Thursday, 23 April 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From tech giants windfall tax could save media from disaster to don't moan about paywalls they pay for the journalism

Damian Collins, quoted in The Times [£]: “We need to redress the balance between tech platforms and news companies. There needs to be more of a level playing field. This is something we should have been doing anyway, but the coronavirus has massively affected the news media.. We’re seeing papers going out of print. The entire ad revenue-funded model for news content has been massively challenged - it makes the case for action even more urgent.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet proposing a recovery plan for the median the face of Covid-19: "We need a triage plan of intervention and investment. That will involve action to stem the immediate damage being wrought, and longer-term measures to heal historic wounds. Our aim is to create a healthy diverse press, focussed squarely on the public good, one that can be sustained now and into the future. That’s why we want governmental commitments to a range of actions – some immediate and some when the worst of this crisis is over – that will create a news industry firmly rooted in the public interest journalism which will deepen public engagement in our democratic structures.”

The measures include:
  • A windfall tax of 6 per cent on the tech giants, using the Digital Services Tax, towards funding a News Recovery Plan.
  • Tax credits and interest free loans to support journalist jobs, for frontline reporters covering the Covid-19 crisis and recovery.
  • No public money for firms making redundancies, cutting pay, giving executive bonuses or blocking trade union organisation.
  • Strategic investment in government advertising, including the hyperlocal sector, involving central and local governments and public bodies.
  • Further funding by NESTA’s Future News Fund of innovative, public interest journalism and a similar scheme in Ireland
  • Free vouchers for online or print subscriptions to all 18-and-19-year olds and tax credits for households with subscriptions.

The Times [£] in a leader: "Facebook and Google between them now take more than two-thirds of the digital advertising revenue in Britain. This was a serious problem before the coronavirus struck but the lockdown is making life increasingly hard for print newspapers, especially local titles, as sales and advertising fall simultaneously. The gathering of news is a democratic necessity and there should be no objection to those who profit from it, as tech companies do, paying a fairer price."

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden in The Times [£]: "I have written to the 100 biggest brands in the UK to urge them to review their advertising policies and check they are not inappropriately blocking adverts from appearing next to news providing a vital public service... Newspapers are at heart of the British media and essential to its vibrant mix. People across the country are rising to the coronavirus challenge and I suggest we all add one small thing to our to do list: buy a paper.."

HoldTheFrontPage reports: "The UK’s first employee-owned newspaper is among a number of new regional press titles to reveal they have temporarily ceased publication. The West Highland Free Press has announced the measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic, along with other independently-owned papers across the country. The same move has also been confirmed by the Leicestershire-based Times series, the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press and Tindle-owned weekly The Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Review."

    Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon, following the publishing of a new report "The Trump Administration and the Media": “Journalists in the U.S. have been largely undeterred by the daily barrage of pressure, insults, and abuse emanating from President Trump. But the president’s attacks on the media have had an impact. They have undermined public trust in journalism as an institution, a dangerous place to find ourselves in the midst of a public health emergency. And they have empowered autocrats around the world who are cracking down on press freedom with unbridled ferocity at a time when truthful information is more than ever a precious commodity.”

    Isabel Oakeshott on Twitter: "I can't believe politicians are lashing out at journalists for asking perfectly legitimate questions about how we get out of the lockdown. Ministers seem to think voters are too stupid to understand more than one message!"

    BBC News media editor Amol Rajan on Twitter: "Was a pointless answer on Pointless this week. My work here on Earth is done."

    Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a letter to the editors of the Sun, Mail, Mirror and Express saying they will not co-operate with their papersas reported by BBC News: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to working with journalists and media organisations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging. And they look forward to doing whatever they can to help further opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented voices, who are needed now more than ever. What they won't do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion."
    • The Daily Star reports: "The Daily Star is the best by 'smiles' according to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their official spokesman has confirmed we are the only tabloid in Britain the LA-based pair haven’t banned...The Daily Star has made it clear to the couple know that we are ready to share their good news and announcements with our army of readers - and our door will always be open to them."

    The Times' Sean O'Neill on Twitter: "Really riles when people on twitter moan about having to pay to read journalism - do they go to the shops and moan 'why is this milk/bread behind a paywall, it's just not fair, you should be giving it away for free'."

    Ian Carter on Twitter: "Lots of people rightly praising @thesundaytimes  Insight report into Government pandemic planning. Same people happily copy and pasting the entire article to avoid the paywall. Keep doing that and this type of journalism won't exist any more."

    Polly Vernon on Twitter: "My god! The Sunday Times article is not ‘sitting behind a paywall’ so as to deprive those who can’t afford it... it’s asking that people pay for it, so more articles like it can be produced. Don’t read it for free!"

    Richard Osman on Twitter: "Just been to the newsagent and can’t believe the Mars Bars are behind a paywall."


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