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?"

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Are political pundits part of an elite? to NUJ impressed by Impress

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.”

Steve Hilton in the Sunday Times [£]: "When the corporate bosses, the MPs, the journalists — and the authors of books such as mine — all go to the same dinner parties and social events, all live near one another, all send their children to the same schools (from which they themselves mainly came), an insular ruling class develops. They flit and float between Westminster, Whitehall and the City; regardless of who’s in office, the same people are in power. It is a democracy in name only, operating on behalf of a tiny elite no matter the electoral outcome. I know because I was part of it."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Leveson is over: let it go. Or rather, press regulation, save for some further egregious error of a phone-hacking variety sometime during the next five years, is not on this government’s agenda. The Independent Press Standards Organisation, chaired by Sir Alan Moses, is, more than ever, the only show in town...If those outside current regulation – the Guardian, Indy, FT and Standard – wish to enter the tent rather than risk five more years of independence and possible vulnerability, then their moment of choice (and influence) draws near. And for those who genuinely wish for a cleaner, more transparent regime, then, like Moses and his board, it’s time for men and women of goodwill to get stuck in."

Mark Lobel on BBC News: "We were invited to Qatar by the prime minister's office to see new flagship accommodation for low-paid migrant workers - but while gathering additional material for our report, we ended up being thrown into prison for doing our jobs."

Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz on why he is leaving the magazine, as quoted in the Guardian: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone. Spending sleepless nights summoning the dead, wondering what Charb, Cabu, HonorĂ©, Tignous would have done is exhausting.”

Raymond Snoddy @RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "More billions in fines for banks - for fixing foreign exchange. How many arrests? Cops clearly too busy launching dawn raids on journalists."

Mark Sweney in the Guardian: "Impress, set up as an alternative press regulator to the industry-backed Independent Press Standards Organisation, is to seek recognition under the controversial royal charter."

David Banks ‏@DBanksy on Twitter: "If Impress gets Charter recognition it triggers costs protection for those in it (no-one) and punitive damages for those not (most of press)."

Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council, in a statement:"The NUJ welcomes the recognition application submitted by Impress and we will take an interest in the way it develops. Impress offers an independent framework that can enable our profession to drive up standards, public trust and ethical journalism in the UK. Crucially, Impress supports the introduction of safeguards for all journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story."


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Shock, loathing and blame: the press and the 2015 General Election

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."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "The press will be rewarded for their filthy North Korean election coverage. Forget Leveson, Murdoch can expect bounty and the savage pruning of the BBC he always demanded."

Ian Leslie in the New Statesman: "No left-wing account of this defeat will be complete without a reference to the Tory press (bonus drink for 'Murdoch-controlled') and its supposed inexorable hold over the political psyche of the nation. Funny: the day before the election everyone decided The Sun was a joke and nobody reads newspapers anyway."

Francis Beckett on his blog: "At first they thought they could win by mocking Miliband. Miliband confounded that strategy, simply by being the calm, thoughtful, intelligent man he is. But the last minute localised blitzkrieg of rumour and innuendo did the job, against all expectations. It shows what you can do if you have unlimited money and the unqualified backing of most of the national press."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "As the Labour party tears itself apart trying to come to terms with its general election performance, it should understand this reality: the right-wing press was overwhelmingly responsible for its defeat."

Les Hinton ‏@leshinton  on Twitter: "Here's a crazy theory - Fleet Street was more in tune with real people than the Labour Party. #GE2015"

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The universities, left press, and the arts characterise the English middle-class as Mail-reading misers, who are sexist, racist and homophobic to boot. Meanwhile, they characterise the white working class as lardy Sun-reading slobs, who are, since you asked, also sexist, racist and homophobic."

Michael Wolff in USA Today: "Labour not only got the mood of the country wrong, but so did the news media. Indeed, part of Labour's problem was likely to have only seen its future, and understood the ambitions of the electorate, through its own favored media. The left-leaning BBC was wrong; the left-leaning Guardian was wrong; digitally centric Buzzfeed, trying to make inroads in Britain by targeting news to a young audience, was wrong."

Andrew Marr in the New Statesman: "A big election defeat ought to shatter old ways of thinking. It’s important not to waste a good defeat. I have spent the past few days doing two things – sleeping and worrying about how I do my job. Defeated politicians, as well as humbled journalists, could do worse."

John O'Farrell @mrjohnofarrell on Twitter: "I fear Twitter has not helped the Left since the 2010 election. We create our own digital bubble & forget that millions don't agree with us."

Gary Shipton, editor-in-chief of  Eastbourne Herald and Hastings & St Leonards Observer on the use of Tory front page ads, as quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: "We very much regret it if some readers were given the impression that our neutrality has been compromised. In those circumstances it is wholly appropriate to review our advertising policy so that we clearly respond to the genuine concerns of our readers and the people in this community.”

Daily Mail in a leader: "Licence-fee payers should rejoice over the appointment of Mr Whittingdale, who will oversee the renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter next year. As a Commons committee chairman, he took a robust stand against the Corporation’s bloated bureaucracy and entrenched Left-wing bias, calling for a radical rethink of funding."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "UK poll explodes myth of social media power. Great time for competitive free press."

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From more bloodshed at Newsquest? to sold the front page to the Tories

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "ANOTHER bloodbath at Newsquest last week, with some excellent editors booted out of their once-excellent newspapers. Amongst the dearly departed were Malcolm Warne at the Darlington & Stockton Times while the Craven Herald, which I’ve always regarded as a brilliant example of what a local weekly should be, is set to lose its third editor in as many years. I won’t recite the usual nonsense quotes from management, but bear in mind that this is a company that thinks that one single editor can run 18 of its southern titles. Utter madness. And I have bad news for other Newsquest centres. I’m reliably informed that the Grim Reaper is on his way, with further massive cuts in the pipeline."

The Independent Press Standards Organisation rejecting complaints against Katie Hopkins' Sun column, as reported by the Guardian: “Many complainants said the column breached clause 12 (discrimination) … while we noted the general concern that the column was discriminatory towards migrants, cause 12 is designed to protect identified individuals mentioned by the press against discrimination, and does not apply to groups or categories of people. The concerns raised by the complainants that the article discriminated against migrants in general did not therefore raise a possible breach of clause 12."

Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council, in a statement: "Vicious, racist and inflammatory articles impact on all of us. Katie Hopkins and the Sun should be held responsible for whipping up xenophobia and hostility. History has repeatedly shown that when sections of the media resort to describing people as ‘cockroaches’ it only serves to inflame prejudicial hatred. Such language must be considered a breach of ethical codes.  The NUJ believes that a regulator should accept third party complaints and we also continue to argue that complaints that do not name specific individuals but disparage whole groups of people in society, whether they are migrants, asylum seekers, women, disabled or LGBT people, should be a potential breach of the code of practice.”

Jack Peat, Head of Digital at 72Point, on new research: “Our Media Consumption report demonstrated that the way we consume and interact with media is undergoing a seismic change. News is predominantly consumed on mobile devices and discovered socially, which means there is a thirst for more digestible content that can be delivered quickly with maximum impact.”

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, on cyber bullying of journalists: “In recent weeks there has been a spate of attacks on journalists and the union responded targeting the bullies and demanding a stop to the abuse. This stage of our campaign is about stepping up the pressure on the bullies but also calling for employers to step up to the plate and stand up for journalists working for their titles or stations. As we have always stated it is to be expected when journalists are criticised but we draw a line at unacceptable levels of abuse and threats. We will highlight any ongoing attacks and in serious cases we will involve Police Scotland who have always been supportive of our work in this field."

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."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "So all UK polls nonsense. Also bloody nose for BBC."

Caitlin Moran ‏@caitlinmoran on Twitter: "By the time of the next election, it won’t really matter what parties newspapers back. All the new, young electorate is going elsewhere."

Lincolnshire Echo publisher Steve Fletcher, on HoldTheFrontPage: “The decision to publish the wrap made business sense and all political parties would have been welcome to make the same approach. It is clearly marked as an advert. We have carried ads from most parties across our titles in Lincolnshire in the run up to the election, including a wrap from UKIP in our papers covering the Boston and Skegness constituency. The main parties spent £9.1m on advertising during the 2010 General Election campaign and it makes business sense for the regional media to try and take a fair share of this spending."

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From 'job massacre' at Newsquest newspapers to the journalists who exposed corruption at Tower Hamlets Council

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, in a statement on 30 more proposed job cuts at Newsquest: “The words used by our members following today's announcements are 'shell shocked' and 'job massacre'. After so many casualties and waves of cutbacks at Newsquest centres, it does seem that the company is at war with its staff. "

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, objecting to the pay rise for Johnston Press chief Ashley Highfield: "A pay rise of £26,000 is more than the pay of a news editor on some weekly titles in an entire year. The number of jobs axed by JP over the past three years has left staff stressed and newsrooms struggling. That's why Johnston Press NUJ members have called on the directors to give up their bonuses and invest the money in frontline editorial where it matters."

GuardianObserver NUJ ‏@go_NUJ on Twitter: "Johnston Press wants to know #WhatMattersToMe Tell them you want a strong local press with proper pay and staffing levels for journalists."

Paul Dacre, quoted by the Spectator"All newspapers – I would argue – face the threat of being chained by statutory press controls as an authoritarian state, aided by those giants of rectitude Max Mosley and Hugh Grant – becomes ever more powerful and intolerant of criticism. As it conspires to extend its control over a commercially viable free press which I love because it is beholden to no one and the only genuinely free thing we have left in modern Britain."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement: "“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tabloid press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long. I am an unswerving advocate of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), but it is not absolute. Article 20 of the same Covenant says ‘Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’”

Jeremy Paxman interviewed in the Radio Times: "I don't see Newsnight, I'm afraid. My idea of fun is to go to bed at 10.30pm and read a book."

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'."

Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph: "Rahman’s removal from office represents a victory for The Telegraph which has tirelessly investigated allegations of corruption and has long called for further scrutiny of Rahman’s office."

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?"

Daily Mail "Journalists rather than police or officials exposed Lutfur Rahman’s corruption – often at personal risk. It was only after dogged investigations by reporters such as Andrew Gilligan and Panorama’s John Ware that the scandal was revealed."

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Quotes of the Week: From Operation Elveden undone to an interview tip from Lynn Barber

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "Operation Elveden: 42 charges against Sun journalists, 0 convictions."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The acquitted journalists, three from The Sun and one from the Mirror, are relieved but understandably angry. Like ten others before them and those spared and still awaiting trial, they have been subjected to long legal ordeals at a cost of £20 million in a process that juries have consistently rejected as flawed. The prosecutions appear to have ignored almost to the end the real nature androle of journalism as a foundation of free speech. Only today has that fundamental right been acknowledged but only as an attempt to justify previous misjudgments."

Ex-Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald on the Today programme: “It looks as though in the charging decisions that were made in the past in the Elveden cases, not enough weight was attached to the public interest in free expression and the freedom of the press, and that was an error I think the DPP [Alison Saunders] has tried to correct by dumping these cases.”

Tim Walker ‏@ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "Surely we are at the point where the people who approved Operation Elveden ought to be considering their positions."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "The authoritarian fiasco of Operation Elveden is only the end result of a campaign to sanitise Britain’s unruly press, involving everybody from political leaders and top judges to police chiefs, celebrity crusaders and assorted media snobs. All of them share the same contempt for what one top prosecutor called ‘the gutter press’."

Brian Cathcart on Inforrm's blog: "It might be thought that News International (now News UK), having failed to give its journalists proper legal advice about paying public officials and then having presented evidence against them to the police, might have shown shame and humility. The fact that it now attacks the police and the CPS for taking proper independent decisions demonstrates, yet again, the breathtaking hypocrisy to which the big newspapers are particularly prone."

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?"

Daily Mirror ‏@DailyMirror on Twitter: "As a public service we are live blogging pictures of nice things while @KTHopkins is on@LBC"

Jonathan Liew in the Telegraph: "Increasingly, and worryingly, a consensus is emerging that the only interpretation of sport worth hearing is by those involved in it. 'You’ve never played the game' is a frequent jibe aimed at reporters, and yet this world-view is an assault not just on the media, but on everyone. Had sport been allowed to write its own history over the years, Lance Armstrong would still be a seven‑time Tour de France winner, the Pakistani spot-fixers would have gone unpunished, and everyone would be looking forward to a wonderful 2022 World Cup in Qatar."

The Times [£] in a leader on Twitter: "But, contrary to its image, Twitter is not just a medium for exchanging banal experiences. It is a means for social exchange whose value lies precisely in its capacity for being used as the individual wants or needs. If you want to promote a book or an idea or a product then Twitter can connect you to a discriminating audience. If you want to receive links to the best expert arguments at home or reports from far-off countries, a judicious use of Twitter will furnish you with them. And if you merely want to be involved in some small way in the nation’s conversation, then you can do that too. Without paying."

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!"

[£] = paywall

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From political parties' pledges on press to what made Murdoch a radical?

Labour Party manifesto: “We remain strongly committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. We expect the industry to establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for individuals, as set out in the Royal Charter, and agreed by all parties in Parliament. We made a promise to victims of the phone hacking scandal. We stand by that promise and will keep it.”

Conservative Party manifesto: “We will continue to defend hard-won liberties and the operation of a free press. But alongside the media’s rights comes a clear responsibility, which is why we set up the public, judge-led Leveson Inquiry in response to the phone-hacking scandal, created a new watchdog by Royal Charter and legislated to toughen media libel laws.”

Liberal Party manifesto: "Introduce statutory public interest defences for exceptional cases where journalists may need to break the law (such as RIPA, the 2010 Bribery Act, and the 1998 Computer Misuse Act) to expose corruption or other criminal acts. Ensure judicial authorisation is required for the acquisition of communications data which might reveal journalists’ sources or other privileged communications, for any of the purposes allowed under RIPA; and allow journalists the opportunity to address the court before authorisation is granted, where this would not jeopardise the investigation."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Styanistreet: "The National Union of Journalists is deeply concerned about reports from local newspapers and our members in the BBC that reporters and photographers, many of them with local knowledge of the area where an election event or photo-opportunity is being held, are being denied access or are being blocked from asking the questions they know their readers and viewers want to hear."

Richard Desmond in the Express on why he is donating £1 million to UKIP: "I firmly believe in Ukip. It's a party for good, ordinary British people. It is not run by elitists.They are struggling to have a voice. They do not have a massive party machine or highly paid public relations people. They are human; they are not perfect and they do not pretend to be. But what they believe in is the best for the British people. They are the sort of people who will stand up for people who are struggling."

Matt Wells ‏@MatthewWells on Twitter: "Another one for 'Only in the British election" - Nigel Farage backs Ukip candidate in sausage roll bribery row "

Nick Robinson ‏@bbcnickrobinson on Twitter: "Good to be back on air. Don't worry about the voice. It doesn't hurt & I'm not risking my recovery. I'm listening to Drs & speech therapist."

From Press Gazette: "At least 3,400 press officers and other communications staff are employed by the UK's local councils. Press Gazette used the Freedom of Information Act to ask 435 city, borough and district councils across the UK how many people they employ in their communications departments."

Andrew Morton asked in the Telegraph about the reaction to the success of his book on Princess Diana: "There was a lot of jealousy. I was dubbed a 'tabloid oik from Leeds'. I’m quite sure if I’d been an effete former Etonian, everything would have been fine."

David Yelland ‏@davidyelland on Twitter: "Very few people in public life have been made to suffer again and again like Andy Coulson has. It just seems too much to me. It really does."

From Exaro: "Rebekah Brooks is set to return to The Sun following her acquittal last year of all charges related to the “phone-hacking” scandal. The former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper division in the UK is being lined up to take charge of the paper’s digital operation and its video offering, according to well-placed sources at The Sun."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Guardian today suggests my dad's expose of Gallipoli fiasco led to my anti-establishment views. Maybe, but confirmed by many later events."