Friday, 21 March 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From police make their own news in local press to UK papers slammed over 'callous' coverage of L'Wren Scott's death

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley:"TORQUAY Police tweet from last night: 'An Historic momentfor the team. We have just published our own story directly to @TQHeraldExpress website with a picture. Amazing.' So that’s the police, posting their own stories directly onto the website of the Torquay Herald Express, without any intervention or examination by journalists. Amazing? No, fucking terrifying."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "I can see some virtue in the women's institute posting about their latest jam-making exploits or the scout troop reporting on its takings at the annual fete. And it could prove a boon for the myriad of sports teams anxious to see their players' names and faces up in lights. But the police are different. It may be fair enough to post stories on road detours and missing dogs and warnings about weather conditions. But this story was ill-advised on so many levels - libel and contempt (quite apart from leaden copy and bad picture-cropping). Really, I think the Herald Express and Local World need to think more deeply about allowing the police free access to their websites."

David Montgomery chief executive of of Herald Express publisher Local World, on HoldTheFrontPage: "What it illustrates is that communications is no longer the preserve of professional media owners. It’s just facing up to reality. The local publisher has a responsibility to orchestrate and manage content in different ways. You have to provide a gateway for communities and community institutions. We should give them a platform."

NUJ Ethics Committee in a statement: "The NUJ is strongly opposed to the idea of the police, or any authority or commercial organisation being able to publish directly to the local newspaper. It is the job of journalism, through local media, to hold local authorities, including the police, to account to local people. It is not its role to act as a conduit for the views and opinions of those authorities. If local authorities or the police wish to communicate directly with local people they should set up their own channels of communication."

Will Hutton in The Observer: "No university worries that it is incorporated under a state-backed royal charter. Rather, a charter protects academic freedoms. A charter-backed Independent Press Standards Organisation would offer the same for journalism and the flow of free information. Accusations that this ends centuries of press freedom hide an uglier truth. The British press does not want to be the provider of trusted information for citizens in the public square: rather, it wants to be free to shape the square and the character of the information it supplies, with as little redress and accountability as possible."

Garry Kasparov ‏@Kasparov63  on Twitter: "All the major opposition news websites were just wiped off the interet in Russia. No court order, simply blocked. Welcome to China."

John Harris in the Guardian: "Can you imagine what would have happened if Twitter was around when John Lennon was shot? What great blizzards of nonsense will eventually mark the deaths of Bob Dylan, Bill Clinton, John Major or David Bowie? And might it be the mark of true greatness to breathe your last and somehow escape all this, remaining as controversial in death as in life? That certainly applied to Margaret Thatcher. It will also surely be true of Arthur Scargill. And, come to think of it, Tony Blair."

Alison Hastings, Chair of the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, on John Sweeney's undercover Panorama programme on North Korea: "Discovering stories in difficult or dangerous places is one of the BBC's greatest strengths. There was a real public interest in making this programme in North Korea but, in the Trust's view, the BBC failed to ensure that all the young adults Panorama travelled with were sufficiently aware of any potential risks to enable them to give informed consent. This was a serious failing, and the BBC is right to apologise to the complainants."

Vincent Peyr├Ęgne,WAN-IFRA CEO, on the organisation's press freedom report on the UK: “The lack of any real guarantees enshrining press freedom continues to expose journalism in the United Kingdom to great uncertainty, as there is nothing benign in a system that invites even the possibility of tighter restrictions on freedom of expression.”

Joan Smith in the Guardian on the coverage by UK newspapers of the death of L'Wren Scott: "Several of them actually boasted about the fact they had obtained photographs of Jagger as he was told of L'Wren Scott's death. The Daily Mail's front page showed Jagger, his mouth set in a rictus of grief, alongside a headline declaring: "Moment Mick heard L'Wren was dead". What looked like the same picture appeared on the front page of the Daily Mirror ("The moment Jagger heard girlfriend of 13 years had hanged herself") and the Daily Star ("Moment Jagger was told of lover's suicide"). Whether this was the precise moment that Jagger heard the news or a short time afterwards, as seems more likely, hardly matters. It's as if the intense public debate about media ethics over the last three years never happened. Fourteen months after the Leveson report accused sections of the press of wreaking "havoc" with people's lives, some editors are behaving with the same callous disregard for grief which was highlighted during the inquiry."

US tabloids also came in for criticism from HuffPost Media:

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