Friday, 16 August 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: From catching Usain Bolt to John Cleese's contempt for UK journalists

AFP photographer Olivier Morin blogs about his picture of Usain Bolt and a bolt of lightning in Moscow: "I admit, with only a thumbnail view at first, I didn’t even see the lightning in the background, but after a moment I saw four photos with the bolt in the sky. Two of these weren’t usable because the cloud was too dark and the lightning was hard to see. But with the other two images, thanks to a little luck, the lightning is nice and visible; I’d gotten 'the' shot."

Tim Rayment in The Sunday Times [£] on its libel battle with crime boss David Hunt: "With legal bills, losing a libel case can cost the same as employing an entire newsroom of journalists. In uncertain times the temptation is to settle. But a journalist’s instinct is to protect journalism. If a newspaper allows the libel laws to be abused by those seeking to launder their reputations, what is the point of continuing with investigative journalism?"

Roy Greenslade on his blog on the appointment of former Press Complaints Commission director Stig Abell as new managing editor of the Sun: "I have no doubt that many newspaper editors and executives will be gobsmacked by the news of Abell's appointment. There may well be a feeling that he has changed sides and reversed the normal order of things – the gamekeeper has become the poacher."

Anthony Longden from the new edition of the book  What do We Mean By Local?: "QuarkXpress and its successors are tools like any other. You cannot hand someone a saw and call them a carpenter but, in effect, that was what happened – the emphasis was now merely on pulling copy into boxes. Anyone can do that, can’t they? Traditionally, sub editors had been hugely experienced, and generally quite terrifying journalists. They were the scourge of poorly written copy (and those who produced it). They could spot and remedy legal risks. They worked at a ferocious pace, and they had been rigorously trained as young reporters. They were also a bit older, and there was the rub: many found the transition from paper to computer just too much, and chose to bow out. Almost imperceptibly, sub editing became a secondary activity."

Paul Robertson in  What do We Mean By Local?:  "Regional media businesses have spent years agonising over ‘the Internet’. What do we put on it? Who does it? How do we make money on it? All are valid questions, but the constant questioning and lurches of direction are paralysing the industry. It is fiddling while Rome burns."

Neil Fowler in What Do We Mean By Local? advises local papers: "Start charging for some online content – and hold your nerve. Ditch fancy website names and use your brands – their value is immense."

John Mair in What Do We Mean By Local?: "Unless the ‘locals’ learn from the past and especially the last decade, such proud names as the Wolverhampton Express and Star, the Cambridge Evening News, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo will exist only on the tombstones on media history."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "Newspapers are still the nation's political megaphone, regardless of dwindling sales. When scarcely an edition of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times or indeed the Mail leaves the presses without a tilt at the BBC, that's alarming. If the Conservatives won the next election, would the BBC survive the redrawing of its charter in 2017 in anything like its present splendour?"

Mail on Sunday in a leader: "The more that emerges about the Soca report, the more it appears that the press has been singled out. It is being punished for a type of wrongdoing which, in fact, extends far more widely. It would be hard to reopen the Leveson inquiry itself. But politicians now considering how to respond to it should certainly bear these significant new facts in mind."

Edward Snowden interviewed by the New York Times Magazine, as reported by the Huff Post: "After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power -- the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government -- for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism. From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period."

Bearded: Lebedev and Paxman
Evegeny Lebedev in the London Evening Standard: "Whatever one’s views on the specifics, Jeremy Paxman got one thing right. A beard, like a great work of art or literature, must meet its public fully formed."

"When politicians get it wrong should they be forced to issue a front-page apology, too?

John Cleese in a Guardian video interview on the British press [excepting the Guardian, Independent and Daily Mirror]: "The rest are the most appalling, depraved, disgusting, amoral creatures you could find anywhere outside of prison. And of course many of them are going to be inside a prison soon." 

[£ ]= paywall

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