Thursday, 28 June 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From Clive James to Johnston Press jobs go on a Passage to India

Clive James (top) in the Telegraph: "The journalists for the cheap press are uneasily aware that nobody cares much about what they say. Hence their sad conviction that they can say things any way they like, even if it means staging a man’s funeral for him just because he makes a few down-in-the-mouth remarks. Talk about getting the hearse before the horse."

Charlie Brooker in the Guardian on Clive James: "He has a way of gliding through sentences, effortlessly ironing a series of complex points into a single easily-navigable line, illuminating here and cogitating there, before leading you face-first into an unexpected punchline that makes your brain yelp with delight. He can swallow images whole and regurgitate them later as hallucinogenic caricatures that somehow make more sense than the real thing. He famously described Arnold Schwarzenegger as looking like 'a brown condom full of walnuts'. That's just brilliant. Every TV column I ever wrote consists of me trying and failing to write anything as explosively funny as that, for 650 words." 

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph: "The Labour Party is a bit short of top-rank performers to wheel on to the Today programme, so it must be relieved to have found someone expert at skewering Coalition policies. Last week, in a three-way conversation with Tory housing minister Grant Shapps and John Humphrys, the new star poured scorn on government plans to build affordable housing. He was also withering about the Conservatives’ failure to implement the Dilnot proposals for adult social care. Plus, his blog highlights European criticism of British cuts. I’d suggest that Ed Miliband gives him a job, but I suspect Mark Easton is perfectly happy in his post as home affairs editor of the BBC."

Lord Justice Leveson on press coverage of his Inquiry and his alleged 'anger' at comments by Michael Gove that it could have a 'chilling' impact on press freedom: "It is absolutely correct that the press should be able to hold this Inquiry, in general, and me, in particular, to account; the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail and those other newspapers that published the story are and were entitled to do so with whatever comment they considered appropriate. Having said that, however, it is at least arguable that what has happened is an example of an approach which seeks to convert any attempt to question the conduct of the press as an attack on free speech. For my part, I will not be deterred from seeking to fulfil the Terms of Reference that have been set for me."

Jon Snow at Leveson on Associated Newspapers: "If it was found that the Bishop of Canterbury was frequenting Soho that would be of public interest. It goes beyond that – people who have quite modest, perhaps, roles in public life are undermined. It is as I say pernicious and I think at times mendacious."

Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian: "Anything that concentrates power in the hands of fewer and fewer multibillionaire proprietors – whether corporations or individuals – will impoverish our society. That much has always been understood by anyone who has ever looked at the behaviour, standards, control and ethics of the press and it's why Leveson must say something strong on the issue, even if he cannot get into the detail."

Ex-Telegraph sketch writer Andrew Gimson at an employment tribunal as reported by the Camden New Journal: “My dismissal without reason from the sketch has been a distressing experience, as has the editor’s determination to force me into an unwelcome and inferior role, in which my task would have been to make his opinions seem more civilised than they really are. Like many Telegraph readers, I feel the paper has become more brutish in its treatment of news, and also of its own staff.”

HoldtheFrontPage story on Johnston Press outsourcing ad creation work to India: "According to one of the affected staff members, people affected by the announcement have been told by the company they can choose to move to work in India – but have just a week to decide if they wish to do so."

Friday, 22 June 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From yawning at the Leveson Inquiry to keeping your wig on

Lord Justice Leveson...not yawning

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts at the Leveson Inquiry: "At 11 minutes past midday, Lord Justice Leveson yawned. Possibly my fault. About a minute earlier I had honked a big yawn. You know how it is. One sets off another and my neighbour, from The Times, followed with a real tonsil waggler. That was picked up by a man from The Guardian, who rubbed his sleepy eyes and rotated his neck. Beak Leveson was sitting opposite us, up on his little dais. It was only human but he at least had the decency to try to disguise it. He nibbled the air, just baring the front of his teeth. A ventriloquist’s yawn."

Nick Wood on Rebekah Brooks on MailOnline: "Most of us stick boringly to one party from one decade to the next. Mrs Brooks, central casting’s idea of the eternal courtesan, who would have been in her element in the 18th Century French Court, found it easy to transfer her affections from one Prime Minister to the next."

NUJ FoC Pete Lazenby on more job cuts by Johnston Press in Yorkshire: "Huge amounts of Johnston Press money are going straight into the pockets of the bankers at exorbitant rates of interest.
As usual Johnston Press turns to its workforce to pay the price for this debacle. We are paying with our jobs. Over a period of years the editorial workforce at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post has fallen by half. Circulations are in steady decline. The sacking of staff will simply reduce the quality of our papers and hasten their decline."

Martin Ivens in the Sunday Times on Leveson: "An inquiry into how crime victims had their phones hacked by tabloid newspapers intending to profit from their private grief (and why the police failed to pursue the perpetrators with sufficient vigour) has morphed into chattering-class navel-gazing. Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, the European crisis threatens to overwhelm us."

Simon Kelner in the Guardian: "Rarely in the field of public inquisition has there been such a knowledge gap between the investigators and the investigated. The Leveson inquiry has devoted huge amounts of time – and public money – to establish facts that were obvious to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the way newspapers work."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "You can go mad trying to define what Robert Jay QC calls "undue proximity" between politicians and journalists – or trying to regulate who sips cocktails with whom. But unless you're going to require journalists and bloggers to embrace such a pettifogging regime too, you're pottering down the blindest of alleys, regulating human nature until your wig falls off."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sport's Gazza front voted mag cover of the year

Sport magazine has won the inaugural Front Cover of the Year category at the PPA Awards 2012 for its cover featuring a haunting picture of former England football star Paul Gascoigne.

The award was presented to the magazine at last night's PPA Awards.

The Sport cover came top in an online poll in which tens of thousands of public votes were cast.

Second place was taken by ShortList Media’s Stylist magazine for its image of Nigella Lawson covered in salted caramel, while third place went to IPC Media’s Wallpaper* for its cover featuring German band Kraftwerk.
You can see the Top 15 covers here.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tributes to Standard City journalist Hugh Sharpe

I wrote in April about the death of Hugh Sharpe, the former Evening Standard deputy City editor who also used to cover finance and business for U.K.Press Gazette.

Now I've been told that former colleagues are hoping to organise a Memorial Service for Hugh, at St. Bride's in Fleet Street (pictured).

Among them are John Westwell, of Westhill Communications, Hugh's last employer in London.

John passed on these fantastic tributes to Hugh.
Mike Tate: "I first met Hugh when he joined Thomson Regional Newspapers in ’62 or ’63 as a 40-year-old. Not only was he the perfect role model for an aspiring young reporter, but a kinder, more caring man I never met throughout my career in journalism. A true pro, and a true gentleman."
Mick Smith: "I am enormously sad to hear about the loss of Hugh. He was a professional to his finger tips. In my case, he was an inspiration. I recall that the Sheffield Telegraph rented a corner of the City Press offices, which was my first job. As an aspiring journo I watched and learned. Hugh was a hugely generous spirit who somehow found the time between meeting deadlines to offer words of advice and practical assistance about our craft which included introducing me to other journalists and teaching me the basic journo’s skill of how to drink. I will never forget his generosity. One of the good guys. I would be very keen to hear about any memorial."

Brian Reynolds: "How such a truly nice person could be the best number two in the business I never understood. because he could make even a difficult decision acceptable.
Lovely, lovely man, I endorse all that has been said about him.  I knew him when he was on the Sheffield Telegraph with Rodney Johnstone in those cramped offices in London Wall.!!!!!".
Bill Kay: "One of the old stagers, who not only survived some good and bad City Editors, but they all ended up relying on him! One of the great deputies, without whom Fleet Street couldn't (and still can't) operate. Only a journo could understand his impact, and even then you had to have worked with him to appreciate how massive his contribution was. "

Patricia Knox: "That really marks the end of an era. I worked with Hugh on the Standard for a million years, through both his retirements! A real professional and truly nice man.  

John Reynolds: "They don't make them like Hugh anymore. A true pro and a lovely lovely man."
Nick Gilbert: "What sad news about Hugh -- though by Fleet Street standards his journey was an encouragingly long one. Who will write about South African gold shares now ? And who nowadays has his own private cuttings brown envelope ( second drawer down in his desk I recall ) ?"

John Duncan: "As a mere mortal from 'the other side of the fence I had enormous respect for Hugh not least for his patience and understanding as a sprog PR at NatWest struggled to learn the ropes."

Monday, 18 June 2012

Where's Jon gone?

This week I'm moving home to Arundel in West Sussex so won't be blogging very much.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Brown to Pompey News

Gordon Brown at the Leveson Inquiry: 
“Would any mother or father presented with a choice as to whether the medical condition of their four-month-old son should be broadcast on the front page of a tabloid newspaper, and who had a choice in this matter, allow it?”

Gordon Brown, again at Leveson: "My own local newspaper has just had its editorial staff merged with the next door newspaper. They’re running down the numbers of staff that are providing this local service and I think you would find this in every part of the country that you go into, and more than that, you’re finding it all across the world now, because an internet journalist, who is someone who’s sort of doing their own, if you like, self-journalism, can put their views up on a screen and put their views across the world, but if they’re not resourced and they’re not doing proper research and there’s no investigative journalism, then we’re diminishing the quality of the output that is available to us.”

David Cameron at Leveson: "The thing you spend your time on are the Six o'clock news and the Ten o'clock news"

Rebekah Brooks in a text to Cameron: "Professionally we're definitely in this together."

George Osborne at Leveson on News Corp's £8bn bid for BSkyB: "A political inconvenience".

Sir John Major on Rupert Murdoch at Leveson “I think the sheer scale of the influence he is believed to have whether he exercises it or not, is an unattractive facet in British national life, and it does seem to me an oddity that in a nation which prides itself on one man, one vote, we should have one man, who can't vote, with a large collection of newspapers and a large share of the electronic media outlets.”

Alex Salmond at Leveson: "I believe that my bank account was accessed by the Observer newspaper some time ago, in 1999". 

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The upshot of the Leveson revelations of the Murdoch influence and stranglehold on the UK’s political process is a desperate need for a re-evaluation of the BBC licence deal. This was made behind closed doors and under what we know to be Murdoch-driven pressure." 

Ex-Loaded editor Martin Daubney recants in the Daily Mail: "When I look back now, I see we were severely pushing the envelope of what was considered decent. We were normalising soft porn, and in so doing we must have made it more acceptable for young men to dive into the murky waters of harder stuff on the internet. And, for that, I have a haunting sense of regret."

Laurie Penny in the Independent on trolls: "I've had to handle threats to my family, too, alongside a daily splatter of missives that range from nastily suggestive to straightforwardly frightening. Only last week, one of these helpful people took time out of their busy day to write in with the suggestion that because I had written a short article about racism and sexism in a popular television show, a former colleague who happens to be Muslim should 'slit [my] throat in an honour killing'."

Journalist at The News, Portsmouth, quoted anonymously in Press Gazette after new job cuts were announced at the paper: "We are in a situation where news editors are designing pages, sending stories to web, co-ordinating staff and managing stories; where reporters are increasingly expected to file copy and pictures for the website, film video and also come up with stories for the following day's paper; where 12-hour shifts without a lunch break is the norm and not a rarity. I certainly hope the shareholders are happy with their stake in this sweatshop; where corporate greed rules over and above anything else - especially dedicated and proud staff.”

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Sun backs Harman on public interest defence

It's not often the Sun and Harriet Harman see eye to eye.

But the Sun reports today: "A PUBLIC interest defence should be written into law to protect journalists who expose important stories, Labour will declare today.

"Deputy Leader Harriet Harman wants the Prime Minister to establish the key media safeguard as soon as possible.

"She told the Sun: 'We want a strong Press which can hold power to account. A strong Press is vital to democracy.'

"At the moment, campaigning journalists run the risk of jail if they commit minor criminal offences in pursuit of key truths.

"But Ms Harman said the UK needed a 'constitutional safeguard for investigative journalism'.

"Her demand is calculated to heap pressure on David Cameron, who takes the stand at the Leveson Inquiry today."

In a leader the Sun says: "IT’S not often The Sun agrees with Labour’s Harriet Harperson.

But she is right to call for protection for journalists who can fall foul of the law when exposing important stories.

It’s good to see politicians realise the danger that laws and over-regulation can pose to a strong and free Press vital to democracy.

Deputy Leader Ms Harman wants a public interest defence made law.

Without such a safeguard, it is hard to serve the public interest."

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Archant Norfolk appoints new digital publisher

Senior content editor David Powles (top) has been appointed to the new role of digital publisher for Archant Norfolk.

Powles began his career as a reporter for the Lancashire Evening Post and was chief reporter at the Burton Mail before joining Archant in 2006 as a reporter for the Norwich Evening News.

He worked as a news editor for the Evening News before gaining promotion to his current role of senior content editor for the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and weekly titles.

Powles said: “An increasing number of people are turning to our many digital platforms to find out what is happening in their communities and we intend to provide them with unique, fresh, engaging and interactive content that encourages them to keep on coming back for more.”

Richard Avery, digital director for Archant Anglia, said: “David's promotion to this new role is built on his excellent record within the Norwich news team. The digital publisher will grow the digital brands within Norfolk, building a distinct voice for the digital content and putting the community at the heart of our digital offerings, providing engagement and participation. 

“David’s knowledge and experience of our print products along with his enthusiasm and passion for digital make him ideal for this challenging role and I very much look forward to working with him.”
Powles will take up his new position in July.

Euro 2012 tournament puts football on front page

The European football championship has put sport on the front page and was the most popular news story in the week ending Sunday, June 10, according to journalisted.

The Euro 2012 football tournament kicked off in Poland and Ukraineand generated 1002 articles.

The Diamond Jubilee  celebrated throughout Britain and the Commonwealth, with street parties and pageantry was the subject of 841 articles.

Eurozone ministers agreed upon a €100bn bailout package for the Spanish economy, 328 articles.

Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

The White house report that Al-Qaeda's "general manager" Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan, 37 articles.

Armenian and Azerbaijani troops killed in border skirmishes, 5 articles.

A member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, responsible for the sarin attacks on the Tokyo subway was arrested , after 17 years on the run, 8 articles.

Greek football team a gift for Sun headline writers

The Sun subs managed to combine the Greek Euro-crisis and the defeat of its football team in the European championships by the Czech Republic.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Politicians' evidence to Leveson Inquiry shows how Murdoch triumphed against BBC, claims NUJ

The NUJ is claiming that the latest evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry by leading politicians, such as former Prime Minister Sir John Major (pictured), has "laid bare" the influence of Rupert Murdoch and shown how his commercial interests were allowed to triumph against the BBC.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Sir John Major’s testimony showed how Rupert Murdoch believed his ownership of a large part of the UK media landscape gave him the gall to believe that he could threaten the UK’s prime minister, by saying he would withdraw the support of his newspapers unless Sir John changed his policy on the UK’s membership of the EU.

“However, the NUJ is equally concerned about the unrivalled access that his son had in bending the most influential ears in the UK on his views of the BBC. James Murdoch was able to go right to the heart of the Tory-led coalition in meetings and cosy dinner parties with George Osborne and David Cameron to reiterate his aggressive stance against the BBC, outlined in his MacTaggart lecture, when he launched a scathing attack on the corporation, accusing it of a ‘land grab’ in a beleaguered media market.”

The NUJ is campaigning against the 20 per cent cuts to the BBC which it claims are a result of the secret deal between Mark Thompson, the out-going director general, and Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, to freeze the BBC licence until 2017.

Stanistreet said: “The upshot of the Leveson revelations of the Murdoch influence and stranglehold on the UK’s political process is a desperate need for a re-evaluation of the BBC licence deal. This was made behind closed doors and under what we know to be Murdoch-driven pressure. Especially as we now know that Sir Michel Lyons, the BBC Trust’s former chairman, who was in on the deal, is on record of saying Jeremy Hunt was ‘far too close to Sky’.”

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Unions call off strike action at Associated Press

Two days of strike action by NUJ and Bectu members at Associated Press and Associated Press Television News (APTN) have been called off after the press agency’s management agreed to talk to the unions about changes to its pension deal.

The first of the strikes was due to start on Monday, followed by a 24-hour strike on Saturday, June 16. The NUJ and Bectu had said further days could be announced at a later date and members had not ruled out taking action during the Olympics.

The NUJ said: “The NUJ is pleased that AP management has agreed to enter into meaningful talks over pension provision at the company. On the basis of these talks, which will begin next week, the joint unions have agreed to call off the planned strike action.”

Unions claimed the changes to the pension provision proposed were unfair and had been made without adequate consultation and balloted for industrial action.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Police to pay costs of failed Dale Farm orders

The NUJ and other media organisations have had their application for legal costs for fighting to overturn production orders by Essex Police for unbroadcast film of the Dale Farm evictions upheld by the High Court.

Essex Police had attempted to force NUJ member Jason Parkinson, a freelance video and print journalist, the BBC, ITN, BskyB and Hardcash Productions to hand over film of the evictions.

The decision at Chelmsford Crown Court to grant the production orders was overturned after the union and media organisations mounted a High Court challenge and argued that they were “an excessive, unlawful and disproportionate intrusion into the media's freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights”. 

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “I hope this will be a lesson to police forces across the land to not go on fishing expeditions and try to use the media to their job for them. The overturning of the production order was a huge victory for the cause of press freedom and the protection of sources and journalistic material and it is right that the police should be made to pay for their heavy-handed decision.  

"Journalists are put in danger if footage gathered whilst reporting events is seized and used by the police. The NUJ's code of conduct compels the union – and our members - to defend a vital principle, the protection of journalistic sources and material. This decision is a great victory.”

 Roy Mincoff, NUJ legal officer, added: “The union is very pleased that the High Court has now ordered Essex Police to pay the costs of the Judicial Review, which was won by the NUJ and national broadcasters, resulting in the police being unable to force the handing over of their footage, and the four-day hearing at Chelmsford Crown court.”

Quotes of the Week: From the allure of Leveson QC Robert Jay to napalming your career in PR

Robert Jay... plus beard
Robert Jay...sans beard
Judith Woods in the Daily Telegraph on Robert Jay QC, lead counsel at the Leveson Inquiry: "I barely registered him at first, but sustained daily exposure of him at the bar has increased his allure. He’s clever, sardonic and an exemplary listener; frightening if he’s straining forward to skewer you in the witness stand, but marvellously flattering if experienced in real life. He doesn’t know I exist, which is, of course, the ultimate aphrodisiac, so much so, I’ve even stopped wondering what he looks like without a beard – I’ll take him as he is, no questions asked. Please, Robert, no questions."

Suzanne Moore in the Mail on Jeremy Hunt: "He misled Parliament over the nature of his relationships with the Murdochs. It appears he could not judge a tiddlywinks match impartially or without flurries of sycophantic texts from lobbyists. Worse, Hunt looks dishonourable, sacrificing a minion to keep his own job. Not a man you would want to be on the front line with, for at the first hint of trouble he would run away or hide shiftily behind a tree, as he did once to avoid journalists."

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times: "Neither The Sunday Times nor the newspaper industry as a whole can declare war on another country; it cannot demand up to half its readers’ income, with the threat of a prison sentence if they do not hand over the money; it cannot pass a single law, or make any parliament do so."

Andrew Jennings in the British Journalism Review: “When I visit British journalism schools I quote the late Louis Heren’s advice to a young reporter to find out 'Why is this lying bastard lying to me?', and Lord Northcliffe’s 'News is what somebody, somewhere, wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising.' I invite the students to chant these calls to arms back at me – and they do. It’s very heartening.”

Grey Cardigan in Press Gazette: "I sometimes wonder what it must be like inside the mind of that gelatinous gobshite Piers Morgan. Beating Serena Williams at tennis one week, climbing Everest in  his vest the next, and all the while presiding over the greatest television show in the world, ever. Not so much self-delusion as fucking fantasy. (In the intrerests of objectivity, I should point out the lardy cheeked chancer owes me two grand)."

Jeremy Clarkson on Twitter: "Watching Leveson and I have it in my mind that both Hunt and Jay drive Toyota Priuses."

Jeremy Clarkson on Twitter on what he thinks Lord Justice Leveson drives: "I've just decided Leveson has a Jag. Possibly an XF."

Tory MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson, rains on the BBC's Jubilee River Pageant reporting: "Seems we all agree on terrible BBC coverage. Low grade, celebrity driven drivel. How did Beeb get it so wrong?"

Adam Tinworth "Adders" on his One Man and His Blog blog:  "My trust in corporates is broken. I genuinely believed that if I worked hard, focused my energies on the success of the business, and fought for what I thought was right, I would be rewarded. Instead, I was made redundant. I am no longer capable of trusting an employer like I did then. The noble words of valuing people can be proved empty in one, formulaic, soulless meeting in a bland little meeting room. It's likely that I'll take a corporate job at some time in my future, but I'll understand the provisionality of that job on both sides much more fundamentally."

Rupert Murdoch on Twitter: "Privacy! Google just hacked millions of home computers in UK, presumably bank accounts, fotos etc while screening streets for Google maps."

Stephen Glover on Rupert Murdoch in Standpoint magazine: "This industry is now threatened by endless circulation decline and the dearth of online advertising — as well as by the possibility that Lord Justice Leveson may further strangle it with statutory regulation. His lordship seems not to understand that he may be regulating a corpse.  Will the pornographer Richard Desmond get the Sun? Or a Chinese billionaire The Times? Will anyone fight to keep Rupert Murdoch's newspapers alive and thriving as he has done? Of course he has had too much power — but blame successive governments for giving it to him. Anyone who values the press, and is not a score-settling politician, should regard the prospect of his retreat from Britain with regret."

Lambeth Council PR Sam Masters sets fire to his job and resigns after tweeting: “Having spent a considerable amount of time in Streatham, my solutions for supporting the High Road mostly involve napalm.” 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

London borough journalists launch NUJ branch

Journalists in the London Borough of Lewisham have launched a local branch of the NUJ.

Lewisham NUJ says it has more than 500 members resident in Lewisham, and union members resident in neighbouring boroughs are welcome to join.

NUJ organisation in London has traditionally centred on city-wide trade sector branches.

Lewisham NUJ says it will operate in a different way to other union branches. For  example, its monthly meetings will not be fixed to a specific day of the week or location. Instead, meeting places will move around the borough, and the day varied to allow involvement by members with other commitments.

The new branch says it will welcome into its ranks communications professionals of all types who live or work within this local community.

Coordinating the work of Lewisham NUJ are branch chair Dr Francis Sedgemore, secretary Chris Wheal, and treasurer Lynne Wallis.

Wheal says: “The idea of the Lewisham NUJ branch started several years ago, having noticed how many NUJ members from SE London hardly ever go to the union meetings. Recently, the union's general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, who lives in the borough, encouraged me to take action on this idea, so I did.

"I attended the London Magazine Branch meetings for about 20 years. The quorum there was reduced over the years from 25 to 15 to 10, and sometimes we couldn't get 10. The branch had more than 2,500 members. Other big London branches are the same.

“Participation is important, and we want a variety of people and views to make the union truly democratic. When there is low turnout, one is at risk of getting minority political parties rustling up enough activists to turn up and dominate branch business, and pass motions donating money to obscure political causes.

"That in itself alienates other members, and prevents people turning up. I wanted Lewisham branch to be different – not, I hasten to add, because I am apolitical (I'm not), but I didn't want to see my union used like that.”

FT publishes first ebook on Euro crisis in Greece

The Financial Times has published its first ebook, “If Greece goes…”, which examines the potential consequences of the country leaving the eurozone. 

As Greece heads towards fresh elections on June 17, the ebook draws from an editorial series that originally ran in print and online in May 2012, written by the FT’s specialist correspondents and commentators.

Updated and original content in this ebook includes a foreword by Lionel Barber, editor of the FT, and articles by Quentin Peel, chief Germany correspondent, Tony Barber, Europe editor,and FT commentators Martin Wolf, Wolfgang Munchau, Gillian Tett, and Peter Spiegel and Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Fellow in Law at Mansfield College, Oxford University.

Barber said: “While the eurozone debt crisis has undoubtedly been one of the most important stories of recent years, it is also the most complicated. This ebook gives readers a big picture view of the global forces that even the most informed policymaker has sometimes struggled to understand.”

The ebook is published by Penguin and is available to download from AmazonApple iBookstore and other e-retailers listed on It is on sale worldwide, for the equivalent of £2.49 (€2.99, $3.99).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hunt to Leveson

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in a text message to James Murdoch on December 21: “Great and congrats on Brussels, just Ofcom to go!”.

Daily Telegraph leader on Jeremy Hunt: "The picture that emerged yesterday was that of a Secretary of State who was on the friendliest terms with senior figures in the Murdoch empire and made no attempt to disguise his support for the takeover. Such callow behaviour is unacceptable in a senior minister. In a rather sheepish performance, Mr Hunt even admitted texting Mr Murdoch during the bid process over which he was presiding, which makes a nonsense of the concept of a quasi-judicial relationship. He conceded that in retrospect he should not have done this, but added that he was “just being courteous”. This will not do. A multi-billion-pound merger, with profound implications for the UK media, was at stake. Mr Hunt’s amateurish handling of the process fell far short of what was required."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the sacking of Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver from the editorships of the Daily and Sunday Mirror: "It is plain to me that Wallace and Weaver, having fought the staff cuts in January, are being punished for their opposition. There is no other possible editorial reason for their firing...Yes, it is potty. But it is confirmation that [Sly] Bailey is, and always has been, the wrong person for the job. Trinity Mirror investors should take action now before she does even more to undermine the possibility of saving two great British national newspaper titles."

The Observer in a leader: "Leveson himself might pause to wonder whether the worst helping of ordure on his plate belongs to the press at all, but to the men who ordered his inquiry in the first place. There's a tide of disillusion and danger still coming in. But meanwhile we need a grand gesture of contrition and final comprehension, a move that says: "Yes, we get it, we're into tawdry territory. It has to stop. We have to show people outside the Notting Hill triangle that it's stopped." Which is why Jeremy Hunt, as symbol, victim and full stop, must go."

Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer on David Cameron's decision to commission the Leveson Inquiry: "It is a textbook example of a prime minister establishing an inquiry in a panic before he had fully thought through where it might lead. Where it has led is right to his own doorstep."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on the union's financial crisis:  "There has been no single overnight event that has brought us to this position. The fact that there has been no positive uplift in the industry’s fortunes, and therefore our members’; the continued pressure on our budgets and unresolved deficits in some areas; the drop in subs income in the first half of this budget, 3 per cent more than the 2 per cent decline budgeted; the depletion of our assets and reserves in the wake of successive deficits; and the crisis in our pension scheme – all of these things bring us to the position we are in today, and this combination of factors mean we have to take action. Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "Were Google a newspaper group rather than an internet search engine, it would be subject to the most comprehensive inquiry imaginable. It would be investigated for harvesting the private data of millions of Britons, for helping to disseminate pornography to children, and for various monopolistic practices."

Lord Justice Leveson on libel: "Not my mission in life to deny laywers income, but in this field it seems like a good idea."