Thursday, 18 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: The BBC and local journalism, cover ups and downgrading editors

BBC head of news James Harding, speaking at City University:"We have renewed the case for the BBC’s contribution to the revival of local journalism. We have shown a willingness to take on the wrong-headed argument that the problems of the local newspaper industry are the BBC’s fault; and we have shown a willingness to work with the local newspapers in meaningful partnerships...Rich, old, white people are getting a better diet of news than poorer, younger and non-white people. And that’s increasingly true in national vs local news. Redressing the balance is one of the reasons we’ve doubled the regional news coverage in England in the 10 O’Clock news hour in the months ahead of the election."

SubScribe: "Men with machine guns set out on a mission. They are heading for a school where they intend to kill as many pupils as they can. They achieve their aim with a death toll of 132 children - and a teacher is burnt alive for good measure.  By any yardstick this is a big story. But not, to judge from today's front pages, as big as the NHS populating hospital wards with foreign nurses or slightly cheaper petrol. Indeed, the possibility of life on Mars is more compelling for the Telegraph than the real loss of life on Earth."

Tom Mangold in the Daily Mail on the Jeremy Thorpe scandal: "With the benefit of hindsight, it now becomes more than a mere suspicion that we investigative journalists at the cutting edge of the story were being gently manipulated by others in powerful positions — people who were anxious to know how much information there was about the developing scandal, how accessible it was, and what could be done to shut it down."

Peter Preston in The Observer on Christopher Jeffries: "It wasn’t reporters and broadcasters who lit the blaze. It was the police, yet again, making an arrest on vestigial evidence and then publicising it to attract witnesses – in short, scrappily setting up an innocent man as prime target for media destruction. Of course the press went much too far, too fast. But Jefferies, first and foremost, was a victim of pressurised policing."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "Is history about to be made at The Guardian? The editor, Alan Rusbridger, announced last week that he would be stepping down next summer. And the chilling news for Guardian readers is that at least one of the frontrunners for the job was educated at a state school. This could be the first time a Guardian editor is drawn from the ranks of normal people — certainly since William Percival Crozier in 1932 and possibly ever."

Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer, on Rod Liddle's "joke" about transgender Labour candidate Emily Brothers in the Sun [£]: “Is there no-one at the Sun who felt that this was a despicable piece which needed spiking as soon as it was thought of? This utterly vile comment is not an example of freedom of the press but is a dangerous type of bullying. Has the Sun every heard of the way hate crime stems from this type of nasty rubbish? A front page apology at least is required from the Sun and condemnation by all supporters of this so called newspaper.”

Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon after Turkish authorities detained journalists they accused of conspiring against the state: "We are deeply concerned about the detention of journalists in Turkey: Turkish authorities, who have a history of politicized prosecutions against the media, do not tolerate critical reporting. The heavy-handed actions this morning smack of political vengeance."

alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "New life: as well as chairing Scott Trust I'm to be next principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford."

Juan Direction, Exeter, posts on HoldTheFrontPage about the axing of the two weekly editors in Gloucestershire: "Across the country, faceless (and in many cases witless) management types make these decisions with a) little or no regard for what this will mean to the quality and status of the papers in their communities and b) zero respect for journalism. It’s easy to sound precious when you try and defend journalism as a concept, but what these dunderheads don’t realise is that their extreme short termism is eating away at the very thing which gives their ‘product’ (as they are wont to call it) its USP – compelling, well presented, curated content, delivered with authority and adherence to standards."

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor on Twitter: "Bad news for democracy in Gloucestershire. Two good editors get the push at a time when we need strong newspapers."


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