Thursday, 17 September 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists attacked, arrested and killed covering protests to national BBC radio reporters face redundancy

A new UNESCO report Safety of Journalists Covering Protests – Preserving Freedom of the Press During Times of Civil Unrest  highlights a sharp increase in the global number of protests during which the police and security forces violated media freedom in the first half of 2020.
 It says: "Between January and June this year, 21 protests around the world were marred by violations of press freedom, including protests in which journalists were attacked, arrested and even killed. The report suggests that a troubling new threshold has been crossed, revealing a significant and growing threat to media freedom and freedom of access to information in all regions of the world. The report also found that ten journalists were killed while covering protests over the last five years."

The Welsh Parliament’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee report on regional press, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage
“The UK government’s Job Retention Scheme has been widely used within the sector. However, we are concerned that the scheme appears to have turned into a ‘waiting room for redundancy’ and that there could be an avalanche of redundancies and newspapers closures when it ends in October. We are therefore calling on the Welsh government to lobby the UK government to extend the scheme beyond October to allow businesses more time to plan for the future and to avoid major and permanent decisions with potentially severe consequences being made during this crisis.”

Georgina Morris, lead NUJ  rep for the JPIMedia group chapel, in a statement on planned job cuts and the company being up for sale: "The news of up to 30 job cuts has caused huge upset and anxiety, particularly for the 150 or so journalists working in the teams directly affected. While everyone was still reeling from that announcement, we then learned JPIMedia had £22m in cash reserves - via an email confirming the company was up for sale again. It has been difficult for people to reconcile the job cuts in light of those reserves, and more than one reference has been made to the #therewithyou pledge carried on our papers' mastheads after the pandemic began."

Claire Beal in her last column after 20 years at Campaign:
"Two decades, and what a ride: a vein-pulsing, heart-swelling, frustrating, dirty rush of a ride. A relentless privilege. I’ve loved it. I have hated a few things: the newspaper sales chief who threatened to break my legs, the recruitment company boss who menacingly told me they were going to kill my career (15 years ago), the CEO who tried to bring down Campaign because of something we published on our diary page, the agency chief who broke into my conference hotel room in the middle of the night while I was asleep and tried to get into my bed, countless bullying legal threats when we wrote about things people would rather keep hidden."

A Women in Journalism report, based on a week-long review in mid-July of front pages of major newspapers, prime-time popular TV news channels and 100 hours of radio news, found:

● Not a single black reporter was featured on the front page of any of the newspapers.
● Out of the 174 front-page bylines counted, just one in four went to women.
● Out of the 111 people quoted on the front pages, just 16% were women. 
● Out of the 111 people quoted on the front pages, just one was a black woman. 
● Seven of the 11 major newspapers checked did not feature a single BAME reporter on the front page.

David Bartlett, Reach audience and content director, on LinkedIn: "Journalism has a problem. Most people working in the industry would recognise it. We are not representative enough of the communities we aim to report on...We've received support from across the company and as a result announced the launch of Reach Boost. Under the scheme the company will fund three training places for aspiring journalists from a diverse range of backgrounds. If the scheme is successful we hope it can be rolled out in more areas."

George Monbiot on Twitter:
"There is no such thing as "the news". At any time, millions of events and trends are happening around the world. Editors select a tiny handful of them and declare them newsworthy. And, with the help of thinktanks and lobbyists, they invent stories out of thin air."

Donald Trump after being asked by ABC News' Jon Karl about his response to Covid 19: "Why did you lie to the American people, and why should we trust what you have to say now?” as reported by Deadline: "That’s a terrible question, And the phraseology. I didn’t lie. What I said is we have to be calm. We can’t be panicked. It’s a disgrace to ABC television network. It’s a disgrace to your employer.”

Trump on why he gave 17 interviews to Bob Woodward for his book Rage:
"I did it out of curiosity. I wonder whether or not somebody like that can write good. I don't think he can. Let's see what happens."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement on the Julian Assange extradition hearing: "If this extradition is allowed, it will send a clear signal that journalists and publishers are at risk whenever their work discomforts the United States government. Media freedom the world over will take a significant backward step if Assange is forced to face these charges at the behest of a US president."

Matt Hancock gets the newspapers
Matt Hancock gets the newspapers

Alastair Campbell in the New European on the Government's response to the Extinction Rebellion blockade of newspaper print works:
"The problem for Johnson is that a belief in freedom of the press is what we call a ‘principle,’ and he is somewhat short on those. His government is not upholding that belief as a principle, but as a political tactic. They were not rushing to defend the free press but to make sure Murdoch and Co stayed broadly on side. They support and stand up for the press that supports and stands up for them. Hancock and Jenrick would have been far smarter to have included a Mirror, a Guardian or, even better, a New European, in their staged photos."

The Observer reports"The BBC plans to axe all its national radio reporters and ask them to reapply for a smaller number of jobs as television, radio and digital reporters, rather than as dedicated audio journalists. Many fear it is not just the end of their careers but the premature end of an era for the BBC."

A radio journalists tells the Observer: “Radio reporting is a different job. Of course, you can do both, but a report designed for television starts from a completely different place. Radio is also more agile and also a lot less expensive. I am pretty sure most of us will not be given new TV roles. It seems sad to lose all that specific radio expertise.”

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Quotes of the Week: From contrasting pictures of Boris Johnson tell a different story to who are the biggest complainers about gossip columns?

Times and Sunday Times news picture editor Sam Stewart on Twitter: "The difference in coverage we get when @StefanRousseau (a press pool photographer) is allowed to cover the press briefings. I'll let you guess which is his and which is a government handout picture."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement on the actions of Extinction Rebellion in preventing the distribution of newspapers by blockading printing plants: "The irony of protesters who wish to have their voices heard and their message listened to attempting to silence others by preventing the distribution of newspapers would be laughable if it was not so serious. You have to wonder whether those planning and taking part in these foolish actions understand anything from history; that controlling or shutting down free speech and an independent media is the first action of totalitarian regimes and dictators."

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"When Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of printing presses used by this newspaper and other national titles led to retailers receiving newspapers late, or not at all, newsagents did not admit defeat. Instead they battled on...Neither Tesco nor Twitter will ever serve their communities as newsagents do. Theirs is not a merely transactional business. In an atomised world, they are citadels of civic duty and community spirit: where children learn the value of work for the first time, small indulgences are permitted without judgment, and the public interest served by bulging newsstands. We salute their dedication. Readers should use them before they lose them."

New BBC director-general Tim Davie in his  introductory speech in Cardiff: "If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Tim Davie has made a faultless start, he’s one of the smartest leaders in global media right now, very rarely met anyone better. Those in my old newspaper world who seek to destroy the BBC will have a tougher time now. Good."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on Left Foot Forward
“It’s time the dark mutterings and veiled threats against the BBC stop. This pandemic has demonstrated the vital role a public service broadcaster plays in democratic societies, and the BBC and its staff rose to the challenge with round-the-clock local and national news coverage, current affairs, and investigations as well as in its unrivalled content and programming to support families home-schooling during an unprecedented period...Calls for Netflix-style subscription models only come from the enemies of public service broadcaster who would like to see the BBC emasculated and hobbled."

Ex-BBC Radio 4 Today editor Sarah Sands on BBC pay in a Sunday Times [£] interview: 
“I think, even in the City, you wouldn’t get these [pay] multiples. You’ve got a producer on £30k working 14-hour shifts, and a presenter on £600,000. It’s a shocker.”

Former British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch in The Sunday Times [£]: "In my time in diplomacy, all the prime ministers for whom I have worked, and all the US presidents I have observed, have had an edgy relationship with the media...No one I ever came across, however, had quite the sense of burning injustice that seemed to live inside Donald Trump. The relationship with the media had already deteriorated in the second half of his campaign. But once he was in office, it became still more toxic."

chairman Andrew Neil on Twitter after the Co-op said it would pull an ad from the magazine over its transgender coverage:
 "No need to bother, Co-op. As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity. We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor. "

Retiring PA legal editor Mike Dodd, intervie
wed by Press Gazette: “The growth of privacy has gone too far. We now have a situation in which the Courtof Appeal takes the view that a man who is accused of or suspected of criminal activity or is even being investigated for potential criminal activity is entitled to regard that as being private informationthat shouldn’t be in the public domain – which is why we’ve got the situation where nobody is prepared to name the MP who is accused of raping a parliamentary worker despite the fact that she thinks he ought to be named.”

Quentin Letts in The Times [£] on his five years as a gossip columnist:
"Few victims complained. The worst were public school headmasters, City tycoons and press proprietors’ wives: megalomaniacs, basically."


Thursday, 3 September 2020

Quotes of the Week: Conservatives ramp up pressure for BBC 'reform' as John Simpson warns partisan broadcasting has hastened decline of US

Boris Johnson in the Commons after being asked by MP Andrew Lewer if the BBC licence fee was sustainable in a multi-media era, as reported by the Daily Express:
"He makes an interesting point of view shared I'm sure by many people in this country. But my Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will be setting out a roadmap shortly for reform of the BBC and addressing the very issue that he mentions."

Tory MP Chris Loder in a letter to new BBC director-general Tim Davie signed by 14 MPs:
 "With regret, and given a multiplicity of examples, the BBC is now increasingly seen by licence payers as anti-British and politically biased; focused on the 'on demand metropolitan elite,' and being out of touch with its core audience who want an independent and impartial national broadcaster."

Mail on Sunday
a source close to GB News a proposed television news channel to rival the BBC: "The channel will be a truly impartial source of news, unlike the woke, wet BBC. It will deliver the facts, not opinion dressed up as news Everyone who works for GB News will have total commitment to quality journalism, to factual reporting and to impartiality."

John Simpson on Twitter: "From 1949 to 1987, the US Federal Communications Commission obliged broadcasters to be ‘honest, equitable & balanced’. Ronald Reagan abolished this. Ever since, American society has been riven by angry, dishonest, partisan broadcasting which has hastened the decline of the US."

Ray Snoddy on Twitter: 
"We have got to be very aware that a rightwing witch hunt by a tiny minority is building against the BBC - despite its many failures of judgement - destroy this important British institution at your peril."

Steve Rosenberg on Twitter: "This is a first for me. Had to write the script for my #BBCNews10 report on a cafe receipt while being detained at a Minsk police station...Tonight we were detained by police in the centre of Minsk, held at a police station for two hours for 'document checks'. Same thing happened to many other journalists. A clear attempt to interfere with coverage of events in #Belarus"

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"To be a journalist in an autocracy is to risk one’s life. The case of Hopewell Chin’ono, Zimbabwe’s foremost investigative reporter, is a sharp reminder of that truth. Arbitrarily imprisoned after exposing the corruption of Zimbabwe’s health minister last month, Mr Chin’ono, who has reported for this newspaper, has been incarcerated in a maximum-security prison and denied bail three times. Yesterday, he was dragged to court for a remand hearing despite suspected coronavirus. Yet still he remains in a packed cell, having surrendered his own freedoms in striving to uphold those the West takes for granted. Such is the grim reality of life in Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe."

Chin’ono has been freed on bail but is facing a trial and a long jail term if convicted.

 Sarah Ditum on UnHerd:
 "People have always thought badly of hacks (I remember a secondary teacher who, when I told her I wanted to be a journalist, looked appalled and said: 'But you’ll have to do some awful things'), but today journalism occupies a strange niche of being low reward and low prestige, yet still high resentment. There’s an assumption that writers have reserves of wealth and power which means the public is entitled to a piece of them."

White House spokesman Judd Deere, in a statement to the Washington Post on a story detailing the lucrative business arrangements between the federal government and Trump Organization since the president took office, as reported by The Hill“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop. Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”

Kelvin MacKenzie on Twitter:
"Just when things couldn’t get worse for Harry Maguire, Wayne Rooney spoke up for him on Talksport. At one time NoW editor Andy Coulson asked me to do the same and he... got 18 months."

David Hepworth on Twitter: 
"New rule. Columns exhorting people to get back to work to be accompanied by photo of columnist in the act of writing it."

David Banks on Twitter:
 "One of the Liverpool Daily Post’s Wirral district reporters worked from home and had his garage set up as an office. The editor turned up unexpectedly one day to find him in his pyjamas, playing darts."

 [£] =paywall

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From can readers' voluntary cash donations save the regional press? to why the Tory-supporting Mail is bashing Boris

Yorkshire Post
editor James Mitchinson in a letter to readers asking users of the paper's website to make a voluntary monthly cash contribution:
"What we do - and the way we do it - costs money. It takes time and it takes courage. In this digital age there are traps all around us. The temptation to resort to sensationalism and titillation - click-bait - has been too much for many. Having listened intently, I am convinced that you do not want this type of journalism. You want proper journalism. Quality journalism. And, if I may, I am asking you to help us to produce it... Just £5 per month is the starting point. Again if you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust."

PA City editor Simon Neville on Twitter:
 "Dear PRs. If your boss is always demanding changes to media articles over minor points, I'd suggest working on managing their expectations. If there's a factual error, we will always change it. But we're not here to change whatever 'tone' you derive from it to fit your narrative."

Barack Obama in his DNC speech said Joe Biden and Kamala Harris understand:
"That a free press isn't the 'enemy' but the way we hold officials accountable."

Jeff Stelling on Twitter:
"Interesting to note two D Mail scare stories today that Britain faces a second lockdown and pandemic could last two years are both written by the same TRAINEE journalist. When I was their age/experience I was reporting on women’s institutes rather than scaring a nation to death."

Kelvin MacKenzie on Twitter: "Hear that Discovery (alongside a £20million investment from Murdoch) are launching a TV news station in the New Year called GB News. Andrew Neil and Nigel Farage due to sign. Taking on the quite dreadful Sky News. More people see my rear end than watch Kay Burley at breakfast."

Findings of latest Reuters Institute research on public views of the news media and Covid 19 coverage:
"The majority of the public continues to rely on news media for information about the coronavirus as the UK heads into a complicated and uncertain autumn. BBC News (both offline and online), ITV (primarily offline), and the Guardian (primarily online) are the three most widely used brands. But both news use, trust in news, and the overall perception of whether the news media help people understand and respond to the crisis have declined significantly since the early stages of the crisis. And a third (35%) say that they think that the coronavirus situation in the UK has been made worse by how the news media has covered it."

BBC director-general Lord Hall in his Edinburgh TV Festival speech:
 “Our responsibility as the UK’s most trusted news provider has never been clearer and more important. It’s right at the heart of this duty to help bring the nation together. The forces of disinformation and social media tend to feed on fracture and drive polarisation...More and more, in the fake news world, truth is a priceless commodity in our societies. So let’s not forget that, in the BBC, the UK has a remarkable asset: the pre-eminent provider to the world of facts you can trust.”

Robbie Gibb on Twitter on Lewis Goodall's article in the New Statesman: "Is there anyone more damaging to the BBC's reputation for impartiality than @lewis_goodall ? This is so off the scale I don't even know where to begin."

Denis MacShane on Twitter: "
Labour did itself big damage attacking BBC political journos over actually quite restrained coverage of Corbyn. Now top Tory Sir @RobbieGibb attacks young BBC political reporter @lewis_goodall for not crawling to Johnson. Tories looking rattled so early."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times [£] on why the Government wants to appoint a press spokesman to hold White House style daily televised briefings: "The government’s motivation, I think, is this. They fancy their chances when up against the press...Their view is that the Westminster political press is self-obsessed and hares off after trivial stories that don’t interest most voters. The more the media is filmed asking such questions, goes the thinking, the more foolish, unfair or irrelevant they will appear. The government will be able to summon up its own supporters on social media to question the questioners, accusing them of unfairness or incompetence."

Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times [£]:
 "The Tories also insist that Johnson is up against relentlessly hostile press coverage. Ha! How the members of Momentum must laugh when they hear that."

Nick Cohen on Twitter:
 "Conspiracy theorists never understand that successful newspapers follow their readers. It's not such a hard idea: all businesses give their customers what they want. The fact that the Mail is turning on Johnson tells me that opinion is shifting in Tory England."


Thursday, 20 August 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From reporter waits five years to quiz Trump on lies to PR soft soaps journalist in bid to promote cleaning products

Huff Post 
White House correspondent S. V. Dáte, who asked Donald Trump: "Do you regret all the lying you have done to the American people,"on Twitter:
"For five years I've been wanting to ask him that."

Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times [£] on the MP accused of rape:
"MPs are public servants and in the same way that you would want to know if a local GP was arrested over sexual misconduct claims, the same should apply to MPs. The fear seems to be that allowing greater publicity would encourage political and personal enemies to make vexatious complaints. In my experience, those considering making a complaint about an MP were profoundly reluctant to do so, precisely because of who they would be up against. Most chose not to do so. What this case and others before it show is that the current system for dealing with MPs who are accused of wrongdoing simply doesn’t work."

Matthew d'Ancona on Twitter:
"Baffled to hear the brilliant @PhilipJCollins1 is leaving @thetimes - big loss to the paper of a truly original thinker, writer and wit. He’ll thrive elsewhere."

Philip Collins on Twitter: "I'm baffled too. Maybe they thought that now there is no chance of a viable Labour party there was no need for a .... oh no, can't be that...Thank you to everyone who has said kind things about the writing I did for The Times and will now do elsewhere. I've always wanted to be thought too left wing but never thought I would achieve it."

Ray Snoddy on Mediatel on Philip Collins leaving The Times: "One journalist moving on, however talented, is hardly going to bring democracy to its knees but it might stand as a symptom of a narrowing of public discourse, a new intolerance of views that don’t quite fit. Ironically, the Labour leader Keir Starmer, whom Collins probably approves of, stirred up a Twitter storm of opposition by daring to write an article for the Mail on Sunday."

Gulnoza Said, Committee to Protect Journalists' Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in a statement:
“Belarusian authorities should stop the brutal treatment of journalists who have been reporting on post-election protests and allow them to work freely and safely. Detained journalists should be released, those injured should be provided access to medical treatment, journalists’ equipment should be returned, and all representatives of the press should be treated with respect.”

Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray in a statement: “It is essential that journalists the world over as well as our politicians voice their support for our media colleagues who are struggling to provide the people of Belarus with accurate and impartial coverage in their country.We urge the authorities in Belarus to ensure the safety of journalists who are simply going about their legal employment.”

Private Eye
 on Twitter: 
"Here’s one Covid figure that the government can’t adjust downward – Private Eye is actually selling as many copies as we were this time last year - an average of 231,073 copies!...Our editor Ian Hislop says: 'Thanks to the public for their fantastic response to our 'Fork out to Help Out' offer of a FULL PRICE copy of the magazine to EVERY reader who buys it'."

Scottish Sun 
editor Alan Muir in a message to readers after the paper's front page on the Stonehaven rail crash showed a picture of the train’s driver and the scene of the accident with the headline 'death express': "I'm writing today to apologise. Wednesday was a tragic day for Scotland, and the headline on the front page of our paper in relation to the terrible train accident caused further distress. For that, I am truly sorry. My team and I work hard every day to give you a product of high standard - but this time I made a mistake. At a time when family, friends and colleagues are grieving the loss of their loved ones, the last thing they need is something else to add to their grief. It would never be my intention to cause any deliberate upset or harm, especially in such terrible circumstances. I got it wrong on this occasion and can only apologise for that. We value our loyal family of readers very much and I personally thank you for continuing to support us."

Chichester Observer sports ed Steve Bone on Twitter: "Email of the day: Hi Steve, I discovered you through your work at Chichester Observer and I must admit it’s quite impressive! I just could not help but reach out to you directly. We have come up with a home appliance that is set to make scrubbing clean easy and faster than ever."