Thursday, 22 August 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From PM is rolling out tabloid policies for tabloid editors to Elton gives press a rocket over Harry and Meghan coverage

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Britain is at peak tabloid. We have a tabloid Prime Minister rolling out tabloid policies for tabloid editors - who, by the by, never hired him back in the day because Rupert Murdoch’s @thetimes fired him for making stuff up!"

Channel 4 head of news Dorothy Byrne, giving the MacTaggart lecture“Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are cowards … If they really believe in the policies they promote, they should come on to television to explain them, to allow them to be scrutinised and to justify them.”

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Will the government scrap its a £100m Brexit 'public information' campaign now the truth's been leaked to a newspaper?"

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "The Sunday Times is a Brexit-backing Murdoch paper, yet editors considered it a duty to splash on this doomsday document supplemented with page after page of hair-raising warnings. The Brexit-backing Mail published the “Secret dossier’s 14 claims of chaos” in similarly startling detail. This may mark an earthquake moment, when some sense of imminent national meltdown drove these media organisations to warn their readers of no-deal reality before it’s too late. If you want a conspiracy theory with an optimistic twist, might they be terrifying their Brexit readers to soften them up for a Johnson climbdown?"

Mark Sweetwood, managing editor of the Ohio-based Vindicator newspaper which is closing after 150 years, as reported by the Guardian: “You still have neighbourhoods, where nice little old ladies live, where their kids all moved away to get jobs, [their] husbands died, but the women no longer know each other or the neighbours very well – or sometimes there’s no neighbours. And I’ve had so many of them call me and use this exact line – they say: ‘The Vindicator is my only friend'. I’ve heard that over, and over, and over again, and it haunts me.”

Owen Jones in the Guardian after he and a group of friends were victims of a violent late night attack: “We all know who the hate preachers are: one of them is the most powerful man on earth, the occupant of the White House. But there are also multiple politicians and people in the mainstream media who deliberately stoke tensions, who demonise minorities and who demonise the left.”

Danny Horan, head of factual at Channel 4, on its new three-part documentary series The World According to Paul Dacre, as quoted by the Sunday Times [£]: “Everything we thought we knew is about to be turned on its head.”

Carole Cadwalladr @carolecadwalla on Twitter: " 'Aaron Banks is such a colossal ballbag' 'Enough is enough' & 10,318 other reasons why people have donated to the at a staggering £276k. THANK YOU. Genuinely moved & gobsmacked. And very much hoping Banks reads the comments..."

Private Eye Magazine @PrivateEyeNews on Twitter: "In further 'death of print journalism' news, Private Eye's ABC sales figures for the first half of this year were 233,565. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy!"

Elton John @eltonofficial on Twitter"Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death."


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From life on a local... vomiting oysters, investigating dog poo and being shunned by Boris to 'traitor class' controls media

Kentish Gazette series editor Joe Walker @JoeWalker17 on Twitter: "Last week our new reporter@BradDAHarper vomited after taking part in an oyster-eating contest. Yesterday a golden retriever snatched a sandwich from his hand as he worked on a story about dog poo hotspots. Welcome to local journalism."

Oxford Mail local democracy reporter Nathan Briant after Boris Johnson shunned the paper on a visit to Oxfordshire: "I am not unrealistic in believing the regional press has any place above any other media. Boris Johnson's exclusive interview with the BBC’s Ben Wright obviously reached more people than the Oxford Mail or Oxfordshire broadcasters would have ever been able to do.
But Mr Johnson was chewing the fat with Conservative activists for about 45 minutes at a hotel in Abingdon. It would surely not have been unreasonable to ask him to have a quick chat with other broadcasters and newspapers for a tiny fraction of that time."

Simon O'Neill @SimonO19 on Twitter: "Politicians often extol the vital role of local media. Pity no one passed that message on to the control freaks who surround them."

Tim Montgomeries @montie on Twitter: "Peter Oborne. Daily Mail columnist. Attacks Dom Cummings. Regularly praises Jeremy Corbyn. Funny old world."

Peter Oborne @OborneTweets on Twitter: "I believe that columnists should try to be fair-minded and independent, and that there's a world of difference between reporting and propaganda."

Daniel Finkelstein @Dannythefink on Twitter: "When we first asked people to pay for online, I was in charge as executive editor. I did loads of interviews in which everyone was sure that it wouldn’t work. I was confident it would and that there wasn’t an alternative. I am thrilled with this."

Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy @krishgm on Twitter: "Today new official figures showed the UK economy shrunk for the first time since 2012. The pound has fallen to new lows. The Chancellor says he doesn't expect recession and doesn't fear No Deal. We invited Labour to comment on C4News tonight. They said nobody could."

David Aaronovitch @DAaronovitch on Twitter: "Not for the first time I’m left feeling that my fellow journalists should refuse to quote anonymous “senior Downing Street sources” sledging opponents. The public should know who has spoken and If they cannot say it in their own names they don’t deserve to be quoted."

Aron Pilhofer on Medium on the New Media Investment Group plans to acquire Newsquest publisher Gannett: "Here’s what struck me: In all the reporting about the ins-and-outs of this merger, I have yet see to how, in the end, this is going to end up serving the needs of local news consumers, their communities or the journalists who work there."

New UKIP leader Richard Braine in a press conference, as reported by The New European: "We are seeing the press being controlled. You have a duty to be impartial and objective as journalists, so do that because the reporting of Brexit has been so biased for so long now...I think they are being controlled by an EU federalist class - I mean I would go so far as to say a traitor class - people who are conspiring with foreign powers against the people of this country."

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists will rat on Brexit leakers claims Cummings to will The Athletic outmuscle the local press for football?

Dominic Cummings warning ministerial advisers they will be found out and sacked if they leak Brexit plans to the press, as reported by The Times [£]: “My worth to journalists is far greater than yours. For the right story they will rat you out. You have no rights.”

Dan Rather @danrather on Twitter: "To my fellow members of the press, I suggest we refrain from quoting the president's words from prepared speeches into headlines and tweets without context. He sometimes says the right thing. The real questions are what he does and what he really believes."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!"

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement after Newsquest owner Gannett was bought by the New Media Investment Group: "For hundreds of our members in Newsquest, today’s announcement will mean months of further uncertainty as regulatory approval is sought for this merger of the two biggest newspaper groups in the US...While it is positive that New Media talks about a 'shared commitment to journalistic excellence' we note that it is thought the combination of the two companies could bring savings of up to $300 million (£245 million) annually. We would urge that this publicly pledged support for high quality journalism should come with greater investment in journalists and journalism."

Reuters reports from Moscow: "Russia’s media regulator said it planned to change the law so it could fine British and other foreign media working in Russia for breaching impartiality standards, a step it called retaliation for London fining Russia’s RT TV channel."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement after comments made by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (pictured) in The Times, seeming to call for the introduction of anonymity for some people arrested on serious charges “It is absurd to suggest that in a liberal democracy we are going to create a system of justice that enables the rich, the powerful, and celebrities to be protected when they are under investigation for serious crimes but the ordinary man or woman would be offered no such protections.”

Carole Cadwalladr on her crowdfunding page:  "In November 2016, I began reporting on dark money, data and disinformation for a series of articles that have appeared in the Observer, Guardian & New York Times. It’s been a long and difficult road, but last year, our reporting on Cambridge Analytica kicked off a global scandal, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was dragged before Congress and multiple legal investigations are still ongoing. And it was just one part of our still on-going investigation into a skein of links between Brexit, Trump and Russia.  Now though that investigation is being threatened. A businessman who funded Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign - Arron Banks - and who is under investigation by the National Crime Agency, the British equivalent of the FBI, has filed formal proceedings against me. The result is that I will be tied up in litigation for months in a move that press freedom organisations have called an “abuse of law” to “silence a journalist” .These tactics cannot win. We desperately need more reporting on this vital subject not less. What I need now is more resources to build a team to pursue the investigation with me, to amplify the story and to continue the fight back for democracy. Every penny will be spent supporting journalism that is more necessary than ever."

Editor-in-chief Alex Kay-Jelski announcing the launch of new football site The Athletic UK: “Imagine hiring some of the best journalists in the country. Imagine having the time and resource to plan and execute in-depth articles in a world where West Bromwich Albion matter just as much as Manchester United, where the inside story at Burnley is put together with the same passion as the lowdown on the latest managerial change at Chelsea. Imagine ignoring the world of sensationalism and trying to share better – and untold – stories. Trying to stand out in the clickbait crowd. No, this is not a bad reworking of a John Lennon song. It’s The Athletic UK and from today we are bringing our journalism to you. We’ve put a lot of love, effort and care into it to even get to Day One so I hope you enjoy it."

Alex Mather, a co-founder of The Athletic, quoted by the New York Times in 2017: “We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing. We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From will the Boris Johnson press honeymoon last? to Dacre's damning view on the state of the British media

Owen Jones @OwenJones84 on Twitter: "I genuinely think that the official newspaper of a dictatorship would have been too embarrassed to print this."

Ex Sun editor David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "A piece of advice from an old hand. There is an inevitable sunlit upland Boris bounce in media. Give it two/three weeks. It will pass quickly."
Nick Cohen @NickCohen4 on Twitter: "The only bright note about having Vote Leave control the country is that it might bring an end to the dismally low standard of journalism of the last three years. Now they can be held to account for their promises."

Former colleague of Boris Johnson's new head of communications Lee Cain, an ex-reporter who used to dress up as the Mirror's Chicken, as reported by the Mirror: "Lee was actually a great Mirror Chicken. He attacked the role with real zeal and a great passion. The newsdesk were so impressed with his work he was used on a number of occasions. I vividly remember him coming in to the newsroom and prancing around still in his full outfit like a rooster. It’s hard to believe that a man with his past of taunting the cowardly Tories is now such a powerful figure inside No 10.”

Matt Chorley @MattChorley
on Twitter on talkRADIO's Ross Kempsell moving to No 10 as a policy adviser: "Congrats to Ross, but every time a journalist crosses over it is a setback for those of us who think our role is to interrogate, expose and ridicule the powerful, not audition for a job with them."

ITV Wales political editor Adrian Masters @adrianmasters84 on Twitter: "For the record then: on the Prime Minister’s first visit to Wales the national news outlets of Wales @ITVWales @BBCWalesNews and @WalesOnline weren’t allowed interviews. We were offered chance to ask questions but not to film them. Also for the record, I refused this offer. I hate to have turned down the chance to challenge Boris Johnson but I wouldn’t have been able to broadcast any of it. I’d have had to read quotes to the audience...I do think it’s a strange way to begin for a new Prime Minister who says he wants to strengthen the union to treat the main national news outlets this way."

Emily Bell in the GuardianIn the end, perhaps the biggest lesson the British media can learn from the US experience of Trump is that their work matters to people beyond their readership or audience, and to that end it needs to become more rigorous and more serious. On both sides of the Atlantic there is a circular firing squad of the commentariat who wonder, on a daily basis, how did this happen? The boring truth is that we need to pay attention to the substance and not the glockenspiel. When the circus has left town, we will need a reliable record to remind us of what happened, and how, and why."

Kyle Pope, the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journalism Review, quoted in the Guardian: “I’d encourage UK reporters to be brutally honest with themselves and their audience, about who Boris is and what his motivations are, then move on. Don’t let him be their editor, don’t let him dictate the news cycle.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement after the High Court ruled bulk surveillance powers do not breach freedom of expression rights: "The legal judgment is a blow to journalists and press freedom. The union has consistently challenged the UK’s investigatory powers and the authorities continue to use extensive secret surveillance techniques. The NUJ is concerned that the ability to access journalistic communications, in particular bulk interceptions and interference, without prior independent authority, places whistleblowers and sources at risk, and makes it more difficult to hold those in power to account. This risks jeopardising the role of the media as the public’s watchdog."

Paul Dacre in The Spectator: "The British media generally is in a dreadful state: Sky, a great British success story, now owned by the Americans; ITV’s shares on the floor amid rumours of a foreign merger; the ubiquitous Johnston Press bankrupt; the cadavers of the once mighty Mirror and Express being asset-stripped; Murdoch’s News UK setting aside around half a billion pounds for damages to phone-hacking victims; the Guardian, with its shrill feminism and hard-left juvenilia, dependent on charity; the Standard (what sublime hypocrisy is its editor George Osborne’s support for Boris) being investigated for its financial links to a Saudi regime that murders journalists; and the BBC, staffed by kids, run by an OAP, obsessed by filling every vacant post with women and dwarfed by the streaming giants."

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From ministers warned of legal threats to silence Carole Cadwalladr to why PM Boris Johnson chose politics over journalism

Open letter sent to the UK foreign and culture secretaries from press freedom campaigners, as reported by the Observer: "Following the recent global conference on media freedom held in London by the UK government, we write to draw your attention to what appears to be a growing trend to use strategic litigation against public participation (“SLAPP”) lawsuits as a means of intimidating and silencing journalists working in the public interest. Such legal threats are designed to inhibit ongoing investigations, and prevent legitimate public interest reporting. Abuse of defamation law, including through SLAPP lawsuits, has become a serious threat to press freedom and advocacy rights in a number of countries, including the UK."

The letter adds: "Numerous legal and online threats have been made against Carole Cadwalladr, whose journalism for the Observer and a range of other publications has stimulated a global debate about the power of online platforms to influence the behaviour of citizens, and raised important questions about the regulation of digital technology. The legal claim against Ms Cadwalladr, issued on 12 July by lawyers acting for Arron Banks, is another example of a wealthy individual appearing to abuse the law in an attempt to silence a journalist and distract from these issues being discussed by politicians, the media and the public at a critical time in the life of our democracy."

Observer editor Paul Webster in the Observer on Carole Cadwalladr: "Throughout her investigations she has been the target of a relentless campaign of smears and vilification by some of the subjects of her inquiries. The latest legal threats are a further attempt to smother vital investigative reporting.”

Steven Edginton in the Mail on Sunday stating he received the leak of ambassador Sir Kim Darroch's cables on the Trump administration: "Today I want to set the record straight and reveal the real story about how Sir Kim's diplomatic cables entered the public domain. I am sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists but this was not a Brexiteer plot to topple Sir Kim, nor was it some devilish scheme to torpedo the independence of the Civil Service by installing a political appointee in Washington. Instead, it was simply an honest journalistic endeavour...I worked first as a video journalist for a political website called Westmonster before stints as a digital strategist at the Taxpayers' Alliance and Leave Means Leave campaign. Since April, I have worked for the Brexit Party, helping run its social media feeds. I appreciate that my CV – and my pro-Brexit views – will inevitably fuel the conspiracy theories but I want to be absolutely clear: the leak of Sir Kim's cables had absolutely nothing to do with the Brexit Party."

Jon Sopel @BBCJonSopel on Twitter: "I’m sorry. I just don’t buy this. This account begs far more questions than it answers."

Lionel Barber @lionelbarber on Twitter: "The plot thickens.....but the idea that a 19 year old cub reporter was primarily responsible for the Darroch leak defies belief. After all, this involved a trove of diplomatic cables not a snatched telephone conversation about Ambo views on Trump!"

The NUJ in a statement on possible sale of former Johnston Press newspapers to Reach: “If parts of JPI Media are sold to Reach there will be an adverse impact on the market and those employed within it. A takeover of this kind would limit the scope for future jobs in the entire sector. Any deal that includes JPI Media’s flagship regional titles would lead to the market being dominated by just two companies - Reach and Newsquest. Both organisations have been relentless in reducing original content and the provision of local professional journalism. The union is concerned that decisions on editorial policy and news gathering and practice will be concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people and so we are calling on parliamentarians to investigate the lack of media plurality in Britain."

The Guardian reports: "Claims by Boris Johnson that regulations imposed by 'Brussels bureaucrats' were damaging the trade in kippers have been debunked by the European Commission, which said that the food safety obligations criticised by him were due to rules set by Britain."

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, chair of the European Parliament's fisheries committee, quoted in the Mirror: "Boris Johnson made his career as a journalist by writing stories about the EU that bore no relation to the truth.His latest fishy tale may have gone down well with Tory party members, but it sends the strongest possible message to Britain's European partners."

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Truly Orwellian. A complete fiction about a kipper. Followed by a promise to 'restore trust in politics'. "

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Boris Johnson built a career on lying about Brussels and he’s still at it."

Jim Pickard @PickardJE on Twitter: "Boris Johnson once told a colleague of mine he wanted to enter politics because 'no one puts up statues to journalists', that pretty much sums it up."

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From it's up to editors to decide what leaks to publish not the police to newsroom jobs in US down a quarter in 10 years

Met Police assistant Commissioner Neil Basu in a statement“The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter. I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s Government.”

The Mail on Sunday in a leader: "There can be no serious argument, in a free democracy, that the act of helping the people to be better informed should be a matter for the police, who after all keep telling us that they already have too much to do and too few staff with which to do it. It is absurd, if not actually ridiculous, that a truthful and accurate leak of significant material, enabling the voters of this country to be better informed and to make better choices, should be met in Whitehall and in Scotland Yard by threats of arrest and prosecution."

David Davis in a letter to The Times [£]: "Any competent senior police officer should have been aware that only a matter of weeks ago the lord chief justice of Northern Ireland struck down the search warrants and, implicitly, the case against two journalists arrested for receiving stolen property and breaching the Official Secrets Act. Their “crime” was broadcasting a leaked document detailing the scandalous failure by police to solve a UVF murder in Loughinisland 25 years ago. Had the lord chief justice not struck down the case, investigative journalism in the UK would have been crippled. The action should have telegraphed to senior police officers like Mr Basu that prosecuting journalists for embarrassing the state is not what we do in the UK."

Jeremy Hunt @Jeremy_Hunt on Twitter: "These leaks damaged UK/US relations & cost a loyal ambassador his job so the person responsible MUST be held fully to account. But I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them & judge them to be in the public interest: that is their job."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Fortunately, both the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party have stressed that freedom of the press is paramount. It would have been even more reassuring had the leader of the opposition come out in defence of the media’s duty to speak truth to power. Instead, Jeremy Corbyn has been focusing his energies on denouncing a BBC investigation into antisemitism within the Labour Party, aiming his fire as usual at the messenger and not the message."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on Neil Basu: "The decision on what to publish, as he must surely know, is a matter for editors, not for the police. We have not fought the cause of press freedom for centuries to plod our way into a police state."

Mark Di Stefano on BuzzzFeedNews: "A US sports website that wants to dominate the British football market has made a series of high-profile new signings, including an award-winning Guardian football writer and a BBC reporter with a massive following among London football fans.The incredible hiring spree has been described as "setting off a bomb" in the industry. BuzzFeed News has learned that the Athletic's latest hires are the Guardian’s chief football writer Daniel Taylor and the BBC’s top football correspondent David Ornstein."

Lionel Barber @lionelbarber on Twitter about Arron Banks suing Carole Cadwalladr: "Suing an individual - rather than an organisation -for libel is indeed a very important distinction. Clearly intended to muzzle @carolecadwalla who bust open the Cambridge Analytica scandal and is fearlessly pursuing questions about foreign money influence in Brexit referendum."

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Stout defences on Twitter etc of attacks on journalism in relation to BBC Panorama and Mail on Sunday. I hope people will be equally watchful of the use of money & libel laws to silence the reporting of @carolecadwalla"

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times [£]: "While British Jews are understandably concerned about the prospects of a Corbyn-led government, the BBC should also feel a chill. The Labour leader has already indicated that there will be a reckoning for those in the media he perceives as enemies. When the press ran with a story suggesting he had been a Czech intelligence service asset in the Cold War, he put out a video in which he warned the “media barons” that “change is coming”. I presume he meant some form of statutory control."

John Ware in the Observer on the Labour party's complaints about his Panorama programme about anti-semitism: “The Labour Party reaction last week did not terribly surprise me. But this is not the straight-talking party that Corbyn promised. This is an Arthur Daley version of Alastair Campbell’s spin.”

Matthew Parris in The Times [£] on fellow newspaper columnist Boris Johnson: "Brexit has become columnist-Johnson’s new and biggest idea: his easily grasped, all-singing, all-dancing and shrewdly voter-motivating grand project. Detail be damned: he will stick to it — until he doesn’t. He will pursue this pet project with all the clarity and force that a maestro of Fleet Street commentary can command. And if it falls, he will desert it with all the caprice that courses through a columnist’s veins. Boris never forgets that today’s column lines the bottom of tomorrow’s budgie cage."

Elizabeth Grieco at Pew Research Centre: "From 2008 to 2018, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 25%. In 2008, about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – worked in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2018, that number had declined to about 86,000, a loss of about 28,000 jobs."

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