Thursday 31 December 2009

Quotes of the Year

Rupert Murdoch in the Wall Street Journal: "In the new business model, we will be charging consumers for the news we provide on our Internet sites. The critics say people won't pay. I believe they will, but only if we give them something of good and useful value. Our customers are smart enough to know that you don't get something for nothing."

Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones: “These digital visionaries tell people like me that we just don’t understand them. They talk about the wonders of the interconnected world, about the democratization of journalism. The news, they say, is viral now – that we should be grateful. Well, I think all of us need to beware of geeks bearing gifts. Here we are in 2009 – more viral, less profitable.”

Times editor James Harding announcing at the Society of Editors' conference how the paper will charge users of its website: "We are involved in the fight of our lives to make sure we can put independent reporting on an economically sustainable footing."

Reporters Without Borders on the massacre of journalists in the Philippines: "Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day.”

George Monbiot in the Guardian: "For many years the local press has been one of Britain's most potent threats to democracy, championing the overdog, misrepresenting democratic choices, defending business, the police and local elites from those who seek to challenge them."

The Guardian on the Press Complaints Commission report into its allegations about News of the World phone hacking: "This complacent report shows that the PCC does not have the ability, the budget or the procedures to conduct its own investigations."

Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman: "People I know who work in local newspapers now find themselves having to produce so much stuff that there is very little room for them to even go through the basic functions of journalism, of putting in the phone calls and casting a sceptical eye on what people with powerful, vested interests tell them. You can look at the sums. The NUJ will give you the figures. You will find there are fewer local newspapers and there are fewer journalists working on each of those papers. That means they have to cover more ground and cover that ground more thinly"

Baboon-killer AA Gill in the Sunday Times: "Now, baboons aren't stupid. Well, no stupider than Piers Morgan."

Piers Morgan on the prospect of editing the Sunday Times: "The idea of firing [Jeremy] Clarkson and AA Gill could be irresistible."

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: "Trafigura thought it was buying silence. A combination of old media – the Guardian – and new – Twitter – turned attempted obscurity into mass notoriety."

Independent editor Roger Alton in Word magazine: "Journalists should be involved with everything and everyone around them, but not necessarily sleep with them... Right now some of the connections between the News International papers and Cameron's inner circle are too close for comfort...Journalists like to think we're on the main stage: but we're not. We're in the audience."

The Guardian apologises to its own subs for referring to "journalists and sub editors" in the readers' editor's Open Door column: "Subeditors are journalists."

Political commentator Anthony Howard reviewing No Expenses Spared, the inside story of the Daily Telegraph's scoop on the MPs' expenses scandal, in the Daily Telegraph: "By concentrating first on the Government – and giving the Tories a three-day stay of execution – the published findings tilted in favour of the Tories."

Independent md and editor-in-chief Simon Kelner on the closure of the Neath Guardian, the paper he joined as a trainee 32 years ago: "It seems inconceivable that a town whose people thrive on knowing what's going on, who make it their business to know everyone else's business, will have no town crier."

Grey Cardigan reviews Tanya Gold's Guardian article on Liz Jones: "The day confessional journalism ate itself."

F1 boss Max Mosley in the Guardian: "The strange thing is that, because there is so much in the press about the Taliban or religious extremists, people are beginning to understand that it's not up to grubby little newspapers like the News of the World or Daily Mail to do the same in England."

James Murdoch at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival: "The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit".

Noel Gallagher in the Sunday Times on Jade Goody media coverage: "I’ve got f*** all against Jade Goody, that’s nothing to do with me. But it bends my head. That, to me, sums up, in one tiny five-minute thing on the news, what an embarrassing place Britain is right now. You might as well shut No 10 Downing Street down and get Max Clifford to run the country.”

Nick Davies, at the NUJ Jobs Summit, on the public status (or lack of it) of journalists: "Being judged by people on the performance of Murdoch and Dacre is like all Transylvanians being judged on Dracula's behaviour. We have to fight back against it. Our position is similar to that in which gay men and women found themselves in the 1950s and 1960s. They were unable to orchestrate their political strength to change the law because they weren't liked, they were shunned."

Wire creator and ex-newspaper journalist David Simon: "You do not - in my city - run into bloggers or so-called citizen journalists at City Hall, or in the courthouse hallways or in the bars and union halls where police officers gather. You do not see them consistently nurturing and then pressing sources. You do not see them holding institutions accountable on a daily basis.
"Why? Because high-end journalism - that which acquires essential information about our government and society in the first place - is a profession; it requires daily, full-time commitment by trained men and women who return to the same beats day in and day out until the best of them know everything with which a given institution is contending."

Oscar winner Kate Winslet: "I feel like an unlikely hero. I was not the privileged kid things like this could happen to. My mum won a pickled onion competition in the local pub and the Reading Evening Post sent me a picture of her holding her jar. Well, Reading Evening Post, here's your next Winslet picture!"

The Guardian's Steve Busfield on James Murdoch: "When asked if he will succeed his father at the head of their international media conglomerate, James had a very neat way of evading the question: "My father will never stop working." Ah, but what about when he dies? "He thinks he will live for ever." I never worked out the follow-up question to that one as it seemed pretty heartless to tell a son that his father will definitely die."

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