Thursday, 15 November 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From BBC journalist admits you might as well get Mr Blobby to predict Brexit to no leader lost votes by insulting the media

Chris Mason on BBC Breakfast sums up the difficulty of predicting Brexit: "I haven't got the foggiest idea of what's going to might as well get Mr Blobby back on."

David Yelland 
@davidyelland  on Twitter: "My old paper says we’re in the Brexs*hit but offers no workable way out. The current editor and the former Mail editor helped create this mess by allowing liars like Boris to mislead the readers and doing so itself. Shameful."

Guardian editor-in-chief Kath Viner in a message to readers: "To be able to announce today that we have received financial support from more than 1 million readers around the world in the last three years is such a significant step. This model of being funded by our readers through voluntary contributions, subscriptions to the Guardian, the Observer and Guardian Weekly, membership or as part of our patrons programme is working.This means that within just three years, the Guardian is on a path to being sustainable."

Ben Mcintyre in The Times [£] on the paper's coverage during the First World War: "Since the primary role of the newspaper, as its editors saw it, was to ensure victory, it consistently erred towards self-censorship. Objectivity was one of the first casualties of war."

Reporters Sans Frontiers making its 'L'esprit de RSF' award to Carole Cadwalladr for her work for the Observer and the Guardian"Carole Cadwalladr’s reporting on the manipulation and subversion of democratic processes in the US and UK resulted in the exposure of the role of Cambridge Analytica and its satellite AggregateIQ in the Trump and Brexit campaigns. Cadwalladr’s investigation found that the data analytics firm that worked with Trump’s election team in the US and the Leave campaign in the UK harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest-ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software programme to predict and influence choice at the ballot box. She continues to face pressure and harassment in backlash for her reporting."

Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, in a statement after members  of the NUJ Carlisle chapel of Newsquest Cumbria, formerly Cumbrian Newspapers, voted in favour of industrial action over pay: "It is no surprise to us that the chapel have come out so strongly to vote for action. We have tried very hard with the company to reach a negotiated settlement but they simply refused to enter into meaningful discussions. Indeed their petty and spiteful decision do refuse to allow the chapel to meet in the workplace has only strengthened the resolve of the chapel to press on for a fair pay settlement. Since Newsquest has taken over we have only seen redundancies and empty promises."

Simon O'Neil @SimonO19 on Twitter on the departure of Reach East Midlands editor-in-chief  Steve Hall: "Oh dear. Steve Hall to leave his beloved Derby. I've worked with some amazing talent in my time and this guy is right up there with the very best of them. Great all round journalist and a fantastic editor. Snap him up someone!"

CNN in a statement: "CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court. It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process."

Emily Matlis on BBC News blog: "What worries me is the wider question of how Trump and the media interact. When you watch the US morning shows - and evening shows come to that - what you notice is how things have changed. Even those who were not originally taking sides are now nailing their colours to the mast. Fox and MSNBC have always played to their own bases. But now CNN, too, has editorialised its evening slot with Chris Cuomo - who gives us an essay, a comment piece, on whatever is getting him fired up. It's a good watch actually. And makes you engaged. But make no mistake - it's the same game that Trump is playing. The one they pretend to despise. If DJT can rally his base - then - goes the logic - why shouldn't TV do it too."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:  "In the spat between Donald Trump and a CNN reporter, I would bet most Americans sided with the president. Who was this rude man refusing to sit down before his head of state? No leader lost votes insulting the media."


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From is Paul Dacre Donald Trump in disguise? to if you want to be rude about vegans write for a real newspaper

Pic: Society of Editors

Paul Dacre on the liberal media in his Society of Editors lecture, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: "One of the greatest problems we have in restoring trust is that when it comes to the mainstream press, the liberal Brexit- hating media – and, let’s be frank, in their eyes, the Referendum result was further proof of the malignancy of euro-sceptic newspapers – only ever see the bottom of the lamp post and remain determinedly, and I would say self-interestedly, oblivious to the good newspapers do."

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Dacre on Twitter: "After 27 years of editing Paul Dacre spends much of his valedictory speech.... attacking the liberal media. Only Donald Trump is more obsessed."

Dacre on Alan Rusbridger's book Breaking News: “A somewhat chilling lack of self-awareness fuses with a hyper-sensitivity to the flaws of others. Indeed, its sine qua non is that only Alan and the Guardian are capable of producing what he calls ‘worthwhile’ journalism.”

Rusbridger on the post-Dacre Daily Mail in the New Statesman: "If [Geordie ] Greig can detoxify the Mail brand and prove that a tabloid can be ethical, successful and reasonably nice, what would that say about the “nasty” Dacre model? The very thought must make him very unhappy. Dacre was a big beast of a Fleet Street that no longer exists."

Donald Trump to CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, as reported by NBC"CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN."
  • Acosta's White House pass was later suspended.  CNN said: 'This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support."
Donald Trump after being asked by Karen Travers of ABC News about how half of Americans claim he is encouraging politically motivated violence by the way he speaks, as reported by the Washington Post“No, no. You know what? You’re creating violence by your questions...and also a lot of the reporters are creating violence by not writing the truth."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "History will record that when states murdered journalists or used the conspiracy theories of terrorists to fool their subject populations, they could expect reprisals from something called “the west”, an alliance that lasted from 1945 to 2016. The west’s great weakness was that it depended on American power. It died when Donald Trump became the US president, freeing illiberal democracies and actual dictatorships to follow their worst instincts to a grim destination."

Joel Simon executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists on the Columbia Journalism Review: "One way the Turkish government could legitimately use the attention from the Khashoggi murder investigation to enhance its international standing would be take its foot off the neck of the Turkish media, easing the crackdown and releasing the dozens of Turkish journalists who are unjustly jailed. But for the time being only one thing is certain: an investigation of one the world’s worst press freedom violators—Saudi Arabia—carried out by another—Turkey—is unlikely to produce justice."

Marius Dragomir in The Times [£]; "The risk to those who strive to expose corruption and hold power to account exists not only in authoritarian regimes. It has become unprecedentedly grave right in the heart of Europe, often in countries where liberty flowered after the fall of the Soviet Union but is now in alarming retreat."

Tim Shipman @ShippersUnbound on Twitter on the Arron Banks interview by Andrew Marr: "The Banks issue has highlighted a tension between leavers and remainers and between journalists and lawyers. Most hacks don't want to leave the process of investigation to a secretive legal process which conceals as much as it reveals."

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times [£] on William Sitwell, who resigned from Waitrose Food magazine after his email to a vegan freelance:
"He’s clearly a talented fellow and will not be out of work for long. My recommendation is that he leaves the world of corporate marketing and gets a job with a real newspaper — perhaps even this one. Then he can be as satirically rude as he wishes about veganism or any other fad that enrages him."


Thursday, 1 November 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From many media companies make staff sign Non Disclosure Agreements to local porn stash splash lashed

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "The Telegraph has done well to expose the use of NDAs to gag former employees. But numerous ex Telegraph journos who willingly spoke to me for this chapter for #BreakingNews insisted on anonymity. Why? Because they’d had to sign NDAs."
  • David Leigh @davidleighx on Twitter: "And the Guardian personnel dept once tried to make    me sign an NDA."
  • Merion Jones @MeirionTweets on Twitter: "BBC tried to make the late lamented Liz MacKean sign an NDA - she politely told them what they could do with it."
  • Simon O'Neil @SimonO19 on Twitter: "NDAs are widely used in regional and national press.

Waitrose Food magazine editor William Sitwell who resigned after 20 years as editor after sending the following email to vegan freelance Selene Nelson, who had pitched a story idea, as reported by BuzzFeed: "Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?"

Peter Oborne @OborneTweets on Twitter: "This is crazy. And a dark day for free expression. William Sitwell was a magnificent and generous magazine editor, winner of countless awards. Driven from his job by relentless Twitter trolls."

Getty Images
Sir Alex Ferguson on the MEN's former Manchester United reporter David Meek, who died aged 88 this week: “I’m very sad to hear of the passing of David Meek, a well-respected journalist who served the Manchester Evening News with great loyalty and dignity. David was an old-fashioned journalist who relied on the accuracy of his reporting and his connection with Manchester United stretched over decades."

Henry Winter @henrywinter on Twitter: "Can’t believe Meeky’s gone. Went on so many trips with him, covering Manchester United. So generous with his time and advice. Meeky was just the loveliest man, a beacon of calm, great company, a journalist of insight and integrity. Thoughts with his family. Such sad news. RIP"

The Labour Party, quoted by the Daily Mail, on why it is dropping its complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about newspaper coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's attendance at a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia in 2014: "Regrettably, confidential communication with Ipso was leaked and it was unable to trace the source or assure us it would not recur, and we considered that the complaints process was unacceptably compromised. We therefore decided we would not be taking this Ipso complaint any further."

Time has been named by the British Society of Magazine Editors as the most influential magazine of all time. Time was nominated by James Waldron, editor of Chemist and Druggist, who said:"Time's covers are so iconic that they are still used as shorthand to pinpoint key moments in history. You don't get much more influential than that."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!"

James O'Brien @mrjamesob on Trump Twitter: "Disgusting man says disgusting things about decent people. Disgusting fan of disgusting man sends bombs to decent people. Disgusting man blames bombs on decent people who keep reporting how disgusting he is."

Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, in a statement: “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media.
The president, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”

Pic: Northern Echo
Steph McGovern on Have I Got News For You about Donald Trump making a pass at her when she interviewed him for BBC Breakfast in 2012, as reported by the Northern Echo: "Aye love, I've heard better lines than that down Club Bongo."

Lynn Barber in The Spectator"As a journalist, I am a dinosaur. I like reading words on paper. I like writing long interviews when everyone nowadays seems to want short. I hate dealing with PRs. I don’t follow any celebs on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, because I don’t know who half of them are."

Steve Dyson on HoldTheFrontPage after the Frome Standard splashed on the discovery of a pile of old porn magazines during a house clearance: "The porno splash was a stark example of how a focus on what attracts online clicks doesn’t always make news-priority sense in print. The remaining audience for local newspapers is largely elderly, often in a family setting and interested enough to spend money on reading about local public affairs. The last thing they want is a pointless story about piles of sleazy mags found in dusty drawers."More

Former Northern Echo editor Peter Barron  @PeteBarronMedia on Twitter: "I was once told I should lead the paper on the story attracting the most hits online. Here's a reminder from The Frome Standard of why that's so wrong. Don't care what anyone says - finding porn mags in a drawer isn't news, front page or anywhere else."

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Guardian praises Mail's attack on Brexiteers to the editor who defied a shooting and put out a 'damn paper' every day

Follow our leaders: A Guardian leader praises a Daily Mail leader: "Instead of firing up the Brexiters for yet another act of anti-European contempt and defiance, as it had done for so long, the Mail this week turned its fire on them instead. It denounced the 'arch-Brexiteers' for their 'self-promotion and peacocking' and their efforts to undermine Mrs May...The easy explanation for this shift would be to attribute it to the new editor, Geordie Greig, who replaced Paul Dacre last month after a 26-year reign. That is a big factor. But the deeper reason is that the national mood is changing. Brexit is becoming a burden on Britain."

Donald Trump, as reported by the Washington Post after home made bombs were sent to Democrat politicians and CNN, tells the media it has an obligation to set a civil tone and should: "Stop the endless hostility and constant negative — and oftentimes, false attacks and stories."

Trump last week praising Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs during his campaign, as reported by msn"Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of guy."
  • Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, in a statement: “The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it. In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats.”

Joint statement by Germany, France and the UK over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi: "The violent death of Jamal Khashoggi, within the premises of the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul had been feared for many days but its confirmation still comes as a shock. Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. ‎Defending freedom of expression and a free press are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France. The threatening, attacking or killing of journalists, under any circumstances, is unacceptable and of utmost concern to our three nations."

Kyle Pope in the Columbia Journalism Review: "Trump doesn’t care about a dead journalist because he doesn’t care about journalism. The last two years of this presidency have shown that Trump sees a free press through a real estate developer’s smudgy lens: The truth, like an opening bid, is fungible and negotiable; the value of any single bit of information is entirely transactional, tied only to whether it helps or hurts him personally; rules and norms are for losers."

Tommy Robinson, speaking outside the Old Bailey, as reported by Press Gazette: “To the journalists… the British public do not trust you, they do not believe you. You are the enemy of the people."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader about the use by a businessman of Non Disclosure Agreements: "By stopping information about alleged deplorable behaviour becoming widely known, NDAs risk other potential targets for harassment or abuse unwittingly taking a job with an employer who they might otherwise have given a wide berth. There is, then, legitimate public interest in exposing the existence of NDAs where they point to a pattern of immoral or reprehensible behaviour by someone in a position of power and authority. This newspaper wishes to do just that. A businessman has used NDAs in at least five instances to pay employees substantial sums to stop them accusing him of sexual harassment and racial abuse. He has used considerable resources to fight disclosure, achieving an interim injunction preventing publication."
  • Sir Philip Green was later named as the businessman in Parliament.

 The biggest shareholder in Johnston Press, Christen Ager-Hanssen, owner of the Custos Group, in a statement"The behaviour of the Board of Johnstons Press Plc (“JP”) is symptomatic of today’s society in which greed, selfishness and unaccountability have become the norm. Custos is an activist Investor on a mission to fight against this type of board behaviour. When I first announced Custos' campaign to fight for shareholder rights in the autumn 2017, I said that the board is doing nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and that their only interest in JP was to protect their ability to continue with milking the company for cash. Regrettably I have now been proven right. The long and proud 250 year history of Johnston Press has now been replaced by a more recent and tragic history of rampant fee-sucking by its negligent board and incompetent advisers. And with the board’s new strategy to sell its crown-jewels, the fee-sucking will simply increase."

News UK chief David Dinsmore, speaking at the Press Gazette Digital Journalism Summit: "I am not criticising the BBC for the provision of high-quality, impartial news online. I am challenging whether it should now be for BBC News online to tell me if I should take up Tai Chi or Zumba and whether I may need to take a break from Netflix.”

Judges giving the National Press Foundation Benjamin C Bradlee editor of the year award to Rick Hutzell, editor of the Capital Gazette in Maryland, where a gunman opened fire on the newsroom killing five staff: “We saw courage in the face of unimaginable tragedy in the Capital Gazette editor and his staff. As pledged, they put out a ‘damn paper’ the next day, and every day since in service to their community. It underscores the importance of local newspapers and the unbreakable bond with their communities.”

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Quotes of the Week: From another royal baby is not real news it's just showbiz to Johnston Press sale will leave some local papers on the scrapheap

Iain Dale on his blog: "Today the world will go mad. A man and a woman are having a baby and that will now lead the BBC news, the LBC news and every other news. The plight of Jamal Khashoggi will be relegated to a footnote. The Brexit backstop? Nah, not so important. The government’s new Loneliness Strategy? Forget it. And yet in every newsroom up and down the country journalists will be tearing their hair out, not wanting to do this. Because they know what real news actually is...It’s not news. It’s showbusiness."
  • Robert Peston @Peston on Twitter: "So I would argue that Brexit backstop blow-up is more important in news terms than 6th in line to throne conceives. But I am aware that argument was lost some time in the ninth century."

David Aaronovitch in The Times [£] on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi: "A year ago Khashoggi wrote in The Washington Post: 'I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice . . . I can speak when so many cannot.' Now he cannot speak. But we can."

The International Federation of Journalists in a statement:  "It is increasingly clear the Saudi government is engaged in weaving a carefully orchestrated tissue of lies to cover up their role in Jamal’s killing. The idea that it takes days for the Saudi regime to find out what happened inside their own consulate is unbelievable – it is an embarrassing charade. The impunity with which the Saudis are acting is grotesque but it is in many ways matched by the sight of leading governments around the world displaying their willingness to aid and abet this gross cover-up to protect their own financial and political interests."

Jamal Khashoggi in his final column, published after his death, by the Washington Post: "Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications."

Margaret Atwood in the Guardian on the anniversary of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta: "Impunity for the killings of journalists drives a cycle of violence. Throughout her 30 years as a journalist, Caruana Galizia faced countless threats, suffering harassment online and off. Her house was set on fire; her family’s pet dogs were killed. She faced legal threats to stop her reporting, too: at the time of her death 43 libel cases were pending against her, many from high-level politicians."

Statement from new media venture Tortoise, edited by James Harding, on its kickstarter page: "We are overwhelmed by information. The problem isn’t just fake news or junk news, because there’s a lot that’s good – it’s just that there’s so much of it, and so much of it is the same. Most of it is in a hurry. A lot is partial and confusing. Too many people chasing the news, but missing the story. It’s made people anxious and distrustful. It’s not nearly fun or funny enough. No wonder we’ve all been feeling bewildered and, frankly, exhausted. Drowned out and locked out of power. We believe it’s time that changed. To learn how to live well in a world where everything moves at breakneck speed, we believe we need to slow down to wise up. We are building a different kind of journalism. One that opens up. Gives everyone a seat at the table. Creates a system of organised listening. News that reflects the way we really are and shapes the world we want to live in."


Sarfraz Mansoor @sarfrazmanzoor on the BBC drama Press on Twitter: "Series 2 will be smaller than the first series and eventually go online only."

Outgoing editor of Huff Post UK  Polly Curtis @pollycurtis on Twitter: "I’m so proud to have led the HuffPost UK team this past year. It's a fantastic team focused on original reporting, brilliant political scoops and getting outside the London bubble to see how people feel about the changes happening in society and the world."

Roy Greenslade on Johnston Press in the Guardian: "This is a story mostly about capitalism and partially about technological development. Yes, there was human greed along the way because some former bosses and managers have trousered hundreds of thousands of pounds down the years. Many Johnston Press staff, both former and current, will find it difficult to forgive this."

Rebecca Whittington Media on Johnston Press: "The established flagship titles, which have enjoyed investment and are heralded as the jewels in the JP crown – the Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, the Sheffield Star and the i – will be snapped up. It’s the Pontefract and Castleford Express-type newspapers – which are already suffering due to a lack of dedicated staff, no presence in their towns, no investment and shared content – which will be left on the scrapheap. It is sad and worrysome. My prediction, for what’s it’s worth, is that the larger JP titles which have seen investment and done well in steering the tanker round to meet the company’s digital plan, will be sold off. The smaller ones will not. The company will be broken up and significant parts of rural England and Scotland may well find themselves without a local newspaper."


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Strictly snog blows climate change off front page to local council secrecy stops journalists being watchdog for public

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Most UK papers think a drunken snog at Strictly is the most important story today. More important than a terrifying new #IPCC report saying we have 12 years to stave off the catastrophic effects of global warming."

The Committee to Protect Journalists' European Union representative Tom Gibson in a statement on the murder of Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova: "CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Victoria Marinova. Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible."

The Committee to Protect Journalists' deputy executive director Robert Mahoney on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi: "CPJ is alarmed by media reports that Jamal Khashoggi may have been killed inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi authorities must immediately give a full and credible accounting of what happened to Khashoggi inside its diplomatic mission. The country has stepped up its repression of critical journalists in the past year at home. We hope this has not now spread abroad."

The Guardian in a leader: "Without sustained pressure – including for independent or joint investigations, should domestic ones fall short – those responsible for journalists’ deaths will go unpunished, and more journalists will die."

Lionel Barber  on Twitter: "The murderous attacks on journalists are becoming ever more prevalent. When an American president regularly denounces the media as “enemies of the people” it is hardly a surprise when less savoury regimes regard reporters and broadcasters as fair game."

BBC director general Tony Hall, giving the inaugural Society of Editors Bob Satchwell lecture: “People who try to undermine the BBC’s reputation for their own political ends should be careful what they wish for. Nobody wants to end up in the highly polarised, almost separate, political and media cultures we see across the Atlantic. Nor the monocultural landscape of state-run media in some other countries."

Adam Barnett on "So far from improving on the media's factual errors and political bias, outlets like the Canary seem to be trying to outdo them on falsehood and partisanship, with a few sinister quirks added in...These sites are not a plucky alternative to the mainstream press. They are the aspirant state media for a future autocracy. If they will help governments defame journalists in other countries, and shrug when those journalists are arrested, imagine what they would do to people here who they actually know and dislike."

Jane Bradley @jane__bradley on Twitter: "Huge exclusive from the HSJ, followed up by almost every mainstream news org in the UK. Invest in good specialist journalists and give them time to burrow into their beat, it pays off."

Kyle Pope in the Columbia Journalism Review on the New York Times' 18-month investigation into the Trump family's financial affairs: "One of its great benefits, to my mind, is that it transcends the headlines of the day, focusing on an elemental, fundamental aspect of this man and this presidency that, it turns out, is even more divorced from our common understanding than we might have previously thought. It is an example of journalism as long game, a sport that more of us need to be playing."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian on his father, the journalist Michael Freedland, who died last week: "As fate would have it, the day after his death this newspaper carried an article written by him a few months earlier: an obituary of Charles Aznavour, who, like him, died on Monday. So Michael Freedland went out the way he would have wanted – with a byline."

Cornwall Live editor Jacqui Merrington on the BBC 1 drama Press, via HoldTheFrontPage“As a journalist, it’s impossible not to get a bit defensive about a programme painting a dark picture of an industry I know so well. And I’m not alone in feeling a bit hacked off by it...But journalism has changed beyond recognition. This programme fails to appreciate that, dragging up some of the worst elements of journalism in the 1980s and setting them in the here and now. It’s made journalists out to be arseholes, doing nothing to help restore the battered reputation of an industry I know and love. And for that, I hate it.”

The Times [£] in a leader on local government secrecy and the press: "It is not as if the problem is a recent change in the political climate. The Local Government Act of 2000 was a well-intentioned attempt to streamline decision-making at municipal level by moving from a committee-based system to an executive system. In practice it has tended to concentrate power and encourage secrecy. Nobody disputes that in granting contracts councils may have to keep some information confidential. However, our report today suggests that there is instead a culture of aggrandisement and avoidance of public accountability. The role of journalists is to be the eyes and the ears of the public and to tell voters of the decisions that are being made in their name. For that, they need access."