Thursday, 28 July 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From fears over media crackdown in Turkey to can you remember when regional newspaper editors were demi-gods?



International Federation of Journalists' president Philippe Leruth on Turkey: “Since the failed coup we have had to react even more against the media crackdown in Turkey. The new arrest warrants are aimed, one more time at targeting journalists who are simply doing their jobs, and they do this criminalizing the journalistic work. The Turkish people who went on to the streets on 24 July were showing their attachment to democratic values. Through their attachment to authorities elected by votes Press freedom is an essential component of democracy. And clearly, it is even more at stake today.”


Committee to Protect Journalists' executive director Joel Simon in the Columbia Journalism Review: "The failed coup reaffirmed in the minds of Erdoğan and his supporters the relationship between information and power and drove home the importance of government control. While the internet and the remnants of independent media may have helped Erdoğan survive the coup attempt, now that he is firmly back in control and Constitutional protections suspended, the media operates at his mercy. The framework for future repression is simple: For Erdoğan, information is a weapon. He will never again allow it to be used against him."


CN editorial director David Heliwell on the decision to close its new newspaper for the north 24 after a month, as quoted by Press Gazette: “We were proud of the design and content and had encouraging feedback and buy-in from advertisers but unfortunately copy sales are just not high enough to justify continuing daily publication. It was always a calculated risk to see whether there was enough of a gap for us to squeeze into beside the big beasts of the daily market and it hasn’t come off."


Donald Trump speaking at a press conference: "I’ve always said, ‘Why didn’t the National Enquirer get the Pulitzer surprise for Edwards? And OJ Simpson? And all of these things?”


Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail"Ephraim Hardcastle is touting Piers Morgan as Press secretary to a possible President Donald Trump. And why not? Shy and retiring Piers is hugely popular in Republican circles because of his principled stand on gun control and would be an ideal mouthpiece for the self-effacing Trump."


Gideon Spanier in Campaign: "The Guardian is scaling back its media coverage in print and is to use automation to upload and lay out some stories on its website in a bid to slash costs. The newspaper confirmed it will halve its weekly media coverage in print from two pages to one. Insiders also expect the website will carry less media coverage, although the publisher insisted that won't be the case."


Decca Aitkenhead interviewing Len McCluskey for the Guardian: "He poses behind one of several chess sets in his office, and toys with the pieces. 'Now this is getting interesting,' he murmurs playfully. 'Hmm, who is going to be the king? Which one’s Jeremy Corbyn, and which one’s us? Angela Eagle,' he smirks, 'she was just a pawn.' His press officer rolls her eyes in despair, and groans. 'Oh God, this is every trope in the powerplay book. We might as well put a white cat in his lap'."


Sports news PRquoted by DigidayUK: "What really bothers me about today’s journalists is the knee-jerk decisions rooted in the number of clicks a story may/may not receive. While there are understandably pressures to reach the largest audiences, this mindset forces a lot of PR people to rethink what they share with journalists. Ultimately, it’s why many brands are turning to their own platforms to tell their own stories. Why risk a damaging narrative caused by a salacious headline created for the express purpose of reaching the masses?” 


Carl Bernstein‏ @carlbernstein joins Twitter: "Hello, Twitter. After all this time, finally surrendering to being less wordy. Looking forward."


Alastair Campbell ‏@campbellclaret  on Twitter: "Corbyn office on 'did you take 20k from Press TV. 'we don't comment on historical matters.' What? He does little else."


Jennifer Williams in the Manchester Evening News on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign launch in Salford: "The mention of Tony Blair drew boos and hisses. The mention of the miners' strike, an event firmly entrenched in rose-tinted Labour mythology, drew an ovation. The mention of the Guardian, when he said it couldn't tell working class people what to think, drew massive applause too."


Peter Sands in InPublishing"When I became a regional newspaper editor 26 years ago, I joined a band of demi-gods. They were men (yes, all men) such as Alex Leys, Sean Dooley, Mike Lowe, Allan Prosser, Barrie Williams and Graeme Stanton who prowled the industry with colossal self-belief. They answered to almost no-one except their readers and they often terrorised the management, lesser beings from accounts and sales. 'You are just a van driver in a suit,' is how I recall one exchange with an MD."

Monday, 25 July 2016

Digital life after print death for the Independent



I've written an article for InPublishing looking at the Independent since it decided to abandon its print edition last May and go digital only. A journey other newspapers may have to make.

Like many, I was sad to see a newspaper close its print edition for good but the Independent's traffic figures for its first digital only month in April were encouraging. Since I wrote the article the Independent has released its figures for June:

In the UK, the Independent reached its highest ever monthly page views figure, 175m (+92% year-on-year and +47% month-on-month), with a total of 33m unique visitors (+79% year-on-year and +52% month-on-month).

Globally, 82m (+56% year-on-year and +33% month-on-month) unique visitors came to the Independent, generating 319m page impressions (+75% year-on-year and +33% month-on-month) globally. The number of average daily unique visitors increased by a record 72% year-on-year and 44% month-on-month to 4.4m.

Coverage of the EU Referendum attracted more than 30m visitors, and average daily visitors to the Independent’s homepage have increased by 55% since the EU Referendum results were announced.

Christian Broughton, editor of the Independent, said in a statement: “In a month when bias, spin and plain lies consumed the news agenda and other media outlets, The Independent’s core values shone through. We have always been committed to explaining the big issues that grip the world, with passion, insight and authority, resolutely resisting party political bias. We speak to the subjects people really care about, with passion and an approachable language that connect with millions – both ‘classic’ Indy readers and a new audience. And they come back for more.''

Maybe the future is not so bleak after all.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From how the Independent crossed over to the digital side to why the BBC newsroom was cheering cabinet moves



Independendent editor Christian Broughton in InPublishing on the move by the paper to digital only: “We’ve been through a painful experience. We had to close the Independent in print because we love the Independent and everything it stands for. Now we are not beholden to rolls of paper, printers and delivery times. We are far more agile. We do not have to compromise between digital and print. It was a massive decision to take. We are on the other side now while others still have that shockwave to come."


Kelvin MacKenzie in the Sun on watching Channel 4 News coverage of Nice: "The presenter was not one of the regulars — Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Matt Frei or Cathy Newman — but a young lady wearing a hijab. Her name is Fatima Manji and she has been with the station for four years. Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim. Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male- dominated and clearly violent religion?"

Channel 4 News in a statement"The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred. It is wrong to suggest that a qualified journalist should be barred from reporting on a particular story or present on a specific day because of their faith. Fatima Manji is an award-winning journalist. We are proud that she is part of our team and will receive, as ever, our full support in the wake of his comments."

Fatima Manji writing in the Liverpool Echo: "THE TRUTH? I confess. I pi**ed on Kelvin MacKenzie’s apparent ambitions to force anyone who looks a little different off our screens, and I’ll keep doing it."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement: “To suggest that a journalist is incapable of reporting on a terrorist outrage because of the colour of her skin, her religion or the clothes that she wears says all you need to know about the contemptible views of Kelvin MacKenzie. His feigned moral outrage is the language of racial hatred and bigotry, and sadly just the latest incoherent ramblings of a pundit who should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. Journalism in the UK needs more diversity, not less.”


Ian Katz ‏@iankatz1000 on Twitter: "Top fact about @OwenSmith_MP, man who cd be Lab leader: as young BBC producer asked to get police comment on story, he called 999 #newsnight"


Les Hinton ‏@leshinton on Twitter: "You know there’s a print ad crisis when Fleet St papers each have room for THREE pages pitching -- print advertising."


Nick Cohen in the Observer: "As the opposition collapsed last week, Paul Mason insisted that Labour must be transformed from a party that seeks to govern into a “social movement”. Mason, along with Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Milne, is part of a group of journalists who have poisoned public life by taking braggart swagger and cocksure certainties of newspaper punditry into politics."


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) secretary-general Christophe Deloire in a statement “Like the rest of Turkish society, the leading news media demonstrated their commitment to democratic principles. It is time for the authorities to take note and to stop treating critical journalists as traitors and terrorists. Reinforcing national cohesion requires respect for basic freedoms including media freedom.”
  • According to RSF: "While covering events, Selçuk Şamiloğlu, Hürriyet’s Istanbul correspondent, and Kenan Şener, a CNN Türk reporter in Ankara, were both physically attacked by government supporters suspicious of Kemalist media outlets. After being hospitalized, Şamiloglu told RSF he came close to being thrown from a bridge."

Guardian leader on Boris Johnson being made Foreign Secretary: "Celebrity and brash behaviour will not go far in the pursuit of strategic goals – and Britain right now has much to try to secure. Mr Johnson will no doubt continue to make headlines, because that is his special talent. But his appointment is, simply, very bad news."


Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "Spontaneous cheer went up in the BBC newsroom when word of Whittingdale sacking came through - surely the worst Culture Secretary."

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From how Cameron gave Steve Bell a line for a farewell condom cartoon to Eagle cries 'Robert Peston, where are you?'



David Cameron to cartoonist Steve Bell, according to this Guardian video: "You can only push a condom so far."


Serena Williams puts down journalist who asked her if women tennis players deserve equal pay with men after playing shorter matches: "Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you happen to write a short article, you think you don't deserve equal pay as your beautiful colleague behind you?"


UKIP's biggest backer Aaron Banks interviewed in the Sunday Times [£] praises the Guardian: ''I found their referendum coverage better than any other paper. Well-written, fantastic.”


Scott Gilmore, the lawyer who led the investigation into the killing of journalist Marie Colvin in a rocket attack by Syrian Government forces, quoted in the Sunday Times [£]: “Marie Colvin was killed for exposing the Assad regime’s slaughter of innocent civilians to the world. The regime wanted to wage a war without witness against the democratic opposition. To do that, they needed to neutralise the media.”


Kath Viner in the Guardian"When the prevailing mood is anti-elite and anti-authority, trust in big institutions, including the media, begins to crumble. I believe that a strong journalistic culture is worth fighting for. So is a business model that serves and rewards media organisations that put the search for truth at the heart of everything – building an informed, active public that scrutinises the powerful, not an ill-informed, reactionary gang that attacks the vulnerable. Traditional news values must be embraced and celebrated: reporting, verifying, gathering together eyewitness statements, making a serious attempt to discover what really happened."


Andrea Leadsom MP ‏@andrealeadsom  on Twitter: "Truly appalling and the exact opposite of what I said. I am disgusted."

Andrea Leadsom MP @andrealeadsomon on Twitter: "@thetimes @RSylvesterTimes this is the worst gutter journalism I've ever seen. I am so angry - I can't believe this. How could you?"

A Times spokesman told BuzzFeed News: “We stand by our story, and have released the transcript and audio recording of the relevant section.”

Nick Cohen‏ @NickCohen4 on Twitter: "Asking a question and faithfully transcribing the answer is now the 'gutter journalism' of a 'sick press'."

Joanne Cash‏ @CashJoanne on Twitter: "As a libel barrister my advice to the Times is you have a cast iron defence called TRUTH."


Trevor Kavanagh on the Brexit vote in Press GazetteAfter the 1992 election we infamously said it was the Sun wot won it. That was probably an emotional spasm of release rather than a claim of actual impact. Most readers form an opinion well in advance of an event, whether it’s an election or a referendum, I think if anything it was the Remain camp and project fear which influenced people more than the Brexit campaign. I suspect that had the Remain camp delivered a more upbeat and sunny view of what life was like arguing the benefits of remaining in the European Union they would have done better.”


Angela Eagle after launching her bid to be Labour Party leader finds political correspondents are covering Andrea Leadsom's shock exit from the Conservative Party leadership race instead  "BBC anyone? No? OK, Robert Peston, where are you? No? Michael Crick?"

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Quotes of the Week: From Oh! What A Lovely Political Crisis for journalists to the media's failure in covering the Iraq War led to public distrust



Roy Greenslade on MediaGuardian"For journalists, has there ever been a better time to be alive? There is not enough airtime in news bulletins and enough space in newsprint to cover the post-Brexit political dramas."


Ben Wallace MP in the Daily Telegraph on Michael Gove: "When I was a government whip and Michael was the chief whip, the office leaked like a sieve. Important policy and personnel details made their way to the papers. Michael seems to have an emotional need to gossip, particularly when drink is taken, as it all too often seemed to be...UK citizens deserve to know that when they go to sleep at night their secrets and their nation’s secrets aren’t shared in the newspaper column of the prime minister’s wife the next day, or traded away with newspaper proprietors over fine wine."


Peter Preston in  The Observer: "Columnists tend to have bouncing egos. Columnists send indiscreet emails (true fruit of the Vine). Columnists like keeping their editor (maybe Dacre) sweet; or their publisher (maybe Murdoch) on board. Newspaper bosses are big cheeses in their lives – and therefore artificially revered, the elite’s elite. Columnists run other columnists down for a living, but they don’t run things for themselves. Columnists aren’t natural contenders for big organisational jobs."


Robert Hutton @RobDotHutton on Twitter: "Best thing about a columnist running the country would be that a new problem would be COMPLETELY SOLVED each week."


Rafael Behr in the Guardian: "Again, the remain side was taken aback by the effectiveness of this scorched-earth approach to evidence-based argument and by the media’s complicity – deliberate in the case of many newspapers, unwitting on the part of the BBC which was bound by impartiality rules to present the claims of both sides as equally valid. As one Cameron aide puts it: 'If anyone on the left had ever said the Bank of England was corrupt and shouldn’t have a view, they would be incinerated, but the BBC gave a free ride to the rubbishing of institutions'.”


Archent press release on its new pro-European "pop-up" newspaper The New European which launches this Friday for four weeks: "The New European is not aligned with old political divisions but with an enthusiasm and love for Europe; a new quality newspaper that gives voice to the values of the 48%. The New European will provide in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as a celebration of European life and culture with contributions from some of the most respected journalists and opinion formers from the UK and Europe."


Business Insider: "Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn accepted up to £20,000 for appearances on the Iranian state broadcast network Press TV — a channel that was banned in the UK for its part in filming the detention and torture of an Iranian journalist."


Nick Davies on leaving the Guardian after 40 years, as quoted by Press Gazette: “I’m retiring from journalism at the end of September just because I’m getting old and creaky and I want to do some other things with my life while I still can.”


Alastair Campbell in an email to The Sun's Kelvin MacKenzie: “Never mind buyer’s remorse, you should feel totally f***ing ashamed to have been for so long part of a giant propaganda machine which has helped the country make a potentially self-destructive decision that future generations will have to live with when you and I are long gone.“Murdoch has been a complete poison in our national life and you have helped so much. And because you are well sorted it will not hit you nearly as hard as those you and yours have persuaded to make the decision they did.
“But hey it’s all a bit of fun, eh? F*** off.”


Ian Burrell in the Independent"So much of the current public distrust in the media and its incestuous relationship with the political establishment can be traced back to its failures in covering the Iraq war. I remember picking up the London Evening Standard on 24 September 2002, and being gripped by the raw power of its splash: '45 minutes from attack'. Hours earlier in Parliament, Tony Blair had handed down his flawed tablet of stone, with its false claims of Saddam Hussein’s weaponry, and the media machine whirred into action, propelled by Alastair Campbell’s spin team."

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: Bashing Boris: What fellow journalists think of the man who wanted to be PM plus a bit of gloating from the Daily Mail



Polly Toynbee in the Guardian on Boris Johnson:  "What’s plain is that Boris Johnson and the rest never had a plan. It was derelict of the media – broadcasters in particular – not to force the leavers to define what leaving meant. Instead they got away with airy generalities, hiding multiple contradictions and dishonesties...He had no plan because he never thought Brexit would win: it was a jolly jape to nearly win and tickle Tory party members into electing him. They probably will and now this sociopath with no concern for country, economy or citizens will be our prime minister."


Tina Brown on Boris Johnson on the DailyBeast: "Johnson’s fake disarray—his bonhomous tanker of beer and Falstaffian spilling gut, his genial, jokey façade concealing a deeply opportunistic nature—allowed him alliances with such odious figures as UKIP’s xenophobic leader Nigel Farage, whose rat poison salesman persona would never have won Brexit without the fig leaf of Boris’s charm. His other powerful alliance was with the Voldemort of Middle England, Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail—with whom, I am told, Boris was closeted on June 9th over lunch in a private room at Marks club, in a conversation so confidential in content they put a chair in front of the door."


Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The media do not damn themselves, so I am speaking out of turn when I say that if you think rule by professional politicians is bad wait until journalist politicians take over. Johnson and Gove are the worst journalist politicians you can imagine: pundits who have prospered by treating public life as a game."


Martin Wolf in the Financial Times: "David Cameron took a huge gamble and lost. The fearmongering and outright lies of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, The Sun and the Daily Mail have won. The UK, Europe, the west and the world are damaged. The UK is diminished and seems likely soon to be divided. Europe has lost its second-biggest and most outward-looking power. The hinge between the EU and the English-speaking powers has been snapped. This is probably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war."


Rachel Sylvester in The Times [£]: "Mr Johnson is undeniably a rock star politician with the charisma to put a smile on voters’ faces. For his most audacious act yet, he wants to morph from showman to statesman, as a valiant Henry V. The danger for him is that as reality hits and he is forced to make difficult choices, Boris the Buffoon, who turned himself into Boris the Brave Brexiteer, may find that many Leave voters begin to see him as Boris the Betrayer."


Rafael Behr in the Guardian on Boris Johnson: "There is nothing cuddly about voracity for power, allergy to responsibility and infidelity to any cause besides personal advancement. Yet that is the constellation of traits that forms the former London mayor’s character, exerting such narcissistic gravity that no passing truth escapes unbent."


Jenni Russell in The Times [£]: "His gravest flaw is that even he doesn’t know what he stands for, as we saw this week. A former aide says he changes position constantly because his focus is always on pleasing the audience of the moment, whether it’s billionaire property developers, campaigners for affordable housing or Eurosceptics who might make him PM. Boris could get away with this as a figurehead mayor. But now all our futures may depend on this evasive, crowd-pleasing clown. To govern is to choose, a responsibility he is psychologically and practically unfitted to bear. The Tory party will be fools if they now choose him to govern."

Old quote of the week


Max Hastings in the Daily Mail in October 2012: "If the day ever comes that Boris Johnson becomes tenant of Downing Street, I shall be among those packing my bags for a new life in Buenos Aires or suchlike, because it means that Britain has abandoned its last pretensions to be a serious country... He is not a man to believe in, to trust or respect save as a superlative exhibitionist. He is bereft of judgment, loyalty and discretion. Only in the star-crazed, frivolous Britain of the 21st century could such a man have risen so high, and he is utterly unfit to go higher still."


Mail columnist Sarah Vine in an email to her husband Michael Gove, leaked to Sky News: "One simple message you MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage. Crucially the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre / Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris / Gove ticket."

Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdochon Twitter: "Congratulations Michael Gove. Friends always knew his principles would overcome his personal friendships."


Sun editor Tony Gallagher to the Guardian after the Brexit victory: “So much for the waning power of the print media.”


Daily Mail in a leader: "As for those of our readers who decided to vote Remain, judging that the dangers of Brexit were too great, this paper has enormous respect for their conscientious concern for our country. But we firmly trust and believe that their fears will prove unfounded."


Peter Preston in the Observer"It wasn’t the baleful ogres of newspaper proprietorship that swung this vote. Lord Rothermere prefers the Mail on Sunday Remainers to the manic Leavers in the next office. Rupert Murdoch didn’t have tell Tony Gallagher which way to swing: the Sun’s editor did what came naturally to him. No: the foundations of this leaving have been laid for 40 years in a persistent reluctance to report what the EU is all about – a failure to explain."


Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail:  "This is not a time for gloating, but what the hell. To paraphrase that manic Norwegian football commentator: Call Me Dave, Boy George, Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker, Up Yours Delors, Barack Obama, Mark Carney, Goldman Sachs, Polly Toynbee, J.K. Rowling, Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock . . . your boys took one hell of a beating!"

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