Thursday, 5 December 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Boris Johnson offered oven-ready grilling by Andrew Neil to is clocking up the clicks calling time on local news?

Andrew Neil challenges  Boris Johnson to follow all the other party leaders and agree to an interview: "It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say. The theme running through our questions is trust - and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy. It is, of course, relevant to what he is promising us all now...Leaders' interviews have been a key part of the BBC's prime-time election coverage for decades...We have always proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate. And in every election they have. All of them. Until this one...There is no law, no Supreme Court ruling that can force Mr Johnson to participate in a BBC leaders' interview.
But the prime minister of our nation will, at times, have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me."
  • Senior Conservative source, according to Laura Kuenssberg: “The public are fed up with interviews that are all about the interviewer and endless interruptions. The format is tired and broken and needs to change if it is to start engaging and informing the public again.”

Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter:  "The billionaire owner of the Daily Mail, the Viscount Rothermere, has bought @theipaper. Two billionaire press barons now own half of the top 10 daily newspapers. Remember this when they attack Labour's plan to make the super-rich pay their fair share."

Oly Duff, editor-in-chief of the i, on Twitter replies to Jeremy Corbyn: ."Dear Jeremy, We were comfortable holding you to account when you were an i reader (still are? not sure) and we will continue to do so! Every leader of every other political party can expect the same - since we report on politics without fear or favour. It's why our readers trust us. They judge us on our journalism. Hopefully you will welcome the same scrutiny.And on a point of fact we haven't actually attacked Labour's plan to make the highest earners pay more tax... We remain editorially independent, politically impartial. Best - Oly"

Paul Zwillenberg, the chief executive of DMGT, in comments to the City: “The i has a different editorial style and tone to the Mail and the audience has a different demographic. I want to make absolutely clear that we will ensure that the editorial independence of the i is preserved. Its readers value its distinctive style and politically neutral approach and we are committed to maintaining that. We take a long-term approach and we will invest in high-quality editorial."

Guardian media editor Jim Waterson on Twitter: "They've got an excellent editor and a strong editorial team and it makes money in its current format, so DMGT would be absolutely crazy to change its editorial direction. It's not all a plot to control minds, sometimes it's a plan to get cash from different sources."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The corruption of journalism and the corruption of politics march together. On the right, the former columnists Boris Johnson and Michael Gove threaten to review Channel 4’s licence solely because it embarrassed them. On the left, sympathetic 'journalists' receive 'lines, briefings, transcripts, invites to events and asks of support for certain content' directly from a Labour party WhatsApp group. If this were happening in any other country, we would have no hesitation in deciding that the local strongman or mafia boss was striving to control the free press."

The Times of Malta reports: "The family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for the prime minister and his actions to be investigated and for related evidence to be preserved as part of the ongoing investigation. In a judicial protest on Monday morning, Caruana Galizia's husband Peter and their three sons also called upon Joseph Muscat to desist from any further involvement in the investigation and the independent inquiry surrounding the assassination. The family noted that in recent developments in the murder probe, several persons had been interrogated, including the prime minister’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, whose role had placed him in close proximity to the prime minister."

Rachel Sylvester in The Times [£]: "In the era of fake news, truth has become the casualty of a depressingly dishonest election campaign. The Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson was forced to deny a made-up story that she enjoys killing squirrels. Labour has repeatedly suggested that the NHS is 'for sale' although there is no evidence to back this up. The Conservative Party tried to mislead the public by rebranding one of its Twitter accounts “FactCheckUK” during the first leaders’ debate and had one of its ads banned by Facebook after using footage of BBC presenters without permission and out of context."

Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ group chapel coordinator, in a statement"Yet again, as we approach Christmas as the season of goodwill, the ghost of Scroogequest looms large for journalists within Newsquest. Haunted by low pay and relentless workloads that produce unsafe levels of stress for its journalists, the company is yet again recklessly picking off editorial workers seemingly at will at the hardest possible time to be made redundant."

Ex-Burton Mail news editor Jon Griffin in InPublishing on the changing news values of the regional press: "Where once newsrooms would avidly discuss page leads, exclusives, tip-offs and all the rest of what makes – or made – regional journalism so enthralling, a conversation would break out over why an online query ‘Should you say thank-you to the bus driver when you get off?’ had attracted 6,600 comments from screen-happy souls. The best reporter in the office was sent out to take on a monster breakfast challenge at a cafe in Swadlincote and was warmly praised for clocking up thousands of clicks. 'I wouldn’t have got this sort of reaction for uncovering Watergate,' he remarked wryly."


Friday, 29 November 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Libs in fake newspaper row, Cons threaten Channel 4 plus what Chris Moncrieff asked the Prime Minister who saved him from falling off the Great Wall of China

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement on the Liberal Democrats disguising their election freesheets as local newspapers. “It is ironic how it is often politicians who complain about fake news but then set out to at least blur the lines for readers – and in this case voters – by packaging their partial messages to ape independent newspapers. If political parties were genuine in their desire, often expressed, to both remove the effects of fake news and disinformation as well as support existing regional and local media they would take steps to ensure their political freesheets look markedly different to real newspapers. There should also be a requirement to clearly state which party is funding a publication in large, bold typeface rather than hiding such information away in an attempt to deceive.”

Alex Wickham and Mark Di Stefano on BuzzFeed: "The Conservative Party is threatening to review Channel 4’s public service broadcasting obligations after the broadcaster replaced Boris Johnson with an ice sculpture at Thursday night’s election debate. In a dramatic escalation of the war of words between the Tories and Channel 4 that will likely provoke outcry, a Conservative source told BuzzFeed News that if they win the coming election they will reassess the channel’s public service broadcasting licence."

The Times [£]  obit on Clive James: "His TV column [in the Observer] became a weekly event largely because he was capable of memorable and cutting comic description. 'Even in moments of tranquillity,” he wrote, “Murray Walker sounds like a man whose trousers are on fire.' It is hard to see Arnold Schwarzenegger without recalling James’s description of him, in his acting days, as 'a brown condom full of walnuts'.”

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "Maybe Thanksgiving is a good day to thank a reporter you admire for the work they have done. Thank you #DaphneCaruanaGalizia for being intrepid and true. #thankareporter."

BBC director of editorial policy and standards David Jordan in a letter to the Guardian: "Peter Oborne is incorrect in suggesting that the BBC thinks it’s wrong to expose lies told by politicians. The BBC is committed to calling out lies, disinformation or untruths – no matter who tells them. That is what our journalists do on a daily basis. With Reality Check we are doing more than ever at this election. What we don’t do is label people as liars – that’s a judgment for audiences to make about an individual’s motives."

The BBC in a statement: "This clip from the BBC's Question Time special, which was played out in full on the News at Ten on Friday evening and on other outlets, was shortened for timing reasons on Saturday's lunchtime bulletin, to edit out a repetitious phrase from Boris Johnson," the BBC said in a statement. However, in doing so we also edited out laughter from the audience. Although there was absolutely no intention to mislead, we accept this was a mistake on our part, as it didn't reflect the full reaction to Boris Johnson's answer."

Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times [£]: "BBC bosses have been accused of pulling the plug on politically sensitive reports into the close links between leading politicians and Russia. John Sweeney, a BBC investigative reporter, has turned whistleblower and filed a complaint against the corporation with Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog. He alleges investigations into Labour’s Lord Mandelson, the former Tory cabinet minister John Whittingdale, the Brexit funder Arron Banks, the oligarch Roman Abramovich and the far-right activist Tommy Robinson were all dropped."

John Sweeney in the Sunday Times [£]: "Being attacked by a far-right cult while undefended by the BBC was maddening, literally. I felt bewildered and betrayed and, eventually, I cracked up. I am back to my old self but have left the BBC. However, I love it too much to just walk away in silent dismay."

John Major quoted in The Times [£] obit on PA's legendary political editor Chris Moncrieff who he saved from falling off the Great Wall of China when he was PM: “I thought for this act of mercy he would say thank you. But I misjudged the great man. He stopped, looked up and said, ‘Can I use this story?’ ”


Monday, 25 November 2019

Media Quotes of the Year: Boris, Brexit, Trump and why the world is your oyster on the local press

It was the year a journalist became prime minister, a US president continued to snipe at the press and Brexit dominated politics and the media. My Media Quotes of the Year 2019 are up on InPublishing.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Prince Andrew's 'car crash' interview to clobbering Corbyn while giving Johnson an easy ride plus intro of the week

Emily Maitlis in The Times [£] on the preparations for her interview with Prince Andrew: "We have finished laying out our pitch. An awkward moment of silence falls. And the duke tells us he must 'seek approval from higher up'. It dawns on us then that he means the Queen herself. At 8am the next day we have a message telling us to call his office. The Queen, it seems, is on board."

Tim Shipman on Twitter: "When I hear a politician saying 'I have no recollection,' I know I'm 100% OK to write the story because that always means 'I don't like it, but I can't deny it.' EVERY TIME. It's the accepted nod, wink form of words for 'I'm bang to rights'. Is the Duke badly advised or stupid?"

David Yelland on Twitter: "There has hardly been an ill-judged interview as Prince Andrew’s with @maitlis - who did a superb job - he left too many questions unanswered and now can’t avoid US authorities. Extraordinary."

Caitlan Moran on Twitter: "Everyone is - quite rightly - going on about how precise, brilliant and deadly @maitlis was interviewing Prince Andrew. But the thing I was most impressed by was her ability to not start laughing."

Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips after a Mirror reporter was banned from the Conservative's battle bus: "Mirror readers have every right to know what the Conservatives have in store for them should Boris Johnson win the election. Our journalists have every right to scrutinise the Conservatives on our readers' behalf. Blocking us from doing our job is deeply worrying for freedom of journalism and the protection of the truth."

HoldTheFrontPage reports: "Reach plc is launching seven digital-only news titles and creating 46 jobs as it expands further into its rivals’ territories. The regional publisher has announced the launch of the new titles to be launched under its ‘Live’ brand, which will cover Sunderland, County Durham, Sheffield, North Yorkshire, Bradford, Newport and Bolton. Reach will hire 46 journalists to work across the titles, some of which will be run as standalone sites and some of which will form sub-brands within larger existing sites."

Byline Investigates reports: "MEGHAN Markle has accused the Mail newspaper titles of waging a three-year fake news campaign against her – and lying about its publication of a highly private letter she wrote her father, Byline Investigates can exclusively report. Court papers, newly filed in the Duchess of Sussex’s High Court action against Associated Newspapers, set out an extensive list of 'false' and 'absurd' stories that commentators say raise serious questions about the honesty of the Mail papers’ journalism. Among them, are articles stating Prince Harry and Meghan bought a £5,000 copper bath, spent £500,000 on soundproofing, and even built an entire new wing of their home - and charged it to taxpayers - when in fact, the documents explain, this was all 'completely untrue'."

A Mail on Sunday spokesman quoted in The Times [£]: “As we have said before, we will be defending this case with the utmost vigour. There is nothing in this document which changes that position.”

Barney Ronay in the Guardian on financial pressures facing football magazine When Saturday Comes"One reason for a squeeze on current cash flows is WSC has stopped taking gambling adverts. They just couldn’t keep doing it in good faith while writing about the issues. Gambling companies are the main print advertisers."

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet in the Guardian: “It’s the Guardian, it’s the New York Times, the Washington Post. It’s the papers that were supposed to be the dinosaurs that are breaking the big stories.”

Tim Montgomerie on Twitter: "At the last election the big newspapers only really attacked Labour at the eleventh hour - after Corbyn’s poll took everyone by surprise. This time? It’s been full on from the off."

Gary Younge in the Guardian"Corbyn has proved a lightning rod. His election as Labour leader has laid bare what was only partially visible during the attacks on Miliband and Brown. Failing to accept him as the legitimate leader of the opposition, the rightwing press fear his premiership as they have feared no other Labour leader before."

Peter Oborne in the Guardian: "A big reason for Johnson’s easy ride is partisanship from the parts of the media determined to get him elected. I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics. Is that a reason for giving Johnson free rein to make any false claim he wants? Others take the view that all politicians lie, and just shrug their shoulders. But it’s not true that all politicians lie. Treating all politicians as liars gives a licence for the total collapse of integrity of British politics, a collapse that habitual liars such as Johnson are delighted to exploit. The British media is not holding him to account for his repeated falsehoods. It’s time we journalists did our job, and started to regain our self-respect."

  • Intro of the Week from Tom Whipple in The Times [£]: "It may be the first time that vegans have asked to see more meat and two veg. Male students from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) have withdrawn a picture from a naked calendar after an animal rights group was angered by the way the vets protected their modesty — with sheep. In the image, taken in a sheep shed, the ovine merkins were “tipped” in front of them, a position in which they are held up by their forelimbs."

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From why quality journalism can attract advertisers in next digital phase to who might buy the Telegraph?

Newsworks executive chairman Tracy De Groose at the Society of Editors conference, as reported by Press Gazette“We’ve been selling our advertising space and not our journalism...The next phase of digital is looking significantly brighter for publishers. Every piece of evidence shows that concentrating digital spend into quality journalistic environments delivers. And more and more advertisers are ready to listen.”

Jeremy Corbyn trying to get a group of photographers in Blackpool to work together: "No, no guys. You've got to co-operate. Under socialism you'll all co-operate." (Via Paul Waugh on Twitter)

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian"If you want to track a form of partisanship that becomes more and more evident by the day, count the number of times – on TV, on radio and in newspapers – the prime minister is referred to as Boris and his Labour rival as Jeremy. It’s a no-contest victory for Johnson. Single name recognition gives a political leader a huge advantage."

Journalist Tim Walker in the Guardian on his decision to stand down as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Canterbury in a bid to help Labour's Rosie Duffield retain her seat against the conservatives: "Politics does not always have to be grubby and small-minded; sometimes it’s possible to acknowledge that what’s at stake is more important than party politics – and personal ambition – and we can do what’s right. In this invidious situation, both standing and not standing could be interpreted as weakness. But the nightmare that kept me awake was posing awkwardly at the count beside a vanquished Duffield as the Tory Brexiter raised her hands in triumph. I wanted no part in that.

Newsnight's Emily Maitlis on ITV's Good Morning Britain to presenter Piers Morgan: "You're an entertainer Piers, we do news."

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber on Twitter: "After 14 years, I am stepping down as editor in the New Year. It has been a rare privilege and a great pleasure to hold the best job in journalism."

Financial Times deputy editor Roula Khalaf on Twitter: "Some personal news: am thrilled to be appointed the next FT editor. What a privilege to follow the great ⁦@lionelbarber⁩."

Ben Woods in The Sunday Times [£] on the Mail's new online subscription service Mail+: "As newspapers struggle with falling sales and advertising revenues, the company has been given the task of drawing up a subscription model to deliver a sustainable source of income. Although the celebrity-laden Mail Online website has become a global powerhouse with 12.9m users and £122m in advertising sales, Mail+ is an acknowledgement that two of the biggest news brands need another revenue stream."

Former Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover on Twitter: "Good local journalism is vital to every place. I am appalled that #Newsquest is proposing to cut yet more experienced staff at their titles in Carlisle. They promised me they would invest in the business in Carlisle, but are doing the opposite. This madness has to stop!"

Colin Morrison on Flashes & Flames  on potential buyers of the Telegraph: "The Telegraph challenge might also appetize private equity firms and, of course, possible trophy buyers. These may include Richard Branson (who was interested back in 2004), Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (owner of the Washington Post), and – wildcard – Sir Len Blavatnik’s $4bn-revenue Access Industries (owner of Warner Music, Deezer, and DAZN sports streaming). Gilded British entrepreneurs Jim Ratcliffe, Tim Martin, and James Dyson may also want to get involved. US political terrier and sometime media owner Steve Bannon has declared an interest."


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Telegraph's Boris splash is bad news for independent journalism to why interviewing Van Morrison isn't an easy gig

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "The first rule of journalism is that it stands independent of power. So a front page like this is a(nother) sad day for the Telegraph - but also sends an unhappy message about what journalism is actually for..."

Tim Walker, the former Telegraph journalists who is the Liberal Democrats candidate for Canterbury and Whitstable, quoted by KentOnline“A lot of the main architects of Brexit are fellow journalists and I know them only too well. Leaving the EU was always a pipe dream that they hadn't a clue how to implement."

Josh Glancy in The Sunday Times [£]: "The prospective sale of The Daily Telegraph has attracted unexpected interest from America. Steve Bannon, the mastermind of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, hopes to assemble a consortium to turn the newspaper into the global voice of Trumpian populism. It’s one of the great untapped properties,” said Bannon, who co-founded Breitbart News, the US platform that has been accused of encouraging racism and white supremacy."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian: "We have grown used to newspapers claiming to have no sway over politicians but we are moving fast into an age when far bigger and more powerful companies are allowing even more underhand methods to influence public opinion. The Telegraph may have become the Daily Boris, and the television broadcasters may tie themselves in knots over the next six weeks trying to organise political debates but, on Facebook, political parties can send messages straight to each voter’s newsfeed, without anyone shouting about bias or asking them tricky questions. And that power is worth more than its weight in gold."

BBC director-general Lord Hall of Birkenhead seeking to expand the partnership scheme with the local press to cover courts, as quoted in The Times [£]: “It’s never been more important to invest in local journalism. The 150 reporters we have funded through the local news partnerships have made a real difference to local communities, giving people the information they need to hold those in power to account. Now it’s time to go further. I want businesses and other institutions to join with us so we can get even more reporters into local communities and give people the local journalism they deserve.”

Rod Liddle on the Spectator Blog: "I’m not on Twitter so haven’t seen any of the fury and outrage over my piece in this week’s Spectator. But I have been told that there was some. Ripped, as ever, out of context. There was no hate speech or Islamophobia whatsoever in my piece. None was meant, none intended and none should be taken. It was a very light-hearted series of suggestions about when to hold an election, based upon the silly dispute over the proposed dates for the election. It was patently a joke. I do not really think that students should be drugged with horse tranquilisers and skunk, or sent to a rave on an election day. Nor do I really think that the vote should be held on a day when Muslim people can’t vote."

NOTE FROM FRASER NELSON: "If one of our columnists seriously suggested that Muslims and students should be prevented from voting, then of course I would denounce it. It would be a disgusting thing to say. But Rod Liddle wasn’t doing that. He was satirising the wrangle over the two election dates by making deliberately absurd suggestions. At the Spectator, we have writers who disagree passionately with each other: they often make jokes. But this one was too easily misrepresented and should not have been published in the form that it was."

Gary Younge on leaving the Guardian to join the University of Manchester as a professor: “The Guardian was my first full time job, and I worked there for 26 years - it’s been a fantastic experience. Journalism, for me, has always been a process of enquiry and sharing whatever insights I've gathered in an accessible and informative way - that's precisely what I hope to achieve as a professor at The University of Manchester, and why I'm excited to be joining the sociology department."

International  Federation of Journalists president Youness Mjahed launching a campaign against impunity for crimes against journalists"Today we call on all our affiliates across the world to join our global campaign to express their strong rejection of the levelofimpunity that leaves many victims' families powerless and many colleagues afraid of telling the truth. Fighting impunity for crimes against journalists is a necessity for all of us, beyond the media circle. There is no free press if those who order or commit killings remain comfortably safe forcing media to hide the truth and terrorising those who take risks to reveal it."

Van Morrison interviewed by Laura Barton in the Guardian resists any attempt to talk in depth about his music: “I sing and I write songs and I do gigs. So to me that’s not interesting. You’re trying to make it very, very interesting and something it’s not. Playing gigs is very practical. It’s very repetitive. And it’s no big deal. I’ve been doing it all my life.”


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From women MPs back Duchess of Sussex against 'colonial undertones' of press coverage to can this headline rival the News of the World at its bizarre best?

Women MPs in an open letter to the Duchess of Sussex: "As women MPs of all political persuasions, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in a number of our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family. On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy, without good reason as far as we can see. Ever more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "WOW. Female MPs accuse press of being racist towards Meghan Markle. I hope they can justify that extraordinary claim, and that they urgently clarify which stories they think are unfairly intrusive? This looks like a very dangerous attempt to suppress freedom of the press."

Adam Boulton on SKY News: "Of course it is the first duty of journalists to report what they are told - but there is an important difference between saying 'the government says it is going to do such and such' and 'I can reveal from my exclusive sources that the government is going to do such and such.' Journalists vie to have the best "sources" but spin doctors on both sides are using this against them."

Helen Lewis in The Atlantic: "So why has 'Get Brexit done' gained such traction? Because of an unspoken pact between politicians and the media over the framing of the process. It has been presented as a tense drama that will lead to a satisfying end-of-season finale—a series of “knife-edge votes” that will eventually deliver a deal, at which point Britain can revert to its pre-2016 reality of ceasing to care much about the existence of the EU."

Gary Younge in the Guardian"When powerful people say things, too many journalists simply convey them, acting not as critical interlocutors but convenient conduits. The fact that a politician has said something, apparently, makes it news. This is all too often conveyed neat – uncritiqued, unfiltered and unprocessed. It is then injected into the conversational bloodstream caffeinated by social media. It’s as though the act of journalism is limited to getting the quote and distributing, and does not extend to verifying it, contextualising it and making sense of it. When those quotes are non-attributed – 'a senior No 10 source' or 'sources within the cabinet' – the risk of the journalist becoming an enabler and participant is real."

Richard Fletcher in The Times [£]: "The Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers have been put up for sale as their owner, the Barclay family, reviews its multibillion-pound portfolio of British investments."

MailOnline reports: "Donald Trump's White House has discontinued delivery of print editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post, according to administration officials, and he has ordered all federal agencies to follow suit. 'Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving – hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,' said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham."

Ofcom annual report on the BBC: "Although the BBC's online news services currently reach a broad audience, the evidence shows that heavier online users are generally those in older age groups. BBC News has long been aware of the challenge it faces in engaging younger people, who are increasingly consuming news via social media and news aggregators such as Apple News."

North Wales Daily Post editor Andrew Campbell after Coldplay placed a classified ad in the Post giving exclusive track listings of the band's new album: "It's great to see even global rock stars Coldplay recognise the unbeatable value of advertising in the Daily Post."

Roy Greenslade @GreensladeR on Twitter: "A factual headline, in the Dundee Courier almost good enough to rival the News of the World's famous "Nudist welfare man's model wife fell for Chinese hypnotist from the Co-op bacon factory."

  • Here is the bizarre story behind the News of the World's famous headline, as told by Roy Stockdill on Gentleman Ranters