January to June 2013
The Guardian in a leader on Margaret Thatcher: "Her legacy is of public division, private selfishness and a cult of greed, which together shackle far more of the human spirit than they ever set free."
The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "Despite the widespread tributes on her passing yesterday, Lady Thatcher, of all people, would not have expected her enemies to wipe the slate clean in death. To paraphrase the words of St Francis of Assisi which she quoted on entering Downing Street, she certainly brought truth where there was error, but to deliver harmony was never her fate."
The Daily Mail in a leader: "She was a giant, beside whom other peacetime politicians of the 20th and 21st centuries look like mere pygmies."
Simon Kelner in the Independent: "Above anything else, Mrs Thatcher implanted the gene of greed in the British soul. And, in the end, that is the poison of her legacy."
Harry slams press
Prince Harry in an ITV News interview slams the British press: “All it does is upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do. My father (Prince Charles) always says don't read it, everyone says don't read it, because it's always rubbish. I'm surprised how many in the UK actually read it.”
Mark Ogden in the Telegraph on Alex Ferguson and the press: "Many reporters have been banned, myself included, for a vast number of random reasons. They have been banned for getting stories wrong and getting them right. Others have been exiled for writing books about Ferguson or making oblique references that have irked him deep within their articles. Yet Ferguson’s departure will be mourned by those who are employed to report on United, regardless of the bans, the hairdryers and the flying voice recorders. One sentence from Ferguson can carry more weight than a thousand words from his managerial counterparts – which can be a negative as well as positive quality – but being witness to the Ferguson years at United has been a rare privilege."
Private Eye on coverage of Alex Ferguson's retirement: "Perhaps the most spectacular example of Stockholm syndrome was displayed by the BBC. Having been sent to Coventry by Ferguson for a full seven years after daring to expose his son Jason's activities as a football agent - a ban which ended only in 2011 - the corporation found the perfect pundit to pay tribute to Sir Alex on Radio Five Live. Step-up long-standing Fergie friend and fellow Labour stalwart Alastair Campbell, the man whose rabid desire to 'fuck Gilligan' over the BBC's WMD story in 2003 brought the corporation as close to extinction as it has ever been."
Snowden snooper scoop
|Guardian Edward Snowden scoop makes four splashes|
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Guardian: "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."
Matthew Ingram on PaidContent: "The fact that both Greenwald and the Guardian are to some extent 'outsiders' may have helped them land what could be one of the biggest national-security stories since Watergate. And the stories — a series that Greenwald says has only just begun — will undoubtedly burnish the Guardian‘s reputation in the U.S., not to mention its web traffic."
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "The breaking of the Snowden revelations story must surely put The Guardian in line for a Pulitzer, making it the first British newspaper to win the award."
Ben Brogan in the Telegraph on Edward Snowden: "A close reading of his manifesto, with his talk of a “federation of secret law” ruling the world, CIA hit-squads, surveillance nets on the verge of activation and his right to act against a duly constituted, democratically elected government, suggests he has spent too much time watching Hollywood DVDs on his laptop and studying conspiracy theory forums on the web. Whether he is naive, deluded or malicious, he has generated a drama that is more about the fantastical steps he took to put himself beyond America’s grasp than the content of the classified information he released."
Boris Johnson in the Telegraph on the NSA allegations: "I think if I were Shami Chakrabarti, or my old chum David Davis, I might get thoroughly aerated at this point; and I have some sympathy with their general position. But then I am afraid I also have sympathy with our security services, and their very powerful need to use the internet to catch the bad guys – the terrorists, the jihadis, the child porn creeps. There is a trade-off between freedom and security, as Barack Obama rightly says; between the citizen’s right to total internet privacy, and the duty of the state to protect us all from harm."
Bell on Bondage
Cartoonist Steve Bell in a Guardian video on his portrayal of George Osborne: "Why is George in bondage gear? Well, I was having a bit of a problem drawing George. The whole point about George's stance is its about restraint, restraint, restraint, cuts, cuts, whips, whips, straps, straps, chains, chains... "
People Nigella scoop
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "A couple of weeks ago I asked whether there was any point to the continued publication of the Sunday People. Ever since – and I know it's not because of what I wrote – the paper has been coming up with must-read stories. But none was more spectacular than yesterday's old-fashioned Fleet Street scoop – the pictures of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. Talk about agenda-setting. The Twittersphere went crazy. News website hits went off the scale. Every newspaper followed it up. It went round the world because Nigella is a global brand."
Downfall of Chris Huhne
The Sun in a leader: "Be in no doubt. Were it not for The Sunday Times, lying Lib Dem toad Chris Huhne would be sitting bold as brass in the Cabinet today. Indeed, he might have been Deputy PM. He was a whisker from beating Nick Clegg to the Lib Dem leadership in 2007. Those urging a Leveson law to muzzle the Press should reflect hard on yesterday’s sensational events."
Good news vs bad
Charles Moore in the Telegraph accusing the national press of being dominated by bad news compared to the local media: "Local papers and broadcasters are unashamedly on the side of the areas they serve. Of course they relish scandals, but they also delight in successes. At flower and dog shows, if local papers are to be believed, rain always 'fails to dampen the spirits'. National papers only really get interested when every exhibit is swept away in a tidal wave or, as happened recently at a dog show in Kent, people start punching one another."
Peter Hirsch posts on Charles Moore's article : "Thank you, Charles. Now perhaps you could just post the link to that dog show in Kent?"
Fox reveals face
Susie Boniface (aka Fleet Street Fox) reveals herself in The Times [£]: "It’s funny, my real name, Susie Boniface, has been in papers for 18 years and Fleet Street Fox has been around for five minutes, but she’s better known than I am. Recently someone told me: 'Wow! You’re Fleet Street Fox! If anyone can be trusted, you can.' Very flattering, but it puts a dent in your self-esteem when your creation is more popular than you are. Added to which, my — her — story is about to be read by more strangers than ever. It’s a bit like being married, only she is someone I can’t divorce."
Harolds Evans on 'arrogant' press
Sir Harold Evans giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture: "As depressing as exposure of the dark arts has been, it is deepened by the cynicism and arrogance of much of the reaction to Leveson, coming from figures in the press who did nothing to penetrate - indeed whose inertia assisted - the cover-up conducted into oblivion by News International, a cover up which would have continued, but for the skill of Nick Davies and the courage of his editor."
Mair bashes Boris
|Mair and Johnson (Pic: BBC)|
Eddie Mair to Boris Johnson on the Andrew Marr Show: "You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?"
John Kampfner in the Guardian: "Many on the liberal-left sense a once-in-a-generation opportunity to 'tame' the unruly papers. They believe a more decent society cannot be achieved with the media we currently have, so it's time to act. Rather than seeing free expression as the bedrock of a strong society, they see it as providing an opportunity for nasty people to bludgeon nasty views on to a vulnerable public. They cannot tolerate an intolerant press."
Congregation of 'bastards'
|St Bride's Fleet Street|
Sexism in the City newspaper office
Cathy Newman in the Telegraph: "Some of the most glaring instances of sexism directed at me took place in newspaper offices or at the hands of newspaper executives. When I worked for the Financial Times, I confronted a senior executive about the fact that a man who was significantly junior to me was getting paid a lot more. The executive asked me what I needed the money for, since I didn’t have a mortgage or a family. I laughed it off and made sure I got a pay rise. Slightly more intimidating was the time, ironically at a political party conference, when a man who was then the editor of a national newspaper started propositioning me in the bar, despite knowing I was in a long-term relationship, and despite my making it patently clear that I wasn’t interested."
Guardianistas vs Mail
Zoe Williams in the Guardian: "The Daily Mail reminds me a little bit of climate change: you think you've got the measure of just how bad it is, but every time you look it's taken another appalling leap forward. Yesterday, following the conviction of the Philpotts for the manslaughter of their six children, it called Mick Philpott the "vile product of welfare UK". The cynicism, the lack of respect for the dead, the dehumanising terminology (he "bred" the children, it says); the front page alone told us all we need to know."
Daily Mail in a leader: "As the debate over welfare reform rages on, one mystery increasingly perplexes and infuriates the Guardianistas of the well-heeled, middle-class Left. Why, they ask over the Chablis, do the working-class poor so stubbornly refuse to share their enlightened belief in the wonders of the welfare state? To their bemusement, poll after poll has shown that three-quarters of voters (including most Labour supporters) want benefits reined in, with the clamour for cuts at its loudest among workers at the bottom end of the pay scale."
Caitlin Moran on her family values
Caitlin Moran in The Times [£]: "My father raised eight children on welfare benefits, and didn’t kill any of us. I feel I should say that this week. I feel I need to firmly point to a large family raised on public handouts who were normal, and gentle, and never set fire to their house during a personal vendetta against a former lover."
Murder in Woolwich
Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian on the paper's front page on the Woolwich murder (above): "This was an extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, event. In broad daylight on a British street a man was hacked to death allegedly by someone who then essentially gave a press conference, using Islamist justifications. It was, by any standards, a unique news picture – but in a new media context in which the killer's message had already been distributed around the world virtually in real time."
Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott in his Open door column on the same front page: "It was right to use the picture and the video, as both were crucial to an understanding of the event. It's not the first time shocking images have been run on the front page. However, the effect of the quote embedded in the photograph meant the message was unmediated."
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."
When interviews go bad...
Michael Hann on the Guardian's Music Blog on interviewing drummer Ginger Baker (top) in front of a live audience: "I've had peculiar interviews before. I once sat on the floor in the dressing rooms at Spurs' training ground to talk to Sol Campbell, while John Scales stood just to my right, listening in. He was naked. His penis kept dangling in and out of my eyeline at disconcertingly close range. But I've never had any interview experience quite so unsettling as half an hour with Ginger Baker in front of a couple of hundred people. It's not something I want to repeat."
Janice Turner in The Times: "I’m not sure where it started to go wrong with Rhys Ifans. A truly awful interview can catch you like a cloudburst in August. How quickly his answers escalated through disdain to disgust then mad-eyed vibrating hostility until he announced 'I am bored with you' and stalked out, leaving his publicist hand-wringing and ashen."
July to December 2013
|Two titles at war: Guardian top; Mail bottom|
MI5 chief Andrew Parker, as reported by the Independent, claims Edward Snowden's leaks on surveillance by security services gave terrorists: "The gift to evade us and strike at will'
Daily Mail headline over leader on the Guardian: 'The paper that helps Britain's enemies'
The Guardian in a leader: "The Mail's leading article must be read in the context of a fervent discussion about press regulation in which it is leading the charge for journalists to be both free and trusted. But yesterday's editorial argues the opposite. It is a statement of anti-journalism: editors, it says, cannot be trusted. They must defer to the state."
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "In a Guardian basement, officials from GCHQ gazed with satisfaction on a pile of mangled hard drives like so many book burners sent by the Spanish Inquisition."
David Carr in the New York Times: "If the revelations about the N.S.A. surveillance were broken by Time, CNN or The New York Times, executives there would already be building new shelves to hold all the Pulitzer Prizes and Peabodies they expected. Same with the 2010 WikiLeaks video of the Apache helicopter attack. Instead, the journalists and organizations who did that work find themselves under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists. What are we thinking?"
MPs quiz Rusbridger
|Rusbridger: 'Patriotic about a free press'|
Alan Rusbridger asked if he loved this country by Home Affairs Committte chair Keith Vaz, as reported by the Guardian: "I'm slightly surprised to be asked the question. But, yes, we are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of democracy, the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things."
Dan Hodges on his Telegraph politics blog: "When politicians are summoning newspaper editors before them to question their patriotism then we’ve got a problem. It’s fashionable to complain of 'McCarthyism' whenever someone is challenged on just about anything these days. But what has just happened is the very definition of McCarthyism."
Carl Bernstein in an open letter to Alan Rusbridger: "As we learned in the United States during our experience with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, it is essential that no prior governmental restraints or intimidation be imposed on a truly free press; otherwise, in such darkness, we encourage the risk of our democracies falling prey to despotism and demagoguery and even criminality by our elected leaders and government officials."
Ed goes for Mail over attack on dad
|Mail attack on Ralph Miliband|
Paul Dacre in the Guardian responds to the storm over the Mail's Ralph Miliband feature: "The hysteria that followed is symptomatic of the post-Leveson age in which any newspaper which dares to take on the left in the interests of its readers risks being howled down by the Twitter mob who the BBC absurdly thinks represent the views of real Britain."
Ed Miliband on the Fleet Street press at a private dinner for Labour donors, according to the Financial Times: "We've got to be willing to call these people out. They are less powerful than people ever thought and they are less powerful now than they were."
Press charter plan rejected
Culture secretary Maria Miller speaking in Parliament, as reported by BBC News: "The committee of the Privy Council is unable to recommend the press's proposal for a royal charter be granted. Whilst there are areas where it is acceptable, it is unable to comply with some important Leveson principles and government policy."
Press industry statement condemns politicians' Royal Charter: "This proposed Royal Charter has already been universally rejected by the industry and it is even more regrettable that the industry will have no opportunity to take part in the discussions between the political parties over possible amendments."
Maria Miller, as reported by the Guardian, speaking to MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee: "[Hacked Off's presence] became quite a destructive force in the perception of the press, I think it made some lasting damage. We had managed to get to a stage where we were on the verge of agreement. Some of the interventions over [that] weekend created a great deal of bad will."
David Cameron in an interview with Fraser Nelson of the Spectator: "I believe there’s a great opportunity here to put this difficult and painful issue to bed. If the press set up their regulator I hope, in time, they will make that regulator compliant with – will be able to then seek recognition under – the charter recognition body. If that then happens, we’ll have in place a system that I think will settle this issue because we would have achieved what Leveson wanted which is independent self-regulation by the press, but not marking its own homework, having itself checked, and only having the body checked as it were by the charter."
Telegraph warning over Royal Charter
|Adams cartoon from the Daily Telegraph|
The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The Guardian’s recent investigation into state spying is exactly the kind of reporting that could spark a moral panic among politicians and give them cause to limit what the press can publish. If Parliament can find the numbers to impose a royal charter upon the industry, it can also find the numbers necessary to censor it."
Twitter better than Beeb
Emily Bell in the Guardian: "Twitter is already a far more effective tool for reporting, discovery, dissemination and collaboration than anything the BBC will ever produce."
Last Post for Liverpool
Editor Mark Thomas on Trinity Mirror's decision to close the Liverpool Post, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “It has been a privilege to edit the Liverpool Post for the last seven years. This is without doubt the saddest day of my career. I am very proud of all the journalists who have worked alongside me on the Liverpool Post. This is no reflection on them."
Reporter 'worst job' in 2013
Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com. 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.”
Hacking: Read all about it
The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I’M ALL for open justice, but it does strike me as a trifle odd that when members of the press are put on trial for hacking private voicemail messages, those messages are then read out in public and subsequently reported in the very same press. How does that work then? "
Bullying media bosses
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on bullying in the media: "It has been heart-breaking to deal with members whose dreams have been shattered because of the behaviour of their managers and of failure of employers to tackle bullying and bullies. I have heard testimonies from members who said, 'News editors threw reporters on to the same story, everyone was terrified of putting a foot wrong. People were put under such pressure. Reporters were effectively encouraged to shaft each other. It was such a demoralising situation' and from women journalists who had been offered promotion in return for having sex with their boss."
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on bullying: "Outsiders may wonder why adults put up with the MacKenzies and Dacres. The obvious answer is that they control people's livelihoods. It is a case of accepting it or getting out (and not "getting in" anywhere else). For too brief a period in the 1970s, the National Union of Journalists exercised enough power to save the jobs of those who dared to buck the system by standing up to the bullies. But the NUJ, having lost its fight to create closed shops, gradually lost its potency. And there is still not much constraint on the autocratic rule of popular paper editors."
Monty's message to the troops
Local World chief David Montgomery's vision for the future of local papers, as reported by Press Gazette: "On the smaller weekly titles a single individual, Content Manager, will skim largely online published content to create the newspaper in a single session or small number of sessions rather than a number of staff following a laborious and time-consuming schedule spanning many days of the week. On daily papers only a handful of Content Managers will be office bound and will orchestrate all products across the platforms."
Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "While this is terrible news for Local World’s employees – despite several years of shedding talent, still some of the best in the business – it could well be good news for those just waiting in the wings for the big groups to get fed up with these troublesome regional titles and start returning them to local ownership where they truly belong. And all those redundant hacks launching proper, hyperlocal news websites must be rubbing their hands with glee. Monty’s pursuit of this Holy Grail is deluded, dangerous and desperately unfair on those who have carved out successful careers in our trade."
Press freedom mission to UK
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.”
Humphrys on John Cole
John Humphrys on the BBC's former political editor John Cole, 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."
Another new look for Indy
Publisher Evgeny Lebedev on the Independent's latest redesign: "This newspaper has a proud record of innovation. It was the first broadsheet title to go compact, after which many others, including The Times, followed. In the past four years, my family took its sister title, the London Evening Standard, free, returned it to profit, and launched this newspaper’s very successful spin-off, i, which comfortably outsells The Guardian. That tradition of innovation makes me glad to see our masthead made vertical. Together with other changes you can see today, I believe this redesign revives the elegance and sophistication of the paper’s first editions."
Times' three-year investigation into grooming
|Andrew Norfolk: 'Lucky to work for Times'|
It's a nib
|Matt in the Telegraph|
Chris Huhne in the Guardian: "The News of the World sparked the end of my marriage, but another Murdoch title, the Sunday Times, then groomed my ex-wife until she told them about the speeding points."
The Telegraph in a leader on Chris Huhne's Guardian column: "A more self-delusional and morally contemptible article would be hard to imagine. Many people have swapped speeding points, he wrote, as if this made any difference to his breaking the law. Moreover, he claimed that a newspaper investigation into his affair with another woman “sparked the end of my marriage”. It seems not to have occurred to him that his adultery was responsible for that."
Losing the local
Chris Oakley warns in the updated edition of What Do We Mean By Local? of a "Kafkaesque nightmare vision – citizens with no local pub, no local post office, no local newspaper, no knowledge, no informed opinion on anything that should matter to them or their families. Times are always changing, but if good men and women - and good journalists - can do nothing then change can destroy rather than create progress."
Bezos buys Wash Post
Donald Graham on the sale of the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon: "Our revenues had declined seven years in a row. We had innovated, and to my critical eye our innovations had been quite successful in audience and in quality, but they hadn’t made up for the revenue decline. Our answer had to be cost cuts, and we knew there was a limit to that. We were certain the paper would survive under our ownership, but we wanted it to do more than that. We wanted it to succeed."
James Fallows on The Atlantic website on the sale of the Washington Post: "I think I'll remember where I was when I first heard the news -- via Twitter! -- and I am sure it will be one of those episode-that-encapsulates-an-era occurrences. Newsweek's demise, a long time coming, was a minor temblor by comparison; this is a genuine earthquake."
Sunday Times victory over gang boss
The Sunday Times [£] in a leader about David Hunt after he lost a libel case against the newspaper: "Mr Hunt, in the judgment of Mr Justice Simon who tried his libel complaint, has been involved in fraud, prostitution, money laundering and “extreme violence”. Previously confidential documents produced at the trial revealed that the police and other crime-fighting agencies have been well aware of his activities for many years. Yet it has taken extremely brave witnesses, including a persistent investigative reporter, Michael Gillard, to bring these facts before the public. It has been a high stakes legal battle. This newspaper has needed deep pockets to fill the vacuum left by those who should have taken on Mr Hunt long ago. We have not shied from the task, just as in the past we took on the distributors of thalidomide and the quarter-master general of the Provisional IRA. This is what we do."
Murdoch meeting leak
Rupert Murdoch in a meeting with Sun journalists, leaked to Exaro and broadcast by Channel 4 News: "The idea that the cops then started coming after you, kick you out of bed, and your families, at six in the morning, is unbelievable. But why are the police behaving in this way? It's the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing."
Lawson defends Lawson
Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times [£] on the way columnists attacked his sister, Nigella, during the fraud trial of her assistants: "Naturally I understand that for newspaper columnists, desperate to meet yet another deadline, human tragedy provides the ideal opportunity for a piece of hastily improvised moralising; but that self-righteousness depends (if the sensitive reader is not to feel nauseated) on some sort of relation to the truth."
Piers Morgan goes into bat
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "I'd swap every job I've had, and every penny/dime I've earned, to play cricket for England. Where's the pride? The sense of honour? #Ashes"
Jumping Jack Hack
Mick Jagger interviewed by John Humphrys on the Today programme: "There're a million things that you would have loved to have done, a politician, a journalist. I thought of being a journalist once."