Friday, 17 June 2011

Quotes of the week: Digital-first to deep-fried Mars

editor-in-chef Alan Rusbridger:
“By becoming a digital-first organisation we’re taking the next natural step, one which we believe all newspapers will eventually have to take.”

Tom MacMaster after admitting he was the writer of the
A Gay Girl in Damascus blog: "I never meant to hurt anyone. I am really truly sorry and I feel awful about this. Words alone do not suffice to express how badly I feel about all this. I betrayed the trust of a great many people, the friendship that was honestly and openly offered to me, and played with the emotions of others unfairly. I have distracted the world’s attention from important issues of real people in real places. I have potentially compromised the safety of real people. I have helped lend credence to the lies of the regimes. I am sorry."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott after the A Gay Girl in Damascus blog was shown to be a hoax: "We know that when using social media – as we will continue to do as part of our journalism – the Guardian will have to redouble its efforts in establishing not just methods of verification, but of signalling to the reader the level of verification we think we can reasonably claim."

Henry Porter in the Observer on the phone-hacking scandal: "Don't let vested interests tell you this story doesn't matter: it does – to all of us, because on this issue rests the future health of politics, journalism and our society."

Emily Bell, interviewed by AdWeek on the diffrences between journalism in the UK and US: "Somewhat to my shocking surprise, journalism is taken much more seriously in the States. I think it has a lot to do with the Constitution and the First Amendment. I think people actually feel strongly about freedom of expression, and they feel strongly about having a free press. The idea of balance and rigor is very different from the U.K., where the [print] press tends to be much more competitive, much more biased in terms of how it presents its reporting. Broadcasting is the opposite."

Former Scotsman editor John McGurk on allmediascotland: "On a quiet Monday, The Scotsman is unlikely to sell much more than 30,000. The Johnston Press share price hovers at 5p, pricing the whole empire at little over £30 million while labouring with some £350 million of debt. Remember, they paid £160 million for The Scotsman alone in 2006, leased the building and then got rid of the presses. Their only real asset in Edinburgh is the title and today that is worth a pittance."

Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard:
"Most significantly, there is precious little money flowing towards news websites. Bloggers may well point to the broken business model of newspapers - but they have no alternative themselves thus far."

A police spokesman after a Manchester Evening News photographer was arrested while covering a street brawl: “A photographer was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace and on suspicion of obstructing a police officer. Officers brought the situation under control and the photographer was de-arrested and subsequently released.”

From a new pamphlet by the I'm A Photographer, Not A Terrorist! campaign: "As photographers working in public places, we are still treated with a suspicion that is undeserved and not experienced by most citizens going about their daily business. The unjust laws need to be challenged, as do the private security guards who routinely prevent us from working. We must continue to defend the right to document the world around us."

Julie Burchill in the Independent: "I can't explain why I enjoy being disliked; it might have something to do with being an adored only child and growing up with an almost sociopathic sense of self-esteem. Verbal humiliation for me is what flagellation is for judges; when you feel so impervious, what could be more exotic than, momentarily, being treated like the lowest of the low?"

Sarah Harrison, of WikiLeaks, on Julian Assange's bail conditions: "I'm British and I'valways been proud of our justice system. But this is just wrong. This is a man who hasn't even been charged and he's being treated like a caged animal."

Brian Aitken, editor of The Journal, Newcastle, on HoldtheFrontPage: "I guess the most far-reaching story of mine was revealing the deep-fried Mars bar to the world. I didn’t actually write the story because I wasn’t a reporter at the time but I told the Evening Express newsdesk about this craze that had started amongst pupils at Mackie Acedemy in Stonehaven in the fish and chip shop across the road from where I was living. Our story was picked up by the Daily Record the following day – and then it went global. The Journal’s latest campaign is the Great North Fitness Revolution which is aimed at reducing the obesity levels of the people living in the North East. You could say that is penance for me."

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