Thursday, 27 February 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From Julian Assange's extradition would be a 'body blow' for press freedom to the hardest part about covering Syria is that reporting the war has so little impact

Committee to Protect Journalists deputy executive director Robert Mahoney in a statement“The extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to stand trial for his groundbreaking work with WikiLeaks would deal a body blow to First Amendment rights and press freedom. The U.K. should deny this request. Using the draconian wartime powers of the Espionage Act against Assange undermines journalists’ rights and sets dangerous precedents that cast journalists and publishers as criminals.”

James Lewis QC, representing the US in the Assange case, as reported by BBC News: "The US is aware of sources, whose redacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by Wikileaks, who subsequently disappeared, although the US can't prove at this point that their disappearance was the result of being outed by Wikileaks."

Justin Webb in Radio Times, as reported by Press Gazette: “When BBC bosses say the young aren’t listening to BBC radio any more and we have to treat this as an emergency and run around as if our pants were on fire, my first reaction is: ‘Hey, what took you so long?’ My second is… Hmm. Perhaps the young will get old. It has happened before. Perhaps radio will outlive this panic, as it has outlived all others and potentially those to come. But it will only outlive the panic if well-meaning bosses resist the temptation to destroy the wireless in order to save it.”

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "Never been allowed here before. My op-Ed in the Daily Mail defending the BBC. By all means reform it. But don’t vandalise it."

Neil Allen, of The News, Portsmouth after being named Regional Sports Journalist of the Year for the second time running at the Sports Journalism Awards, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage“I feel very fortunate to be here tonight because looking at the regional press how it is these days, especially with sport, it’s a tough time for us all. I look back at the last 18 months being on the South Coast, people in my position at the Bournemouth Echo,  Southern Daily Echo and Brighton Argus have all lost their jobs, have all left, long-serving quality journalists have left, because of the state of the industry I’m afraid."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "Aware of the tricks of his old trade, he is doing everything he can to avoid being subject to their wiles. Don’t do as I once did, do as I now say. As the ultimate purveyor of fake news, he was not about to open the door to truth. To that end, he refused to be interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil during the December general election campaign. That proved to be something of a dry run for what has happened since. He is sealing himself, and his government, off from journalistic scrutiny."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "I didn’t get into motoring journalism to review Morrises and budget Citro├źns. I got into it to write about alpine roads and Lamborghinis. In the same way that proper journalists don’t become journalists to do flower shows and village fetes. They all want to be Woodward or Bernstein."

Committee to Protect Journalists Asia program coordinator Steven Butler in a statement after Chinese authorities expelled Wall Street Journal journalists Josh Chin, Chao Deng, and Philip Wen in retaliation for a headline (above): "China's expulsion of the journalists makes the country appear less like a confident rising power than a thin-skinned bully. During a global health emergency, it is counterproductive for the Chinese authorities to be limiting the flow of news and information."

The Telegraph's Josie Ensor on Twitter: "I sign out today after 5 years in Beirut with an impossibly heavy heart as Syria faces its greatest tragedy yet. It's hard thing for journalist to acknowledge, looking back on a body of work, to realise it has had so little impact."
  • Writing in the Telegraph [£] Ensor says: "In the days before she was killed by regime fire in opposition-held Homs, Marie Colvin, the late Sunday Times foreign correspondent, said she thought the images and stories of suffering she was relaying would 'move the needle', that the world would wake up and try to stop what was happening. It never did."


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From media reaps angry backlash over Caroline Flack coverage to save the BBC we need more journalists not less

Call for Caroline's Law petition on 38 degrees , which has gained more than 770,000 signatures: "To consider a law that would make it a criminal offence, not dissimilar to Corporate Manslaughter, for the British Media to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person, whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life."

Jim Waterson on Twitter: "There’s a massive public backlash against tabloids over their coverage of Caroline Flack. There’s also a massive surge in traffic from the public to the same tabloid sites from people wanting to read about Caroline Flack’s death."

Laura Whitmore on her BBC Radio 5 live show about Caroline Flack“I’ve seen journalists and Twitter warriors talk of this tragedy and they themselves twisted what the truth is … Your words affect people. To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard, enough.”

Mark Austin on Twitter: "So a celebrity taking her own life is attributed in part to the poison on social media; and yet that very possibility turns this platform into even more of a vitriolic cesspit."

Rachel Ellen Pugh on Twitter: "Wish people see the amount of hatred and vile comments journalists get on a daily basis just for doing our jobs. If you’re preaching mental health and branding all journos ‘scum’ in the same post, you’re perpetuating the exact problem you’re supposedly against."

Julian Borger on Twitter on Daily Mail's investigation into PM's holiday: "This shows at least one democratic norm still functioning in UK, which is dying in the US. A traditional Tory paper investigating the PM, because it is a scandal, and a good story, and because the Daily Mail will be around long after Johnson has left the stage."

Citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, detained by the Chinese authorities for reporting on the coronavirus in Wuhan, quoted by The Times [£]: “It’s my duty to be a citizen journalist. What sort of a journalist are you if you don’t dare rush to the front line in a disaster?”

Amal Clooney's Report on the Use of Targeted Sanctions to Protect Journalists: "Media freedom has been in decline for a decade, through systemic censorship as well as relentless attacks on journalists ranging from online harassment to arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings. Many governments are refusing to hold perpetrators of such attacks to account, and in many places the governments are the perpetrators. International sanctions targeting individuals responsible for the abuses can highlight their misconduct, limit their impact and act as a deterrent to future misdeeds. Such sanctions are indeed, in the current global political climate, often the only way to hold those responsible to account."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "If you are a judge, journalist, civil servant, Conservative MP or British citizen who needs the protection of the law, you should get ready for what is coming. If you challenge the lovelorn [Boris] Johnson, he will hate you and do all he can to destroy you."

Mark Casci on Twitter on Sunday Times report BBC licence is to go: "The world needs more journalists, not less. On a weekend where BBC reporters on local radio will be providing Storm Dennis updates that will impact thousands of lives, this will be evident. It’s not a fatted cow, it’s an institution that provides incredible value for money."

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "An epidemic of fake news is a great moment to scrap the one publicly-held and universally available source of broadly reliable and trusted news. Unless confusion about what’s true is the end you seek."


Thursday, 13 February 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From Lynn Barber tackles Sunday Times over rugby thighs on front page to should Labour launch own newspaper?

Lynn Barber on Twitter: "Looked forward to first edition of Sunday Times under new woman editor and what do I find? Photo of rugby players on front page. To me this is the clearest possible signal this is a men’s newspaper. They have dozens of sports pages to print all the pix of men’s thighs they want."

Josh Glancy on Twitter: "Victoria Newton's [pictured] confirmation as the new editor of The Sun means half of Britain's national newspaper editors are now female. (This includes The Sun, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and The Daily Mirror, a good spread)."

Tim Adams interviewing ex-BBC journalist John Sweeney in the Observer: "He concedes that he probably did not advance his case by addressing director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, in emails as 'Kim Fran-un'.”

From The Times [£] obit on theatre director Terry Hands: "He could rarely resist a jibe at the media. 'Why did you choose journalism?' he asked one interviewer. 'You were obviously a nice person once'.”

Matt Chorley in The Times [£]:  "[Dominic] Cummings is not just being talked about, he is dominating the national political conversation. In fact analysis for Red Box by Daniel Clark, a Times interactive journalist, shows that since Boris Johnson became prime minister Cummings has had more press coverage than any member of the cabinet. In the past six and a half months, there have been more than 3,007 stories in national newspapers about the PM’s official adviser, ahead of every elected member of the government."

Adam Boulton in the Sunday Times [£]: "Johnson proudly told MPs: 'I am a journalist', but his career in print was notable for its partisan brio rather than devotion to facts. As prime minister he has gone along with avoiding interviews and question-and-answer sessions. He has threatened the BBC and political journalists with radical change. As shown with his Brexit night video, he has expanded the government payroll to include technicians capable of getting his message out on social media without calling in independent MSM professionals."

Sarah Scire on NiemanLab: "The New York Times’ decade-plus march from crisis to sustainability to growth hit another happy milestone today: The company announced it had generated more than $800 million in digital revenue in 2019. That meets a corporate goal set four years ago to hit that number by the end of 2020. (Like a good journalist, the Times even beat deadline.)"

Emily Bell on Twitter: "Journalism will be like football. Securely wealthy or publicly funded are the Premier League, the richest few have generous staffing levels, but if they want the field to survive they will need to loan players/invest in lower leagues.....just like the old days."

Labour deputy leader candidate Richard Burgon on Novara Media: “It would be fantastic if the Labour movement could invest in its own free newspaper given out on public transport because that is when people will read it. Written in a tabloid style”

Ian Murray, another candidate for the deputy Labour leadership, in The Times [£]: “We are not a protest movement handing out newspapers outside stations. Blaming the media for our defeat is also a pathetic excuse for our failings. We lost because voters didn’t trust our leadership.”


Thursday, 6 February 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From PM urged to stop war on the media after No 10 briefing boycott row to why The Times is better value than a coffee

The Guardian reports: "Political journalists have boycotted a briefing at No 10 Downing Street after one of Boris Johnson’s aides banned selected reporters from attending. The walkout took place after a confrontation inside No 10 in which Lee Cain, Johnson’s most senior communications adviser, tried to exclude reporters from the Mirror, i, HuffPost, PoliticsHome, Independent and others."

The Times [£] in a leader:" It is not as if Downing Street does not have other things to do than start a pointless squabble. It has made some big promises, and fighting the press was not one of them. Nor will it be much of a distraction over time from the course of events. Mr Johnson’s advisers ought to think again before they look even more foolish than they do already."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "This isn't Trump's America. I hope our journalist Prime Minister will control the perpetually turbulent Mr Cummings, who seems not to like journalists or journalism very much, or to value a free Press."

Nick Robinson on Twitter: "We asked a minister to appear on @BBCr4today today to explain what they planned to do to stop released terrorists attacking people on the streets. None was available."

Piers Morgan on Twitter:  "This ongoing cabinet boycott of many media outlets (including @GMB) is stinking cowardice. Shame on you @BorisJohnson for allowing this - you were a journalist like us once."

Nick Cohen on the Spectator blog: "Johnson is revealing himself to be a brooding suspicious politician, wholly at odds with his cheeky chappie persona. Even when a terrorist attacked civilians on a London street, ministers were “not available” to speak to the public. I suspect there is a strong element of projection at play. It is because Johnson was a partisan columnist that he is an enemy of press freedom. He assumes all journalists are like him, and that they will twist, distort and censor accordingly."

Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times [£]: "Boris Johnson’s right-hand man has set up a network of mafia-style “snitches” in Westminster restaurants to stop ministerial aides getting free lunches from journalists. Dominic Cummings told government special advisers on Friday evening that in future they must pick up half the bill if they go for lunch, dinner or drinks with the media. 'The people’s government doesn’t take any favours.' he pronounced. 'No coffees, no lunches, no drinks. Especially not with journalists'.”

Ray Snoddy on Mediatel on the Brexit negotiations: "The test for the media now will be the honesty with which they approach the really tricky negotiations soon about to begin. Will the Brexit-supporting press now deal in facts or continue chasing sunbeams, or as a default position blame the EU for its intransigence if the shoots or renewal run into problems."

Roger Mosey in the New Statesman: "Nobody can pretend that the BBC’s job is easy. The government is breathing down its neck about the licence fee, and ministers are boycotting the Today programme. Audience loyalties generally are weaker and social media hostility is intense. But the corporation has not provided a convincing enough argument for taking a wrecking ball to the structure that delivered its greatest successes, and its proposed remedies may well turn the dark clouds into thunderstorms."

Unnamed ITN colleague of Alastair Stewart, quoted by The Times [£] about the Twitter row which ended the news presenter's career: “It feels that editors used his mistake to get rid of an expensive, old white guy. It looks like opportunism, getting rid of him now. It’s disrespectful. Editors are obsessed with diversity. If you are white, male and middle-aged you don’t have a place here. And the decisions are being made with no sense of ITN’s history, or the people who have spent their lives covering the news. He is liked and respected by the newsroom and loved by viewers. We all know he can get a bit carried away on Twitter but nothing to justify such an extreme reaction.”

Andrew Hunter Murray on Twitter: "From a single copy of the Times today I have learned about the last ever Battle of Britain ace (RIP), an escaped Thai giraffe, the new German trend of fried raccoon, and the phrase 'as rare as rocking-horse shit'. For less than the price of a coffee. Newspapers are unbelievable."


Thursday, 30 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From 450 jobs go as BBC News puts focus on digital to Chancellor will look at tax incentives for news publishing industry

Director of BBC News, Fran Unsworth, after the corporation announced around 450 jobs will be cut from BBC News under plans to complete its £80m savings target by 2022. "The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us. We need to reshape BBC News for the next five to 10 years in a way which saves substantial amounts of money. We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital."
  • NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement on The BBC cuts: “These damaging cuts are part of an existential threat to the BBC, and a direct consequence of the last disastrous, secret licence fee deal the BBC agreed with the government. This is before the impact of taking over responsibility for the over-75s licences kicks in. Against this backdrop, the BBC’s very existence is being threatened with public service broadcasting under unprecedented threat."

  • Amol Rajan on BBC News: "Adapt or die is a passable motto for modern media, particularly the publicly-funded kind. The BBC faces an existential crisis. It's one hell of a moment for arguably the BBC's most important division to undertake a radical experiment."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian: "The BBC can be maddening, prompting both left and right to tear their hair out. But in a world of fake news, we need a broadcaster free of commercial pressure, one that aims to stand aside from the partisan din. It may not always get there. But without it, our grip on the truth would get even looser."

The BBC in a statement on the decision by Fergal Keane to stand down as BBC News Africa editor: “ For several years, Fergal has been dealing privately with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stemming from several decades of work in conflict zones around the world. He has been supported throughout this time by friends and colleagues in News, as well as receiving professional medical advice. However, he now feels he needs to change his role in order to further assist his recovery. It is both brave and welcome that he is ready to be open about PTSD.”
  • Ben Fenton on Twitter: "Reporters, not necessarily in warzones, are the unreported victims of traumatic events. Not least because of guilt factor of being "vultures", but also because they don't talk about it. Covering Dunblane pushed two of my former colleagues over edge into leaving the industry."

Stig Abell, launch director of The Times and the Sunday Times' new current affairs digital radio station Times Radio which is launching this year, as reported by The Times [£]:  “I want to be able to listen to this station and learn something, and get the world presented to me. I don’t want pomposity, I don’t want stuffiness.”

John McDonnell in The Times [£]: "We now see a finance, data/media complex capable of combining the traditional financial clout over economic decision-making by governments with the ability to use its ownership and influence of the various media platforms to decisively influence decision-making and even elections. As we have just witnessed, not just in the UK but across the globe, elections can be decisively influenced by the dominating ownership and control of the mainstream press, the resultant permeation of the broadcasting media and the purchase of overwhelming influence via social media and use of data targeting. This is not a conspiracy theory. There is no need for conspiracy. It’s simply the capitalist system naturally evolving to protect its distribution of power and wealth from any radical challenge."

International Federation of Journalists general secretary Anthony Bellanger, in a statement on investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, accused by Brazil's federal prosecutor of  criminal association and illegally intercepting private conversations: “This decision of the Brazilian public prosecutor evidences the systematic attacks by the Brazilian government against media freedom and freedom of expression. We stand in solidarity with Glenn Greenwald and all the Brazilian journalists who are facing permanent attacks and threats for doing their job in an attempt to intimidate and silence investigative journalists. They will never silence us.”

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust communications manager Mark Prentice in an email accidently sent to an Eastern Daily Press reporter:"Just to let you know in advance of the Board meeting that there’s nothing in the EADT today (either in print or online) about eating disorders following Emily Townsend’s query yesterday. Perhaps she might attend the Board today and try to talk to someone about it then? Also, we seem to have got away (again) with the Adult Safeguarding Review story. I used iPlayer to check Radio Norfolk between 4pm and 7pm last night, and it was not on there at all. I think we may have been saved by the death of Terry Jones."

From the government's response to the Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism: "The government accepts the public good of traditional print newspapers and is committed to maintaining zero-rated VAT in this area. We also recognise that changes in technology are shifting traditional journalism online and we are therefore considering the merits and risks associated with extending the zero rate. In addition, the government has committed to extend the existing tax relief it provides through a business rate relief for local newspapers which has been in place since 2017, until 31 March 2025. The Chancellor will consider the case for a range of potential tax incentives to support the news publishing industry this year.”


Thursday, 23 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From ex-Guardian and Sun editors slam press over Harry and Meghan coverage to cameras in Crown Courts at last

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer: "All three of the major newspaper groups most obsessed with Harry and Meghan are themselves being sued by the couple for assorted breaches of privacy and copyright. There is, to any reasonable eyes, a glaring conflict of interest that, for the most part, goes undeclared."
  • David Yelland on Twitter: "Serious issues raised in this piece by @arusbridger; it is the absence of kindness, honesty and compassion, as I've said many times, which appalls."

Rebecca Long-Bailey on Twitter: 'The toxic combination of sexism and racism that runs rife through the right-wing press must be stopped. As leader of the Labour Party, I will do everything I can to fight it.'

Michael Moore in The Times [£]: "The BBC will announce significant cuts to its news operation as painful reforms are pushed through before the next director-general is appointed. Popular news programmes, which could include BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire and Radio 4’s World At One, are likely to bear the brunt in a push for more centralised commissioning. Producers and reporters will increasingly be expected to produce packages that can be reworked for multiple BBC news outlets, across TV, radio and online. Resources will be focused on digital news, a controversial move given complaints from commercial publishers that its ever-expanding website undermines their business models."
  • Victoria Derbyshire on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated at the plan to end our programme (which I first learned about in yesterday’s Times). I’m unbelievably proud of what our team and our show have achieved in under 5 years....breaking tonnes of original stories (which we were asked to do); attracting a working class, young, diverse audience that BBC radio & TV news progs just don’t reach (which we were asked to do); & smashing the digital figures (which we were asked to do) ... "

Robert Peston on Twitter: "Decision on who replaces Lord Hall as bbc DG is probably as important as who becomes next Labour leader. Because given size of @BorisJohnson’s majority, the task of holding the government to account will probably fall more on media than on parliamentary opposition."

Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson on Twitter: "Dear university (in Yorkshire) contemplating dropping shorthand from your syllabus as students ‘don’t like it’ nor feel it’s ‘relevant’. Here’s a thing: it is, and those who show the minerals to pass it are the ones that get jobs. End of."
  • Ex-Guardian investigations editor David Leigh on Twitter: "I managed a 45-year journalist career without having shorthand. Students, don't listen to this dinosaur. Learn Chinese or something."

The Guardian reports: "A man has been found guilty of aggravated assault against the Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of hostility to his leftwing political views and homophobia, following a two-day trial at Snaresbrook crown court. Anne Studd QC, the presiding judge, concluded at the end of the hearing that Jones was the victim of a “wholly unprovoked assault” outside a central London pub last August because of “his LGBT and his leftwing beliefs."

The Telegraph in a statement on pulling out of the Audit Bureau of Circulations monthly audit: "The ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) results published, today, January 16th, are the final set of ABC results Telegraph Media Group will take part in. Whilst they do show that the Telegraph remains the highest selling quality newspaper, by circa 8,000 copies a day, the ABC metric is not the key metric behind our subscription strategy and not how we measure our success. We will be transparent with our core subscriber numbers which are omni-channel and we will communicate these numbers each month. We will share both volumes and average revenue per subscription."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement welcoming news that television cameras are to be allowed into some Crown Courts across England and Wales: “The cause of open justice can only be served by this development which will open up the court proceedings to a public that is now used to receiving news and information in this video age. The proposals, while retaining the dignity of the courts, will be a huge step forward in ensuring transparency in the justice system, enabling the media to allow the public better access to judicial proceedings which in turn can only assure communities that justice is being seen to be carried out correctly."
  • John Battle, head of cmpliance at ITN, added: “This is a landmark moment and an important day for open justice and transparency of our legal system. For the first time the public will see images of proceedings in the Crown Court on television news. This change will help a wider audience to see and understand the criminal justice process for themselves."