Friday, 24 May 2013

Quotes of the Week: Twitter becomes a Weapon of Mass Destruction and winds up Polly Toynbee

Ben Brogan about Twitter on his Telegraph blog: "Politically, the micro-blogging site has become a weapon of mass destruction. Where Alastair Campbell complained about the drumbeat of the 24-hour news channels, Mr Cameron must contend with the minute-by-minute verdict of social media, where his performances and policies are scrutinised, judged and discarded instantly. Where journalists used to meet in the bar, they now exchange gags and gossip on Twitter. It is a political accelerant."

Times executive editor Roger Alton picking up the London Press Club award for best daily newspaper of the year, as reported by Press Gazette's Axegrinder: "Thanks to the London Press Club for standing by the British press and celebrating its excellence at a time when it’s under some ferocious attack from an unruly collection of clapped-out hackademics, coked-up celebrities, loved-up lawyers, vengeful politicians [applause, cries of ‘well-said Rog’]. They are bastards one and all."

John Humphrys picking up the London Press Club's broadcaster of the year award, modestly suggests it should have gone to someone else: “All I had to do was get the director general sacked.”

ITN spokesman defends broadcasting video of bloodied Woolwich murder suspect, as reported by the Guardian: "We carefully considered showing this footage ahead of broadcast and made the decision to do so on a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident that took place."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "The Woolwich killers wanted publicity for their crime, available nowadays at the click of a mobile phone. They got it in buckets. Any incident is now transmitted instantly round the globe by the nearest 'citizen journalist'. The deranged of all causes and continents can step on stage and enjoy the freedom of cyberspace. Kill someone in the street and an obliging passerby will transmit the 'message' to millions."

Max Hastings in the Daily Mail: "Some 30 years ago, Margaret Thatcher, as prime minister, imposed a ban upon the broadcasting of interviews with members of Sinn Fein and the IRA, to ‘deny them the oxygen of publicity’. But in the modern world in which privacy is almost extinct, and censorship unenforceable as well as unacceptable, it would have been impossible to prevent the Woolwich killers from triggering an avalanche of national and worldwide publicity." 

Melanie Hall in the Telegraph: "Every officer in England and Wales will have to formally declare any friendship outside his workplace with a journalist, effectively meaning that people working in media organisations would be placed in the same bracket as criminals." 

Keith Perch on his blog: "Johnston Press is gaining just £1 in digital sales for every £21 in print sales lost. There can be little doubt that newspaper companies are shrinking in size.  Indeed, it is my belief that the only way local newspaper companies are going to survive is if they become small, low cost, digital and print businesses."

Local World chairman David Montgomery speaking to MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, as reported by Press Gazette: “We can’t keep taking costs out but employ the same production techniques in print. We have to be truly digital, so that in three or four years from now, much of our human interface will have disappeared. We will have to harvest content and publish it without human interface, which will change the role of journalists."

BBC Trust Review of  BBC online services: "The BBC should develop plans to provide better local news and information, as a number of consultation respondents, and the BBC Trust’s Audience Councils, told us the BBC’s local sites are not as strong as its UK and international news."

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald in the Mail on Sunday on keeping arrests secret: "It is, of course, true that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) doesn’t really represent the police. Instead, it is an unaccountable club of senior policemen who have tended over the years to serve their own interests. But even so, their recent announcement that, when officers make arrests in the future, the identity of their prisoners will be kept secret from the public, is deeply shocking. This new policy is, it seems, a poorly judged over-reaction to perceived media and police excesses in the past and, in particular, to the strictures of the Leveson Inquiry."

Times obit on Richard Beeston, the paper's foreign editor: "Richard Beeston was one of the finest and most courageous foreign correspondents of his generation. Fearless, always fair, and unflappable even in the most extreme situations, he reported on many of the wars, civil wars and violent upheavals of the past 20 years, from Chechnya to Iraq, the Lebanese civil wars to the present bloodshed in Syria."

Judges' ruling that public has right to know that Boris Johnson fathered a child during an affair, as reported by the Guardian: "It is not in dispute that the legitimate public interest in the father's character is an important factor to be weighed in the balance against the claimant's expectation of privacy. The core information in this story, namely that the father had an adulterous affair with the mother, deceiving both his wife and the mother's partner and that the claimant, born about nine months later, was likely to be the father's child, was a public interest matter which the electorate was entitled to know when considering his fitness for high public office."

Chris Elliott, readers’ editor at the Guardian and chair of the NCTJ’s accreditation board, on HoldtheFrontPage about his struggle to learn shorthand: "I bought the cassettes and practised Ted Heath’s speeches until I finally became competent in Teeline. I paid to take exams and got 80 wpm – not perfect, but over the years it has become an invaluable tool that I still use every day. I wish I had got the 100. Of course there are tape recorders and mobile phones. There are also trains, boats and planes, but everyone takes their driving test because most of the time you drive yourself. Once learned, shorthand is there as a basic support forever; learn it because you’re worth it."

Polly Toynbee ‏@pollytoynbee  on Twitter: "Twitter suggests I follow Mail DepPol Ed. Check blurb:he boasts 'Breaking news and reputations' Is poison+malice re politicians prime purpose?"

on Twitter: "Time for bed: twitter is suggesting I follow Melanie Phillips."

No comments: