Thursday, 20 September 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Daily Mail is a changin' to the media has always been disliked but Trump's turned it into a political philosophy

James O'Brien @mrjamesob on Twitter: "The Mail has moved so quickly towards the light under its new editor that Littlejohn's unhinged rantings already stick out like a sore thumb. Remarkable to watch. Wish they were selling tickets to Dacre's daily perusal of the paper."

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Geordie Greig is changing the Daily Mail very fast. Kudos to him. It is smarter, softer..."

Henry Mance in the Financial Times: "Mr Greig is the reformer on the inside, the man who knows the system has to change. He’s the Mikhail Gorbachev of the tabloid world. It’s glasnost on Derry Street. It makes you think. Given the right editor, could any Fleet Street title change its spots? Could the Telegraph, for example, decide not to cover the Duke of Shropshire’s niece’s 18th birthday party? Could The Guardian reveal that Christmas is an unproblematic celebration of family values? ...As for the Financial Times, you’ll know the revolution has come when you receive the first ever How To Spend It: Lidl Edition."

Emily Thornberry @EmilyThornberry on Twitter: "This, from @DailyMailUK and not a sneering word in sight!!!>>"

Fleet Street Fox on the demise of Katie Hopkins: "Even with training, she would never have made much of a journo. She has a thick skin and bloody-mindedness, but seems to lack empathy, accuracy, self-doubt or persuasiveness. She is a curiosity, but doesn't have any. The first rule of journalism is 'never become the story'. Not just because it's professionally embarrassing, but because all copy finishes the same way - with the word 'ends'."

Roy Greenslade, who was a consultant on BBC TV drama Press, about complaints from journalists it's unrealistic, in the Guardian: "Amid the nit-picking, I wonder how a piece of populist drama about newspapers could avoid cliches and stereotypes. And dare I point out that it ill-behoves journalists who have lived off cliches and stereotypes, to complain about them representing their trade."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on new claims that MI6 believed Michael Foot took payments from the KGB: "This is not an attempt to re-run that libel case but to suggest that the circumstances might have been different in one respect. Had the case been conducted in America, the fact that the country’s spy agencies were aware of the allegations, and believed them, would have probably found its way into the public domain. It certainly was in the public interest. Britain’s intelligence apparatus, and the political establishment, were instead happy to sit on their knowledge and see a newspaper successfully sued for libel."

Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter: “Michael Foot loved this country. That’s why he wanted to make it better for everyone. Smearing a dead man, who successfully defended himself when he was alive, is about as low as you can go.”

Rachel Oldroyd, managing editor of The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, welcoming a European Court of Human Rights judgment that mass surveillance by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies without adequate safeguards to protect the freedom of the press is unlawful: “The Bureau believes the freedom of the press is a vital cornerstone of democracy and that journalists must be able to protect their sources. We are particularly concerned about the chilling effect that the threat of state surveillance has on whistleblowers who want to expose wrongdoing, and this ruling will force our government to put safeguards in place. It is an extremely good day for journalism.”

The Swindon Advertiser NUJ chapel in a statement after publisher Newsquest proposed more  redundancies: "The newsroom at the Swindon Advertiser was knocked sideways by the announcement on Friday that it is set to lose two members of its features department and the sports editor. The proposed cuts are being made to an editorial department that is already slashed to the bone following the loss of three subs, a news editor and the web editor to redundancy just before Christmas last year. Since then the newsroom has lost the assistant news editor and the deputy editor to more lucrative and probably less stressful employment in PR...The affected staff, who were described as ‘resources’ in their consultation letters, now face having to justify their existence in interviews. It is a horrific situation. They are being asked to fight among themselves for their survival."

Natalie Sanders, managing editor, of the newly launched Uranus Examiner serving the town of Uranus in Missouri, on the naming of the newspaper,  as quoted by BBC News: "We had thought about 'Constitution', but most of the people who love us, and who were part of coming up with the name, liked the Examiner better."

David Simon asked in a Rolling Stone interview why the media is disliked by so many: "We were always disliked by everybody. It just never metastasized into a political philosophy because we never had somebody who was, frankly, as morally depraved as the current president. Trump’s willing to trade on American fundamentals in a way that no other national leader has attempted since Huey Long. It’s populism wedded to totalitarianism. Very few people have been so devoid of ethic to go there. But it was always there. You felt it if you were a reporter and you went to your mailbox and read the furious rage of random people whose candidates were not supported or whose enemies were not vanquished in the pages of the newspaper."


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Polly Toynbee's dream job in journalism to how Burt Reynold's bombed the National Enquirer with manure

Polly Toynbee, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions on the opportunity she most regrets missing out on: "The Daily Mail has just appointed a new editor. I did so want that job more than any other in journalism...I would've liked the chance to turn it into a Guardian-type paper."

Elon Musk in an email to the Guardian after being asked about smoking a joint during an interview:  Guardian is the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth”.

Barack Obama, as reported by Business insider"I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them 'enemies of the people'."

Geordie Greig in a speech to Daily Mail journalists, as reported by Jim Waterson in the Guardian: "The new editor, who replaced Paul Dacre after his 26 years in charge, said he wanted the paper to be 'forward-looking and valuing of our traditions' and use 'persistence, ruthless cunning, polite persuasion and relentless drive' in a bid to overtake the Sun to become the best-selling daily newspaper in Britain."

Lancashire Post chief news reporter Brian Ellis @BrianEllis7 on Twitter: "There are now only 17,000 frontline print journalists covering the whole of the UK, around 6,000 fewer than in 2007. Who is going to hold the establishment to account when we've all gone? Support your local papers - it will be a poorer world without them."

Jim Dao on why the New York Times published its controversial anonymous op-ed by a White 
House insider: "In our view, this Op-Ed offered a significant first-person perspective we haven’t presented to our readers before: that of a conservative explaining why they felt that even if working for the Trump administration meant compromising some principles, it ultimately served the country if they could achieve some of the president’s policy objectives while helping resist some of his worst impulses. We’ve certainly read excellent news stories that quoted anonymous officials making similar points and criticizing the president’s temperament and chaotic style. What distinguished this essay from those news articles was that it conveyed this point of view in a fleshed-out, personal way, and we felt strongly that the public should have a chance to evaluate it for themselves. The only way that could happen was for us to publish the essay without a byline."

Sir Alan Moses, Chairman of IPSO, in the press regulator's annual report“Successful press regulation depends on scrutiny of the judgement of editors. The central distinction between the press IPSO regulates and babble on the web, is that the content of it depends on the judgement of editors; it is their responsibility to comply with the Editors’ Code. IPSO’s duty is to hold them to that Code and provide guidance to avoid breaches in the future. IPSO stands at the boundary between protection of the public and freedom of speech; it preserves both bystriking a balance. I am confident and proud of our ability to continue to do so."

Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville in a message to the company’s staff , as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “Due to a reader comment on one of our stories during live criminal proceedings, a crown court judge abandoned the trial and ordered a re-trial out of area. Our newspaper has also been reported to the Attorney General. In circumstances like this there could be a prosecution under the Contempt of Court Act as well as statutory power under the Courts Act 2003 that allows the courts to recover wasted costs of re-trial from a third party where the ‘serious conduct’ of that third party affects a case. Therefore (while I’m sure many of you deactivate them already in circumstances like this) the policy going forward must be to not allow comments on stories about live criminal proceedings. Please ensure your staff are aware.”

Burt Reynolds, who has died aged 82,  interviewed by the Observer Magazine in January 2017: "Dumping a helicopter full of horse shit on the National Enquirer made me feel great. They’d been writing crap about me for years so I thought it was only fitting. One Christmas Eve my pilot and I loaded my helicopter with manure from my ranch, flew over the building and watched it cascade down their giant Christmas tree."

  • Correction of the week from Brazilian news magazine Veja"The candidate likes to spend his free time reading Tolstoy, and not watching Toy Story, as originally reported"

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: Drama ding dong as BBC News staff play themselves in Bodyguard to phone-hacking a moral catastrophe for British journalism akin to the Enron and VW scandals

David Elstein in The Times [£] on the BBC drama Bodyguard: "Is the drama realistic? Not very, but in striving to persuade viewers of the credibility of a personal protection officer suffering from postwar PTSD and a failing marriage, assigned to protect a war-loving, sex-hungry home secretary exploiting terrorist attacks to ramp up security measures which threaten personal privacy, the BBC has induced many of its own presenters and reporters to “play themselves”. It is not wise of the corporation to risk the authority of so many of its professional news staff in lending verisimilitude to this kind of tosh."

Andrew Marr on his cameo in Bodyguard, in the Guardian: "Behind a story such as Bodyguard lies a whole system of beliefs about power structures, human complexity, moral choices, loyalty, courage, failure and so on. If I didn’t trust the writer, if I didn’t think I’d like the values, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to help. I don’t think there is a single person in the country who would confuse this with real-world news, who would think [Keeley] Hawes was Amber Rudd. And for the avoidance of doubt, I’d never do a cameo in anything, commercial or political, that sought to confuse. Also, it was great fun."

Michael Cole on MailOnline: "If there was anyone left at the top of BBC News and Current Affairs with the experience and judgment required on such sensitive issues as this, then I believe he or she would have immediately vetoed the participation of its leading presenters and reporters. That is what would have happened in the past when we had seasoned journalists who really understood news values — men and women familiar with the old journalistic adage that ‘facts are sacred’ — running the BBC."

Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler in a statement, after the jailing for seven years of the agency's reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar: “These two admirable reporters have already spent nearly nine months in prison on false charges designed to silence their reporting and intimidate the press. This is a major step backward in Myanmar’s transition to democracy, cannot be squared with the rule of law or freedom of speech, and must be corrected by the Myanmar government as a matter of urgency."

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan after the arrests of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, who produced the documentary No Stone Unturned about the murder of six men at Loughinisland, Northern Ireland, quoted by BBC News"Journalists must be free to investigate and expose issues of public concern. Few subjects could be of more significant public concern than the mass shooting of civilians and the alleged collusion of the police in assisting those responsible to evade justice. These arrests will send a worrying message to other journalists in Northern Ireland and could have a chilling effect on legitimate investigative reporting."

Monty Don @TheMontyDon on Twitter: "I loath the post-Trump acronym MSM (mainstream media) and the way it is used dismissively, especially by those that barely consume it. British journalism, newspaper and broadcast, is mostly superb and should be supported in every possible way."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!"
  • The BBC's John Simpson @JohnSimpsonNews commenting on Trump's tweet on Twitter: "A lot of people in Britain now use exactly the same words about our own media: 'dishonest', 'hatred', 'agenda', 'fake', 'enemy of the people'. Maybe when they see whose side they're on, they might consider toning down their language."
BREAKING / NBC News: "The FBI has arrested Robert Chain, 68, from Encino, California for threats they say he made to The Boston Globe following their recent editorial about the press. Chain allegedly referred to The Boston Globe as "the enemy of the people" in phone calls."

Barack Obama in his eulogy for John McCain, as reported by The Atlantic: "He understood that if we get in the habit of bending the truth to suit political expediency or party orthodoxy, our democracy will not work. That's why he was willing to buck his own party at times, occasionally work across the aisle on campaign-finance reform and immigration reform. That's why he championed a free and independent press as vital to our democratic debate."

Paul Dacre in a farewell letter to Daily Mail staff, as published by Press Gazette: "Only those of us lucky enough to have worked on a great daily newspaper understand the grinding, exhausting tyranny of the clock in the adrenaline-fuelled quest, six days a week, to produce a perfect paper and experience the creative euphoria of occasionally achieving that...Many things (mostly risibly and contemptibly inaccurate) are written about the Mail. But what no-one can deny is that this floor houses Britain’s finest team of professional journalists who, over the decades, have produced much magnificent journalism. To have worked so closely with all of you producing that journalism – and, hopefully, making this country a little better place to live in – has been a joy and a privilege. I salute each and every one of you.”

Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian on the phone-hacking scandal: "Unchecked criminality within newsrooms was a moral catastrophe for British journalism and its role in our democracy. It was our Enron, our Volkswagen, our Deepwater, our subprime crisis. It was depressing to watch some colleagues retreat into the bunker and use their own bully-pages to close down debate by savaging anyone who offered even constructive help in rebuilding trust in the press. I loathed the threats and abuse directed at anyone who dared to disagree."

[£] =paywall

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: Journalists hit back at claims they're posh playthings of media moguls to Corbyn accused of trying to tame a hostile press

Owen Jones @OwenJones84 on Twitter: "The media is one of the most socially exclusive clubs in Britain, and most of our press are the playthings of super rich media moguls. That's bad for our democracy."

Matt Kelly @mk1969 on Twitter on Owen Jones: "White priveleged Oxbridge-graduate Guardian columnist railing against how hard-done the left is in mainstream media. he couldn’t lace the boots of some of the great left wing journalists i’ve had the privilege of working with. but none of them could match his talent for whining."

Manchester Evening News investigations editor Jennifer Williams @JenWilliamsMEN on Twitter: "Feel free to argue with me, Owen Jones, about where my public interest journalism comes from, which mogul is telling me and my colleagues across the country what to do and how to do it and how my relative poshness is a factor...Because actually here’s the thing: you earn your living writing polemic, which is fine, that’s a thing. But I earn my living doing public interest journalism. I know more about it. And if I sound angry it’s because I am. I’m absolutely f***ing sick of this.”

News editor at @ChronicleLive in Newcastle Sophie Barley @SophieBarley on Twitter: "You clearly have no insight into the world of journalism. You get to the top by being f****** good at what you do, never stopping, working all hours for the job you love and most imprtantly - passion. It has jack all to do with education."

Richard Horsman on his blog: "In regional news, over forty years, I've known very few posh folk. A few have passed through newsrooms, using them as stepping stones to something else, but the huge majority of local and regional journalists are fiercely dedicated to what they do within the communities they serve. They are united by an outlook of apolitical cynicism, a love of storytelling and an instinct to spot the quote at fifty paces. They enjoy highlighting injustices and the absurd, and especially challenging authority. They do all this for very little money over stupid hours in places the "elite" only set foot in at election times, or to write opinion pieces about depravation."

Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson on Medium/Behind local News on the paper's in-depth journalism: "High quality public interest journalism is not necessarily all about driving page views. Don’t get me wrong, we know how to do that — in the second half of 2017 was the fastest-growing audited large regional news site in the UK — but the seven week-long specials we have put together have been more about giving our readers the very best journalism in the best interests of the communities we serve. That’s why we exist and why we’ll remain relevant enough for our readers to want to preserve and protect that which we do. If we lose sight of that in the hunt for clicks, we’re already extinct."

David Aaronovitch @DAaronovitch on Twitter: "When someone tells you, confidently, that journalism is THIS or THAT (speaking truth to power, holding a mirror to society etc), it's always bullshit. Ask yourself, does the report on the 3rd Test or which shoes to wear this summer fit this cliche?"

The Financial Times in a leader on Jeremy Corbyn's proposed media reforms: "Mr Corbyn’s criticisms are not all misplaced. The British media has a low trust rating, it lacks diversity and the phone hacking scandal was a disgrace. Yet it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these are the pretexts for action. His own media sympathies do not breed confidence. A commitment to a free and honest media would be more convincing were he not so enamoured of Iran’s Press TV, Russia’s RT and the communist-leaning Morning Star. There is room for a serious debate about improving UK media. But the Labour leader’s motives are all too clear. His remedies are less about freeing the press than taming it."

The Sun in a leader"Jeremy Corbyn's sole motive in “changing the media” is to silence a hostile Press. The giveaway was when he attacked broadcasters yesterday for following up Sun stories. “Just because it’s on the front page of The Sun or Mail doesn’t automatically make it news,” he whined. Could this be because recent front pages have exposed Labour’s racism? That IS news, as page one stories in the two biggest daily papers tend to be. Britain already has the world’s most vibrant media. Corbyn is feigning some high-minded interest in improving it. But the last thing he wants is it holding a future Labour Government to account. He detests scrutiny, as his tantrums sparked by tricky questions prove."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "Corbyn is exploiting public concerns about the big tech firms’ behaviour as a shield behind which to pursue Labour’s own media-bashing plans. Look at what his woolly words mean. Corbyn wants to invest taxes in more ‘public-interest journalism’ – which appears to be an unquestionable Good Thing. The question it should always raise, however, is – who is going to decide exactly what the ‘public interest’ means? Government ministers? Judges? Jeremy Corbyn’s press office?"

Sarah Baxter in the Sunday Times [£]: "I wouldn’t trust Corbyn’s intentions towards the media under any circumstances. This is a Labour politician whose organ of choice for disseminating his views before he became leader was Russia Today — now RT, the propaganda channel for Putin — and Press TV, Iran’s mouthpiece. Boris Johnson made his biggest diplomatic blunder as foreign secretary when he wrongly suggested that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe — now spending time outside jail with her young daughter for the first time in two years — was “teaching people journalism”, so we know what the Iranians think of a free press."

The Guardian in a leader"Then there is the issue of “fake news”. Mr Corbyn should have addressed the subject much more substantially than he did in his speech. A parliamentary committee said last month that fake news and the targeting of hyper-partisan views on social media put democracy at risk. Mr Corbyn could have endorsed what MPs recommended: that social networks should be legally responsible for harmful and illegal content on their platforms, and regulators should undertake an audit of the entire social media advertising industry. It was disappointing instead that he chose to attack newspapers, which, he said, people thought 'churn out fake news day in, day out'."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement on Corbyn's speech: “As a trade union we would agree on the importance of empowering journalists to act ethically, increasing diversity and equality in the media, tackling the concentration of media ownership and power, and enabling media workers to have a louder voice in their own workplaces and on decision-making boards. The NUJ is not affiliated to any political party but it is important that politicians recognise the vital role of independent public interest journalism, and the grave price that some journalists have paid with their lives for speaking truth to power. We hope this speech is just the start of a more detailed discussion about how to bring change to the media that benefits journalists, journalism and society as a whole.”


Thursday, 23 August 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Corbyn says tax digital giants to fund public interest media to new journalism and PR degree is sign of bad times

Jeremy Corbyn in the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival: "One solution to funding public interest media could be by tapping up the digital monopolies that profit from every search, share and like we make. Google and news publishers in France and Belgium were able to agree a settlement. If we can’t do something similar here, but on a more ambitious scale, we’ll need to look at the option of a windfall tax on the digital monopolies to create a public interest media fund.”

Corbyn on supporting local and community media: "This important part of the media, and its fantastic workforce, could be supported by reform and expansion of an existing BBC scheme, which sees ring fenced funding for ‘local democracy reporters’ employed in local papers. Part of these funds could be made available to local, community and investigative news co-ops, with a mandate to use significant time and resources reporting on public institutions, public service providers, local government, outsourced contractors and regulated bodies.”

Corbyn on editorial standards: "The owners and editors of most of our country’s newspapers have dragged down standards so far that their hard working journalists are simply not trusted by the public...I want to see journalists and media workers set free to do their best work, not held back by bosses, billionaire owners, or the state."

The Guardian reports: "The Labour party has formally complained to the press regulator Ipso about the coverage by several British newspapers of Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to lay a wreath at a cemetery in Tunisia. In its complaint, the party said the Sun, the Times, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and Metro had misrepresented the event, which the Labour leader attended in 2014."

Stephen Bush in the Sunday Times [£]: 'The first journalist to reveal Corbyn’s activities [in Tunisia] was . . . Corbyn himself. In 2014 he wrote up his trip for the Morning Star. Corbyn is still a regular reader of the far left daily (he is sometimes spotted texting Abbott about the contents of the paper in shadow cabinet meetings). That made some of the party’s official denials look more than a little ridiculous. Adding to the sense of farce, the party’s line seemed to change repeatedly over the course of the row."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!"

The Committee to Protect Journalists: "When American leaders stand up for a free press, they embolden courageous journalists who put their lives and liberty on the line to report the news. And when American leaders fall short, they embolden the autocrats who seek to repress those journalists."

John Naughton in The Observer on Trump's tweets: "Twitter could ban Trump, but with 53.8 million followers it’s unlikely to do that. Mainstream media could start ignoring Trump’s tweets, which effectively allow him to control their news agendas, but they won’t, because he’s good for clicks and circulation. And besides, the guy is, after all, the elected president of the United States. Which, in a way, neatly summarises the problem we’ve got."

Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Live, on HoldTheFrontPage“I doubt there’s an editor in the regions – or the nationals for that matter – who can say with hand on heart that the composition of their newsroom is as diverse as they would want it to be. In Birmingham, this is even more acute. We serve the most diverse city in the UK, yet our newsroom does not fully reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. We’ve known this for a long time, and I know journalism colleges are working hard on their own recruitment policies, but we have to take action on this directly. With the expansion of Birmingham Live and the creation of four new reporting roles, we have an opportunity to take control of the process and to try to affect something of a step change. We will ensure that at least 50pc of the candidates we shortlist for interview have black or minority ethnic backgrounds."

Jane Martinson on Metro in Prospect magazine: "In less than two decades, Metro has transformed from something described to one executive as a “shitty little freesheet” into a successful paper with a young audience who appreciates its basic news coverage. Whatever its future prospects, Metro has shown that there is a market, perhaps even still growing, for a newspaper based on facts in a world that increasingly seems to be anything but."

Paul Broster, director of journalism at the University of Salford, which is offering a new degree course combining journalism with public relations, as reported by Press Gazette: “The nature of journalism has changed, with those starting in the profession expected to have a wide range of digital skills alongside the ability to write well, find stories and interview. Our journalism programmes have always included a public relations module, but this has become increasingly popular over the years. Many of our journalism graduates now go on to work in public relations, while there is also a huge amount of opportunities helping large organisations raise their profile by creating powerful digital content.”

Nick Cohen @NickCohen4 on Twitter: "At least 70 UK universities are taking money off students for journalism courses. The majority cannot possibly get a job in the shrinking world of journalism. This is awful but in a sly way Salford is being honest and admitting that many will end up in PR."

Suchandrika Chakrabarti in the New Statesman"PR is already winning. What we really need is more well-trained journalists, and we need to find ways to keep them in the industry. If only someone could invent a degree to figure that out."