Thursday, 26 February 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hugh Grant and John Cleese to ethics, courage, integrity and shame



Graeme Demianyk ‏@GraemeDemianyk on Twitter: "Hugh Grant given chance to have a nice long moan about newspapers on #r4today as scoops by Guardian, Sun and Telegraph dominate bulletins."

Peter Wright, editor emeritus, Associated Newspapers, in a letter to the Guardian: "[Hugh] Grant’s damascene conversion to the cause of freedom of expression is of course welcome. But perhaps his next campaign could be against the appalling royal charter, which politicians are trying to impose on all journalists, and the oppressive, discriminatory exemplary damages which will enforce it – both measures backed by statute. Ironically, where Hugh and his chums can justly claim credit is that they really did write the royal charter. Indeed it is as a result of their actions that the police and other bodies which should know better think it’s open season to undermine Britain’s free press. That is one of the Leveson’s most depressing legacies."

John Cleese pictured in the Independent
John Cleese on the press at a Hacked Off rally, as reported by PA and Press Gazette: "Of course they want to regulate themselves, we'd all like to regulate ourselves wouldn't we? Builders, accountants, murderers, they'd all like to regulate themselves. The murderers would make a very good case - they'd say we murdered a lot of people, we know people who have murdered people. We really are best qualified to regulate ..."

Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman at the same rally"We are absolutely committed to what Leveson proposed and we do not think that business as usual is acceptable."



The NUJ in a statement:  "The union wants to see any new ethical guidelines introduced at the Telegraph newspaper in relation to advertising and journalistic ethics to be meaningful and include a conscience clause for journalists. Journalists need to be protected and enabled to do the job they came into the industry to do without fear or favour, regardless of ownership."

Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council: “We welcome proposed changes to stop using RIPA to spy on journalists – we are very pleased everyone now agrees on this principle but as always the devil will be in the detail and so we urge the government to provide that detail now and then allow for a full and proper democratic debate amongst politicians, industry and civil society about the changes they intend to propose.”

Roy Mincoff, NUJ legal officer: "Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act journalists must be notified by the authorities of an application to access their material and sources and have the ability to object, a right of hearing before a judge and the possibility of an appeal. The protections for journalists’ data under RIPA must be no less than that provided by PACE. To continue to allow the authorities to access journalists’ data and therefore sources will have a serious chilling effect on those who would otherwise reveal corruption, crime, abuse and wrongdoing by public and private bodies. Journalists are the public watchdog, with a duty to inform the public. The public has a right to be informed."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Financial Times: “Rupert would rather cut his right leg off than support Ukip at the next election.”


Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the Telegraph/Dispatches sting on MPs: "Leaving aside whether or not the MPs breached parliamentary rules, the way they spoke about themselves while being covertly filmed was justification enough for its undercover sting. They were shown to be using their positions in order to grasp money, so the public interest was obvious."



alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "Struggling to think of any paper in recent times running something as desperate as this."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "Fleet Street is now into the machine-gun phase of its Reservoir Dogs cycle. This won't end well...."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "Just seen that the Telegraph put their despicable story on the front page. A paper being run by the woefully inadequate."

Janine Gibson ‏@janinegibson on Twitter: "Silly revenge pieces about the Guardian are one thing, but that hit on the Times has come from a very dark place indeed."

The Observer:  "In every business there’s pressure and scope for tragedy. But to equate these deaths with the decision – the commercial decision – to go easy on a big bank in trouble is gross far beyond any Fleet Street club. It demeans those who wrote it and those who ordered it. It will not be forgotten, or easily forgiven."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "The simplest question at the heart of the Telegraph’s HSBC shambles – and subsequent vileness – is also the one that matters most. Why on Earth was Peter Oborne, doughty political columnist, trooping back and forth to the chief executive’s office complaining about black holes and white flags? What had  Murdoch MacLennan got to do with soft-pedalled coverage and cowardly retreats? Where was the stalwart soul who’s supposed to stand on the frontline defending journalism’s values? Where was the editor?"


Owen Jones in the Guardian"Peter Oborne, a man of integrity and courage, has done us a huge service. With the disappearance of secure journalism jobs, most journalists can simply not speak out about journalistic practices without permanently banishing themselves from the industry."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley remembers being forced by a publisher to drop a negative restaurant review: "I was understandably furious, seeing such interference as a breach of a sacred code. I argued the toss for several days, right up until the point that the review should have gone to print. I was then informed that if I didn’t drop it, he’d have the page replaced by our production department. I was outranked and outflanked. There was only one thing left to do – resign on principle. Ten years earlier I would have done it. But I still had a big mortgage to pay off and there weren’t many other jobs going out there. To my eternal shame, I swallowed my pride and looked the other way as the dirty deed was done. I regretted it then and I regret it now."

Financial Times  news report on the Barclay brothers: "Forbes estimates their joint wealth at $5.3bn. 'It’s hard to work out why they’re so desperate to extract value from the newspaper,' said one former employee."


Nick Cohen on Twitter: "Best line in Guardian editor hustings from @janinegibson on the Telegraph "You can only sell your integrity once". (Think I'll steal it)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Oborne lashes Telegraph, Grey Cardigan bashes bloggers and the real journalistic fantasy in Fifty Shades of Grey



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."

The Telegraph in an editorial: "This newspaper makes no apology for the way in which it has covered the HSBC group and the allegations of wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary, allegations that have been so enthusiastically promoted by the BBC, the Guardian and their ideological soulmates in the Labour Party. We have covered this matter as we do all others, according to our editorial judgment and informed by our values. Foremost among those values is a belief in free enterprise and free markets."

Lionel Barber ‏@lionelbarber  on Twitter: "Peter Oborne's 'j'accuse' against Daily Telegraph - a moment in British journalism."

James Ball ‏@jamesrbuk on Twitter: "HSBC 'paused' Guardian advertising just before #HSBCfiles publication. We published anyway."

Daniel Finkelstein @Dannythefink on Twitter: "The problem with Tele saying that @OborneTweets is full of inaccuracies and innuendo is that he has been their chief commentator for 5 years."

Robert Peston ‏@Peston on Twitter: "All journalists, especially young journalists, should read Oborne's farewell to the Telegraph."

Sam McBride ‏@SJAMcBride on Twitter: "Whoever wrote the Daily Telegraph's response to Peter Oborne demonstrates the decline he alleges by misusing 'refute'."

@Bynickdavies on Twitter: "Telegraph have a formidable opponent in Peter Oborne - dead straight and brave."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "There is no question that the private sector is an insecure way of financing a free press that does not make money. But all other ways are worse. There are still as many daily newspapers published in Britain (nine) as there were 50 years ago, a continuous diversity available to no other western country. Online has not wiped out print. It has enhanced the penetration and prominence of both. In which case, we can only thank goodness for expediency. The only champion of a free press is not some regulator or commission or charter board. It is the free press itself. Plurality, rivalry, disclosure, exposure and sometimes fury are the best guardians. That is what we saw this week. One Oborne is worth 10 Levesons."


The Times [£]: "A coroner has demanded that a Sky News reporter [Martin Brunt] divulge his source for a story about a woman who was found dead after the broadcaster revealed that she had “trolled” the parents of Madeleine McCann.  The demand has raised fresh concerns about the state encroaching on journalists’ rights to keep their sources confidential, in the wake of revelations that police forces looked into their phone records on hundreds of occasions."


Publicity blurb for new book Tabloid Secrets by ex-News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck published by Biteback Publishing: "Thurlbeck’s undercover, investigative work is revealed in great detail, with the methods and subterfuge explained. It also describes how the reporter was recruited to MI5, the characters he met and the type of work he carried out there. Ultimately, Tabloid Secrets is a journey through a world which has vanished for good, by the best-known reporter of recent times. It is a vivid, surprising and wildly entertaining insider account of a Fleet Street which is suddenly no more."



Being a journalist is the sixth most desired job in Britain, according to a YouGov poll published this week.

Getty Images
Ed Amoury on MediaGuardian:"As we enter the general election campaign, the part of the media that political parties fear as opposed to plan how to exploit is the print media. It’s the passion and beliefs and ruthless investigative journalism of papers like the Mail, the Times and the Guardian that will decide on which battlegrounds the campaign is fought, and therefore play a key role in deciding who will win. The same is true in the corporate world. Chief executives care infinitely more about a downpage story in a national print newspaper than 100m impressions on social media. Partly, it’s because many of them are not yet digital natives, but there is also a sense that social media interactions, perhaps because they are so easy, are also cheap and not so very meaningful."



Ex-Sun journalist John Troup interviewed in Press Gazette: "We were made to feel like we were terrorists – for doing nothing more than writing stories that were true and in the public interest. If a story about someone killing themselves in a maximum security prison isn’t in the public interest, what is?"

David carr: New York Times
David Carr, the New York Times media columnist, who died last week: “Right now, being a reporter is a golden age. There may be a lack of business models to back it up, but having AKTOCA on – All Known Thought One Click Away – on my desktop, tablet or phone makes it immensely deeper, richer exercise than it used to be.”


Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, apologises 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. We are taking this opportunity to give every victim a sincere and unreserved apology for what happened.We recognise that our actions will have caused them distress for which we are truly sorry.Our newspapers have a long and proud history of holding those in power to account. As such, it is only right we are held to account ourselves.Such behaviour has long since been banished from Trinity Mirror’s business and we are committed to ensuring it will not happen again."


Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "Any officer who thinks the public have a right to know is treated like a criminal. Talking to a reporter is a career-ending offence and may result in prosecution.
...If coppers are supposed to be citizens in uniform, then journalists are citizens with notebooks. It’s our job to bring you the news those in power don’t want you to find out. The current assault on our Free Press is an assault on a free society."


Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "Since the arrival of blogs everyone is a fucking journalist, and the sheer number of knobheads out there who are happy to churn out their boring, bland opinions just for the supposed glory of seeing their name in lights means that the notion of actually paying for well-written, thought-provoking words is now almost redundant. Why does this matter? Well it means that true creativity is stifled as writers and photographers give up the daily battle to put food on the table and the level of national debate continues to be dumbed down. Mark my words, it won’t be long before someone called @billyblogger24 is writing the leader column in The Times."


Periwinkle Jones ‏@peachesanscream on Twitter: "The sexiest fantasy in 50 Shades Of Grey is the bit where she gets a job in journalism without having to do years of unpaid work experience."

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Sun journalists 'like' BBC shock to Will Carling tackles Greg Dyke



BBC Press Office responds to Sun's 'scandal of BBC paying greedy MPs' story: "We’re glad the Sun enjoys holding the BBC to account and challenging us – it keeps us on our toes and makes sure the licence fee is well spent. We know that deep down Sun journalists like the BBC as well – that’s why they’re happy to be paid to contribute to some of our programmes as well."



Nick Ferrari to Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary to the RMT union, on LBC: "Your vile and abusive stance means I never wish to speak to you again. And in my eyes, you have diminished the case of your colleague immeasurably. For you, as an Assistant General Secretary, you need some form of media training. Goodbye."


Polly Toynbee in an appeal to readers in the Guardian: "The Guardian’s life has always been precarious because we don’t have an owner or a corporation propping us up. We don’t have a press baron or oligarch ordering us to take their political or commercial line. We swim alone in a dangerous world of media sharks, our independence precious and unique."


John Rentoul in the Independent: "Ed Miliband genuinely believes that he can win the election by taking on big companies that are household names, including the ones that own Tory newspapers. As far as I can tell, he is almost alone in this."


MP Philip Davies in the House of Commons, as reported by Press Gazette“The Attorney-General made it clear that funding is an issue and that discussions are going on with the Chancellor. Given that, is it sensible for the Crown Prosecution Service to commit millions of pounds to a retrial of journalists from The Sun when there is clearly no realistic prospect of conviction?


Channel 4's Alex Thomson on his blog: "People should want to be journalists because of anger. And when I see anger I give real encouragement. And guess what – they actually do pay you a bit, enough, to go out and expose wrongdoing, and that feeling is a hell of a lot better than money or drugs or anything else for that matter."

Trevor Trimm in the Guardian :"The complicit British media (with only a few exceptions) refused to cover the GCHQ story at all unless they were called in to act as public relations agencies for the government by printing fear-mongering stories claiming that anyone reporting on the issue of privacy was just helping terrorists and pedophiles."


NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on Newsquest charging students £120 to have their work published: "While Newsquest is sacking professional staff on its titles, it is charging journalist students for writing articles for them. The unpaid intern has become the scourge of the media profession - now Newsquest is asking for journalist students to actually pay for a by-line.

Sir Robert Francis: Pic ITV News
Daily Mail on Sir Robert Francis' review of whistleblowers in the NHS: "There is one shameful omission from his review. While it calls for safeguards for staff who air their disquiet within the NHS, it makes no mention of those who do so in public through the media."


Culture secretary Sajid Javid, quoted by the Daily Mail: "Journalism is not terrorism...I was shocked. In Paris we saw terrorists attacking the fundamental freedoms of the media, so I was appalled to discover that legislation created to hamper terrorists was now being used to undermine those very same freedoms."


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."



Former England rugby captain Will Carling on Greg Dyke in The Sunday Times using his comment about the RFU being '57 farts' [£]: "The comment wasn’t part of the interview, not on camera and I presumed the microphones were off. His was still on.  Greg Dyke damn well knew it was not for public consumption. It wasn’t on camera. I was foolish to have said it in range of a microphone but ethically, I don’t think it was right to put that comment out there. He would have thought about it but he decided, ‘To hell with him, this is great for our TV programme.’ ...I thought of Greg Dyke, ‘you sneaky git’. And when Greg went on to become director-general of the BBC, I thought the morals of journalism were pretty interesting.”

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Let judge decide on identifying sources to local press hits back at BBC



The Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) inquiry report into police using Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to identify journalistic sources: “The current Home Office Code of Practice (and the recently revised draft Code said to provide protection for sensitive professions) do not provide adequate safeguards to protect journalistic sources or prevent unnecessary or disproportionate intrusions. After careful consideration of all the evidence and the sensitivities and complexities of the considerations required when contemplating an interference with Article 10 of the Convention it is recommended that Judicial authorisation is obtained in cases where communications data is sought to determine the source of journalistic information.”


Stig Abell @StigAbell on Twitter: "Press Gazette called "annoying" for asking questions of Met about its misuse of RIPA. I call it "journalism"

Dominic Ponsford, editor of Press Gazette, in The Times [£]: “I’ve had lots of ‘no comments’ in my time, but never before a ‘no questions’.”


Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, in letter to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe: “It is sad that the Metropolitan Police still seems to be missing the point about the nature and level of the media's concern regarding the use of RIPA when journalists are concerned. Your officers and other forces may have been acting within the precise wording of the law. You say they took the unusual step of releasing information about the accessing of Tom Newton Dunn's phone records. However, I am afraid you seem to fail to understand the special importance of journalists' sources that are widely recognised not least by the courts."


Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, responds to an editorial in The Times: "The law affords a great deal of protection to journalists who break the law in pursuing public interest investigations. Our guidance makes clear that journalists who act in this way are unlikely to be prosecuted. However journalistic practices are not above the law either. The work of two parliamentary select committees and the subsequent Leveson inquiry revealed serious questions over the techniques used by some journalists which may have amounted to systematic and flagrant breaches of the law. In these circumstances a police inquiry was inevitable as was the subsequent duty on prosecutors to decide if the evidence was sufficient to prosecute as the law stands."


Louise Casey in her scathing report on Rotherham Council: “Even if The Times articles had been politically motivated (though we found no evidence in the [Andrew] Norfolk coverage), the fact was that Rotherham Council, rather than addressing or investigating the abuse of girls and the suggested failings of the council and police, preferred to ignore what was being reported and declare it was untrue with no apparent grounds for doing so.”


IanJSherwood @IanJSherwood on Twitter: "Remember #KenjiGoto like this, not a photograph of him with a masked coward armed with a knife. "

Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour:"Islamic State militants have proven they do not care if you are a journalist from Syria, from the West or from the East. They only care about expanding their reign of terror. We are deeply concerned about the safety of all journalists in territory controlled by the militants--and about the information vacuum that has resulted from their bloody, intimidatory tactics."


Peter Greste interviewed in the Guardian after being freed from jail in Egypt: “It’s great to be out, but I’m really worried and really concerned that amidst all of the euphoria, people will lose sight of the fact that there are many others who were caught up with this. And the core message that I really want to send out is that if it’s not right to keep me in prison, then it’s equally not right for any of the others to be caught up in this case. Everyone involved in the case must be exonerated. The whole case must be thrown out.."


The Independent:"A group of activists from an anarchist magazine have made the most of a Daily Mail discount ferry deal to take supplies and blankets to migrant refugees in Calais."


Santha Rasaiah, News Media Association legal, policy and regulatory affairs director, responds to the BBC's Future of News report“Local journalism is not failing. The local news media industry has bigger overall audiences than ever before across print and online platforms, reaching 73 per cent of the UK population each week. They are at the heart of their local communities, championing their readers, campaigning in their interests, changing the law. They perform a fundamental role in democracy, covering local courts, local councils and other public authorities, and holding the powerful to account. The industry has stressed repeatedly over many years that the licence fee funded BBC must not do anything that could damage the commercial independent news media industry and its ability to perform this vital role."


David Higgerson on his blog: "There is one key fact that the BBC’s report ignores WalesOnline reaches more people in Wales every week than all of the papers had for decades."
when dealing with the local press. More people locally are reading local news and information via local newspaper websites than ever before. The BBC reports the well-worn academically-sourced numbers about the number of people working for Media Wales. It fails to mention that


Johnston Press chief Ashley Highfield in a letter the Guardian“We’ve not folded a single paid-for title in the three years I’ve been at Johnston Press. Moving a title online is simply not the same as closure and this seems a disappointingly analogue view from the BBC.And moving a daily to a weekly does not signal an end to daily news and daily publishing.”


Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "I concede that the perception that papers/brands are not doing their job properly may be wrong, as publishers argue. But the BBC’s report cannot be ignored. It makes a powerful case for a proper investigation into the state of local and regional journalism."



  • Chris Wheal nominates a quote from former James Bond Sir Roger Moore in the News Shopper, speaking from his home in Switzerland wishing the paper a happy 50th birthday: "If the News Shopper had been around when I was living in Bexley, I would still be living in Bexley."
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From police snooped on more Sun journalists to 5,000 UK local and national newspaper editorial jobs axed in a decade



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."


The Times [£] in a leader: "The figures for all investigations into suspected journalistic wrongdoing, including inquiries into phone and computer hacking, have reached a giddying £40 million. In 1967, a Times editorial challenged the senseless prosecution of the singer Mick Jagger and posed the question: 'Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?' The present campaign, rightly described as a vendetta by the Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, suggests we should again frame that question."


Telegraph editorial on the jury failing to agree at the end of the trial of Sun journalists: "This should have been the end of the men’s ordeal. But the Crown Prosecution Service is to seek a retrial, despite the already monumental costs of this whole affair – estimated at close to £200 million. Can the CPS really argue that this is either fair or in the public interest? The judge in the case that collapsed yesterday said any new trial had to be held as soon as possible because the defendants had been waiting for the matter to be resolved for some considerable time. In our view they have been in limbo long enough. A trial has been held and there has been no conviction. The CPS should leave it there."


Nick Cohen in The Observer: "Honourable reporters go to prison to protect their sources. Murdoch and his team sent their sources to prison to protect themselves and have tried to do the same to their journalists."

Pic Lewis Bush
Emily Bell, giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture at the London College of Communications: "Hugh Cudlipp’s book bore the battle cry title for journalists: Publish And Be Damned! But that came from a time when we knew who the publishers were and what damnation meant. This too is altered by the Internet. When terror organisations, psychopaths, corrupt corporations are the publishers damnation looks rather different to an angry phone call from Number 10. Publish and be damned sounds daring, appealing almost. Publish and be murdered at your desk, publish and be overwhelmed with foul mouthed threatening messages, publish and be imprisoned without due process, publish and be beheaded for a publicity stunt, publish and be blown up in a basement in Homs, publish and have your office smashed up and your family intimidated, publish and put a stranger’s life in danger. These sound less swashbuckling, much more threatening, and yet that is what is happening, not just in Paris, but in Egypt, in Mexico, in Iran, in Syria, in Saudi Arabia, in Britain, in America, everywhere in fact."


Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Much fuss and publicity in UK as horrible elites yak on about Page 3. Worry not, The Sun will always have great looking women - and men!"


David Blair in the Daily Telegraph: "It was under the headline 'Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland', that this newspaper reported the 'greatest massacre in the world’s history' on June 25, 1942. The story was remarkably detailed and accurate, yet the credit belongs neither to this newspaper nor the anonymous 'Daily Telegraph reporter' who was the author. All the facts were supplied by Szmul Zygielbojm, a member of the Polish government in exile who made it his mission to inform the world about the Holocaust."

Pic: BBC
Peter Oborne in the Telegraph: "One of the most telling manifestations of the pathetic self-indulgence of modern journalism is the phenomenon of the 'media commentator.' This is a lofty figure who does not write about events in the real world, but prefers to comment on the journalists who do."


BBC report on the Future of News"The internet has ripped a hole in the business model of many great news organisations.  And, as a result, vast swathes of modern life are increasingly unreported or under-reported.  Take the local press. As classified and local advertising has moved online, the regional press has suffered.  From the Rocky Mountain News in the US to the Reading Post in the UK, local newspapers have closed. More than 5,000 editorial jobs were cut across the regional and national press in the UK in a decade."

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