Friday, 28 September 2012

'A middle class elite killed the News of the World'

The News of the World was politically and culturally demonised as a media institution that required liquidation, claims Tim Crook,  senior lecturer in media law and ethics at the department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Crook, in a paper for the Oxford University conference hosted by Reuters' Institute on 'Journalism Ethics', claims the attack on the News of the World was waged by the "so-called broadsheet, middle class and elitist media institutions."

Crook writes: "The destruction of a 168 year old newspaper that happened to be the United Kingdom’s most successful newspaper in terms of circulation, profits and operating a viable paywall for popular tabloid journalism needs reflection and analysis.

"The agents of its liquidation were the moral panic phenomenon that intriguingly was first philosophically analysed by John Stuart Mill in respect of the tyranny of the majority, amplified by an inaccurate and outrageous allegation that journalists on the paper had hypothetically risked the life of a 13 year old abducted teenager by deleting active evidence in a live police enquiry, combined with the decision of a contemporary media baron, living abroad to close it down for politico-economic expediency.

"There was no consultation with its readership, which in the democratic tradition of free media represents the infrastructure of the operating right of communicating and receiving information. Over two million eight hundred thousand people bought the paper every Sunday; considerably more read it, 200 professional journalists were employed in its production, and its weekly turnover was around three million pounds.

"The anti-News of the World campaigners targeted the paper’s advertisers to cripple and punish it, a notorious tactic used by black-listing organisations during the anti-Communist Cold-War witch hunts to bully US media institutions to cancel the contracts and dismiss reporters, writers, and artists who had been smeared by secret dossier.

"The attack on the News of the World and its largely working class and lower middle class culture of readership has been waged by the so-called broadsheet, middle class and elitist media institutions who have seen fit to morally proselytise its failings as the refuge for what has been described as the prurient, disgusting, tawdry, cheap, pornographic, voyeuristic, exploitative, lust-gorging, dirty, smelly, perverted, indecent, and inferior class of low-life under-class individual."

Crook adds: "What has been so undemocratic about this narrative is that the newspaper never had a chance to consult and converse with its readership about the contextual ‘Hackgate’ scandal, nor rehabilitate itself. It has disappeared in a whoosh of self-destructive combustion where the barbecue lighters have been operated largely by people who have nothing socially and culturally to do with its market and readership.

He concludes: "In reality the News of the World was a great newspaper in the democratic tradition."

Crook says the News of the World can be criticised for being "scandalous, cruel, human dignity exploiting when its reporting conduct and publication moral wrongs and legal infractions are evaluated" but "in the totality of its social operation it provided entertainment, information, enlightenment, escape, catharsis and comfort for people not as lucky and advantaged as the celebrocrats, and politico-economic elite. It was written and designed in style, clarity, precision, skill, and its campaigning delivered compensation and remedies that have been rarely equalled by its equivalents in the ‘broadsheet’ market."

Quotes of the Week: From how to save the Guardian to the Sun and the public interest

David Leigh in the Guardian: "A small levy on UK broadband providers – no more than £2 a month on each subscriber's bill – could be distributed to news providers in proportion to their UK online readership. This would solve the financial problems of quality newspapers, whose readers are not disappearing, but simply migrating online."

Roy Greenslade on Leigh's idea on his MediaGuardian blog: "It's an ingenious thought and it should be given serious consideration. Could this be the magic bullet we've been seeking? I certainly think so (because paywalls are never going to work)."

The Sun in a leader"THOSE deluded and arrogant hand-wringers at The Guardian have come up with a bonkers scheme to impose a tax on broadband users to fund money- haemorrhaging publications like their own. We have a more sensible proposal. Why not simply put together a product that excites and engages the British public."

The Economist on the Guardian: "The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, has been a flag-bearer for “open journalism”, which invites input from readers. Erecting a pay wall, and thereby curbing access to content, is at odds with the paper’s liberal values, as it has defined them in the digital age. Worryingly, there seems to be little urgency to figure out a model that can pay. Mr [Andrew] Miller [Guardian Media Group boss] says it is still “early days”. The company is ploughing more resources into digital while cutting costs and persisting with free online content. This looks less and less like a long-term business strategy. The day is getting late."

Tim Brooks in InPublishing on how newspapers have coped with the digital challenge: "All regional newspaper groups have failed to find a winning formula; the jury's still out on the nationals."  

The BBC in a statement: "This morning on the Today programme our correspondent Frank Gardner revealed details of a private conversation which took place some years ago with the Queen.
"The conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence. It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace."

Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrats party confderence, as reported by PoliticsHome: “I would hate to see anything that could reasonably be construed as politicians trying to interfere with how the press do their work. It would be completely unacceptable to do anything that allows politicians to do anything that intrudes on what the media do... This party would never accept, I would never accept, the illiberal statutory regulation of the press. I think people are creating this spectre of statutory interference which is never going to happen.”

Neville Thurlbeck ‏ on Twitter: "Moving print and subs 120 miles away to Sheffield and losing @roblawson1 a catastrophe for my beloved Sunderland Echo. All news will be ancient!"

The Spectator: "Lawyers acting for Kelvin MacKenzie have written to South Yorkshire Police seeking an apology for the circumstances that have led to his ‘personal vilification for decades'."

The Sun on its investigation which exposed criminal gangs helping illegal immigrants enter Britain: "Yet another victory for popular journalism in the public interest."

The Sun in a leader on its Andrew Mitchell story:  "As we have said, we neither paid nor offered any money for this exclusive. It is the result of what is known as journalism. The public interest could not be more clear-cut. Britain has a right to know if a high-ranking Government member brands police officers “morons” and “plebs”. All that is lost on the Met. Their priority is to find, and shoot, the messenger."

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Murder of Manchester policewomen most covered

The murder of policewomen Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Manchester was the most covered news story of the week in the UK press for the week ending Sunday, Septemeber 23, according to journalisted.

The most covered stories were:
  • Chief whip Andrew Mitchell faces calls to quit after admitting he swore at police, 79 articles.
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
  • Harriet Harman says Labour won't be “cosying up” to the Liberal Democrats, 4 articles.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Quotes of the Week: From the topless Duchess pics to how Ed splattered Charles Moore's mosquito

Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in a statement on the Irish Daily Star (top) publishing Duchess of Cambridge pics: "Despite the existence of our Press Council and reasonable principles which the print media are expected to follow, it is clear that some sections of the print media are either unable or unwilling in their reportage to distinguish between 'prurient interest' and 'the public interest'."

SKY News reports: "Independent Star Limited has suspended editor Michael O'Kane with immediate effect, pending an investigation into the circumstances that led to the Irish Daily Star re-publishing pages from the French magazine 'Closer', which contained images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."

Daily Mail comment on the French publication of the pics of the Duchess of Cambridge topless: "Scandalously, the only ones who are protected by statutory regulation are the country’s politicians – whose sexual indiscretions and industrial-scale corruption are routinely ignored by a supine French Press which does not wish to upset those who make the law and often subsidise their journalism. The lesson of this regrettable saga for the Leveson Inquiry is that draconian privacy laws simply do not work. Worse, they are bad for democracy, freedom of speech and for holding the guilty to account. We trust that, in coming months, ministers will remember that."

Andrew Marr asked by the Guardian 'to whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?': "Gordon Brown, for asking that pills question."

Mick Hume in the Sunday Times [£]: "It is in the spirit of JS Mill that we ought to oppose the creeping culture of media conformism. Not because we necessarily want to defend or celebrate the available alternatives, whether they be page 3 girls or celebrity scandal stories. But because we recognise that compulsory conformism kills a free press, free thinking and eventually a free society."

Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) on the Index on Censorship website: "Where will this all end? Leveson will recommend some sort of beefed up successor to the Press Complaints Commission. It may or may not have a statutory underpinning, something that I think should be avoided because legislation will inevitably lead to judges becoming censors. My admittedly minority view is that we don’t need more regulations or regulators; the hacking of Milly Dowler was illegal, information blagging was illegal, we just need to enforce the laws we have."

Graham Jones, MP for Hyndburn, speaking at a Parliamentary debate, as reported by Press Gazette: “It seems that local newspapers now cannot have an online discussion or commentary following an article on their websites because trolls will totally dominate and post page after page of abuse, which means other people just switch off."

Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay, quoted in The Times [£] about living in Monaco: “Sir David and I left the UK over 23 years ago for health reasons and not for tax reasons in any shape or form. Indeed, we continued to pay personal tax in the UK for 18 of those 23 years. (Our) charitable donations far outweigh what we would have paid in tax if we had remained residents of the UK.”"

Charles Moore interviewing Labour leader Ed Miliband in the Daily Telegraph: "At this point, a mosquito settles on my shoulder. With a commanding show of decision, Mr Miliband squashes it, spattering its remarkably copious blood over my light grey suit. So that’s how he deals with capitalist parasites."

[£] = Paywall.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Panel findings make Hillsborough front page news

The findings of the independent panel on the Hillsborough disaster was the most covered story by the UK press in the week ending Sunday, September 16, according to journalisted.
...and the French edition of Closer Magazine publishes topless photos of Kate Middleton without her consent, 57 articles.

Covered little, according to journalisted were:

Friday, 14 September 2012

Quotes of the Week: From the Sun's shame over Hillsborough to going drinking with Caitlin Moran


Dominic Mohan, editor of the Sun, apologises for its infamous 'The Truth' Hillsborough front page: ''Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough. We said it was the truth - it wasn't. The Hillsborough Independent Panel has now established what really happened that day. It's an appalling story and at the heart of it are the police's attempts to smear Liverpool fans. It's a version of events that 23 years ago The Sun went along with and for that we're deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. We've co-operated fully with the Hillsborough Independent Panel.'' 

Sun editorial: "THE Sun’s reporting of the Hillsborough tragedy 23 years ago is without doubt the blackest day in this newspaper’s history... The people of Liverpool may never forgive us for the injustice we did them.  All we can do is offer them an unreserved and heartfelt apology that is profound, sincere and unambiguous." 

Kelvin MacKenzie in a statement, as reported by the Daily Telegraph:  "It has taken more than two decades, 400,000 documents and a two-year inquiry to discover to my horror that it would have been far more accurate had I written the headline The Lies rather than The Truth. I published in good faith and I am sorry that it was so wrong."   

AA Gill in the Sunday Times [£]: "The undoubted winner of both Olympic and Paralympic Games has been Clare Balding, now the go-to PE teacher to the nation. Taking advantage of the transfer window, she was loaned to Channel 4 and has managed to repeat her earlier success on the BBC, leaving all the other contenders, including that bloke who does the crisps ads, tossing in her spume."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "The arguments for letting the PCC and Lord Hunt get on with reform are pragmatic as well as political. The arguments for calling in parliament's draftsmen are neither."

Charlie Brooks interviewed in the Sunday Times [£]: “It was March, first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Baby asleep. Eighteen of them [police]. They came running up the stairs shouting their heads off. It felt like a very over-the-top operation. The nanny was totally traumatised.”

 Ray Snoddy in an article in the new edition of  the book 'The Phone-Hacking Scandal: Journalism On Trial', as reported on Roy Greenslade's blog: "Save in one respect – dealing with illegal phone hacking – the PCC is not a failed organisation. It is one that has worked tirelessly to get fast free redress for those who have been subject to inaccurate or intrusive reporting without reasonable cause and a strong case can be made that, on the whole, press behaviour has improved over the past 20 years."

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield in memo to staff, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “A key finding from the first phase was that we need to do even more to improve our content – particularly where we are increasing cover prices – so each editor is being asked to provide a content improvement plan that will serve as a blueprint for their relaunch. We also need to think about what types of content will help us reach new audiences – a big focus for relaunch – while keeping our heartland readers happy. We need more research to understand what content people would look for if they’re to become regular purchasers.”

Caitlin Moran (above) looks back at her 20 years on The Times [£]: "When I started here, in 1992, I was an overexcitable, chain-smoking 18-year-old who wouldn’t rise until 5pm, and who just wanted to write lots of jokes, and earn enough money to never have to move back to Wolverhampton, where I was aware there were only two employment possibilities that lay open to a working-class girl with no GCSEs or A levels – either, a) working the cheese counter at Gateway supermarket, Warstones Drive, or b) becoming a prostitute."

Time Out journalist Alexi Duggins after interviewing Caitlin Moran for three hours in a pub: "My stomach can take no more. After three hours of talking to Caitlin Moran, my gag reflex jerks violently, my abdomen pulsates like something out of ‘Alien’ and I decorate a toilet with my gastric lining. The walls pirouette madly, the floor leaps up to smack me in the face and everything goes black. Interview over."

[£] = Paywall .

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Paralympic Games wins gold for news coverage

The London Paralympic Games got the most coverage in the UK press for the week ending Sunday, September 9, according to journalisted.

Most covered stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted were:

Friday, 7 September 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From is Jeremy Hunt the PM's human shield? to the age of the trolls

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail on the promotion of Jeremy Hunt (top) from Culture Secretary to Health Secretary: "It’s been suggested that as long as Mr Hunt remains in government he acts as a kind of human shield, drawing on himself criticisms over his association with the Murdoch empire, which might otherwise be reserved for Mr Cameron. Perhaps he also knows such things as make it prudent for the Prime Minister to keep him close to his side. Whatever the explanation for this inexplicable promotion, it is a thoroughly unsatisfactory development."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader comments on the Leveson Inquiry: "While many critics hope this inquiry will recommend statutory controls, it would be a tragic outcome if it were to inhibit freedom of speech and legitimate investigation, even if Lord Justice Leveson intended no such outcome. The only ones celebrating would be the rich and the powerful and Britain would have lost yet another cherished freedom."

Grey Cardigan on Press Gazette about Sun intern Sophie Henderson who posed for mockup pictures of Prince Harry partying in Vegas: "Now look, I’ve had a quick glance at Ms Henderson’s Bookface page, or whatever it’s called. She does not strike me as being a shrinking violet and I would imagine that if she didn’t want to pose for the picture, the hapless executive who made the request would have soon been dispatched clutching his privates in much the same manner as the Prince. Either way, I bet she isn’t still an intern 12 months from now…"

Trinity Mirror job ad, as reported by HoldtheFrontPage: "The advert said the successful applicants would be responsible for 'gathering and preparing market-focused content direct from communities' for publication to readers across multimedia channels. It added: 'This is a non-journalistic role but you will be working closely with journalists and you will need to be self-motivated with the flexibility to work on multiple projects and meet a variety of deadlines'.” reports: "The annual World Press Trends survey by the World Association of Newspapers and Publisher (WAN-IFRA) has highlighted a 'lack of intensity' in digital news consumption, with just 2.2 per cent of global newspaper advertising revenues said to have come from digital platforms last year."

Ex-Daily Star journalist Rich Peppiatt on the The Journalism Foundation about his one man show One Rogue Reporter:"I can give the show a serious philosophical underpinning, but I appreciate some will see it simply as an act of eye-for-an-eye vengeance, albeit a satisfying vengeance against some richly deserving targets. There is truth in that interpretation too – which is why the person who suffers the show’s most brutal assassination is me, myself and I. The first part of the show is dedicated to my failure to be a journalist in anything but name. It is a necessary existential dissection. No one wants to be lectured about press ethics by a washed-up Daily Star hack (and certainly not pay for the privilege…) and it is only by positioning myself as lowly as possible that I earn the right to make some serious points amid the comedic terrorising of Fleet Street’s great and not-so-good."

Ex-Loaded editor Martin Daubney in Press Gazette: "We live in the age of the trolls. You get a shit storm of Tweets, in real time, for saying anything opinionated. My advice? Don’t take online feedback to heart, be dignified and never engage in a Tweet-off with the haters. Remember: you’re getting paid to write, they’re not. Tall poppies will always attract scythes."

[£] = pawall

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tropical storm Isaac beats Essex lion to top story

Tropical storm Isaac hitting the US Gulf Coast, seven years after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, was the top story for the UK press in the week ending Sunday, September 2, according to journalisted.

Top stories were:
  • A police search is launched after a false sighting of a lion in Essex, 69 articles.
Covered little, according to journalisted were: