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

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