Thursday, 18 June 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trinity Mirror's targets to being screwed by Richard Desmond

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser, on Trinity Mirror's plans for the West Midlands: "The proposed introduction of individual web targets for writers is a major departure from industry norms. It raises all kinds of questions about what sort of journalism will emerge and how stories are selected and covered. Our members in the Midlands are rightly uneasy with what they have so far been told about these targets, how they will be used and what effect they will have on their journalism...The management said it no longer sees its newspapers as papers of record. This is an insult to their readers, who need to be told about what is happening in their councils, health and police authorities, schools and environment."

Alan Geere in Press Gazette: "Yippedeedoo, at long last something 'unprecedented in the industry', just what we need to revitalise the dying patient."

David Higgerson on his blog: "Audience targets aren’t something to be fearful of if they’re done in the right way. And there is no incentive to go about them the wrong way. Journalists should always be asking whether they are doing something because it will interest readers, or just because they’ve always done it. It’s what the many new competitors ask themselves when they get going. It’s a big question, but the answer helps us focus on making our journalism essential daily reading for our audiences. For those who have been so quick to announce this as the end of journalism, I can’t help but think they’ve fallen into the oldest trap of all: Not letting the facts get in the way of a good headline. I think that’s called clickbait these days."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley"As regular readers will know, I despair of local newspaper websites that post national or even international clickbait. It has no relevance to readers, is of no value to advertisers, and irritates the shit out of people who expect local news from the local media. Trinity Mirror’s latest cowardly withdrawal from the front line of news will only make things worse. They may not be waving the white flag quite yet, but they certainly deserve a white feather."

Jonathan Dimbleby talking to the Radio Times: “The BBC has enemies, it has powerful enemies. It has powerful enemies in the press and powerful enemies in Westminster. Some for ideological reasons, some for straight commercial reasons.”

Richard Osley, deputy editor of the Camden New Journal, blogs about the retirement of Islington Tribune reporter Peter Gruner: "It’s not radical to wonder whether there are too many newsrooms with hardly a face aged over 25, full of reporters with instantly expansive job titles but with stories that have come almost solely from social media. I can’t think of a story that Peter lifted off someone’s tweet. The contrast with the way that Peter, when in the mood, got his stories and the way young reporters fresh out of an expensive course do tells a tale in itself. That’s not to say that new and old don’t have their place but here was a guy who, shock horror, picked up the phone and spoke to contacts, and sometimes went and met people for coffee."

Hugh McIlvanney in the Sunday Times [£]: "What was foreseen as Newcastle United’s public confirmation of Steve McClaren as the club’s new manager wasn’t public at all. Only selected media partners, Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror, were permitted interview access to McClaren. All other reporters were shut out. Though an undercurrent of contempt for journalists is hardly unknown elsewhere in football, Wednesday’s pantomime was unmistakably characteristic of the demented fiefdom Newcastle United seems to have become under the ownership of Mike Ashley."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "When Leveson was first called to inquire four years ago, national dailies sold 9,774,845 copies a day and national Sundays 9,661,298. Those figures respectively are now 6,992,804 and 6,624,137. At this rate, there’ll soon be nothing recognisable left to regulate anyway."

Mick Hume in the Sunday Times [£]: "The free-speech fraud around the Paris killings did not come out of the blue. Almost everybody in public life pays lip-service to the principle of free speech. Scratch the surface, however, and in practice most will add the inevitable 'but . . .' to button that lip and put a limit on liberty.  It is the culmination of a steady loss of faith in freedom of speech and the ability of people to handle uncomfortable words or images. In recent years it has become fashionable not only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the 'offence card' to trump free speech and demand that they be prevented from saying it."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "The Mail has grave reservations about giving increased surveillance powers to the state but we believe passionately that public safety is paramount. By sabotaging investigations, Twitter and the rest (who, by the way, make a living out of spying on their own customers and selling on personal data) have become the terrorists’ best friends."

Henry Mance, lunching with Richard Desmond, in the Financial Times: "In Richard Desmond’s hands, simple objects become terrifying. There’s the receptionist’s bell that he uses to interrupt executives in board meetings, or the cups of tea that occasionally fly over underlings.  For me, the terror begins when he picks up the wine list. This is Coq d’Argent, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Bank of England. The prices look like cricket scores — and Desmond is on the hunt for an innings victory. 'We’ll have that one,' he says, before I can intervene. As the sommelier skips away, the sum of £580 lingers on my retina. So this, I think, is how it feels to be screwed by Richard Desmond. It took less than 10 minutes."

Henry Mance ‏@henrymance  on Twitter: "Last night I asked Richard Desmond if he was annoyed by the interview. He turned to his security guy and said, 'Use nice concrete, yeah?' "


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