Thursday, 16 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From sue or take it on the chin? Royals split over how to handle hostile media to journalists wanted for local news network

Tom Bradbury in the Sunday Times [£]: "The young couple believe themselves to be taking a moral stand against the repeated hypocrisy of the tabloid press. Their argument is that if they, with all the privileges of position, power and fame, don’t do something, then who will? Some of the rest of the family agree with their analysis, but they part ways entirely with the couple on the solution. They appear united in believing that, while suing one or more newspapers might — at best — result in a famous victory, the royal family as a whole will never win the war and that to try is madness. Better to just take it on the chin."

The Guardian in a leader: "No news organisation should dismiss one of the most clearly stated reasons for this dramatic decision – the fears of Prince Harry and Meghan that the British press has them under siege to a degree that threatens to do to them what it did to Diana, Princess of Wales. The collective turn against the Sussexes by much of the media since they made their announcement illustrates precisely where part of the problem lies. It does not help that Britain has just elected a government led by a journalist who made stories up and whose manifesto gives the press a free pass to continue the abuses and techniques that led to the Leveson inquiry."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The Sussexes have declared an intention to withdraw from the “royal rota” pool of coverage, whereby significant titles gain access to official engagements. Instead they intend to “engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists” while “widening the spectrum of news coverage”. Nothing within existing structures would prevent them from doing this, leading to a reasonable suspicion that the real intent is to marginalise mainstream publications. This represents unparalleled naivety to imagine that losing access to the odd hospital ribbon-cutting ceremony will entice chastened editors to force columnists to refrain from waspishness."

Spokesmen for Prince William and Prince Harry in a joint statement reported by The Times [£]: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”

Hugh Grant, speaking on Andy Cohen’s Radio Andy show on Sirius XM, as reported by the Guardian: “I’m rather on Harry’s side. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now they’re tearing his wife to pieces.”

Iranian state news presenter Gelare Jabbari in an Instagram post, as reported by the Sun: “It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed. Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement welcoming the finding of the London Central Employment Tribunal, which determined that the presenting work of Samira Ahmed on BBC’s Newswatch programme was equal to that of Jeremy Vine on Points of View: "This outcome should also be a wake-up call for all employers. Stamping out the scourge of unequal pay at work should be a priority for all organisations – the NUJ will be building on this victory and supporting our members throughout the industry in making pay inequity a thing of the past.”

Society of Editors in a letter to the Prime Minister: "With your background as a journalist in both the regional and national press you will be aware of just how important access to those at the heart of government is in producing accurate and balanced coverage. During the recent Queen’s Speech your government committed itself to protecting freedom of expression and you yourself have often spoken of your support for a free press. The daily lobby briefings play a vital role in ensuring the UK’s democracy is scrutinised by the media, but also, we would contend, ensures that those involved in the politics of the nation have face to face access with journalists."

Jeff Stelling on Twitter: "So @markpougatch not presenting on 5 live any more. Sad that his total professionalism will be replaced by someone who is considered to be more in touch with the youth of today, even if they know sod all about football or interviewing. He can’t say it so I will."

Karl Hancock, ex-City banker who is hiring journalists for his hyper-local Nub News network, in The Times [£]: “The whole industry is seeing closures and consolidation. We’re trying to fill that vacuum. Thirty years ago if you wanted to address the audience of a town the only way you could do that was through the local paper. We want to go back to that. Old-style journalism, getting back into the community, meeting people face to face — that’s where the real stories come from.”

 [£] =paywall

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From Harry and Meghan plan to chose 'credible' media and drop out of Royal rota system to scandal of Mirror journalists portrayal in Christine Keeler drama

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their website: "In the spring of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles. This updated approach aims to:
  • Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists; Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage; Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events; Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels; No longer participate in the Royal Rota system."
Piers Morgan on Twitter: "Harry & Meghan have just published their new rulebook for the media to obey. Even Putin wouldn't try to pull a stunt like this. I fear they've both gone nuts."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Prince Harry has never made any secret of his dislike of the attention and scrutiny that it brings. He remains haunted by the memory of the treatment of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and has spoken of fears of the impact of such attention on his wife. The duchess for her part has suffered vile online abuse. Their desire to shield their son, Archie, from similar scrutiny is understandable."

Manchester Evening News reporter Beth Abbit, who covered the four Reynhard Sinaga rape trials, on Twitter:  "Should mention that my bosses at @MENnewsdesk gave me time to cover the Reynhard Sinaga case properly, allowing me to sit in court each day, even though they had to wait more than a year for the story. Great to work for a paper that gives you that freedom."

Harry Cole in the Mail on Sunday: "When asked at a Christmas party about his plans for Westminster’s press pack known as the Lobby, Dominic Cummings simply drew a finger across his throat. Whitehall’s ‘disrupter in chief’ has added the antiquated system for briefing political journalists to his list of things to blow up."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on the Lobby: “This decision to move the briefings from Parliament to Downing Street will make it more difficult, particularly for local papers and small press organisations to attend the briefings. The chair of the lobby has raised concerns that this will make lobby journalists’ jobs harder. Downing Street must consult with those reporters affected as this sends out a very worrying message to the press at the start of the new year and a new government. Proper discussions are needed so Westminster journalists can continue to do their jobs, holding government to account, without impediment.”

Amol Rajan on Twitter: "Scoop: John Humphrys is joining the Daily Mail as a columnist. My very distinguished former colleague, who left @BBCr4today in September after 32yrs, starts on Saturday. Replaces Peter Oborne. Will range beyond politics. Suspect @BBC will be in his sights from time to time!"

Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg  launching a new project aiming to expose the way those with wealth and influence use legal threats to shut down investigations by journalists: “Defamation law was reformed in 2013 to make it harder for people who had little or no connection to the UK to bring lawsuits here. However, we are still seeing people and organisations with almost no UK links bringing expensive and spurious defamation cases. In addition, increasingly people are turning to privacy and data protection laws in an attempt to prevent journalists reporting on corrupt, illegal or poor practice.”

Northern Echo editor Hannah Chapman in a comment on the paper's 150th anniversary:  "If I have to read another article in the national press about the death of local newspapers, or be asked one more time how we can hope to compete with social media-inspired citizen journalists, I might throw my phone into the River Skerne. And that’s not me looking through rose tinted spectacles. These are undoubtedly tough times, and we may be a bit battered and bruised, but we’re a long way from the description of the regional media that is commonly circulated. WE’VE just come through an election campaign that was marred by dishonesty and nastiness, with the national press sticking determinedly to their party lines. It was left to the largely non-partisan local and regional media to focus on the actual issues that matter to our readers, and hold candidates to account for their campaign statements.”

James Marriott in The Times [£]:  "Adults are likely to be loyal to one newspaper. Teenagers prefer to browse a number of outlets. Almost every teenage phone has Instagram installed on it — barely any has a news app. Even the influence of the BBC is fading — Ofcom reports that teenagers are more familiar with YouTube and Netflix. The average age of a BBC One viewer is now 61. It’s hardly worth pointing out that YouTube, Netflix, Snapchat and Instagram do not employ foreign correspondents or fund investigative journalism or send reporters to court cases and council meetings. But for many in their teens, news is now more likely to come from an influencer than from a journalist."

Roy Greenslade on Twitter: "Reviews of BBC1's excellent Trial of Christine Keeler ranged from the silly to the intelligent. But none mentioned the one big error - the cartoonish stereotypical portrayal of the Daily Mirror and its news editor. Hopelessly wrong."