Thursday, 16 July 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From 'generational cleansing' in digital media to why the BBC should not be blamed for the demise of local newspapers

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "The news media, like most businesses built on craft and culture, have largely worked as an apprentice system. Younger people learned skills and language from older people. A good media job would have been judged on the basis of the caliber of the more senior people you could learn from. Within the last 10 years, with much of the focus on new start-up Web- and mobile-focused media companies, and massive staff cuts (longest in, first out) in the traditional business, that older side of media has been depleted if not decapitated. There is, too, the view that an older generation has nothing to teach anyway, possessing neither the new skills nor new language. It is not part of the native digital world. Hence, it's been a natural kind of generational cleansing."

Culture secretary John Whittingdale on the BBC Charter Review“We need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. Questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation.”

BBC director general Lord Hall, quoted by BBC News: "The last time politicians got creative, we ended up with the Millennium Dome."

Martin Beckford in the Mail on Sunday: "Police have accused a Mail on Sunday reporter of criminal voyeurism after he exposed a top children’s doctor who was abusing Class A drugs just before he went on duty at an NHS hospital. The award-winning journalist set up hidden cameras that captured Dr Colin Ferrie snorting cocaine and an illegal party drug. But despite the reporter handing the footage over to detectives and offering to help with their case, West Yorkshire Police last week called him in for questioning as a suspect. He was interviewed under caution at a police station on suspicion of voyeurism and supplying drugs, and even asked if he had made the secret film for his own sexual gratification. He denies the allegations."

Mail on Sunday in a leader: "The Crown Prosecution Service and the police have subjected a Mail on Sunday reporter to an absurd interrogation. Following his exposure of illegal drug-taking by an eminent surgeon, he was asked insulting and ludicrous questions in which it was suggested that he might have been engaged in the supply of illegal drugs or in voyeurism. This humiliation and intimidation of an individual by the use of state authority is an abuse of power. Nobody involved can have had the slightest real belief that these suspicions were justified or that charges could ever have been brought. That, at least, was the theory until recently. Both co-operated in the interests of all. But in the strange atmosphere which followed the Leveson Inquiry, a disturbing change has taken place. Police forces have in many cases begun treating all contacts with journalists as suspect and potentially corrupt. They have even sought to use their investigatory powers to probe the private telephone records of journalists."

Former Director of Public Prosecution Sir Keir Starmer in The Times [£]: “A new law should clearly establish a public interest defence for journalists.”

Martin Beckford in the Mail on Sunday: "Thousands of criminal court cases are being held behind closed doors under a new fast-track scheme that ends centuries of open justice. For the first time, details of cases are not being read out in an open court, and there is no bench made up of magistrates, no lawyers, no defendant and no access for the press or public. The introduction of the Single Justice Procedure (SJP) by the Ministry of Justice is the result of a little-noticed provision in a law passed earlier this year. Under the SJP, a single lay judge reads the background papers and passes sentence while sitting in private with a legal adviser. In the past few weeks, about 3,000 cases have been dealt with by dispensing with the need for traditional hearings."

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham indicates on BBC's Sunday Politics North West  he won't give an interview to the Sun: "I give interviews generally and people can report my words. But I don't do special favours for newspapers that attack me and attack my party."

West Highland Free Press founder Brian Wilson after being sacked by the paper as a columnist, as quoted by the Telegraph: “They published Donald Macleod’s column and then got rid of him, and then they published my column and get rid of me. The joys of employee ownership. It is all a bit sad. If it had to be on any issue then I’m glad it was about freedom of speech, which is something the Free Press has always been very strong on. It is stupid on the issue, it is stupid on journalistic principle, it is stupid on journalistic practice. Once you publish a column it becomes the property of the paper, not of the columnist.”

David Cameron, quoted by the Daily Mail: ‘Our charities undertake vital work, bringing communities together and providing support to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But the conduct of some fundraisers used by them is frankly unacceptable and damages the reputation of the sector as a whole, which is why we’re introducing a new law to make sure charities raise funds in the right sort of way. I’d also like to express my thanks to the Daily Mail for bringing this to light."

Meirion Jones on Press Gazette, on Freddie Starr losing his defamation case: “Karin Ward was brave enough to tell the truth about Freddie Starr, and more importantly about Jimmy Savile, yet the BBC abandoned her when she was sued for appearing on the Panorama programme 'Jimmy Savile: What the BBC Knew'. This is a very bad precedent and will frighten off whistleblowers from going to the BBC, and raise concerns about why the bosses left her in the lurch. It will intensify suspicions that this was a cynical move in the hope the courts would find Karin Ward was a liar, so they could pretend the original decision to suppress the Newsnight Savile investigation was justified."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on the Guardian on why the BBC is not to blame for the demise of the local press: "The truth is that when the going was good, newspaper group managements milked the profits for their shareholders and executives, made unwise acquisitions and failed to invest in journalism."


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