Thursday, 21 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the joy of scoops to columnists bring Bowie 'hysteria' down to earth

Robert Peston, interviewed in the Guardian: “There is no better fun than getting a whiff of a scoop and then landing it. It is the best fun ever, and if anybody in our trade tells you otherwise they shouldn’t really be in our trade."

Newsquest NUJ group chapel motion: “This group chapel expresses deep concern at the lack of communication between regional centres and the Newport hub. This is an inherent flaw in the system established by Newsquest and calls on management to address this urgently to safeguard the quality of the products and the journalism produced. To be clear, the criticism made is of the system, not the people having to work within the system. Unnecessary pressure and conflict is being caused to all as a result.”

Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard: "Newsquest’s cost-saving decision to create centralised production hubs in Newport, South Wales, and Weymouth has not proved as efficient as hoped. The company’s editors have not been thrilled with the headline-writing skills of sub-editors located many miles away who lack relevant local knowledge. I would guess that this particular problem will gradually be solved by sensible compromise. What it indicates, however, is the way local papers are moving ever further from their audiences. In a digital world, where everyone is a click or two away from everyone else and everything they want, it is easy to forget the virtues of maintaining a local presence. Publishers may have no economic alternative but to cut and run, but they do so at their peril."

Rosie Brighouse, legal officer for Liberty, on the judgment regarding David Miranda’s 2013 detention at Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act: “This judgment is a major victory for the free press. Schedule 7 has been a blot on our legal landscape for years – breathtakingly broad and intrusive, ripe for discrimination, routinely misused. Its repeal is long overdue. It is also a timely reminder of how crucial the Human Rights Act is for protecting journalists’ rights. Once again it has come to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of power by the State.”

Johnston Press in a trading update: “As part of the group’s portfolio review, a number of brands have been identified that are not part of its long-term future, as they fall outside its selected markets, do not match the audience focus, or do not offer the levels of digital growth sought by the group. A process has been initiated to explore the sale of these assets to identified parties."

The Times in a leader[£]: "A second inquest into the death of Poppi Worthington is soon to begin, entirely due to media intervention. This disturbing case should stand as a reminder that justice in the dark is no justice at all."

Labour Party report on why it lost the General Election: “It is the fate of every Labour leader of the opposition to be the target of ferocious attack from partisan sections of our media. However, Ed Miliband faced an exceptionally vitriolic and personal attack. Even before he courageously took on the public concerns that led to the Leveson inquiry, elements in the news media seemed determined to try to destroy him.”

John Prescott on TwitLonger"I thought Andrew Marr's interview this morning with Jeremy Corbyn was a disgrace...All journalists should recognise the public wants to here what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday. So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors. If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them."

Sherif Mansour, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, on the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran: "We welcome news of the release of Jason Rezaian, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place. The farce of a judicial process that kept him in custody for 544 days has earned Tehran nothing but scorn from the international community. The Iranian government should begin taking steps immediately to improve its press freedom record by releasing all journalists imprisoned in relation to their work."

Henry Mance in the Financial Times: "The Guardian newspaper is braced for significant job losses after it burnt through more than £70m in cash last year, according to people familiar with its performance. The left-leaning publisher, which runs one of the world’s most popular news websites, is preparing to embrace austerity as it cuts costs across the business."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell  on Twitter re-FT Guardian story: "Sad news for journalism, but also a check on those journalists happy to glory in their condemnation of paywalls."

Fraser Nelson in The Spectator on Philip Webster who has just retired from The Times: "I once went on a press trip with him, when Blair was in the habit of jetting around the world trying to drum up support for the Iraq war. During the flight I spent ages on my laptop, fretting about how to report it all – writing draft after draft, making edit after edit. I was sitting across the aisle from Phil, who was reading a novel. When the plane landed, he switched on his mobile and started to dictate a story from the top of his head, glancing at his notebook only to read out quotes, which he had written in his Pitman shorthand (his was the fastest in the lobby)."

Giles Coren in The Times [£] on the reaction to the death of David Bowie: "The hysteria was positively Diana-like (indeed the two had much in common — all skinny and sad, obsessed with hair and clothes, desperately shagging everything that moved) and that is because Bowie (like Diana) appealed to hysterical people. People who make a massive great fuss about the teeniest thing. People who think clothes matter. People who can’t decide from one minute to the next who they want to have sex with...On Thursday, The Times flagged up an instalment of Bowie’s life story with the headline 'Debauchery seven days a week'. I mean, fine. We’ve got to sell newspapers (just like Bowie had to sell records). But debauchery is a bad thing. It’s what the Roman Empire declined into."

Camilla Long in the Sunday Times [£] on starting a Twitter storm on David Bowie: "I wanted to say how much I distrusted the fake crying and everyone pretending they were 'in bits', an infantile cliché I loathe for its insincerity both literally and as a metaphor. So I put out a few messages, including one in which I said people should 'man the f*** up and say something interesting'.  I’m now on day 7 of threats and abuse from angry Bowie fans, people telling me to kill myself, or saying I’m a 'bitch' or a 'witch' or ugly or worse. And, well, I don’t mind. For a journalist this is often part of the territory."


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