Friday, 23 March 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Murdoch and Maggie to the Leveson orchestra plays as newspapers sink

Sir Harold Evans (top) on the Today programme about the revelation Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch met shortly before he was allowed to buy The Times and Sunday Times: "It's highly improper. Here's a prime minister meeting one of a number of bidders for Times Newspapers in secret. There's no mention of the law on monopolies. The whole thing is so squalid, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at being vindicated after all this time."

Stephen Glover in the
Independent: "A reasonable case could be made for Rupert Murdoch having been a reliable steward of The Times and Sunday Times: he has certainly borne losses of tens of millions of pounds on the former. But it is also true that his acquisition of these titles in addition to The Sun and the News of the World made him too powerful a figure. Sometimes he has used his power well, as when he took on, and beat, the overmighty print unions, which were in the process of destroying national newspapers. At other times – for example, his cutting the cover price of The Times in an attempt to kill off this newspaper – he has abused his power. And above all, of course, he has seduced every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher with the possible exception of John Major."

Fleet Street Blues on online journalism: "It's not just that drumming up a lazy story about Twitter outrage or a viral video is boring; it's unoriginal. And in the brave new internet world where traffic is everything, unoriginal won't work. What people want is fresh and relevant content, and the best way to get that is to have brought something from the offline world into the online world for the first time."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary on the judicial review of the order forcing the media to give police film of the Dale Farm evictions: "The NUJ welcomes the decision to allow the judicial review to proceed...This case is a defence of press freedom - journalists are not evidence gatherers for the police."

The Independent in a leader on outgoing BBC D-G Mark Thompson: "Mr Thompson is right to step down this autumn, shortly after the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. With the Corporation facing the huge challenge of negotiating a new Charter in 2016, it needs to be led by a Director-General with a real strategic grasp, a distinctive public face and an ability to manage the politics. Whoever takes over will need to show more flair, more backbone and greater strength of character. Finding such a successor will not be easy."

South Wales Echo editor Tim Gordon at Leveson on staff expenses at Trinity Mirror Wales: "The average journalist spends 71p a week on taking someone out."

Editor-in-chief Paul Dacre to Press Gazette after the Daily Mail is named Newspaper of the Year: "I understand that it's been a ghastly few months but the great majority of the news industry is honest and there is an awful lot to be proud of... I think the British public has the common sense to take that on board and the politicians have too."

Johnston Press ceo Ashley Highfield at the Guardian Changing Media Summit: “We’re going to flip the model from newspaper-first every day to digital-first, and you take the best and produce a bumper weekly in print. By 2020, that will be the modelve run the numbers and think that can be a profitable model...Every one of our newspapers is profitable. The smaller the newspaper, the more profitable it is. This is not a burning platform that we all need to leap off. We can manage the migration to digital."

Neil Fowler writing in InPublishing magazine: "The defining moment for me, when I really appreciated that the Leveson Inquiry had lost its way completely, was when Sun editor Dominic Mohan was quizzed about the presence of Page 3 girls in his newspaper. Then I realised that the orchestra conducted by the good Lord was really continuing to play while the whole Titanic of our industry continued its seemingly unstoppable decline to its long predicted watery grave."

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