Tuesday 30 December 2008

Media Quotes of the Year

Some of the best media quotes of 2008 (mainly taken from stories covered on this site which only started in the Autumn - so it's really the best quotes from the end of the year, but they are all good):

"We have to face up to the prospect that for the first time since the Enlightenment major cities in the UK and in Western democracies will be left without any kind of verifiable news. That hasn't happened for 200 to 300 years. I think it will have very profound implications." - Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on the possibility of regional newspapers closing.

"No, No, No! the last thing any newspaper should do is accept subsidy from the state. The particular strength of the UK newspaper industry is its independence." - Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, on a suggestion by Alan Rusbridger that local papers might need state subsidies.

"The UK press is nowadays one of the most injuncted, litigated and censored in the West. British ISPs quite understandably don't want to risk their profits for a principle. The most straight forward way for Guido to frustrate lawyers is to make sure no element of the infrastructure of the site is within the domain of a British judge." - Guido Fawkes on why he is moving from Google Blogger.

"Like anything, drink might kill us, but it needn't. And if I snuff it in my sixties or seventies for the price of years of fun, that has got to be preferable to living into a mentally acute great old age with Harriet Harman." - George Pitcher, defending drinking in a Daily Telegrapgh article after facing criticism for allowing wine to be quaffed in St. Bride's.

"So if you want a car or a job, go to the Internet. But don't expect that Web site to hire somebody to sit through town-council meetings and explain to you why your taxes will be going up. Soon, newspapers won't be able to do it either. Over the past few weeks, I've watched a parade of top-notch reporters leave the Star-Ledger for the last time. . .If anyone out there in the blogosphere can tell me what the new model is, I will pronounce him the first genius I've ever encountered on the Internet." - Paul Mulshine, columnist for The Star-Ledger newspaper Newark, USA.

"We are becoming global leaders in providing content but none of us have worked out how to make enough money out of it...Every UK national newspaper website only exists because of its old media parent." - Martin Clarke, publisher of the Mail Online.

"The central problem isn't the internet (a dampener on profits and spreader of uncertainty, at worst; not the end of everything). The problem is newspaper ownership flawed by misplaced ambition and short-sighted management." - Peter Preston in The Observer.

"The newsroom is a real-time peer review mechanism where people are in a very tough and abrasive relationship with each other that bloggers in their pyjamas cannot replicate." - Newsnight's Paul Mason.

"Would any newspaper be brave enough to completely shut down in a physical format and move everything online, adopting a more Web 2.0 way of doing news? Would it work? And how on earth would they monetize it?.... But, even if it is a desperate last throw of the dice, what does a paper have to lose if it tries it? Not that I’d want to see papers disappear from their communities, but if it’s a choice between online-only news and no news at all…" - blogger Gary Andrews.

"There's nobody who can be satisfied with the quality of local news in most parts of the United Kingdom," - BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch.

"Blogs are further corrupting the distinction between news and views which is supposed to be sacrosanct at the BBC. They pander to the egos of reporters who are no longer content to report what is going on, but want their opinions to be part of the debate," - Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail.

"He (Stephen Glover) claims is it 'impossible to write a half-readable blog without peppering it with opinions'. That's just not true. We look to our expert editors such as Nick and Robert to tell us what has happened, to explain why it is or isn't important, what it means, and even what might be the effect. As to what their personal opinions about the news are, well, that's just not the business we're in," - Giles Wilson, editor of BBC news blogs.

"The Telegraph Media Group is in the process of disembowelling the Daily Telegraph. There is no other way to describe what is happening as the depressing daily roll-call of departures is announced." - MediaGuardian's Roy Greenslade.

"Greenslade - who neglects to mention that he parted company with the Telegraph in 2006 in less-than-happy circumstances after just three months as media commentator - is cannon fodder in a wider Guardian mission to show that the Telegraph is only able to challenge its online success by being a rapacious organisation." - Justin Williams, assistant editor at the Telegraph.

"If The Daily Telegraph continues down the path of trying to be like the Daily Mail it will be slaughtered." - The Independent's Stephen Glover.

"Perhaps it is the worst downturn since the second world war, but it can hardly be as bad as the war itself, and the local press came through that just as it has survived every downturn since," Sir Ray Tindle, in a letter to The Guardian.

"It's hardly the time to be full of the joys of the season given employers are using the Christmas break to make redundancies, cut pay, close offices and reorganise in the hope that people won't want to take any action over the holiday period. These employers are all heart. I wonder how some of them sleep at night." - NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear.

"The closure of a local paper would leave a gaping hole in the social fabric of the U.K." - Tim Bowdler, chief executive Johnston Press on BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

“I don’t know how you are still in the job.” - ex-Sunday Sun editor and head of journalism at Sunderland University Chris Rushton tackles Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey over the fall in the company's value.

"Look at the history of our newspapers and you will find that many of them were founded by local men and funded by local businesses - printers, campaigners, shopkeepers and solicitors. These men did not seek to make a vast fortune from their great adventure...Why can't the big groups sell off their failing titles to people who would actually love and nurture them?" - Grey Cardigan.

"Once again he is the epitome of the society decorator: a grey cashmere cardigan offsetting his artfully fluffed up corona of white hair, with tight trousers and winklepickers to add a touch of naughtiness." - Cassandra Jardine describes in the Daily Telegraph how Nicky Haslam has got over his "sartorial mid-life crisis" thanks to a Grey Cardigan.

"New definition of optimism. A newspaper journalist ironing 5 shirts on a Sunday night!!!" - posted comment on HoldtheFrontPage under yet another job cuts story.

"If this was happening in another employer in Scotland, if an approach was being taken to make an entire workforce redundant, what would we imagine that the editorial stance of the Herald newspaper would've been?.....I think that the owners of the Herald group should think carefully about the credibility of the newspaper given the stance they have adopted," - Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.

"Today newspapers, even wealthy ones like the Mail, think long and hard before contesting actions even if they know they are in the right for fear of the ruinous financial implications. For the local press such actions are now, almost certainly, out of the question. Instead they stump up some cash to settle as quickly as possible to avoid court actions which if they were to lose could, in some cases, close them. Some justice." - Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre on the dangers of "no win, no fee" arrangements in libel cases.

"She feels so psychologically scarred by the episode that she now questions whether she will be able to work as a journalist again." -Press Gazette on journalist Sally Murrer after a judge threw out charges against her.

"Sally Murrer was bugged, locked up, strip-searched and eventually charged with aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office. A judge threw the case out. Why was this not worth big headlines? Because Murrer worked for the Milton Keynes Citizen and, as far as the nationals are concerned, there's nothing so unimportant as a local paper." - MediaGuardian columnist Peter Wilby.

"This solid brick wall of high calibre journalists I had never met, who just surrounded me and looked after me....who picked me up when I was down. I knew there was a camaraderie in journalism but did not how much." - Sally Murrer on the support she received from other journalists.

"When the Abu Ghraib atrocities against Iraqi prisoners filled our media, people rightly noted that the torment consisted not in physical pain, but in humiliation. The humiliation was increased by photographing the acts. The torturers thought that what they did was funny. They were arrested, dismissed from the US armed services and imprisoned. Jonathan Ross was doing essentially the same thing. He thought it was funny to use his power to torment someone mentally, and to let other people witness the torment." - Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor on why he won't pay his licence fee if the BBC keeps on Jonathan Ross.

"The British press out there in Portugal, and I'm not singling out any particular publication, were - I'm afraid to say this and I don't like to say this because I'm a former journalist myself - they were lazy," - Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns.

"I am 48 years old and still doing proper reporting." - BBC business editor Robert Peston.

“If Mr. Peston read the shipping forecast, he would have seasoned mariners jumping ship.” - Stephen Glover.

"The quality and calibre of celebrities caught outside unbookable restaurants has gone way down. Now its more likely to be a bloke in EastEnders, a drunk runner-up from Big Brother, and Piers Morgan," - AA Gill in The Sunday Times, the feud continues.

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