk only to themselves and last time they met a punter was when they picked up their dry cleaning.”


David Cameron told the Conservative party conference the reason polls were wrong in the run-up to the General Election was because:"Britain and Twitter are not the same thing." 



Jeremy Corbyn in his first speech as leader, as reported by Sky News : "A huge thank you to all of my widest family because they have been through the most appalling levels of abuse from some of media in the last three months. It's been intrusive, abusive and it's been simply wrong. I say to journalists attack public political figures. Make criticism of them, that's o.k. that's what politics is all about. But please don't attack people who didn't ask to be put in the limelight, merely want to get on with their lives. Leave them alone in all circumstances."

Pic: BBC
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell quoted in the Morning Star: “This last seven weeks that we’ve been in administration, the media assault on us has been, I think, a disgrace. I’ve never been comfortable with the way media ownership is in this country, but it does mean, to be frank, we have to commit ourselves now to media reform … break up the ownership of our media.”


Isabel Oakeshott on that pig story in Call Me Dave, speaking at the Cheltenham Festival, reported in The Times [£]: “Would I have got that story into The Sunday Times? Well, I reckon it probably could have been a diary story, expressed much more euphemistically.”


James Delingpole in the Sunday Times [£] on why he revealed in Call Me Dave he had smoked dope with David Cameron in their student days: "Was this naive, irresponsible and impulsive of me? Well, of course. That’s why I chose to be a journalist rather than, say, a diplomat or a senior civil servant or a lawyer. The whole point of being a hack is — or should be, I believe — that you never grow up. You spend your whole life in a state of arrested adolescence, forever the cheeky fifth-former at the back of the bus, waving for attention, gurning for easy laughs and flicking two fingers at authority."

NME Goes Free



James Brown in the Telegraph on music mag NME going free: "The internet robbed the NME of its reason to exist which was clear seven years ago as I was chatting to a friend’s 16 year-old son. He looked just like I did 30 years before - all teen rebel haircut, band T-shirt and tight jeans. His scuffed Converse were half on, half off a skateboard and he showed me his iPhone and a record sleeve with a woman holding a handful of blood. I told him I used to work for the NME. He replied 'What’s that?'"

Trip to loo tip



An interview tip from Lynn Barber in @XCityMag"A trip to the loo is often instructive - it's where people put their awards and cartoons - things they're proud of and want visitors to see...look for the pills!"

FT Sold to Japanese



Michael Woolff on USA Today: "There are two lessons from the sale of the Financial Times for $1.3 billion by its corporate parent Pearson to Nikkei, a Japanese newspaper company. The first is never believe a media company when it says it won’t sell something. The second is that newspapers, at least some newspapers, heretofore consigned to the dust heap, are back in business."

A scandal to be proud of



Brendan O'Neil blogs on the Spectator"The Lord Sewel scandal makes me feel proud to be British. For here, thanks to some glorious John Wilkes-style dirt-digging by the Sun — in your face, Leveson! — we have a proper political scandal. This ain’t no yawn-fest about MPs claiming the cost of a Kit-Kat or accidentally favouriting a gay-porn tweet: sad little pseudo-scandals which in recent years have tainted the good name of ignominy. No, the fall of Sewel is a full-on, drugged-up, peer-and-prostitutes scandal, of the kind Britain used to be pretty good at before the square Blairites and cautious Cameroons took over. The disgracing of Sewel is a reminder of British politics at its saucy best. Sewel, I salute you."

Peter Barron in the Northern Echo: "If we needed a reminder of why so many powerful figures would like to curtail Britain’s free press – and why that freedom remains so vital – it has arrived in a blur of white powder and pink, ill-fitting ladies’ underwear."

Clickbait is theft



Nick Cohen blogs on the online chase for clickbait: "The system turns journalists into thieves and liars. Not the traditional journalistic frauds in the Jayson Blair/Johann Hari mould but liars who lie because lying is a corporate imperative. To get traffic, fewer and fewer news sites can afford to send out writers to find original content. So they steal from other news sites, or lift and repackage a YouTube video or Twitter exchange that may go viral."

Jack the Ripper a Journalist



Dr Wynne Weston-Davies in the Telegraph claims Jack the Ripper was a journalist: "He names the Ripper as Francis Spurzheim Craig, who at the time of the murders in 1888 was a 51-year-old reporter covering the police courts and inquests in the East End of London."

Return to Syria

Loyd: After his kidnap last year
Anthony Loyd in The Times [£] on why he returned to Syria: "Just over a year after being kidnapped and shot there in my own walk-on, carry-off part in someone else’s nightmare, I went back to Syria because I wanted to. Foremost, I was curious to see what was happening in the time since I was last there, having felt artificially divorced from the country after so many previous assignments covering the conflict. I was still angry enough, too, in the wake of the betrayal and my abduction 15 months earlier, to want to spit on the memory of being beaten and shot, to be able to stand by the leering abyss and whisper, 'I’m still here, alive, reporting. So f*** you.'...There was, of course, one other reason I went back. It is the hardest to explain, but perhaps the most valid of all: I went back because war sucks. It sucks you back in.”

Brooks is Back



News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson on the return of Rebekah Brooks as chief executive officer of News UK: “Rebekah will lead a great team at News UK into the digital future, while maximising the influence and reach of our newspapers, which remain the most informative and successful in Britain and beyond. Her expertise, excellence and leadership will be crucial as we work to extend our relationship with readers and advertisers, and develop our digital platforms to take full advantage of our brilliant journalism.”

Joint executive director of the Hacked Off Campaign, Dr Evan Harris: "This could only happen in a dynastic company where normal rules of corporate governance simply do not apply. Mrs Brooks’ successful defence at trial was that she was such an incompetent executive that she was unaware of industrial-scale criminal wrongdoing in intercepting voicemails and bribing public officials, and unaware of the vast conspiracy to cover it up, despite her admitting to destroying millions of emails and putting the company’s reputation before co-operation with the police. Her failure has so far cost the company £300 million, hundreds of jobs and then there is the £16m pay off she received while scores of her newspapers’ confidential sources have gone to jail."

Editing the Sun from the Scrubs



Kelvin MacKenzie interviewed in the Sunday Times [£]: “If I was doing it now, I would be editing The Sun from Wormwood Scrubs. I never asked where stories came from.”

Arsenic for the Editor


Les Hinton on the stresses of being an editor, in the British Journalism Review: "No Murdoch editor suffered more than Arthur Christiansen (pictured) in his 24 years at the Daily Express. In Headlines All My Life, he writes: 'The telephone constantly rang. Wherever Beaverbrook went, the telephone followed.' When he cracked under the pressure, a dodgy Harley Street doctor injected Christiansen for 12 days with a preparation of strychnine, iron and arsenic. This treatment restored his broken confidence but seemed a little extreme to me. Reading this story as a teenager, I resolved never to work at close quarters with an overbearing proprietor. Not everything works out in life."

Freedom of Information



Campaign for Freedom of Information director Maurice Frankel on 10 years of FoI in the UK, in new book F0I 10 years on: freedom fighting or lazy journalism? : "The media have played an absolutely critical role. They have not only opened up streams of important news stories but demonstrated to the wider public that FoI works and is worth using."


Daily Mail in a leader"In what looks like a stitch-up between the Civil Service and Government, Sir Jeremy [Heywood - Cabinet Secretarytold his audience of fellow mandarins that an ‘independent panel’ had begun work to look at the ‘pros and cons of the current regime’. Its membership? The five person cabal includes the chairman of Ofcom, which is itself subject to FoI, and two ex-Home Secretaries – including Jack Straw, who has repeatedly argued the law allows too great a level of disclosure. Little wonder that 140 freedom of information campaigners wrote to the Prime Minister this week to complain that the commission is prejudiced and appears to have been established to propose savage new curbs on the public’s right to know.David Cameron – who, let’s not forget, was elected on a promise of greater ‘transparency’ – should stand ready to throw this biased panel’s findings in the Downing Street bin."

Kloop challenges press



New Liverpool F.C. manager Jurgen Kloop to journalists at his first press conference: "All the people told me so much about British press, it's up to you to show me they are all liars."

Screwed by Desmond



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?' "

Fighting FIFA



Andrew Jennings, who spent years investigating FIFA corruption, 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.”


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."

Athletics Dope Scandal



Jonathan Calvert in the Sunday Times [£] on IAAF president Lord Coe and the doping scandal engulfing athletics: "Coe had the opportunity to reconsider when The Sunday Times and Seppelt revealed in August that the IAAF had ignored evidence of widespread doping among athletes. Instead he led a public relations campaign to undermine the disclosure. He gave interviews claiming it was his 'seminal moment' and that this newspaper’s article had been a 'declaration of war' on his sport."

The last word goes to Charlie Hebdo on the Paris terror attacks on November 13 which killed 130 people...



Charlie Hebdo: "They have arms. Fuck them. We have the Champagne!"


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