Thursday, 2 July 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From The Times they are a broadcastin' to we are ruled by a 'gobocracy' - a Government of ex-newspaper columnists



The Times [£] in a leader: "Times Radio is not merely a megaphone for the famous and powerful. It is an operation with the ability to conduct expert analysis, and pose hard questions, because of the resources it draws on from the news rooms of The Times and The Sunday Times. In the digital age, the division between print and broadcasting has long broken down. Readers and listeners are the same audience, and anyone, via blogs or podcasts, can address them. There is a space in this multiplicity of media for voices that are objective and informed, to counter current fashions for rumour or propaganda."


Roger Mosey, former head of BBC TV News and director of BBC Sport on the launch of Times Radio, on Twitter: "It’s been a decent start by @timesradio. The Mir/Abell combination works. The main thing to applaud is an investment in intelligent speech radio, which adds to the range of voices alongside the BBC and LBC."


John Crace in the Guardian: "Times Radio was looking for a big name to kick off the first show of its first day broadcasting, and interviews don’t come much bigger than the prime minister. And Boris Johnson was keen to drop a gentle reminder that Radio 4’s Today still was not forgiven for its lese-majesty, which was why he had not appeared on the programme for nearly two years. So shortly after eight in the morning Boris made his return to the first news organisation to have sacked him for lying."


Bill Grueskin in the Columbia Journalism Review on White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany: "When she pivots from reporters’ questions to go off on unrelated diatribes, she is seeking to undermine the credibility not just of individual journalists or outlets, but of journalism itself. When confronted with a tweet or quote that might work to Trump’s disadvantage, she tries to undermine the press rather than to address the substance of the story. That is why she comes armed to briefings with multiple examples of press failure—some valid, some fictitious—and draws White House reporters into a noxious tit for tat."


Lynda Moyo, head of what's on at Reach, on Behind Local News on Medium: "Anyone who knows me will also know I’m proud of my afro hair and its chameleon-like tendencies. Seeing me walk through the Manchester Evening News office with waist length jumbo box braids is nothing out of the ordinary. Yet I went out of my way to straighten my hair for that interview because I genuinely believed it could be the difference between 'you’ve got the job' and 'sorry you’re not what we’re looking for at this time.' That feeling stems from a lifetime of feeling like you don’t fit in, like you’re not quite good enough."


The Times [£] reports: "Facebook and Twitter were in turmoil yesterday as leading British and American businesses pulled advertising from their social networks, saying that the time had come for the companies to clean up hate speech and fake news. Unilever, the £120 billion British consumer goods group behind Hellmann’s mayonnaise, suspended US advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter until the end of the year at least. Verizon, the £182 billion US mobile network provider, pulled adverts on Facebook and Instagram until an “acceptable solution” was found for policing harmful content."








Google's Brad Bender in a statement on the google blog: "A vibrant news industry matters—perhaps now more than ever, as people look for information they can count on in the midst of a global pandemic and growing concerns about racial injustice around the world. But these events are happening at a time when the news industry is also being challenged financially. We care deeply about providing access to information and supporting the publishers who report on these important topics. Today, we are announcing a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year."

Rachel Sassoon Beer

Ann Treneman in The Times [£]: "Good news in my quest to honour Rachel Beer, the first female editor of a national newspaper in Britain who was at the helm of both The Sunday Times and The Observer during the 1890s. I discovered her story years ago when I wrote a book on graves of exceptional people. She lies in Tunbridge Wells, her headstone revealing only her date of death (April 29, 1927) and that she was the daughter of David Sassoon. Well now, with the help of members of the Sassoon family and money from both papers, there is a splendid white marble marker that notes her achievement on her newly renovated grave. I visited last week and felt a sense of pride. I know it is a relatively small thing but it is there for ever now."


Marina Hyde on Richard Desmond in the Guardian: "I see Desmond’s currently a property developer. Then again: he owns a massive newspaper-printing complex. What else are you going to do with it in this day and age? You know the drill for these pivot-to-luxury-flats redevelopments. Quick nod to the heritage in the form of: a coffee shop where a cappuccino costs £4 and people can read free newspapers via gazillionaire social media networks; a blow-dry bar (“The Head-Line”); a gym (“The Print Run”); and a fauxthentic pub called Ye Olde Livere Failyure. Before you take any satisfaction from this, do please remember that we have only gone and elected a journalist to run the entire country."


Nick Cohen in the Observer"As Boris Johnson is leading Britain’s first government of pundits, 'a gobocracy', if you like, it is worth repeating Humbert Wolfe’s scathing poem on the press: 'You cannot hope to bribe or twist,/ thank God! the British journalist./ But, seeing what the man will do/ unbribed, there’s no occasion to.' In a gobocracy, there’s no need to become too conspiratorial about why a prime minister betrays his country. Put a Telegraph columnist in charge, throw in Michael Gove from the Times and Dominic Cummings from Vote Leave’s propaganda arm, and their bottomless cynicism and instinctive charlatanism will bring ruin with or without foreign assistance."

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: Mail wins daily and Sunday circulation war in 'profound cultural shift' to why can't all newspaper readers be like this?



Dominic Ponsford on Press Gazette: "The Daily Mail has claimed victory in a 42-year circulation war with The Sun. The paper said it has overtaken The Sun’s monthly print circulation for the first time in that period to become the UK’s best selling daily newspaper."


The Mail on Sunday: "It’s a moment of newspaper – and social – history. Officially audited figures show that in May, The Mail on Sunday surged past The Sun to become Britain’s biggest-selling Sunday newspaper. It’s the first time a mid-market newspaper has been the market leader on a Sunday since Queen Victoria’s reign – a profound cultural shift...In this frightening new era of intolerance, the MoS has become a beacon for those who believe in free speech and who refuse to be cowed by the tyranny of the Twitter mob and hard-Left agitators who believe everyone should be forced to think like them."


BBC News presenter Clive Myrie, interviewed by the Guardian: “I could count on the fingers of one hand the amount of racist abuse that I received from when I started in journalism in 1988 through to about 2008, though there was a guy in the early 90s who would send faeces in the post. But it has picked up in the last decade and become incredibly more prevalent in the last few years. Why has that happened? I don’t know.”


An open letter to the Society of Editors from 50 BAME journalists: "We request you to consider positive recruitment campaigns from ethnic communities across Britain with a declared commitment; properly paid traineeships for BAME youngsters with adequate mentoring and equal promotion and pay for BAME staff already in newsrooms. A good start would be regular reviews of diversity in newsrooms and for an initial assessment and publication of current BAME representations in news organisations. We call upon the Society of Editors to urge its members to use this period of reflection to re-evaluate and reform past practices and move forward with a totally skilled workforce with appropriate BAME representation. Let’s all get the whole story."


Bristol Post editor Mike Norton in an editorial on why the paper won't carry police pictures of those alleged to have pulled down the statue of slave owner Edward Colston: "We think the majority of Bristolians accept that the years of frustration and offence at the statue’s existence mitigate what happened two weeks ago. That is why the Bristol Post or Bristol Live will not publishing the police photographs. We are not criticising the police and - unlike the council - have no influence over whether or not those responsible should be sought. But we do not agree that the actions of those young people should be reduced to a simple act of criminal damage which ignores the complex context and history around it."


Donald Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale on coverage for the poor turnout at the Tulsa rally, reported by the Guardian“For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical and it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”



Eliot Higgins on Twitter: "In case you missed it overnight, the President of the United States tweeted a faked CNN video, literally fake news, to attack CNN for being fake news, and to warn people to look out for fake news. The brain worms must have been particularly hungry."

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee on Twitter on The Impartial Reporter's Rodney Edwards: "An incredibly worthy winner. Brilliant reporting of a very dark story. Rodney is one of best, most naturally born reporters I've ever met. He is evidence of why a vibrant local press is essential. More power to him."


Matthew Goodwin on UnHeard: "Not so long ago, after the brutal atrocity at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the world pledged to defend freedom of speech. Now, only five years later, we seemingly do not have much of a problem with newspapers removing comment editors, publishers refusing to work on books they disagree with and students calling for the sacking of journalists whose views they disagree with."


journalismtips on Twitter: "Newsquest is now planning to take on school leavers as apprentices. Is this a good or bad thing for the industry? On the one hand there are many graduates who can’t string a sentence together; on the other much much cheaper reporters."


John Humphrys in the Daily Mail: "Magistrates’ courts in small towns are where journalists’ careers were forged back in the heyday of the local paper. It’s where you learned the only thing that mattered was getting it right. Especially names. Spell a name incorrectly and you were dead meat."


David Quantick on Twitter: "There's a certain style of Bob Dylan review where the reviewer seems to think they are Bob Dylan."


Alan Hawkes in a letter to The Times [£]: "Sir, There were several articles in Saturday’s comment section (Jun 20) with which I profoundly disagreed. Keep up the good work."

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Thursday, 18 June 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From editors condemn readers racist comments on Black Lives Matter coverage to petition calls for Guardian to be closed



Plymouth Live editor Edd Moore in a statement to readers: "Over the last few weeks we have run dozens of articles on the Black Lives Matter movement. While the vast majority of our readers, like all decent human beings, find racism abhorrent, we have been utterly appalled by some of the comments made by a vocal minority using our platforms to spread their hate. We have deleted hundreds of comments in the last few days and banned dozens of people from our websites and Facebook pages. But it is not enough. We recognise that we must do more. Black lives matter. That is not an opinion. It is a fact. As an independent publisher, we represent people of diverse backgrounds and diverse opinions. We are proud to be advocates of free speech and we want our readers to continue to comment on our articles. But hate speech is not free speech." 


Helen Dalby, editor-in-chief of Reach North East, on medium.com: "Our work has been blighted by a backdrop of online and social media abuse against our journalists. It has always been a problem. But it is getting much worse. Sometimes this has crept into phone or email — I’ve had calls and messages over this period where I’ve been sworn at, threatened, told by one man that he hopes I ‘get coronavirus and die’ ...The increase in hate speech has come as we have been reporting on the Black Lives Matter movement in our region. That coverage has prompted some of the most shocking and offensive comments we have seen on our website."


Hull Live digital editor Jenna Thompson on Twitter: "Unfortunately I have just had to delete every post from our Facebook page about today's #BlackLivesMatter protest in Hull. Despite actively monitoring comments all day, we can't do it all night and they have been so bad I can't leave it. It's really disappointing."

BBC News home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani on Twitter: "
Bottles, cans and smoke bombs thrown in the last half hour at police and their horses in Parliament Square by football firms/far-right protesters. Anyone who is thought to be media is also being threatened."


The World Association of Newspapers in a letter to Donald Trump: "Dear Mr President, We are writing on behalf of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our deep dismay at the hundreds of reports of violence being perpetrated against journalists covering ongoing protests in the United States and to call on you to forcefully condemn these attacks and show unwavering support for a free press."
  • According to a report in The Washington Post, the new book by former national security advisor John Bolton alleges Trump suggested that more journalists should be arrested and jailed so the government could compel them to reveal their sources. 'These people should be executed,' Trump said in the meeting, according to Bolton. 'They are scumbags'."

Ruth Ben-Ghiat on CNN: "Americans who today support the beating of journalists and Trump's crusades against the press might reflect on this: authoritarians may start by demonizing one group, say, migrants, or African-Americans, but they inevitably expand to others. Those who today cheer at seeing journalists led away in handcuffs don't realize that one day they could be next."


Sunday World reporter Patricia Devlin, speaking to HoldTheFrontPage“In October last year, I received a message to my personal Facebook account in which the sender threatened to rape my newborn son. Another family member was also named in the message, which was signed off with the name of neo-nazi terrorist organization ‘Combat 18’. This occurred after members of a criminal gang posted a direct link to my personal Facebook page on a number of forums."


Maria Ressa, the editor sentenced to up to six years in prison for "cyber-libel" in the Philippines, on Twitter: "For journalists here and around the world, I can't remember a more dangerous time to be a journalist. We #CourageON because this time matters #HoldTheLine."


Ex-Sun editor David Yelland on Twitter: "Boris Johnson is a second-rater, fired by The Times for making stuff up, never good enough for the Murdoch stable; we are ruled by ‘a tabloid thinker’ who couldn’t get a job at a tabloid. Cummings too. Wannabe populists."


Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson on Twitter: "My reporters, sadly, attend court hearings regularly where domestic violence is raked over. Never, EVER, would I blast up the perpetrator's defence. Especially a boastful lack of contrition. If this is journalism, I'm starting to think I'm in the wrong job."
  • A spokeswoman for the Sun said: "It was certainly not our intention to 'enable' or 'glorify' domestic abuse, our intention was to expose a perpetrator's total lack of remorse. Our sympathies are always with the victims." 

Nic Newman in his summary of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020"This year’s report comes in the midst of a global health pandemic that is unprecedented in modern times and whose economic, political, and social consequences are still unfolding. The seriousness of this crisis has reinforced the need for reliable, accurate journalism that can inform and educate populations, but it has also reminded us how open we have become to conspiracies and misinformation. Journalists no longer control access to information, while greater reliance on social media and other platforms give people access to a wider range of sources and ‘alternative facts’, some of which are at odds with official advice, misleading, or simply false."








Petition calling for the Guardian newspaper to be closed on Change.org: "The Guardian Newspaper was founded by John Edward Taylor from the profits of Cotton Plantation Slavery and therefore should be shut down."

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: What 'journalist-haters' don't understand, why 'fake news' is an oxymoron for morons and when rock star interviews go bad



Amol Rajan on the BBC News website: "The single biggest and most frequent mistake made by those currently attacking journalists as enemies of the people is the tendency to react emotionally to some provocation by a high-profile journalist by impugning the whole trade. It's as if, in the minds of these journalist-haters, one famous anchor is by default an ambassador for the millions of people who work in the trade around the world...Most people in journalism - though obviously not all - are decent, civilised, public-spirited people who enjoy elegant sentences, could get paid better elsewhere, and are in it more to scratch an itch for information than adulation."


Among the top entries in the Buzzsaw 2020 'hall of shame' for horrible phrases and jargon are these two beauties:

Fake news: Judge’s comment: “An oxymoron of such heft that only a moron could coin it. Unfortunately it has caught on.”

Mainstream media:  Judge’s comment: “A tedious blamefest, thinly disguising a lack of ability to debate properly.”


Ian Burrell in the i"It’s clear that many in the UK media have been taken aback by the strength of reaction in Britain to a story originating in Minneapolis...There are powerful voices such as Gary Younge, the BBC’s Clive Myrie and the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush, and rising stars such as Nadine White of HuffPost UK. But there’s a scarcity of non-white faces in the top tiers of British newspapers."


Will Hutton on Twitter: "We must keep saying this, and repeating this. The attempt by the British government in the middle of this pandemic to discredit, ostracise and delegitimise C4News, Newsnight and Good Morning Britain by refusing interviews is a democratic and civic outrage. We are all reduced."



Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, calling in a statement for political leaders to stamp out escalating hostility to journalists: "When the US president decries journalists as enemies of the people, when he launches vitriolic attacks on the 'lamestream' media, when he talks of journalists as being part of a conspiracy against the public to disseminate fake news – this pollutes political and public discourse and fans the flames of hatred. We’re seeing the same pattern of polarisation here, particularly on social media where bullying and intimidation of journalists is commonplace, with particular vitriol directed against women and journalists of colour. Words have consequences. Intemperate and polarised rhetoric on social media has real-life results."


JPIMedia chief executive David King on plans to close 11 newspaper offices, as quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: “As part of the overall JPIMedia property strategy launched last year, we were already pursuing a modest agile working approach in many parts of the business. The lockdown has shown us that remote working could be beneficial in many more areas of our business.”


Emily Bell on Twitter: "New BBC DG Tim Davie (a former deputy chair of his local Conservative party) is seen as a ‘safe’ choice. Whilst Davie has the support of the staff, his lack of editorial credentials make his appointment imo a very high risk choice. The BBC’s biggest vulnerability is editorial."


Kent church advert for a journalist, via the Guardian"St Margaret’s Church are looking to recruit a fulltime Community Journalist because for thousands of years, it is story telling which has kept communities together. Now, more than ever before we need someone like you to tell our stories so that we might stay together even when physically we are apart."


Tribute to ex-Birmingham Mail journalist David on Birmingham Live"David operated from two offices. During the first part of the morning, he worked in the Mail’s then base in Weaman Street in the city centre. But from 10.31am most days, the timing being a throwback to old licensing hours, he moved to his “other office”, the Old Joint Stock pub opposite the Cathedral. That was where a constant stream of councillors and contacts alike arrived to talk with him, offer tip-offs and generally chew the fat, sometimes queuing for their turn."


Mark Beaumont on the NME"It was as Mark E Smith’s teeth closed in around my throat, lying on the floor of Filthy McNasty’s pub where he’d just thrown me, that I began to think that music journalism wasn’t all going to be MDMA cocktails by the Sunset Marquis pool with a jovial Keith Richards. Heaven knows Smith had form – a friend would often recall the time he sat down to interview Smith only to have the Fall singer immediately try to stub his cigarette out on said writer’s eye – but I never conceived he’d have any sort of problem with little old well-meaning me."

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From anger at the arrests of and attacks on journalists covering US protests to news staff replaced by robots



Committee to Protect Journalists program director Carlos Martínez de la Serna in a statement after journalists covering demonstrations in the US were attacked by police and protesters: “Targeted attacks on journalists, media crews, and news organisations covering the demonstrations show a complete disregard for their critical role in documenting issues of public interest and are an unacceptable attempt to intimidate them. Authorities in cities across the U.S. need to instruct police not to target journalists and ensure they can report safely on the protests without fear of injury or retaliation.”

Donald Trump on Twitter: "The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!"

David Yelland on Twitter: "The President is enabling and encouraging brutal elements of US police departments to attack journalists. Be in no doubt. It is worrying that not everyone at @WSJ and @FoxNews can see this."

Lionel Barber on Twitter: "The President of the United States is inciting violence against journalists. It doesn’t get much darker than this."

Piers Morgan on MailOnline: "As he always does, Trump has reacted to justified criticism by repeatedly lashing out at the ‘fake news media’, and unsurprisingly, a large number of journalists have been targeted by police in the past few days – arrested, pepper sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets. The President, not content with encouraging police to shoot black protesters, wants them to see the media as the enemy too. It’s a total disgrace, aimed to show his base supporters what a big tough guy he is."

Amol Rajan on Twitter: "Journalists everywhere are being attacked or abused, not least by the US President This is your regular reminder that most journalists are decent, public-spirited people, neither rich nor famous, who just want the truth. If you want to do without them, try living in North Korea."

Frank Gardner on Twitter: "Blatant targeting of journalists by US policemen as they report on the current wave of US protests. A familiar sight in dictatorships, depressing to see it in a western democracy. @pressfreedom"


The Times [£] in a leader: "Police are not obliged to like journalists, or even to be polite to them. But the greater hostility suggests that President Trump’s relentless attacks on the media have percolated through society and into the police...No doubt he would not welcome physical attacks on journalists, but he should be aware that words have consequences. Instead it would be more dignified for the president to speak up for press freedom, after all one of his country’s founding principles, and condemn the assaults."


John Sweeney on Twitter: "This is dark stuff. A @CNN reporter arrested live on air. He was being polite and offering to to anywhere where the police placed him. This is where
@realDonaldTrump's attacks on #fakenews ends up. Censorship in real time."
  • Dan Rather on Twitter: "Arresting reporters for doing their jobs is a mark of tyranny and demands a complete investigation and repercussions."

Amy Fenton, Newsquest's chief reporter in South Cumbria forced to leave her home because of threats, quoted in the Guardian: “Nothing is ever going to stop me wanting to be a journalist, ever. It was my dream from the age of about eight and I love my job. I love the way we are in a position to help people. It’s not just reporting court cases and when bad things happen. I love that we can champion people’s causes and fight for decency and morality and fairness, even though there is never anyone fighting for us.”
  • Lindsey Hilsum on Twitter: "People often tell me I’m brave because I go to dodgy places. But then I go home. This is really brave: @amyfentonNWEM continuing to report from Barrow-in-Furness despite credible threats to her and her child. In Britain. Today."

Jemma Bufton, a trainee reporter on the Worcester News, in a column quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: “As a Worcester News reader before becoming a Worcester News writer I knew there were many online comments which slated the paper, the writers or those who were featured in stories. What I didn’t realise is just how relentless it is, so much so, myself and my colleagues agree our view of people has been considerably changed. Although we like to believe everyone is inherently good, it does seem that all it takes is the tiniest bit of anonymity and some people turn into absolute savages. In my short time working for the newspaper I cannot remember a day when I wasn’t publicly humiliated. It is not criticism. We can all take criticism, we put our work out there to be judged and we expect people to judge it, to question it, to nitpick. It is part of the job."


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after Boris Johnson refused to let his top scientific and medical advisers to answer questions from the media at a press conference, as reported by BBC News: "We want transparency. Nobody should be stopped from answering questions from journalists."


Una Mullally in The Irish Times: "Just as Trump has framed contemporary American politics as reality television, in Britain, political coverage embodies the great British form of soap opera. Who’s in favour this week? Who screwed up? Who’s having an affair? Who’s having a fight? All the while, knowledge and comprehension of systems and processes is lost. There is little context in the episodic churn. Of course the latest Cummings scandal is newsworthy, but the “shock” that surrounds is numbing. How can one be shocked by something Cummings does? He’s Dominic Cummings. Boris Johnson is the prime minister. What did they expect? Send in the clowns, and you wake up in a circus."


Sir John Tusa, quoted in the Sunday Times [£] on the Emily Maitlis intro row:  “No editor of Newsnight that I worked with would have allowed that to go through. No presenter would have written anything like that. It is self-indulgence and it does no service to viewers. You can either choose to be a celebrity or you can choose to be a journalist. You can’t be both.”

Will Hutton in the Observer: "The BBC management’s first instinct when under fire should have been to adopt the same judicious questioning of Maitlis off air that it expects of its presenters on air. They should have worked out a shared response based around shared values and should have done so in their own time, rather than the government’s."





Jim Waterson in the Guardian: "Dozens of journalists have been sacked after Microsoft decided to replace them with artificial intelligence software.Staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser – used by millions of Britons every day – have been told that they will be no longer be required because robots can now do their jobs. Around 27 individuals employed by PA Media – formerly the Press Association – were told on Thursday that they would lose their jobs in a month’s time after Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to select, edit and curate news articles on its homepages."

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