Thursday, 18 January 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's tabloid revamp to how Trump's 'fake news' jibe enables repressive regimes to silence journalists

Guardian editor Kath Viner on the paper's new tabloid revamp: "We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are.  These hopeful themes of clarity and imagination have also been our guiding principles as the Guardian’s new design has taken shape."

The Sun in a leader: "THE Sun warmly welcomes the Guardian to the tabloid club. As of today, the cash-strapped newspaper has shrunk to save on costs after making a £38million loss in 2016/17. So, from one tabloid to another, here is our suggestion for them to turn around their failing fortunes: actually report some exclusive, rip-roaring stories...We know that is an alien concept to them but it might help them flog a copy, or two."

Roy Greenslade‏ @GreensladeR on Twitter: "Sure, I'm biased. But I was delighted to see - and read - today's new-look @guardian. It has pace, uses colour intelligently and the new typeface is elegant. Would have liked a separate sports section but that's just a niggle. All round, a great effort."

Amol Rajan on his BBC blog: "Curiously, given how much thought would have gone into it, I think the front page is the weakest aspect of this otherwise commendable switch. When you change from broadsheet - or indeed Berliner - to compact size, you obviously lose a lot of height. That means that the journalism gets squashed, or pushed downwards. There's a danger it can be cramped, and doesn't have room to breathe...Tabloid or compact size is simply more convenient to read, especially in transit, than broadsheet. When Simon Kelner, the former Editor of The Independent, made that argument in the early 2000s, he was initially met in some quarters with derision. Imitation is a high form of flattery; and on seeing The Guardian go compact fifteen years after he championed the idea, Kelner could be forgiven a wry smile this morning."

Matthew Moore in The Times [£]: "The head of a press regulation campaign group that helped to draw up the media restrictions approved by the House of Lords is representing the offshore law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, the chairman of Hacked Off, has been instructed by Appleby to block further publication of leaked documents detailing its clients’ tax avoidance schemes. Appleby is suing the BBC and The Guardian for breach of confidence, and has sought a permanent injunction stopping future use of information in the documents."

Richard Branson  on the decision to reverse the Virgin Trains decision to longer stock the Daily Mail, as quoted by Press Gazette:“Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society. While Virgin Trains has always said that their passengers are free to read whatever newspaper they choose on board West Coast trains, it is clear that on this occasion the decision to no longer sell The Mail has not been seen to live up to these principles...we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice. Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others."

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "For all their bombast, censors give every appearance of being dictatorial neurotics, who are so frightened of their opponents that they cannot find the strength to take them on in the open. I can’t imagine many saying, 'I’ll side with the people who tell me what I can and can’t think.' I find it equally hard to picture readers turning away from the Mail because Sir Richard Branson and 'alternative'comedians who haven’t had an alternative thought since Blair’s second term tell them to."

Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement: "CPJ and IFEX [the global network defending free expression] will lead a delegation of global press freedom groups on an unprecedented mission to the United States, reflecting concerns about threats to journalists and heightened anti-press rhetoric. The mission will coincide with the one-year anniversary of President Trump's inauguration and will leverage the first year's findings of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which will be released at an event at the Newseum. CPJ, IFEX, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19, Index on Censorship, and International Press Institute--will conduct a fact-finding visit to Houston, Texas, and the Missouri cities of Columbia and St. Louis."

Michael J. Socolow in the Columbia Journalism Review on the backlash against Michael Wolff's book on Trump: "Wolff is going to make millions, if not tens of millions, on this book, at precisely the time when ethical, professional, nuts-and-bolts political journalism is collapsing. In other words: Part of what’s animating all the Wolff-hate is envy, and journalists should admit this. Some of this jealousy is rooted in the way journalists historically have prefered to see their work, as service to the public rather than as an opportunity for riches. The problem isn’t just Wolff. It’s that political journalism at every level is dying. Local newspapers are firing seasoned reporters, and the idea of dedicating a single, full-time employee to a city hall or a statehouse is now considered a luxury in many newsrooms."

Conrad Black in the National Review on Micheal Wolff: "I attest that he is an utterly odious man. He can’t write properly, has no professional integrity, and is a sociophobic mud-slinger and myth-maker. His entry into the continuing Trump controversy in its twilight proclaims that we have reached the era of the swiftly evaporating, nausea-inducing nothingburger. "

Senator John McCain in The Washington Post: "While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase “fake news” — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens."
  • Syrian President Bashar Assad, confronted with evidence in an Amnesty International report of torture and mass hangings of up to 13,000 prisoners in one of his military prisons,  told Yahoo News last February: “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.”

  • Rob Crilly in the Telegraph: "Donald Trump’s fake news awards arrived with not so much a bang as the 2018 equivalent of a whimper. They arrived with an error message. When Mr Trump dropped the tweet announcing the "winners" it offered a link to the Republican National Committee webpage which promptly crashed, leaving viewers with the message: “The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up. Please try back later.” It is difficult to think of a more fitting metaphor for this administration."

No comments: