Thursday, 4 February 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From revengeful right-wing press out to get Cameron on EU to MPs urge government to save local press from destruction

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"The press has never forgiven Cameron for the Leveson Inquiry  into the phone-hacking scandal, after Nick Davies’ Guardian expose. Leveson’s unenacted press regulation hangs over their head: some further scandal could oblige it to be enforced. Murdoch’s humblest day didn’t last long, with Rebekah Brooks back in the saddle, James Murdoch back in charge of Sky and angling to take over the whole company. What better leverage or revenge does the press have, than to humiliate Cameron over the EU referendum? A natural thuggish instinct urges these papers to prove their bully-power over governments. Tasting blood with that 'It’s the Sun Wot Won It' boast over Kinnock’s 1992 defeat, sheer delight in brute power fires up Murdoch, Paul Dacre and their imitators."

Peter Sands in InPublishing: "Sir Martin Sorrell, whose agency WPP spends an annual £76 billion in advertising, told the Society of Editors’ conference in October that paywalls were the way to go. 'If you have content that has value, consumers will pay for it,' he said. He knows better than anyone of course. But the issue for some might just be the ‘value’ bit. I go through newspapers and websites searching for content which readers will put their hands in their pockets for. It can be a fruitless task. And if The Sun couldn’t make a paywall work, what chance for the Posts and Chronicles?"

Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists, on its 25th annual report showing 2,297 journalists and media workers have been killed since 1990, including 112 killed in 2015: "This milestone publication charts the trajectory of safety crisis in journalism and bears witness to the IFJ’s long running campaign to end impunity for violence against media professionals. These annual reports were more than just about recording the killings of colleagues. They also represented our tribute for their courage and the ultimate sacrifice paid by journalists in their thousands who lost their lives fulfilling the role to inform and empower the public."

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Beyond the Guardian’s own business clumsiness or bad luck, its losses point out a broader digital news reality: There is yet no foreseeable way to cover the costs of digital growth, and digital 'success' is wholly measured by growth. Therefore, success is in some way a suicide pill." 

Mary Hamilton, executive editor for audience at the Guardian, on the paper's decision to cut down the number of places where it opens comments on stories relating to some contentious subjects – particularly migration and race: "At their best – when they are respectful, thoughtful, interesting, or constructive – comments make our journalism better. At their worst, they can diminish its impact, reduce its credibility, and harm our writers and their subjects, while making those constructive comments impossible to find or recognise."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "Of course, you can block users who are abusive, but that’s like standing in a Bangladeshi sewer after Ramadan finishes. You can flail about as much as you like and wail loudly about the importance of free speech. But ultimately you’re going to get covered in excrement. This is Twitter’s big problem. It’s being policed by the Stasi. And of course, when they react angrily to what you’ve said, the Mirror and the BBC and The Guardian see this as evidence that you’ve done something wrong. So they run a story saying, 'Twitter has reacted with fury . . .', which then causes the whole site to become angrier still. Really, they should drop that bird logo and replace it with an endlessly spinning red flag."

Regional journalist, quoted in Press Gazette survey: "I fear for my job, the young people coming into the industry and the public who will soon live off nothing but attention-seeking, fact-free, gossipy clickbait."

liz gerard ‏@gameoldgirl on Twitter: "Hands up all who spotted CS Lewis in @TheSun splash head. And hands up anyone who thinks it relevant. Thought not."

Man United manager Louis van Gaal meets the press, as reported by BBC Sport: “You make your own stories and I am concerned that people believe what you write. This is the third time I am sacked and I am still sitting here. You write all these stories and then I have to answer questions about them. I am not doing that, it is awful and horrible.”

Early Day Motion tabled by Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland: "This House is concerned by the announcement that Johnston Press, which publishes titles including the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Lancashire Evening Post, The Scotsman and Derry Journal, is to cull almost 100 editorial posts; notes that this announcement comes just days after Newsquest announced that up to 25 journalist posts are to be axed across its Scottish titles; further notes that year-on-year cuts in jobs and closure of newspaper titles have resulted in the loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press, and the closure of more than 150 newspapers since March 2011; believes that local and regional news coverage is an essential feature of civic life and a healthy democracy; and therefore calls for active government intervention to prevent the destruction of these vital community assets and to establish a short, sharp inquiry to produce a coherent strategy for defending local journalism.”


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