Friday, 15 November 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: From press freedom mission heads for UK to why being a newspaper reporter is ranked as the worst job in 2013

Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA, the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers, which is sending a delegation to the UK in January: “A press freedom mission to the United Kingdom is unprecedented and we cannot underestimate our concern for what is happening. It is rather difficult for the United Kingdom to lecture Sri Lanka and others about their press freedom record, when its own actions result in such widespread international condemnation.” 

Kenan Malik  in the International New York Times: "What we have today in Britain is a tribal view of press freedom. Both sides want to defend freedom for the journalists they like while silencing the journalists they despise. Neither side seems to understand that the moment you invite politicians or the police to determine what is and is not acceptable journalism, freedom is eroded for all of us, whatever our political beliefs. Oh, for a British First Amendment."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley on the redesigned Independent: "I saw three old buffers, all former regional editors, discussing the relaunch of this national newspaper on Twitter this week. After a bit of back and forth, one of them suddenly said: 'Hang on. It’s only selling 70,000. We edited newspapers bigger than that'."

Theresa May at the Society of Editors' conference, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “Local newspapers are having a particularly hard time and I think that is at least partly down to the BBC’s dominance. I have had a number of dicussions with the editor of my local newspaper the Maidenhead Advertiser about the impact of the BBC locally. The Tzer plays a vital role in ensuring local democracy and it would be a sad day if the might of the BBC affected its future operations. The BBC should think carefully about its presence locally.”

Theresa May, as reported by Press Gazette: "Free speech doesn't mean you can go around saying anything about anybody for sake of it."

Lord Grade, speaking at the Society of Editors' conference, reported by Press Gazette: "The protection from exemplary damages supposedly offered by the Royal Charter may well turn out not to be a nice carrot but rather more a dead parrot."

BBC chairman Chris Patten in the New Statesman: "I was thinking the other day that in some newspapers the BBC gets bashed more than President Assad. It's extraordinary.”

John Humphrys on the BBC's former political editor John Cole (above), in the Guardian: "I reported back to my then-bosses that, although I thought he was an absolutely brilliant political journalist and the nicest person in the world, I didn't think we should employ him as the on-air political editor because people would simply find it too difficult to understand his accent. Mercifully they ignored my advice completely. Of all the massive errors of judgment I've made, that was probably my biggest. He turned out to be a great star."

Guardian editorial on John Cole: "The combination of his Northern Irish voice and his dazzling tweed overcoat made him instantly recognisable and entirely unforgettable. That, and his political contacts accrued over a lifetime, their complete confidence in him, and the great seriousness with which he treated the business of government, led to a compellingly watchable blend of showbiz and unimpeachable authority."

James Brewster, founder and owner of Strand News, the agency that covers the Royal Courts of Justice, quoted in the Guardian: "Over the last five years editorial budgets have been slaughtered," he says. "It has meant that, presented with the sort of cases that would once have been a shoo-in, even the front-page sort, news desks have been saying, 'we can't afford £70.' That's not a huge sum for what we provide. We should be considered as essential because you can't run a self-respecting newspaper unless you're covering people who win £8m personal injury claims or people who make successful appeals [against conviction or sentence] in cases papers covered at crown court."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, in a statement on plans by Johnston Press to make staff photographers redundant: "This decision by the company represents a wanton disposal of the local knowledge and skills of staff photographers working in England and Scotland. The notion that these roles can be replaced by social media and multi-skilling reporters is a fallacy. Quality content is defined by the quality of pictures and captions of images used, which only professional photographers provide. This spells the death knell for the staff photographer."

Tony Lee, publisher of which ranked newspaper reporter as worst job in 2013, as reported by the World Street Journal: “What probably pushed it [newspaper reporter] to the bottom is that several things got worse – job prospects decreased, the average salary continued to fall, and work hours continued to rise. Those factors also make the job more stressful.”

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