Friday 13 August 2010

Quotes of the Week: From preventing paparazzi madness to a tabloid tosspot meeting the PM

Neil Wallis, former News of the World executive editor turned PR man, tells in PR Week how The Outside Organisation handled the media over Naomi Campbell's appearance at the War Crimes Tribunal: "We wanted it to be as low key, respectful, and unfussy an event as possible. Which was the team logic behind seeking to temporarily ban photographers picturing and videoing her arrival at, presence in, and departure from the court. It was nothing to do with "privacy", as some media claimed - it was to try to protect a solemn venue like the War Crimes Tribunal from suffering the kind of outrageous paparazzi madness that can unfortunately hound any public appearance by Naomi Campbell."

Nick Davies in the Guardian on the decision to publish the Afghan War Logs: "It's not our job to get people killed and I am not interested in publishing anything that might get someone killed. There were 92,000 documents and we published fewer than 300 of them. Each one was read from top to toe with the conscious aim of excluding anything that might endanger people on the ground. You can't have governments decide what should be published and what shouldn't, therefore we, as journalists, have to make our own judgments."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaking via Skype from a secret location, during a Frontline Club debate: "There's a new type of refugee in the world and they are publishers."

Chris Wheal blogs on death knocking: "Old timers – and I include myself in that – need to get it out of our brains that because we did something a certain way it must always be done that way. Death knocks call for someone with experience, sympathy and an ability to almost offer a pastoral, caring service."

Terence Blacker in the Independent on an England footballer playing away: "Peter Crouch is hardly the first young Englishman to have misbehaved, even twice, in a sozzled moment at a stag party, and yet, according to the stern moralists of the media (who of course would never dream of doing such a thing), he deserves the kind of sanctimonious scolding in which the British press specialises."

Bournemoth Echo sports editor Neil Meldrum on the ban on photographers by Southampton Football Club: "This once proud club has been turned into a laughing stock, both by the shambolic previous regime and the control freaks of the current one. Mr Cortese [Southampton chairman] clearly thinks his club will make a buck or two by syndicating pictures taken by their own man. I’ve got news for you, Nicola: You won’t. If newspapers hate one thing, it is the greed of people like you and we press people tend to stick together in defiance of arrogance."

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford on asking Newsquest to respond to questions about the ending of its final salary pension scheme: "Over the last two days, Press Gazette has attempted to put questions to chief executive Paul Davidson - only to be told that he is not available and that no-one else can deal with our enquiries. This is the UK’s second biggest regional newspaper publisher, which employs more than 5,000 people. It would not expect its own journalists to accept such a response if they were investigating one of the companies they report on."

Media Trust report on local news: "Success in local and regional news now appears to depend increasingly on scale. This leads to more mergers and takeovers with the result that larger companies serving bigger regions are producing news that, as this research reveals, has less and less relevance for local people."

A former Mirror staffer comments on Roy Greenslade's blog about the decision to axe six out of 10 photographers on the Daily and Sunday Mirror: "A newspaper office with no snappers will be lifeless. The best anecdotes always involved the camera persons, their miserliness, their profligacy with the company's money ("To hire of camel"), their thick-skinned insouciance on matters of taste or tact. It all made newspapers fun."

Kelvin MacKenzie on how PM John Major called him in to Downing Street to deny a Sun report that he was going grey and asked him to examine his hair: "I was in a difficult position. He was the Prime Minister, we were in Number 10. I'm a tabloid tosspot but was now looking at a massively grey barnet. What was I to do? The answer was simple. Explain that I was off that day, blame my deputy and promise to run a bizarre correction."

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