Friday 12 November 2010

Quotes of the Week: From why local tv is a disaster to how to get kicked out of an interview

Kelvin MacKenzie speaking about local tv at City University: "The idea of local TV is a complete disaster and anybody going into it is completely nuts. You can't invest enough money to make it look good, but if it doesn't look any good people think it is amateurish and don't want to watch it."

Clay Shirky on the Times paywall: "Online, the Times has stopped being a newspaper, in the sense of a generally available and omnibus account of the news of the day, broadly read in the community. Instead, it is becoming a newsletter, an outlet supported by, and speaking to, a specific and relatively coherent and compact audience. (In this case, the Times is becoming the online newsletter of the Tories, the UK’s conservative political party, read much less widely than its paper counterpart.)"

Simon Heffer in the Telegraph: "I, like many of my colleagues, came into journalism precisely to throw bricks through windows. The Fourth Estate has a role, without doubt, in fulfilling the import of that pompous phrase 'holding politicians to account'. But since so much of what the politicians tell journalists is either only half the truth or, at times, none of the truth at all, some of us do start to wonder why we bother."

Mr. Justice Tugendhat on privacy injunctions: “The only real choice is to allow the public to know the claimant's identity or to allow them to know nothing at all about the action.”

Stephen Mitchell, deputy director of news at the BBC, speaking at the University of Kent, on BBC director-general Mark Thompson signing the joint letter to Vince Cable about News Corp's bid to take control of BSkyB: "Mark Thompson is the editor-in-chief and I feel that that letter in a way compromises the perception of his impartiality on an issue of current controversy... For me, he compromises his role in life by signing a letter in the way that he did."

Communites Secretary Eric Pickles tells councillors at the London Councils summit:
"I think it is is important to have vibrant local newspapers in order for you to be more accountable. To me, the kind of problem I faced when I looked at one particular set of London [council] newspapers was that they talked about them being the 'local independent voice'. Clearly, if you are funded by the local council you are not the local independent voice. What we need is the voice of independent local newspapers bringing you to account."

Pete Pahides, who has just left his job as chief rock critic of The Times, recalls in Press Gazette being thrown out of an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger because he asked him to record a message for his answerphone: "It was something I did at the time whenever I got to interview anyone really famous. Two weeks earlier the Bee Gees sung with full harmonies, 'If you want to leave a message for Peter, hold on, hold on..Leave your name and number at the beep'. So I had this Alan Partridge moment, as they dragged me out, I shouted 'the Bee Gees sang for me'."

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