Thursday, 19 March 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Chancellor offers tax break hope for local press to Van Morrison says lazy rock journalists need a sense of humour

Pic: Jon Slattery
George Osborne in his Budget speech: “Local newspapers are a vital part of community life – but they’ve had a tough time in recent years – so today we announce a consultation on how we can provide them with tax support.”

Johnston Press chief ashley highfield on Twitter: "Osborne's local newspaper tax relief consultation great news for JP, and indicate strong Govt. desire to help us thrive."

The NUJ in a statement: "The NUJ has launched the Local News Matters campaign to reclaim a vital, vigorous press that is at the heart of the community it serves and is owned and operated in the public interest. As part of this, we have called for:
  • a short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news.
  • local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for a paper.
  • action to stem the job cuts and attack on quality journalism.
  • research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community media."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Eliott after the paper received 300 complaints over a Steve Bell strip cartoon about the SNP: "He is a cartoonist who makes Marmite seem like skimmed milk and he is unrepentant about the cartoon."

Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun [£]: “I think it’s fair to say that nature made a mistake when it invented the dinosaur. It was too big, too violent. So one day, all the dinosaurs died and now, many years later, no one mourns their passing. These big, imposing creatures have no place in a world which has moved on.”

A.A. Gill in the Sunday Times [£] on Clarkson: "At The Sunday Times, he and I work for a big corporation. But there is a sense that if things get lairy then the editor and management would stand by us.  At the BBC, some of Jeremy’s colleagues have treated him as a liability. Not just failed to appreciate him but briefed against him while taking the hundreds of millions his talent earns them and using his image and Top Gear to promote themselves around the world."

Award winner: Andrew Norfolk
Peter Preston on Andrew Norfolk in the Observer: "Andrew Norfolk, the Times reporter in Rotherham, is the hero of most press awards these days and was again at the press awards. Warm applause, but also a warm lesson as Norfolk thanked his editors, going back years, for giving him time, especially time listening quietly in court, to nail a great, sickening story. Time is the essence of investigation. Courts are the underreported casualty of staff cuts. We no longer sit through trials. We don’t register detail after an opening statement or two. We believe in open justice: but we’re shutting the door on it."

Gideon Spanier in The Times [£]: "The owner of the Daily Mirror is in talks with Richard Desmond about buying the Daily Express and has been given access to his newspaper group’s confidential accounts, The Times has learnt."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "Overall, no deal involving any of the Express titles makes sense for Trinity Mirror. It would appear that both [Richard] Desmond and [Simon] Fox are engaged in fishing expeditions. But neither looks likely to make a catch."

Roger Mosey ‏@rogermosey on Twitter: "My initial sense is if Cameron agrees to 1 election debate on terms acceptable to the broadcasters it's harder to empty chair him in others."

The Sunday Times in a statement after the Appeal Court ruling on its long running libel case with ex-Consdervative Party treasurer Peter Cruddas: "The Sunday Times and two of its journalists, Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake, are today completely vindicated for reporting that Peter Cruddas corruptly offered access to David Cameron and other leading members of the Government in exchange for donations to the Conservative party. As party treasurer, he told the undercover reporters that if they made substantial donations to the party they would have an opportunity to influence Government policy and to gain unfair commercial advantage through confidential meetings. The Court of Appeal has found that proposing this was unacceptable, inappropriate and wrong. This was an important public interest story. Our journalists acted with professionalism and integrity and with the full support of the newspaper’s editors and lawyers. They and the newspaper have fought this case for three years. Today’s judgment confirms that journalism, and in particular undercover journalism, plays a key role in exposing the conversations behind closed doors which public mistrust. In so doing, it serves a vital purpose in a democracy.”

Van Morrison in The Times [£] insists he enjoys a laugh: “They never write about this stuff in the rock magazines. They never write anything like that. They keep the mythology going — I am grumpy and never have a laugh — because they are so lazy. They might have to get a sense of humour.”

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