Thursday, 29 January 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From police snooped on more Sun journalists to 5,000 UK local and national newspaper editorial jobs axed in a decade

Sean O’Neill in The Times [£]: "Scotland Yard deliberately concealed the full extent of its snooping on journalists during the investigation into the so-called Plebgate affair. An official report revealed last year that the Metropolitan police had gathered call and text logs from the mobile phone of Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun, to discover the source of his story about the infamous clash between Downing Street police officers and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip. The police report, The Times can reveal, kept secret the fact that detectives used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to trawl for data from the phones of two other Sun journalists, Anthony France, the crime reporter and Craig Woodhouse, the political correspondent."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The figures for all investigations into suspected journalistic wrongdoing, including inquiries into phone and computer hacking, have reached a giddying £40 million. In 1967, a Times editorial challenged the senseless prosecution of the singer Mick Jagger and posed the question: 'Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?' The present campaign, rightly described as a vendetta by the Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, suggests we should again frame that question."

Telegraph editorial on the jury failing to agree at the end of the trial of Sun journalists: "This should have been the end of the men’s ordeal. But the Crown Prosecution Service is to seek a retrial, despite the already monumental costs of this whole affair – estimated at close to £200 million. Can the CPS really argue that this is either fair or in the public interest? The judge in the case that collapsed yesterday said any new trial had to be held as soon as possible because the defendants had been waiting for the matter to be resolved for some considerable time. In our view they have been in limbo long enough. A trial has been held and there has been no conviction. The CPS should leave it there."

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "Honourable reporters go to prison to protect their sources. Murdoch and his team sent their sources to prison to protect themselves and have tried to do the same to their journalists."

Pic Lewis Bush
Emily Bell, giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture at the London College of Communications: "Hugh Cudlipp’s book bore the battle cry title for journalists: Publish And Be Damned! But that came from a time when we knew who the publishers were and what damnation meant. This too is altered by the Internet. When terror organisations, psychopaths, corrupt corporations are the publishers damnation looks rather different to an angry phone call from Number 10. Publish and be damned sounds daring, appealing almost. Publish and be murdered at your desk, publish and be overwhelmed with foul mouthed threatening messages, publish and be imprisoned without due process, publish and be beheaded for a publicity stunt, publish and be blown up in a basement in Homs, publish and have your office smashed up and your family intimidated, publish and put a stranger’s life in danger. These sound less swashbuckling, much more threatening, and yet that is what is happening, not just in Paris, but in Egypt, in Mexico, in Iran, in Syria, in Saudi Arabia, in Britain, in America, everywhere in fact."

Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Much fuss and publicity in UK as horrible elites yak on about Page 3. Worry not, The Sun will always have great looking women - and men!"

David Blair in the Daily Telegraph: "It was under the headline 'Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland', that this newspaper reported the 'greatest massacre in the world’s history' on June 25, 1942. The story was remarkably detailed and accurate, yet the credit belongs neither to this newspaper nor the anonymous 'Daily Telegraph reporter' who was the author. All the facts were supplied by Szmul Zygielbojm, a member of the Polish government in exile who made it his mission to inform the world about the Holocaust."

Pic: BBC
Peter Oborne in the Telegraph: "One of the most telling manifestations of the pathetic self-indulgence of modern journalism is the phenomenon of the 'media commentator.' This is a lofty figure who does not write about events in the real world, but prefers to comment on the journalists who do."

BBC report on the Future of News"The internet has ripped a hole in the business model of many great news organisations.  And, as a result, vast swathes of modern life are increasingly unreported or under-reported.  Take the local press. As classified and local advertising has moved online, the regional press has suffered.  From the Rocky Mountain News in the US to the Reading Post in the UK, local newspapers have closed. More than 5,000 editorial jobs were cut across the regional and national press in the UK in a decade."


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