Friday, 30 December 2011

Media Quotes of the Week: From Rod Liddle on Morgan and Mills to Quentin Letts on Coogan

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times:
"The most difficult question for me right now is this: whose side should one take in the spat between Piers Morgan and Heather Mills? A hard one to call. It’s like a war between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan: you sort of half hope that both countries annihilate the other and nothing remains but a slightly toxic dust. Or you do if, like me, you are a singularly unpleasant individual with no notion of moral responsibility."

Roy Greenslade on his blog on Sun managing editor Richard Caseby's note to Alan Rusbridger accompanied by a toilet roll : "Caseby's squalid, scatological note plumbs new depths. It was a wholly disproportionate and disgusting response by a senior editorial executive to a single error. If people were to adopt a similar tactic when complaining about The Sun's catalogue of factual errors on any given week its office would be overflowing with toilet rolls."

Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian: "A million iPads and Kindles may have been unwrapped on Sunday – according to tentative analyst estimates – an influx of portable technology that is expected to hasten a decline in the already faltering sales of printed newspapers, adding pressure on traditional business models that have traditionally supported so many titles around the country."

Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace on columnist Sue Carroll, who died on Christmas Day: "Although we knew this moment would come, it is still a great shock. Sue had faced her long and painful illness with enviable fortitude. Until the final few days she was still doing what she loved the most: reading the papers and giving her inimitable thoughts on the world around us - with, of course, the odd no-nonsense rant thrown in. Sue was part of the heart and soul of the Daily Mirror - and had a direct line to our readers. But she was also very close to some of us personally. So first and foremost we grieve a great friend."

JakeReesMogg on Twitter: "The longer one lingers on the pages of twitter the more one becomes aware of the number of frankly bonkers people on this delightful planet."

The Guardian in a leader on its Milly Dowler story:
"We should have qualified our original reporting with an additional four words: "Reliable sources claim that." This would have been an accurate statement of the unchallenged position at the time, as opposed to the assertion of a fact that has, five months later, been questioned, if not actually disproved or denied. We doubt whether the inclusion of those words would have changed much. But not to have qualified the statement in this way was an error that we regret."

Fleetstreetfox on Twitter:"BREAKING NEWS: There isn't any. Go back to bed."

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts suggests a New Year resolution for Steve Coogan: "Drop the self-pitying, victim-of-the-Press routine and stick to Alan Partridge."

Friday, 23 December 2011

Guardian 'regret' over Milly Dowler hacking story

The Guardian, in an editorial today, says it regrets that four additional words were missing from its original story (top) claiming that News of the World journalists had deleted the voicemails on Milly Dowler's phone that gave her family false hope that she was alive.

The editorial says: "That the Leveson inquiry has not been more full of surprises hitherto is down to the fact that there was such thorough and accurate reporting of the story in advance and from numerous civil court actions. Doubt has lately been raised about one key aspect of one story – whether News of the World journalists deleted the voice messages that gave Milly Dowler's parents false hope that their daughter might still be alive.

"We should have qualified our original reporting with an additional four words: "Reliable sources claim that." This would have been an accurate statement of the unchallenged position at the time, as opposed to the assertion of a fact that has, five months later, been questioned, if not actually disproved or denied. We doubt whether the inclusion of those words would have changed much. But not to have qualified the statement in this way was an error that we regret."

The editorial also says: "Now that Leveson is in full swing there are two mistakes the press can make. One is denial: that merely exacerbates the threat. An industry which can't see that something went seriously wrong self-evidently can't be trusted with self-regulation. The second mistake is to see Leveson merely as a threat rather than an opportunity. Of course, all journalists are anxious about restrictions that might hinder work which is genuinely in the public interest. But the judge has repeatedly said he is looking for constructive solutions and has no wish to restrict a free press. There may be a historic chance to address some of the hindrances and obstacles which genuinely do chill the press in this country. But that can only be done on the front foot – not from a defensive crouch."

Quotes of the Week: From Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson to a toilet roll from the Sun

Piers Morgan on the Leveson Inquiry: “It's almost like a rock star having an album brought out from his back catalogue with all his worst-ever hits”.

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times on the Daily Mail: "It has no sense of remorse or humility. It’s fuelled by hatred. It hates people who are successful. It hates people who are not. It hates people who are fat just as much as it hates people who are thin. It hates everybody. But for some reason it seems especially to hate me."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Daily Mail:"High Streets cannot go back to the good old days — online and out-of-town shopping have seen to that. It’s the same story with local papers and corner shops — people increasingly don’t want them. And as every business person knows, the customer is always right."

The Independent in a leader on the Leveson Inquiry: "One conclusion might be that the Leveson Inquiry is doing the right thing, even if it was set up for the wrong reason. But this would be to make the best of what is, at root, a bad job. The question must be faced squarely: is it right that this inquiry, which could transform regulation of the British press, should proceed at all, now it is clear that it was built on a misapprehension?"

Steven Nott on his Hackergate blog after being described as 'one sandwich short of a picnic' by Piers Morgan at the Leveson Inquiry: "Defamatory comments from former editors like Piers Morgan insulting a member of the public, doesn't bode well for the press not to be regulated"

Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch's biographer, on Twitter: "Leveson reform could well produce US-style newspapers in UK. Of course US-style newspapers have all gone (or will shortly go) bankrupt."

Grey Cardigan on Twitter in Press Gazette:
"No-one is safe from the faux outrage of the liberal Lefties who can blow a minor gaffe up out of all proportion. They are like the villagers storming Frankenstein’s castle, only they’re armed with hashtags and pixels instead of blazing torches and pitchforks."

Private Eye reports the contents of a note from Sun managing editor Richard Caseby to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, sent along with a toilet roll after the paper wrongly accused the Sun of doorstepping a member of the Leveson Inquiry team: “I hear Marina Hyde’s turd landed on your desk. Well you can use this to wipe her arse.”

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Independent: 'Should the Leveson Inquiry be going ahead as it was built on a misapprehension?'

The Independent in a leader today questions whether the Leveson Inquiry should proceed given the recent revelation that police do not believe that News of the World journalists hacked the voicemails on Milly Dowler's mobile which gave her parents false hope she was still alive.

Headlined 'This inquiry looks less substantial by the day', the leader states: "Even as danger seems to be lapping around the upper reaches of the popular press, however, the rationale for instituting the Leveson Inquiry in the first place suddenly looks shaky. It was The Guardian's claim about NOTW journalists deleting Milly's messages that revived public indignation about phone hacking and convinced politicians they had to "do something". That something became the inquiry headed by Lord Leveson.

"It was not just the politicians who were spurred into action. When he learnt of the distress to the Dowler family – who had interpreted the deleted voicemails as evidence that Milly was alive – Rupert Murdoch made public and personal apologies to her parents, agreed a £3m payment, and summarily closed the NOTW. Yet that report, as The Guardian now admits, was based on assumption, not fact. While journalists indeed hacked the messages, the deletions were probably made automatically.

"The 'what ifs' that follow are legion. What if The Guardian had reported only the hacking and not the deleting, would the public outcry have been as great? Would the Prime Minister have felt compelled to respond? Would there have been an inquiry at all, on top of the police investigation already in train? After all, if phone-hacking was going on – which it was – it was a breach not only of ethics, but the law.

"One conclusion might be that the Leveson Inquiry is doing the right thing, even if it was set up for the wrong reason. But this would be to make the best of what is, at root, a bad job. The question must be faced squarely: is it right that this inquiry, which could transform regulation of the British press, should proceed at all, now it is clear that it was built on a misapprehension?"

BBC cuts will hit UK creative sector says NUJ

Proposed BBC cuts – which will result in the loss of 2,000 jobs – will have a huge adverse impact on the UK’s creative industries sector, research commissioned by the NUJ claims.

An analysis carried out by Howard Reed of Landman Economics says that the cuts outlined in the BBC’s Delivering Quality First are likely to lead to a reduction in UK economic output of between £1.1 and £1.7 billion pounds per year at current (2011) prices.

His research concluded that there is a strong case for re-opening the licence fee deal and that people would be prepared to pay extra for a quality service.

The report, The BBC’s Delivering Quality First proposals: an assessment of the economic and social impact, and the potential for revisiting the licence fee settlement, says: “It is clear that the BBC cuts will have a huge adverse impact on the UK’s creative industries sector, just at the time when the country is relying on world-leading sectors such as this to spearhead economic recovery from the most serious economic crisis for seventy years. Economically, cutting the BBC by this much, at this time, looks like a dangerous and wrongheaded strategy.”

The report also found that the pattern of cuts to TV and radio services places into doubt several aspects of the BBC’s ability to meet its wider social objectives, in particular:
  • Smaller channels such as BBC Three and BBC Four which account for much of the wide diversity of the BBC’s output are being cut by more than average.
  • Older people are likely to be disproportionately affected by the planned cuts to BBC local radio services.
  • Currently, households outside London and the South of England are less likely to say that the BBC offers good value for money. The pattern of cuts to regional radio services is likely to exacerbate these regional imbalances.
The report said: “There is a clear danger that the harshness of the licence fee settlement will make it difficult for the BBC to drive the uptake of new technologies for media consumption in the way it did with Freeview in the 2000s, because it will lack the resources to invest in new technologies.

Howard Reed looked at the recent polling evidence of people’s willingness to pay extra on the licence fee and believes there is a solution to the BBC’s situation.

He said: “My analysis concludes that an alternative settlement where (for example) the BBC licence fee rose in line with inflation for the next six years, rather than being frozen in nominal terms, would have been viable, based on the headline polling evidence. In short, there is a clear case for revising the terms of the current BBC funding settlement.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “This report shows that the cuts to the BBC are not only putting the corporation’s future as a quality broadcaster in danger. The repercussions to the UK’s wider creative industries sector will also be adversely affected.

"Equally worrying is Howard Reed’s analysis which shows that the cuts will put in doubt the BBC’s ability to meet its wider social objectives laid out in its charter. The report also makes a compelling case for re-opening the licence fee deal.”

The report forms part of the NUJ’s submission to the consultation on Delivering Quality First.

    Wednesday, 21 December 2011

    'Barking' Nott bites back at Piers Morgan's jibes

    Steven Nott, the man who tried to alert the national press to the ease with which voicemails on mobile phones could be hacked, has hit back at Piers Morgan who described him as "barking" at the Leveson Inquiry yesterday.

    Nott said he is taking legal advice about "defamatory" comments by Morgan who also described him at the inquiry as "one sandwich short of a picnic."

    Nott contacted the national press, including the Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan was editor, in 1998 about the way mobiles could be easily hacked but could not interest the newspapers in the story.

    He later wrote on his Hackergate website: "It didn't take me long to realise 'What had I done ?' I couldn't believe I was so stupid to tell a National newspaper how to get hot news for free just by hacking into someones phone". The story was picked up by the local press and published by the South Wales Argus.

    Nott says Morgan: "Made some very defamatory remarks towards me and thinks because he's above the law, he can do what he wants, when he wants and to whom he wants.

    "I am just a member of the general public, who should not be vulnerable to such attacks by the likes of Mega celebs are who careless with their choice of words. I am seeking legal advice.

    "Whether he was Phone Hacking or not, that's his problem. I only submitted my evidence to Lord justice Leveson as I felt it was important that everyone knew. It was important enough for Operation Weeting to interview me for 3 hours in July of this year.

    "Whether people treat it as mere coincidence or something more sinister, that's up to them. Lord Justice Leveson will decide on all of the evidence submitted by everyone what the outcome will be and what may happen to the freedom of the press. With defamatory comments from former editors like Piers Morgan insulting a member of the public, doesn't bode well for the press not to be regulated."

    He has also posted a message to Morgan on Hackergate: "Mr Piers Morgan said he looked at this website in a lot of detail and studied it well. Maybe, there's some chance he may come back here to read this.

    Piers Morgan, you will no doubt be feeling quite happy with yourself that you 'slated' a member of the general public yesterday in front of your global fan club. That's a BIG WIN for you then Piers. I hope you feel proud of yourself. Thankyou so much for calling me 'barking' and 'psychotically obsessed'. A 'sandwich short of a picnic'. Your true colours are showing. Opening your mouth and insulting me yesterday has done you far more harm than you think. You had no right to behave in such a manner. To reiterate, I am seeking legal advice and NOT mental advice.

    journalist James Ball tweets that Morgan's comments at the Leveson Inquiry are covered by absolute privilege.

    Political blogger Guido Fawkes has published a letter sent to him by the Leveson Inquiry asking a number of questions. Guido says his response will be “you have no chance of trying to regulate the worldwide web.”
    • Pic: Piers Morgan at the Leveson Inquiry

    Top stories and most prolific journalists of 2011

    The Arab Spring, including the overthrow and killing of Gaddafi, phone-hacking and the Eurozone debt crisis were the most covered stories of 2011 in the UK, according to journalisted.

    The Arab Spring generated 3,447 articles, sparked by demonstrations in Tunisia, which then spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and Syria.

    There were 12,858 articles on Colonel Gaddafi, 3,554 articles on President Assad, 2,449 articles on the protests in Tahrir Square, and 1,363 articles on Tunisia's Ben Ali.

    The News International phone-hacking scandal dominated headlines this year, prompting numerous resignations and the closure of the News of the World, with 8,260 articles (including 5,820 articles on the News of the World, 3,891 articles on Rupert Murdoch, 2,381 articles on Andy Coulson, 2,365 articles on Rebekah Brooks and 1,247 articles on the Leveson Inquiry).

    In the financial world, the Eurozone debt crisis took centre stage, with 6,416 articles.

    In March, a 9.0 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami hit Japan, destroying towns and villages in the north-east of the country, 3,744 articles (including 3,708 articles on the meltdown of Fukushima nuclear plant which was caused by the natural disaster).

    Osama bin Laden killed in a US operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, 2,346 articles.

    The royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place in April. Millions of viewers worldwide tuned in to watch the ceremony, 1,669 articles.

    Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, died at the age of 56 in October, 1,593 articles.

    The summer riots gripped London and other major cities in England, 1,190 articles.

    In Norway, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik carried out two terrorist attacks, killing dozens, 730 articles.

    Covered little this year, according to journalisted, were Israel and Palestine participated in a prison swap, 212 articles; Mexico’s ongoing drug war, 113 articles; South Sudan became an independent state, 62 articles; the world population reached seven billion, 57 articles; MPs voted in favour of keeping the blanket ban on prisoners voting, 54 articles; an e-petition calling for the release of documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster collected 100,000 signatures 52 articles; Deadly mudslides hit Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 47 articles.

    Most prolific journalists (by number of articles) were:
    • Roy Greenslade (Guardian): 1,057
    • Ashleigh Rainbird (Mirror): 938
    • Sarah Bull (MailOnline): 910
    • Sarah Fitzmaurice (MailOnline): 903
    • Nick Fletcher (Guardian): 870
    • Clemmie Moodie (Mirror): 858
    • Graham Hiscott (Mirror): 835
    • Josh Halliday (Guardian): 790
    • Richard Hammond (Mirror): 780
    • Tricia Phillips (Mirror): 775

        Tuesday, 20 December 2011

        Sally Murrer proposed Webb for NUJ membership

        Sally Murrer, the Milton Keynes Citizen reporter who was cleared of obtaining police information illegally in a high profile court case in 2008, proposed private investigator Derek Webb as an NUJ member.

        She was asked to do so after Webb, a co-defendant in the case in which the judge said he should be treated like a journalist because he was engaged in journalistic activities, was also cleared.

        Murrer walked free from court after a judge ruled that prosecution evidence against her was inadmissible. She was due to face trial along with Webb and a former Thames Valley police detective sergeant, Mark Kearney, who was also cleared.

        There has been growing concern within the NUJ about how Webb, who spied for the News of the World on the solicitors acting for phone hacking victims, got a union card.

        Murrer told me: "I proposed Derek as an NUJ member. He was desperate for money and wanted to continue working for the News of the World.

        "I'd heard the judge in our case give him journalist status which was the reason the case against him was dropped. I was consumed by the case and because of that I proposed him on the form.

        "It wasn't until this all came up recently that I questioned it and wondered if more private investigators had become NUJ members. At the time I just felt sorry for him, he told me the News of the World said he had to have a press card to continue working for them.

        "If I did anything wrong I am really sorry. I believe the NUJ should be for journalists and they had a chance to examine this before it was seconded and approved. I've got nothing to hide and neither should the NUJ."

        Murrer was accused of three offences of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office. Webb pleaded not guilty to five offences of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.

        In a landmark ruling judge Richard Southwell said that any evidence gathered by police using a a bug should be excluded under European laws that protected the rights of journalists and their sources.

        GOTCHA! The Best Media Quotes of the Year 2011

        Here are my Media Quotes of the Year dominated by phone hacking, the closure of the News of the World, WikiLeaks, privacy and the Leveson Inquiry.

        Phone hacking

        Rupert Murdoch to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing into phone hacking: "This is the most humble day of my life."

        Andy Coulson on leaving Downing Street: "I stand by what I've said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on."

        Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on Coulson resigning: "This is the result of first class investigative reporting by one Guardian reporter, Nick Davies, sustained over a very long period of time. From the moment he revealed the secret payout to Gordon Taylor in July 2009 it was obvious that Andy Coulson's position was untenable. But this is not the end of the story by any means. There are many outstanding legal actions, and uncomfortable questions for others, including the police."

        The BBC's Robert Peston on his blog: "Not to over-dramatise, this has all the potential for the newspaper industry to turn into its version of the MPs' expenses scandal."

        Sky News political editor Adam Boulton: "Two important sectors of our society now feel under a great deal of pressure, beset by plunging fortunes and public esteem: newspapers and politicians. As they go down they are turning in on each other with increasing viciousness - politician against journalist, politician against polititian, journalist against journalist."

        Blogger Guido Fawkes: "Obviously a line was crossed, catching out a liar by listening to their voicemail can be sold to the public. Raiding the privacy of suffering citizens cannot. This crisis is monstrous for Murdoch, but the Telegraph, BBC and Guardian Media Group are having an absolute field day. Far from being a crisis for them, this is all their Christmases rolled into one."

        Tom Watson MP to James Murdoch: "You must be the first Mafia boss in history who did not know he was running a criminal enterprise."

        James Murdoch: "Mr. Watson, that's inappropriate."

        AA Gill in the Sunday Times on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:"Tom Watson begins the questioning. His anger is barely contained by his bulk. The porcine eyes flash. During the expenses scandal it was revealed that he claimed the maximum £4,800 as a food allowance in a single year. No one could accuse him of wasting it."

        Ex-News of the World legal manager Tom Crone to the DCMS select committtee: "We went to see Mr [James] Murdoch and it was explained to him what the document was and what it meant. It was clear evidence that hacking was taking place beyond Clive Goodman."

        The Guardian's Michael White imagines a conversation between James Murdoch and his Dad: “Pops. Is Rebekah going to be our new mum?”

        Chase Carey, deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, News Corporation: "We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate."

        The News of the World

        James Murdoch on the decision to close the News of the World: "The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."

        Rebekah Brooks to News of the World staff: "Worse revelations are yet to come and you will understand in a year why we closed the News of the World."

        Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "It has surprised me to read fellow defenders of the free press saying how sad they are that the News of the World closed. In its stupidity, narrowness and cruelty, and in its methods, the paper was a disgrace to the free press. No one should ever have banned it, of course, but nor should anyone mourn its passing. It is rather as if supporters of parliamentary democracy were to lament the collapse of the BNP."

        Damian McCrystal on the Guardian's Comment is Free: "Instead of defending their wayward sibling, Britain's journalists handed it to the wolves. It looked to an outsider like an act of cowardice and treachery. I know for certain that other newspapers in other media groups have, directly or indirectly, used the same investigative tactics. If or when that emerges, giving ammunition to the growing censorship lobby, journalists will bitterly regret their disloyalty."

        Jon Gaunt on Question Time:
        "The wrong red-top has gone. Rebekah should go".

        News of the World political editor David Wooding: "The loss of the News of the World from our lives is a bombshell like the break-up of the Beatles, the collapse of Woolworths and the end of Concorde. Only this time, instead of reporting the story, we are it. Britain's crooks, thieves, conmen and fakers won't miss the News of the World. But everyone who loved a great story, well told, will."

        Milly Dowler

        Sally Dowler, mother of Milly Dowler, at the Leveson Inquiry on the moment she
        found her daughter's phone messages had been deleted and had cried out to her husband: “She’s picked up her voicemail, Bob, she’s alive.”

        Guardian amends its July story on Milly Dowler: "Editor's note: evidence secured by police following the publication of this article has established that the News of the World was not responsible for the deletion of voicemails which caused Milly Dowler's parents to have false hope that she was alive."

        Guardian's Nick Davies on Sky News: “To claim that it is the deletion element of that story which made all the difference is a grotesque distortion. There was always the risk that if we came out with the new evidence that mischief-makers would get hold of it and try to make more of it than should be made.”

        Sun managing editor Richard Caseby to the House of Lords Communications Committee: "It is now clear that Alan Rusbridger has effectively sexed up his investigation into phone hacking and the wider issue of wrongdoing in the media.”


        The Sun on the Appeal Court ruling that stopped the press naming a sportsman said by the paper to be a love cheat: "Yesterday was the day Britain became a judicial banana republic. The nation that created the rule of law bent its knee to a sportsman who fornicates his way through life like a dung hill rooster."

        Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming in the Commons: "In a secret hearing this week Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker. Will the government have a debate or a statement on freedom of speech and whether there's one rule for the rich like Fred Goodwin and one rule for the poor?"

        Andrew Marr in the Daily Mail about his privacy injunction: "I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists. Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes. But at the time there was a crisis in my marriage and I believed there was a young child involved. I also had my own family to think about, and I believed this story was nobody else's business."

        Jeremy Clarkson tells the Sun why he lifted an injunction on his ex-wife: "Injunctions don't work, they are pointless. If you have one, everyone on Twitter and the internet knows you've got it. But because I am bound by the same order, I can't speak about it or defend myself. There is an assumption that I am guilty because I can't say anything. My wife and I decided to let it go. My ex-wife is now free to tell her story and people can either believe it or not, it's up to them."

        Ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan at the Leveson Inquiry: "Privacy is for paedos, no-one else needs it."

        Blogger Guido Fawkes' advice to celebs on Sky News: “If you don’t want to be on the front pages then don’t pay hookers to stick dildos up your bum.” Adam Boulton moved swiftly on.

        WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

        Reuters quotes official who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by US State Department officials: "We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging."

        Julian Assange's legal team on the dangers of his extradition to the US: "Indeed, if Mr Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr Assange should be executed."

        Ian Katz in the Guardian: "By the start of this year, despite countless attempts at reassurance, Assange had decided the Guardian was out to get him. WikiLeaks now viewed the Guardian as akin to the Pentagon, he told me. As I write this, a WikiLeaks tweet rich with irony suggests the relationship may have chilled a few degrees since then: 'The Guardian book serialisation contains malicious libels. We will be taking action'."

        Stephen Glover in the Independent on Julian Assange: "The Guardian may not regret getting into bed with this seemingly awful man, but it certainly has no intention of being caught lingering there."

        Tom Junod in Esquire on the New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller and his relationships with the founder of WikiLeaks: "What Bill Keller really wants the public to know is that when he climbed into bed with Julian Assange, he made sure to wear a condom, manufactured from the impermeable rubber of his own distaste."

        Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph after it led on a WikiLeaks inspired story about Libya: "A while back I questioned how interesting the material released by WikiLeaks was. Excuse me while I reverse my ferret."

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaking at Cambridge University: "While the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen."

        Julian Assange as told to Ian Hislop: "The reporters on the Guardian disappointed me they failed my masculinity test. They behaved like gossipping schoolgirls."

        David House, a friend of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of passing secrets to WikiLeaks, in the Guardian: "You can hear Bradley coming from a long way away because of the chains – his feet have chains on them, they go to a leather belt around his waist. His hands go into them and he has no free movement of his hands."

        Journalism Standards

        Greg Reardon, the boyfriend of Jo Yeates on coverage of her murder: "Jo's life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet innocent men has been shameful. It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age."

        BBC College of Journalism executive editor Kevin Marsh speaking at Gray's Inn debate on libel law reform: "We journalists - particularly in gatherings like this or when we're delivering disingenuously serious-minded, ironic, hypocritical keynote speeches at Editors' Conferences - deceive ourselves about why we're loathed by the very public in whose interest we profess to report. We tell ourselves it's because we're independent, bloody-minded, won't be bamboozled, stand up to pressure and tell it how it is. But surely we know it's none of those things. It's because too many journalists make up too much, too often. And then, when they're found out, writhe every which way rather than put it right."

        Daily Star reporter Richard Peppiatt’s "I quit" letter to proprietor Richard Desmond: “ 'The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas'.Well, try this: 'The lies of a newspaper in London can get a bloke’s head caved in down an alley in Bradford.' If you can’t see that words matter, you should go back to running porn magazines. But if you do, yet still allow your editors to use inciteful over insightful language, then far from standing up for Britain, you’re a menace against all things that make it great."

        Roy Greenslade in Media Guardian: "It is time for the responsible, serious section of the British press to disengage from any coalition with the popular newspapers. The willingness to ignore their misconduct has led us all astray and increased the public's lack of trust in all journalism."

        Jane Goldman interviewed in the Sunday Times: “People who work on tabs have to dehumanise the people they write about, otherwise they can’t live with themselves. They have to think everyone is publicity-hungry and an attention whore, and not worthy of your respect as a fellow human being, or how do you do your job?”

        Andrew Alexander in the Daily Mail: "Every few years politicians succumb to the desire to impose codes of ethics on journalists. We have had three attempts in the past half century or so to achieve this by committee of inquiry without much result. David Cameron wants us to try again. It will be like grappling with a blancmange."

        Reed Business Information's editorial development manager Adam Tinworth: "From now on, I'm a blogger not a journalist. Don't want my credentials dragged down by association with newspaper hacks."

        Gordon Brown at the Edinburgh Festival: “In Britain, what the press do, if they really want to get at someone, is they challenge their motives and their integrity. They try to suggest that they’re not the person that they say they are. The way the press works in this country is they try to doubt the motives of people all the time. They try to suggest that you’ve got a malign purpose in what you’re doing. And they try to take pieces of people’s characters and destroy those pieces so they can make their political point as a result of that. You can’t say it is not hurtful.”

        Nick Davies interviewed by the Media Matters for America website on the impact of Rupert Murdoch on journalism in the UK: "Rupert Murdoch has made Britain a more racist, more sexist and more stupid place. Because of what he did to the Sun, and what the Sun did to other newspapers."

        Sky News political editor Adam Boulton on Twitter: "Is it time for a Self-Hating Journalists Club? Roy Greenslade, John Lloyd, Brian Cathcart founding members perhaps?"

        Roy Greenslade responds: "I don't hate journalists. But I do hate hackers, stalkers, users of agents provocateur and routine users of subterfuge."

        Business Models

        Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times: "The Huffington Post is a brilliantly packaged product with a particular flair for addressing the cultural and entertainment tastes of its overwhelmingly liberal audience. To grasp its business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates."

        Guardian 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.”

        Steve Bowbrick in The Word magazine on blogs vs. social networks: "The blogs, because of their independence and energy and the sense that anything is possible, have defied the irrelevance threatened by the social networks. They represent the richness and value of human subjectivity and the potential for open and honest communication, even in the age of collapsing business models and fading media behemoths."

        Journalism Cuts:

        Mike Lockley editor of the Chase Post closed down by Trinity Mirror Midlands: "Times and technology change, people’s desire to know what’s happening in their community doesn’t. A town without its own weekly newspaper is a town without a heart."

        Woking News & Mail reader Rachel Tytherleigh on the closure of the paper: "My daughter, Lucy Constantine, has been a member of the WN&M's Press Gang for a couple of years now. She was looking forward to seeing her 10th birthday printed in the Press Gang section on March 24. Unfortunately, ...this can no longer happen."

        Chris Morley, the NUJ’s Northern and Midlands organiser, in a blog for Ethos PR: “Local newspapers are not dead but they are being killed by remote and irresponsible owners who care nothing for them but as a source of ready cash. The damage is being compounded by the air of defeatism being generated by often timid editors (with a few honourable exceptions) who refuse to challenge the bean counters to protect their own titles."

        Grey Cardigan in Press Gazette on why the "grey men in grey suits" forced out Northcliffe's outspoken editors: "They couldn't handle the boardroom battles, the cult of 'Editorial is King' and the notion that people would fight to the death for what was right for their newspapers, their readers and their staff. So off they had to go."

        Covering the riots

        Paul Lewis in the Guardian on covering the riots: "The first portal for communicating what we saw was Twitter. It enabled us to deliver real-time reports from the scene, but more importantly enabled other users of Twitter to provide constant feedback and directions to troublespots. While journalists covering previous riots would chase ambulances to find the frontline, we followed what people on social media told us. By the end of the week, I had accumulated 35,000 new Twitter followers."

        : "As I pulled up by Salford precinct, I was greeted by crowds of young people - some as young as 10 or 11. Seconds later cars screeched by as young boys pulled wheelies on motorbikes. Within minutes of leaving my car and standing by BBC Radio Manchester's radio-car, bricks were hurled at myself and a colleague. We took cover by the empty markets...Gangs cheered as the radio-car went up in flames."

        Unemployedhack on his blog: "Journalists are finally being shown in a good light. The reporters, just days ago dismissed as 'scum', are now celebrated as they report on, photograph and film riots across London and the UK. Someone even mentioned that reporters are on low pay while they respond to early morning calls to report on and film burning cars, looted shops and the smashed windows along high streets."

        Kevin Marsh in Press Gazette on covering the aftermath of the riots: "What if the press and broadcasters - especially local and regional media - saw their role as helping to find the answers? What if we realised that whining on the margins wasn't good enough any more? Maybe that would change the way we looked at and reported the deep-seated problems that affect us all. And maybe we journalists would find we were relevant, respected and trusted once more."

        Bryony Gordon sends a love letter to a Sky News reporter via her Telegraph column: "Mark Stone, beefcake, hunk, my hero. A Sky News reporter who makes Buzz Lightyear look like Postman Pat, a breath of broadcasting fresh air after hours of Identikit aerial shots from the ubiquitous Skycopter. This chiselled god of news fearlessly took to the streets of Clapham on Monday night to confront the feral youths rampaging through his local branch of Currys Digital."

        Johann Hari

        Johann Hari in the Independent: "In my work, I’ve spent a lot of time dragging other people’s flaws into the light. I did it because I believe that every time you point out that somebody is going wrong, you give them a chance to get it right next time and so reduce the amount of wrongdoing in the world. That’s why, although it has been a really painful process and will surely continue to be for some time, I think in the end I’ll be grateful my flaws have also been dragged into the light in this way. I would like to apologise again to my readers, my colleagues and the people hurt by my actions. I know that some of you have lost faith in my work. I will do everything I can now to regain it. I hope, after a period of retraining, you will give me the chance."

        Blogger Fleet Street Fox offers to train Johann Hari: "I'll send him out on deathknocks, pack jobs, magistrates' hearings, junkie inquests, tell him to drive 300 miles on a hopeless tip at 10pm then insist he's back at work for 7am, make him spend his birthday at a late-night local council planning committee, publish his phone number and paint his name on the side of his car so everyone knows who he is. I'll show him what to do when someone comes at him with a lump of wood or collapses in tears, and how to file off a notebook down a bad line while you're being shot at to someone who's drunk."

        Osama Bin Laden

        TIME magazine's headline on story about journalism graduate Vice-Admiral William McRaven, who commanded the SEAL team that hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden: 'The Most Deadly Would-be Journalist in the World.'

        Death of Gaddafi

        Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott on the use by the paper of pictures of Gaddafi's bloodied corpse: "At the time I agreed with the Guardian's decision to publish. On reflection – and having read the complaints – I feel less convinced about the way we used these photographs, although I still feel strongly that they are an important part of this story and should have been used. The scale of the photo on the newspaper front page of 21 October and prominent picture use on the website took us too close to appearing to revel in the killing rather than reporting it. And that is something that should feature in our deliberations the next time – and there will be a next time – such a situation arises."

        Sky News' Alex Crawford

        Richard Edmondson in the Independent: "If you want to make my wife, Alex Crawford, angry you might either call her a female reporter or suggest she does not care much about her children. If you want to end it all you could mix a fatal cocktail of the two. Tell her that a woman journalist should not be going to war zones, especially when there are kids back home to cuddle. It would be a swifter end than strychnine."


        Hugh Grant after being asked 'How frustrating is it for you that people are more interested in your love life than your films?'
        by a BBC interviewer in 2003:"I do get frustrated, but I understand where the instinct comes from. When I think about actors I know, I’d much rather hear about who they’re shagging than what film they’re doing next."

        Dominique Strauss-Khan

        New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser gives Dominique Strauss-Khan a Glenda Slagg-style send off: "Get back on that Air France jet and soil your linens back home, Mr. Big Shot. We don't like your kind."

        Cocktail cock-up

        Guardian correction: "The actor Tom Hardy said in an interview that his training for a role as a cage fighter in the film Warrior included "two hours mai tai" each day - he meant the combat sport "muay thai", not the fruity cocktail."

        Teaser of the year

        MailOnline: 'How I stole my husband's sperm in the middle of the night by Liz Jones'.

        Garth Gibbs RIP

        Ex-Mirror journalist Garth Gibbs, who died in August, on his hunt for Lord Lucan: "I regard not finding Lord Lucan as my most spectacular success in journalism. Of course, many of my colleagues have also been fairly successful in not finding Lord Lucan. But I have successfully not found him in more exotic spots than anybody else. I spent three glorious weeks not finding him in Cape Town, magical days and nights not finding him in the Black Mountains of Wales, and wonderful and successful short breaks not finding him in Macau either, or in Hong Kong or even in Green Turtle Bay in the Bahamas where you can find anyone."

        Leveson on Leveson

        Lord Justice Leveson on his inquiry into media ethics: “I want this inquiry to mean something. I am very concerned that it should not simply form a footnote in some professor of journalism’s analysis of the history of the 21st century while it gathers dust.”

        And another thing...

        Jon S - Happy Christmas to all my readers

        Monday, 19 December 2011

        Rupert Murdoch 'steaming' over Dowler evidence

        Rupert Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff has tweeted about the News Corp chief's reaction to the revelations by police that News of the World journalists are unlikely to have deleted the voicemails on Milly Dowler's mobile which gave false hope that she was still alive.

        According to Wolff (who appears to have mixed up voicemails with emails) on Twitter: "Rupert steaming (some more) about #NOTW closure--feels the deletion of the emails was most damaging. Without that, NOTW could have survived."

        Meanwhile, the spat between the Guardian and the Independent's media columnist Stephen Glover over its article in July about the hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemails is continuing.

        Last week Nick Davies wrote to the Independent disputing comments made by Glover about the article.

        Today Glover writes: "What the article might reasonably have said was that the paper had hacked into Milly's phone, adding that it was also alleged it might have been responsible for the deletion of voicemails. In other words, it went further than it should have. A very good story was overegged. And, as a result, politicians, journalists and others cottoned on to the shocking, but untrue, revelation that the Sunday red-top had given the Dowlers the unfounded hope that their daughter was still alive...I am sorry Mr Davies will not admit fault. He deserves a great deal of praise for often single-handedly pursuing the phone-hacking story. Without him we would know only a fraction of the News of the World's misdemeanours.

        "Nonetheless, he represented as fact an allegation which we now know – and which he should openly concede – to have been wrong."

        Press Gazette is reporting that Richard Caseby, managing editor of the Sun, wrote to the Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, and its readers' editor, Chris Elliott, on Friday asking for corrections in print and on the paper's website of 26 articles published since the July story about Milly Dowler.

        The Guardian is making a formal representation to the Leveson Inquiry about the Milly Dowler story.
        • Pic: James and Rupert Murdoch appearing before the culture select committee last July in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. Murdoch senior described it as "the most humble day of my life".

        Sunday, 18 December 2011

        Jeremy Clarkson in turbocharged attack on Mail

        Is this wise? Jeremy Clarkson has launched an all out attack on the Daily Mail and its reporters in his Sunday Times column.

        It begins: "Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you can neither see nor feel the monster that’s attacking you?

        "But you know it’s there all right, and unless you can get away, it’s going to gobble you up, burn your house down and sell your children for medical experiments.

        "Well, let me tell you, such a creature exists in real life. It’s called the Daily Mail.

        "Like a Terminator, it doesn’t know right from wrong. You can’t reason with it.

        "It has no sense of remorse or humility. It’s fuelled by hatred. It hates people who are successful. It hates people who are not. It hates people who are fat just as much as it hates people who are thin. It hates everybody. But for some reason it seems especially to hate me."

        Commenting on the coverage he was given for his satirical comments on The One Show about shooting striking public sector workers, Clarkson adds: "The worst, though, came from the Mail. It said that I was a mental, that my mother had been extremely right-wing and that my parents had had little empathy with those less fortunate than themselves. Quite what my poor old mum had done to deserve this after years of unpaid public service, I’m not entirely sure.

        "But that’s the trouble with the Mail. There are many creatures on this earth that behave in an unusual way. We can’t explain how pigeons find their houses from thousands of miles away or how salmon can find the very spot where they were born. But nothing in the kingdom of nature is quite so unfathomable as a Mail reporter.

        "They look human. They have opposable thumbs and are capable of catching buses. But they don’t have the capacity for reason. You can tell them what happened. You can prove it. But it will make no difference."

        Clarkson even suggests that it should have been the Mail that was closed down rather than the News of the World. He writes: "Last week Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, was asked by an MP if I was a luxury the corporation could not afford. In the Daily Mail this became a statement. 'Jeremy Clarkson is a luxury the BBC cannot afford.' Somehow it had turned a question into a fact. I really do believe that in the whole furore over press standards the wrong newspaper has been closed down."

        I know it's Christmas but I can't imagine the Mail taking this assault lying down. Retaliation may be swift.

        • The Sunday Times is behind a paywall

        Friday, 16 December 2011

        Year ends with two more regional editors leaving

        What a year for the regional press losing its top daily editors. I make it eight that have gone this year.

        Today it was revealed that Marc Astley editor of the Express & Echo in Exeter, which has gone weekly, has decided to leave after six years and another well known and long serving editor, Neal Butterworth, is also departing the Bournemouth Echo.

        Butterworth's departure has prompted speculation that the Bournemouth Echo and Dorset Echo will merge under one editor in what has been described as a "restructuring exercise". Butterworth was appointed editor of the Echo in 1998.

        In October, the highly-rated Keith Perch quit as editor of the Leicester Mercury.

        Other daily regional editors who have resigned this year are: The Shropshire Star's Sarah-Jane Smith; the Newcastle Evening Chronicle's Paul Robertson; the Hull Daily Mail's John Meehan; the Lincolnshire Echo's Jon Grubb; and Dave King at the Swindon Advertiser.

        It was also announced today that Ken Bird is leaving as editor-in-chief of the Somerset County Gazette to join the PR and events team at Taunton School. He has beeen replaced by news editor Alex Cameron.

        Update: I've missed one daily editor. (see post below)

        • It has been confirmed that Toby Granville, the editor of the Dorset Echo, will also edit the Bournemouth Echo and has been appointed group editor of the titles.
        • Pics: Marc Astey (left); Neal Butterworth (right).

        So how easy is it to become a member of the NUJ?

        In the past I've asked the NUJ how Derek Webb, the private investigator who spied for the News of the World on solicitors acting for phone hacking victims, became a member of the union.

        A union spokeswoman said they could not discuss the matter because membership issues are covered by data protection legislation.

        Here's what Webb told the Leveson Inquiry, as reported by the Independent:

        Asked by Lord Leveson what he had put down on the form to join the NUJ, Mr Webb said: "I just filled in the basic details... I couldn't put down that I had any experience, so I didn't because I hadn't." He told the inquiry he had never written anything for the tabloid or been bylined in any story – but that he had followed a footballer's wife for a month. "It was hard work – she went everywhere," he said.

        My understanding is that you have to be proposed and seconded by NUJ members, approved by a union branch and show you make most of your income through journalism before you get an NUJ card.

        So how did Webb become a member? Who proposed and seconded him and which branch approved him?

        Now Webb's explained how he became a member, shouldn't the union explain how it was allowed to happen?

        UPDATE: Webb has resigned from the NUJ. A union spokesperson has told Roy Greenslade: "The union does not have the resources to check every single application form – that is why our rules ensure that prospective members have proposers to vouch for them.

        "In practice, this is done in workplaces by our chapel representatives... if the News of the World had had a functioning NUJ chapel, its representatives and members would have known of Derek Webb's true involvement with the paper."

        • Pic: Sam Spade. Is he an NUJ member?

        Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian Milly Dowler story row to baby polar bears

        Guardian's Nick Davies on Sky News: “To claim that it is the deletion element of that story which made all the difference is a grotesque distortion. There was always the risk that if we came out with the new evidence that mischief-makers would get hold of it and try to make more of it than should be made.”

        Stephen Glover in the Independent: "Long experience has taught me that the Guardian does not like admitting it has got things wrong, so I am not at all surprised by the way it has handled a correction to what may well be the most explosive and influential story it has ever published."

        Sun managing editor Richard Caseby to the Joint Committee on Privacy Injunctions: "It is now clear that Alan Rusbridger has effectively sexed up his investigation into phone hacking and the wider issue of wrongdoing in the media.”

        Ex-NoW political editor David Wooding on Twitter: "Nick Davies pleads that only one element of his story was wrong. Yes, Nick, the main element of it."

        Tom Latchem, a former News of the World reporter, on Sky News "This allegation [that reporters deleted the voicemails] really made me feel sick. I thought, 'Why am I working for a company that would fund the hacking of a mobile and deletion of messages adding to the pain of an already suffering family?' To find out this isn’t true makes me feel bad.’"

        Unemployed Hack on his blog: "We can’t cling to this shred of information to defend what was still widespread hacking to get stories to make money for Murdoch. We can’t defend the indefensible. We can though recognise that the reasons for closing the News of the World weren’t moral outrage by its owners, fears of a permanent ad revenue loss, or a drop in readership following the Guardian investigation – Murdoch’s priority back then was his BSkyB bid and that was his reason for closure, not fearing an investigation by a broadsheet."

        Sky News' award winning Alex Crawford in the Guardian: "My colleagues are keen to ensure I don't think I'm a god. They tell me: 'You're just an average reporter that got lucky'."

        Yorkshire journalist Alan Berry, retiring after 65 years, quoted by HoldtheFrontPage: “When I look at the quality of news coverage we get now I think it’s awful. There are so few reporters now and so many stories are missed. We covered all the big stories back then, newspapers were where everyone got information, not like today. When I first started at the Doncaster Chronicle in 1945 there were three weekly papers and two evenings in the town, all with their own staff."

        George Monbiot in the Guardian: "The men who own the corporate press are fighting a class war, seeking, even now, to defend the 1% to which they belong against its challengers. But because they control much of the conversation, we seldom see it in these terms. Our press re-frames major issues so effectively, it often recruits its readers to mobilise against their own interests."

        Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Hunt tells Exaro of his proposals to regulate blogs and online publications: “At the moment, it is like the Wild West out there. We need to appoint a sheriff.”

        BBC director-general Mark Thompson on the Frozen Planet baby polar bears deception row: “I do really rather wonder whether this is really about polar bears or about Lord Leveson."

        Thursday, 15 December 2011

        Newsnight: Public say press regulation has failed

        A poll for the BBC's Newsnight programme reveals that 85% of people think the phone hacking scandal shows press self-regulation has failed and much tighter controls are needed.

        Here is a digest of the poll conducted by ComRes for Newsnight in which 1,002 British adults were questioned between 9-12 December 2011.

        Those polled were asked if they agree or disagree with various statements about the revelations of the phone hacking scandal and its likely impact on the future of newspapers?

        • 85% agree that the phone hacking scandal shows that the current regulatory arrangements for newspapers have failed and they should face much tighter regulations
        • 50% agree that the phone hacking scandal will accelerate the demise of newspapers
        • While 49% agree that they are confident that, following the Leveson Inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, newspapers will improve their ethical standards, 45% disagree

        The phone hacking scandal shows that the current regulatory arrangements for newspapers have failed and they should face much tighter regulations.
        Agree: 85%
        Disagree: 11%
        Don’t know: 4%

        The phone hacking scandal will accelerate the demise of newspapers.
        Agree: 50%
        Disagree: 43%
        Don’t know: 7%

        Hacking the phones of celebrities is not as bad as hacking the phones of ordinary people like Milly Dowler and the McCanns.
        Agree: 30%
        Disagree: 68%
        Don’t know: 2%

        I am confident that, following the Leveson Inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, newspapers will improve their ethical standards.
        Agree: 49%
        Disagree: 45%
        Don’t know: 6%

        The phone hacking scandal and impact on newspaper readership.

        • 60% agree that they would not buy a newspaper whose journalists had been caught illegally hacking the phones of celebrities. However, 1 in 3 (34%) disagree.
        • 55% disagree that revelations of phone hacking by newspaper staff would not affect their decision whether or not to buy that newspaper, 41% agree.

        I would not buy a newspaper whose journalists had been caught illegally hacking the phones of celebrities.
        Agree: 60%
        Disagree: 34%
        Don’t know: 6%

        I would not buy a newspaper whose journalists had been caught illegally hacking the phones of ordinary families caught in the media spotlight such as that of Milly Dowler or the McCanns.
        Agree: 72%
        Disagree: 25%
        Don’t know: 3%

        Revelations of phone hacking by newspaper staff would not affect my decision whether or not to buy that newspaper.
        Agree: 41%
        Disagree: 55%
        Don’t know: 4%

        The recent tabloid scandals have made me stop wanting to follow celebrity tittle-tattle.
        Agree: 48%
        Disagree: 40%
        Don’t know: 12%

        Not the Guardian's apology to News of the World

        In your dreams. Ex-News of the World PR Hayley Barlow has suggested on Twitter the paper deserves the above apology from the Guardian following the ongoing row over the way the deletion of voicemails on Milly Dowler's phone was reported.

        It's about as likely to happen as Nick Davies asking Jules Stenson round for Christmas dinner.

        How Lord Hunt wants to tame bloggers and online

        Online publications and blogs would be regulated under radical proposals by the new chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, according to the Exaro website

        Lord Hunt, PCC chairman since October, told Exaro in an interview with David Hencke: “At the moment, it is like the Wild West out there. We need to appoint a sheriff.”

        His initial plan for online media is to invite bloggers who write on current affairs to volunteer to be regulated by the replacement body for the PCC.

        They would be able to carry a ‘Kitemark’, showing that they abide by the new body’s code of practice. They would lose the ‘Kitemark’ if complaints against them were repeatedly upheld. But this regulatory oversight would mean bloggers having to pay a fee to the new body, which would be funded by the publications that it regulates.

        Hunt said: “I want accuracy to be the new gold standard for blogs. Once they have agreed to be accurate, everything would follow from that. I would like to see a ‘Kitemark’ on the best blogs so the public can trust what they read in them.”

        Plans to replace the Press Complaints Commission with a new regulator – more independent of newspapers – are to be unveiled by Hunt and presented to the Leveson Inquiry next year, according to Exaro.

        In the interview, Hunt said: “I concluded that the best way forward was to recognise that the existing structure is not a regulator. I am surprised at the extent of agreement that has been reached. Even those who have called the PCC a regulator, now accept that it isn’t.”

        The PCC chairman spoke to Exaro ahead of a meeting today (Thursday) of editors of national and regional newspapers – at the London head office of the Telegraph titles – to outline his proposals.

        Hunt believes that the new Press regulator must remain independent of government.

        Hunt is still fleshing out his plans, but expects to propose a two-tier complaints system with a much more rigorous approach to inaccurate and intrusive stories.

        In the first tier, every newspaper and magazine regulated by the PCC would have an agreed procedure under which a complainant can seek redress from the publication. The publisher’s chief executive would have to take responsibility for its complaints system.

        Each title would have an independent person to decide on complaints and what it should do to redress the issue. Hunt said that this would be a more independent figure than the ‘readers’ editor’ that some newspapers already have.

        For those who remain unsatisfied after going through the first tier of the complaints system, they can take the matter to the new regulator.

        Newspapers and magazines would have to produce an annual report of their standards of journalism under plans for a new regulatory body.
        • Lord Hunt told Newsnight last night that the PCC had never had the powers of a regulator.

        Wednesday, 14 December 2011

        Newsquest next for pay freeze, predicts NUJ

        The NUJ says there is growing evidence that Newsquest is following Trinity Mirror and imposing a pay freeze on all staff.

        It says NUJ chapels of Newsquest’s titles are reporting a freeze on pay rises from January, with the option of a “review” later in the year.

        Newsquest staff in York, Darlington, in South Essex, Bolton and Bury and on the Glasgow Herald & Times have all been told that their pay will be frozen, with a review later in the year, the union reports.

        The NUJ said it will be asking the Newsquest titles to justify the freeze.

        Chris Morley, the NUJ's Northern & Midlands organiser, said: “We now have growing evidence that Newsquest is trying to bring in a pay freeze across the group by stealth for 2012 at a time of unprecedented hardship for our members. If there is no increase in 2012, it will be the third year in four that salaries have failed to rise.

        "This is unsustainable for massively hard-pressed staff who have not only had to contend with a 5 per cent erosion of their pay by inflation, but also had to take heavier workloads due to waves of redundancies.

        “We know from past experience that the pain is not necessarily shared by the fat cats in the boardroom and the NUJ challenges the directors to publish their remuneration packages in full for 2012. If they refuse to do this, then there will be few of their loyal staff who will believe that they are truly all in it together when it comes to belt-tightening.”

        Fleet Street disunited: Sun accuses the Guardian

        The Sun has launched an attack on the Guardian today, based on the evidence given by its managing editor Richard Caseby to a House of Lords committee, and branded it The Guardlyin'.

        Caseby condemned the Guardian for claiming the News of the World had deleted crucial voicemails on murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone, which had given her family false hope she was still alive, and said it had become clear Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger "effectively sexed up his investigation into phone hacking".

        Caseby said the Guardian also made false allegations against the Sun in two front page stories. He added: "Mr Rusbridger has shown a pattern of behaviour that poses a serious question over his motivations. He has an agenda against the popular press, a section of the media he clearly holds in contempt."

        Meanwhile, both the Guardian and the Independent (bottom pic) are leading today on emails sent to News International chairman James Murdoch warning that phone hacking went beyond a "rogue reporter". Murdoch claims not to have read them.