Thursday 31 May 2012

Wallace and Weaver wanted to take over Trinity Mirror and sell off regionals, claims Telegraph

Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver, the editors of the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror were secretly planning to buy out the Trinity Mirror Group before they were sacked this week, the Daily Telegraph has claimed.

The Telegraph says Wallace and  Weaver were "plotting to take over the listed company, with potential backing from a wealthy figure."

It adds: "They wanted to break up the group and sell off its 130 regional newspapers, including the Liverpool Echo and the Manchester Evening News, leaving them in control of the more profitable national titles.

"It is unknown whether the pair intended to hang on to Trinity’s Scottish national titles, The Daily Record and The Sunday Mail. The plans are understood to have been at an early stage.

"Mr Wallace and Ms Weaver would have found it hard to secure enough funding to take over the newspaper group while still working there, sources said. It is thought it might actually be easier for the pair to mount a bid for Trinity now that they are outside the company, which had a £230m pension deficit at the end of last year."

Avoiding contempt charges the old Fleet Street way: Bung a policeman bundles of fivers

Ian Aitken's obit of Bob Edwards, who edited the Daily Express, Sunday Mirror and the People, in the Guardian today is packed full of great stories about the heyday of Fleet Street.

This anecdote highlights the kind of close relationship between the press and police that would cause shockwaves at the Leveson Inquiry.

Aitken writes of Edwards: "He took on the editorship of the People (1966-72), a highly successful tabloid which specialised in 'exposure' stories.

"Bob knew all about the genre, because in his youth he had been a reporter on the paper. Indeed, he almost landed in jail for contempt of court after exposing a fake spiritualist medium, and was only saved when the paper's crime correspondent pushed bundles of fivers into a police officer's hands."

Wednesday 30 May 2012

NUJ says no staff consulted over seven-day Mirror

The NUJ says journalists were not consulted by Trinity Mirror over the plan to create a seven day Mirror and axe Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace and Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver (top).

The union blames outgoing Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey for the decision.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:“The shock announcement today is a decision made once again without any consultation or agreement with staff. The move to a seven day operation and the brutal axing of the editors is an example of a company in crisis.

“It says a lot about the board of Trinity Mirror that they have allowed chief executive Sly Bailey, finally on her way out after presiding over stupendous decline, to push such drastic measures through. The statement from the company tries to dress up this last hurrah as a leap into a brave new world of multimedia publishing – the reality is that these cuts and the weakening of the titles’ identities will be a further blow to resources and quality journalism from a lame duck chief executive whose monumental lack of vision has seen the company’s fortunes plummet.

“Half of all jobs across the entire group have already been axed, the company's strength has ebbed away yet executives have consistently attacked its assets - journalists and the quality journalism they produce. Although the NUJ does not have formal recognition rights yet at Trinity Mirror’s national titles, the union will be meeting with its many members across the titles to discuss their response as a chapel.”

Degree dominated journalism must do more to widen intake, says social mobility adviser Milburn

Professions such as  journalism must do more to widen their intake, the deputy prime minister's social mobility adviser Alan Milburn (top) will say in a report out today. ( See Update below)

According to the BBC, Milburn's report will say journalism has increasingly become a "degree-only profession", and, on the whole, does "not seem to take the issue of fair access seriously".

Milburn has called for a "bigger drive" to open careers to young people from poorer backgrounds.

In the report Milburn says internship schemes are a "lottery" and no profession has "cracked" widening recruitment.

Milburn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There's a series of barriers that, maybe inadvertently, the professions put in the way of those with ability and aptitude from a variety of backgrounds getting even the first foot career on the ladder into the professions.

"It's partially about how they provide work experience opportunities, internships, their recruitment processes, where they recruit from."

In 2009, Milburn told the Today programme there was a time when someone could start as a messenger boy and end up as a Fleet Street journalist.

Update: Milburn's report says journalism is the most "socially exclusive" industry, with efforts to widen access "fragmented" and lacking "real vigour."

It also says: "Some 98% of entrants to journalism already have a degree or postgraduate qualification. Less than 10% of those entering the journalism profession have worked their way up through non-graduate, vocational, working-class backgrounds."

The report adds: "For some professions, such as journalism, students are now highly unlikely to be able to progress into the profession without a minimum amount of relevant work experience."

It concludes: "Access to a professional career has become more and more inflexible over time. Graduate-only entry has become a mindset across the professions, and that has profound implications for social mobility.

"During the UK’s first great wave of social mobility, the openness of the professions to people of talent coming into professional employment through various routes created new opportunities for a whole generation of young people from middle and low-income backgrounds."

"Today, many of those routes have been closed off. We believe it is time to open them up again. The professions will not flourish unless they extend – not limit – the rungs on the professional career ladder. Some are already doing so. Others need to follow their lead."
  • The government has promised to set up a social mobility and child poverty commission. Milburn recommends that it should report annually on "what, if any, progress the professions are making".
  • The BBC has a link to the report here .

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Double whammy as press forces Government into U-turns on 'secret justice' and 'hated' pasty tax

The Daily Mail and the Sun both claim victories in reversing Government policy today.

The Mail says it has led the  campaign against "secret justice" as it reports moves to hold "sensitive" inquests behind closed doors are being dropped.

And in civil cases judges, not politicians, will now have the power to approve or refuse a request for a secret hearing.

Writing in the Mail today, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke admits the original plans were too broad.

Meanwhile, the Sun claims victory fore its anti "pasty tax" campaign - "Who VAT all the pies?" -  saying that Chancellor George Osborne has scrapped the "hated tax" after "listening to Sun readers".

Friday 25 May 2012

NUJ facing 'severe financial crisis' says Stanistreet

The NUJ is facing a severe financial crisis and could be insolvent by October, according to a Rescue Plan drawn up by general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (pictured).

The Rescue Plan document also states that overall NUJ membership is down 18 per cent over the last five years.

The union's National Executive Council today agreed a strategy including cuts across all areas of union expenditure, including provision for staff redundancies, in order to meet problems being caused by a fall in union income, rising costs and the challenging industrial environment.

Stanistreet said in a press statement: “This is not the first time the NUJ has had to take decisive action to deal with financial difficulties. Previous solutions to falling income, resulting from a fall in employment in our industries, have sustained us until now.

“But we are conscious that if we are to plan responsibly for the future of the union, and the members whom we serve, we need a comprehensive strategy which involves managing expenditure and practising good housekeeping while continuing to provide the service to NUJ members which they are entitled to expect.

“As an immediate priority we will be extending the union’s activities and membership across all sectors of the industry where the union’s protection is needed by journalists now more than ever before.”

In the Rescue Plan document, the general secretary states:  "There has been no single overnight event that has brought us to this position. The fact that there has been no positive uplift in the industry’s fortunes, and therefore our members’; the continued pressure on our budgets and unresolved deficits in some areas; the drop in subs income in the first half of this budget, 3 per cent more than the 2 per cent decline budgeted; the depletion of our assets and reserves in the wake of successive deficits; and the crisis in our pension scheme – all of these things bring us to the position we are in today, and this combination of factors mean we have to take action. Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option."

"As things stand, after provisions in the accounts for forthcoming agreed expenditure, we have around £300,000 in cash. That only amounts to 3 weeks running costs. We are running monthly deficits averaging over £20,000 (this is after the non-recurring one-off costs highlighted in the accounts). The overall deficit to the end of February is £267,000. If immediate action is not taken this money will run out in October and the union would be insolvent."

She adds: "We also now have accurate data on membership statistics, long overdue. The introduction of a new membership system as well as other organisational changes mean we have access to genuinely meaningful data. This shows an 18 per cent drop in overall membership figures in the past five years. Given the scale of the crisis in our industry we cannot assume that this decline will not continue."

Stanistreet says: "We need to be completely clear that the way out of the crisis will involve cuts across all areas of the union’s expenditure."

The document states that the current estimate is that the necessary savings in staff costs will mean the loss of nine posts out of 47 in total. The union is also grappling with a large pension fund defecit of between £500,000 to £4m.
  • It's no surprise that the NUJ is facing financial problems. Hundreds if not thousands of journalists have lost their jobs in UK in the last five years as the impact of digital media has ravaged print. Maybe something worth having an inquiry about? - Jon S
  • Pic: Jon Slattery

Bloomberg's headbanger of a cover on Euro crisis

This is the front cover of this week's European edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.

It invites the reader to bang their head on the large black circle printed on the front, in frustration over the Euro Crisis Relief. The bottom of the page provides step-by-step instructions before directing the reader to an article on the Euro Crisis in the magazine.

Quotes of the week: From Mandy on manipulation to whose not coming to lunch with Piers Morgan

Lord Mandelson at Leveson on the talents of Rebekah Brooks: "Persistance, charm, manipulative skills.... Some might think that's a bit rich from me."

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in a memo to David Cameron about News Corps' bid to take full control of BSkyB:  “The UK has the chance to lead the way on this as we did in the 80s with the Wapping move but if we block it our media sector will suffer for years.”

Andrew Marr at Leveson: "I think very few journalists would go to the PCC looking for swift redress or's not exactly the Waffen-SS."

Alan Johnson MP at Leveson: "When I first met Rebekah Brooks I shook her hand and said 'Hello Rachel'. I don't think that went down very well."

Rufus Olins, chief executive of Newsworks (the new name for the Newspaper Marketing Agency) in the Independent: "What's happened is that it has become fashionable to be scathing about the newspaper industry. But what has been lost sometimes is the fact that the newspaper industry is driving so much of the innovation in the new media." 

Article in the Sunday Times on the fall in newspaper ad revenues: "The big picture is that in most English-speaking countries newspaper revenues have been crushed by the internet juggernaut." 

Chris Bryant MP on the three News International executives accused of misleading parliament:  "It is not just that it was one person at one time, it was not just that it was one organisation for a brief period of time, it's that a whole series of people systematically, repeatedly lied so as to protect themselves, to protect their commercial interests and to try and make sure they didn't end up going to prison – that they did fully knowing that they were telling lies to parliament. That, I believe, is a fundamental contempt." 

Issy Shannon, former journalist on the Hebden Bridge Times, in a letter to Tim Robinson, editor of the Halifax Courier, which is switching from daily to weekly publication. The letter was published on HoldtheFrontPage and not in the Courier: "A little bit of honesty wouldn’t have come amiss in Mr Robinson’s gushing article, more or less a publicity plug for Johnston Press which is axing daily newspapers all over the country. Sales of the Halifax Courier have plummeted over the past decade and the company is in dire financial straits. So, Mr Robinson, as editor please don’t try and bamboozle readers into thinking the much vaunted relaunch with 'cutting edge digital developments' is any more than a desperate measure in desperate times."

Jeremy Paxman tells Leveson about his lunch with Piers Morgan: "He turned to me and said 'Have you got a mobile phone?' I said yes and he asked if there was a security setting on the message bit of it. I didn't know what he was talking about. He then explained the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words, 'You're a fool'." 

Piers Morgan on Twitter: "Right - that's the last time I'm inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch."

Thursday 24 May 2012

Brum Mail journalist named 'Spaghetti Junction'

"Spaghetti Junction" is getting lots of publicity as its opening 40 years ago today on May 24, 1972 is celebrated.

But it would still be known as the Gravelly Hill Interchange if it was not for Birmingham Evening Mail reporter Roy Smith.

Former Mail editor Ian Dowell once told me that Roy looked at an aerial picture of the interchange and said "It looks like a plate of Spaghetti."

The rest is history.

Film aims to give voice to laid-off print journalists

Adam Chadwick, a filmmaker and former staffer at The New York Times who was laid-off in 2009, is trying to raise funds from the public to complete a documentary on the crisis in the US newspaper industry.

The project is  called "Fit to Print" - you can see a promo clip here - and aims to be a feature-length documentary on the crisis and the changing dynamics of investigative reporting in the US.

This synopsis of the film may ring some bells in the UK: "Through interviews with former executives at the leading newspaper companies, we illustrate a change in business practises, beginning in the 1960s.

"Newspapers became less a public service than a business enterprise designed to please stockholders. Unfortunately, newspaper companies historically neglected investment in new technologies and expanded classified advertising online despite direct proposals from major internet search engine companies and advertising entrepreneurs. They missed their opportunity and have cut their staffs to compensate for the monetary losses."

Adam says: "This is an independent film that I have been working on for the past three years. It examines newspapers all across the U.S. and the threat to local watchdog reporting as staffs and resources are cut.

"This film is being made on a shoestring budget by myself and other former newspaper staffers, hoping to give voice to the thousands of newsroom employees laid-off over the past several years, while examining the light at the end of the tunnel for the industry through organisations such as ProPublica, Voice of San Diego and other start-ups."

Included in the promo clip is David Barstow from the The New York Times, Bob Kaiser from The Washington Post, Laura Frank from the now defunct Rocky Mountain News and other journalists from across the US.

One interviewee says that between 20,000 to 40,000 journalists have been laid-off in the US.
  • Surprised no tv or film companies are making a similar film about the newspaper crisis in the UK, or are they?

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Help this man support the Journalists' Charity

John Thompson (top), who launched online site 14 years ago, is cycling 850 miles from Brighton to Oslo on 8 June to raise funds for the Journalists' Charity.

John admits that to some raising money for journalists may be an "unpopular cause".

He says: "In these times of phonehacking, the Leveson inquiry etc, it's easy to forget all those dedicated professionals who have worked tirelessly, often for low pay, and sometimes risked their lives to cover stories that otherwise would remain hidden.

"The media industry can be a ruthless one at times and some of these professionals can find themselves in financial need due to bad health, redundancy or other reasons. Fortunately, a safety net does exist.

"The Journalists' Charity is the leading charity for all journalists in need, always ready to help them and their dependants with advice, grants and other forms of financial assistance."

You can support John by donating money here. He is hoping to complete the journey in 11 days.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Is this Press Gazette's best ever splash headline?

I've been chucking out some old copies of Press Gazette and came across this classic from 1997.

Press Gazette's Jean Morgan was leaked a copy of an apologetic letter Piers Morgan (no relation), then editor of the Mirror, had sent to Sun editor Stuart Higgins after the Mirror had rubbished the Sun's coverage of the Bruce Grobbelaar match fixing allegations.

The Mirror had accused Higgins, his deputy Neil Wallis and Mirror reporters Guy Patrick and John Troup of being "the four men who tried to smear our national sport."

Morgan confessed in his letter to Higgins: "I hope you will accept that I've been a complete tosser on this occasion" and said he realised he had behaved like "a total prat".

His reaction to his letter being leaked was: "This is a disgraceful invasion of my privacy by the Sun."

  • Hold the Front Page publisher Paul Linford  (see post below)  reckons the best UKPG splash headline was when Thomson Regional Newspapers snatched Keith Perch from Northcliffe to edit the South Wales Echo. Perch was acting editor of Northcliffe's new UK News agency at the time. UK News md Alex Leys' response to losing Perch was: "We are all very pleased for Keith but obviously disappointed for the many young executives in Thomson who have been overlooked yet again for an editor's chair in that group."

Journalism 4G conference at Bournemouth Uni

Bournemouth University is hosting a conference on the implications of the new 4G mobile communications licences for journalism.

Keynote speakers at the Journalism 4G Conference on Friday, 22nd June, will be BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and Darren Waters, MSN head of devices and social media.

Bournemouth University says: "We’re bringing together opinion formers, technology developers and working journalists to ignite stimulating debate about the future of journalism practice. There’'ll also be workshops and tech surgeries showcasing the latest in communication technology."

Sunday 20 May 2012

The Sunday Times: 'How newspaper revenues are being crushed by the internet juggernaught'

In the last decade British newspapers have seen ad revenues tumble from $7.6 billion to $4.6 billion, according to figures from Carat, the Sunday Times reports today.

The paper also says newspapers have seen their share of total marketing spending in Britain halve to just 20% over the period.

It notes than in some countries, for example Australia and India, print advertising has risen over the past decade and that last week Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, bought 63 American newspapers in a $142m deal that made him one of the country’s biggest publishers.

But, the Sunday Times says: "The big picture, however, is that in most English-speaking countries newspaper revenues have been crushed by the internet juggernaut."

It adds: "Advertisers say they have nothing against the medium — they have just followed eyeballs. 'It’s not advertisers deserting newspapers, its advertisers chasing consumers,' said Anthony Ireson, marketing director at Ford of Britain. 'As consumers have gone online and readership of newspapers has fallen, we have moved advertising'."

The article - Papers besieged by online hordes - adds:  "Advertisers like digital media because they pay only for results — per “click”. Unlike newsprint, which requires research to validate results, it is easy to track, and as a consequence, easy to justify."

It also says: "Regional papers in Britain and America have suffered most from the upheavals of the past decade. Classified advertising was once the lifeblood of small titles. Now, however, local merchants prefer to sell their wares online rather than in the local paper."

The Sunday Times has a paywall but in a reference to the free access to the Guardian and MailOnline, the article claims: "Precious few newspapers have managed to extract meaningful revenues from a free internet service."

The article is not all gloom: "There are, however, some reasons for optimism — particularly if newspapers can maintain the circulations of their print format while building up the readership of their online product. 'As long as they keep readers, we will want to advertise with them,' said Ford’s Ireson."

Saturday 19 May 2012

Telegraph: 'Murdoch's UK papers in trust plan'

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Rupert Murdoch’s News International titles — The Times, Sun and Sunday Times — could be spun off into a trust under plans being worked on by senior News Corp executives.

The trust would work along the lines of a proposal put forward last year for Sky News if BSkyB had been taken over by News Corp. A separate board would manage the business at arms’ length from News Corp.
The Telegraph says that chief operating officer Chase Carey is understood to have instructed executives to look at a number of options to hive off the troubled UK newspaper arm.

It claims: "The move, prompted by the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, would allow Mr Murdoch’s media empire to restart its bid to take over broadcaster BSkyB. Proposals under consideration include creating a trust to manage the UK newspaper assets, going into a joint venture with a media partner or a direct sale to private equity.

"The plans are in their infancy but News Corp is understood to be serious about ridding itself of assets it sees as fatally contaminated by the phone hacking scandal."

Rupert Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff , speaking at the LSE last July said the Murdochs would be able to "hold their heads high" in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal if they sold the Sun and used the cash to put The Times and Sunday Times in a trust, similar to the Guardian's Scott Trust.

He said such an arrangement would "save British journalism for another generation or two. People would say 'O.K. let bygones be bygones'."

Friday 18 May 2012

Incisive Media under attack from Anonymous

Incisive Media has been a victim of an access attack today after the company's The Inquirer wrote a story about hacking group Anonymous.

A journalist told me: "We have had no email or internet most of the day and have sporadic access now. Our sites are all down. Apparently we are getting 800,000 data requests a second compared with 1,200 normally and the servers cannot cope."

Quotes of the week: From Rebekah Brooks to the muckraking Victorian editor who bought a child

Met Police statement: "Rebekah Brooks, 43, unemployed of Churchill, Oxfordshire, was charged with 3 counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice". 

Rebekah Brooks: "Whilst I have always respected the criminal justice system, I have to question today whether the decision was made on a proper impartial assessment of the evidence. I understand and know that there needs to be a proper and thorough investigation, and I am baffled by the decision to charge me. More importantly, however, I cannot express my anger enough that those closest to me have been dragged into this unfairly. One day the details of this case will emerge and people will see today as an expensive sideshow, and a waste of public money as a result of an unjust and weak decision."

Kelvin MacKenzie on Question Time: "Blair arse-licked the Murdoch press. Cameron saw that and said 'we should do the same.' Then the music stopped." 

Peter Oborne at Leveson: "For all its blissful parish magazine quality the regional press does not play a serious role in addressing Poulson-style scandals which go on to this day."

Sir Harold Evans at Leveson: "We have a situation where newspapers employ private detectives. We used to employ reporters". 

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "With the rise of the managerialist comes a special language – a weird combination of semi-spiritual banality (“unlocking energies”), euphemism, and legalese. If you want to see the difference between people steeped in their trade and people steeped in managerialism, compare the testimony, at the Leveson Inquiry, of the Murdochs, father and son. The wicked old man spoke in the language, simultaneously sharp and blunt, of people who know and run their business. The evasive son adopted the locutions taught in business-school courses, honed by big law firms, footnoted by anxious compliance officers."

More Charles Moore on the managerialists: "In such cultures, just as the experts, the professionals and the technicians bitterly resent the managerialists for neither understanding nor caring, so the managerialists secretly detest the professionals who, they believe, get in the way of their rationalisations. They are desperate to 'let go' of such people. Very unhappy organisations result."

AAGill in the Sunday Times: "Television’s way of exploring issues is always more about the desire for lively television than illuminating arguments. The cast list of pugilists, hacks and thwarted politicians who will turn up at any studio, anywhere, in the early evening has become the constitutional version of Mexican wrestling: shouty and phoney. Question Time, in particular, needs to be seriously reimagined. None of this is about involving the viewers in political debate or thought. It’s thuggish and dispiriting and adds to the general disgust with the whole political caste."

Sir Trevor McDonald in the Observer: "The bong for the News at Ten is no longer a national call to arms. People are tweeting and texting and surfing the web, so you can't rely on their attention."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times: "If I make a mistake, can Ofcom take away my children? Fine me? Put me in prison? No. Time and again I read in the Daily Mail that I’ve had my “knuckles rapped” for “sparking” some kind of fury. But the truth is, nothing of the sort ever happens. I don’t even get a call from the headmaster."

Dominic Sandbrook reviewing a new book on W.T. Stead ( Muckraker by W. Sydney Robinson) in the Sunday Times: "What would Lord Justice Leveson have made of William Thomas Stead? The most influential journalist of the Victorian age, a man of boundless energy and conviction, Stead broke almost every rule imaginable. An inveterate flirt who was often caught kissing visitors in the editor’s office, he spent decades campaigning against sexual immorality. He twisted the truth, invented quotations and doctored pictures. He travelled to St Petersburg to interview the tsar, tried to get the Pope to relocate to London, campaigned for the Boers against the ­British and even claimed to be in touch with Winston Churchill’s dead father. Most infamously, he bought a teenage girl from her parents, installed her in a brothel and then arranged to take her virginity — all, he said, in the name of the greater good. By comparison, today’s journalists look ­positively saintly."

Thursday 17 May 2012

Queen's speech pips Man City as story of the week

The Queen's speech finished above Manchester City's last gasp winning of the Premiership title to be the top story for the week ending Sunday 13 May, according to journalisted.

Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Peter Oborne's jibe at 'parish mag' regional press

In  his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry today, Telegraph political commentator Peter Oborne took a swipe at the regional press for failing to expose corruption.

Oborne told the inquiry there were "networks of corruption in every major city" but said that for all its "blissful parish magazine quality the regional press does not play a serious role in addressing Poulson-style scandals which go on to this day."

Dale Farm a 'huge victory' for press freedom

The NUJ has today welcomed the Court of Appeal today overturning the decision forcing the media to hand over unbroadcast footage from last October's Dale Farm evictions to Essex Police.

ITN, the BBC, Sky, Hardcash Productions and the NUJ launched their appeal following the decision by Chelmsford Crown Court to grant the production order earlier this year.

The court’s decision was overturned in a judgment handed down by Mr Justice Eady and Lord Justice Moses at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Today is a huge victory for the cause of press freedom and the protection of sources and journalistic material. We are incredibly pleased that the NUJ and other media organisations have won the High Court battle against the police production order to force journalists to hand over their Dale Farm eviction footage.”

The NUJ supported  video journalist Jason Parkinson who along with the broadcasters fought the production order. 

Parkinson said: "This ruling to overturn the Crown Court's decision to grant the Dale Farm production order sends a very clear message to all police forces that these wide-ranging fishing trips will not be accepted by the UK courts and that we will not be forced into the role of unwilling agents of the state. We are not there as evidence gatherers to fill police intelligence databases with hours of material on activists or protestors, we are journalists and we are there to report the news and keep the public informed.

"In the last 18 months, every time one of these orders have been served it has put journalists in greater danger while trying to report on public order situations. I know this because I have been threatened and assaulted by people claiming my material will be used by the police. I am very happy to see Judge Moses has recognised the impact these orders have had on the safety and impartiality of all journalists and has made sure any future production order applications must take this into account, as was clearly not the case this time round."

Speaking last month, Parkinson said: "On Tuesday 1 November 2011 I received an email from Essex police stating I was being served an order to obtain all my footage from the first two days of the Dale Farm eviction. That came 38 minutes after a separate email from Essex police press office asking to use my footage for "training purposes". They even offered me a visit to their in-house television unit.

"The union's own code of conduct lists the protection of sources and all journalistic material as a fundamental part of journalist ethics and in turn a fundamental part of our democracy. The ability to report free from state interference and indeed report on the state and hold them to account is the corner stone of what makes our democracy. When this was raised at Chelmsford Crown Court during the application hearing, prosecuting counsel said I held a 'very extreme view' for defending that code of conduct. But it's not just the NUJ or myself, claiming to be holding these extreme views. Across the board - Sky News, the BBC and ITN - all have said enough is enough with these fishing exercises.

"That is why I have opposed this production order and stood to uphold the NUJ Code of Conduct and protect all journalist sources and all material."

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Northern Echo won't cover primary school events in Middlesbrough after heads impose ban on media naming pupils over paedophile fears

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron says his paper has decided not to cover primary school events in Middlesbrough after head teachers brought in a new policy that pupils should not be named in the media because of fears that paedophiles could use the information to target children.

Barron writes on his blog: "Publishing names of children in newspapers to celebrate their achievements has been established practice in local newspapers for generations

"Sadly, that innocent tradition is under threat because the dangers posed by the internet are being taken out of context.Last week, one of our photographers turned up at St Clare’s Primary School in Middlesbrough to cover a positive story about a successful road safety initiative.

"But the photographer was told it is now the policy of all primary schools in Middlesbrough not to give names of children to newspapers."

Barron adds: "A check with Middlesbrough Council confirmed that primary heads, without any consultation with the local media, had taken that decision because of fears that paedophiles could use the information to target children.

"The internet can be a scary place and I understand the concerns which lie behind the decision. I also fully appreciate that it is a decision taken because it is genuinely thought to be in the interests of child safety. I have come across individual schools which have adopted such a policy but never every school in a borough.

"But I also consider it to be a move which is disproportionate, ill-judged and very sad. There is no evidence that paedophiles are using newspapers and their associated websites to groom children.
The danger has to be kept in perspective.

"The positives of reporting children’s names in the context of their achievements hugely outweigh the negatives. Publicity gives young people confidence, is a source of pride, and inspires them to aim higher."

Barron argues: "There are times – swimming galas being an example – where there is an argument for names not to be published alongside pictures, especially online. But a blanket ban is the wrong way to go.

"The consequence is that The Northern Echo will regrettably not be covering primary school events in Middlesbrough until there is at least a discussion about the issue."

  • Bans on the press taking pictures of  pupils at events like sports days was a big issue several years ago with the Society of Editors and Newspaper Society warning there could be a whole generation of children who would not be covered in the local press because of exaggerated fears about paedophiles. In 2004 the then Education Secretary Charles Clarke  said his department had not issued advice to schools restricting the press photographing pupils for fear of attracting paedophiles. He said some schools had "misinterpreted" guidance given by the Department of Education and Skills about schools using video and photographs  of their own pupils for publicity purposes.
  • SoE executive director, Bob Satchwell, supported Peter Barron’s decision saying: "We thought we had won this battle a decade ago. While recognising the need to protect children it is important that their successes and achievements are recognised. If children are not named a whole generation could be forgotten."

Saturday 12 May 2012

Charles Moore on the 'bloodless bean-counters'

I couldn't help but think of some regional newspaper publishers when reading a brilliant column by Charles Moore (top) in the Daily Telegraph about the rise of "managerialists" and the "bloodless bean-counters".

Managerialists are defined as: "They are not interested in the content of the work their organisation performs. They are a caste of people who think they know how to manage. They have studied 'The 24-hour MBA'. There is a clear benefit from their management, for them: they arrange their own very high salaries and bonuses. Then they can leave quickly with something that looks good on the CV. The benefit to the company is less clear."

Moore writes: "With the rise of the managerialist comes a special language – a weird combination of semi-spiritual banality (“unlocking energies”), euphemism, and legalese. If you want to see the difference between people steeped in their trade and people steeped in managerialism, compare the testimony, at the Leveson Inquiry, of the Murdochs, father and son. The wicked old man spoke in the language, simultaneously sharp and blunt, of people who know and run their business. The evasive son adopted the locutions taught in business-school courses, honed by big law firms, footnoted by anxious compliance officers."

A contact who used to work in a large organisation tells Moore: " 'Consultation' is a word meaning that managerialists tell you what they are going to do, 30 days before they do it”.

Moore adds: "The people who tell you they are 'passionate about' X or Y are usually the most bloodless ones in the outfit.

"In such cultures, just as the experts, the professionals and the technicians bitterly resent the managerialists for neither understanding nor caring, so the managerialists secretly detest the professionals who, they believe, get in the way of their rationalisations. They are desperate to 'let go' of such people. Very unhappy organisations result."

Moore concludes: "No one sensible thinks that a large organisation can exist without being managed. Old stagers in companies, regiments, professions and, in my own experience, newspapers, easily over-romanticise their achievements and are unfair about the poor “bean-counters” who make the sums add up. But management should not dominate. As Lord Slim, who brilliantly led the British Army through the Burma campaign, put it: 'Managers are necessary; leaders are essential.' We now have unprecedented numbers of the former, not so many of the latter."

Friday 11 May 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Clarkson on Watson to Desmond's damaging withdrawal from the PCC

Jeremy Clarkson (top) on Tom Watson MP on Have I Got News For You: "A neckless, adenoidal Brummie who is a pitiful waste of blood and organs."

Andy Coulson in his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry: "During my time working in opposition I sought to secure the support of every newspaper, with the possible exception of the Daily and Sunday Mirror. There was even a time when The Guardian suggested to me that their support was possible. At a drinks reception in David Cameron’s office a Guardian executive told me not to ’write off’ the idea of a Guardian endorsement. I chose not to count on it."

Neville Thurlbeck reviews Dial M for Murdoch by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman in the New Statesman: "The book is also littered with inaccuracies. David Cameron was able to get close to the Times editor, James Harding because he knew him from their Eton days. He didn’t. Harding went to St Paul’s. I was caught fornicating with a Dorset couple. I wasn’t. Their allegations were investigated by management and the Press Complaints Commission and I was exonerated. A video of my exploits appeared on the internet, “to the amusement of colleagues”. It didn’t. I live in a semi-detached house. I don’t."

Chris Oakley at the Society of Editors' regional conference in Manchester: "Time has run out for big city dailies, the internet has hit regional daily newspapers particularly hard, I wouldn't buy a big city daily even for a pound."

The Economist: "In pursuit of Murdoch-bashing headlines, and in a far-fetched attempt to drive News Corporation from the airwaves, the culture committee’s Labour and Liberal Democrat members have compromised an otherwise hard-hitting report. They also opened a convenient exit for the man that they sought to bring down. Declaring the report to be “partisan”, Mr Murdoch quickly stepped through it."

Ray Snoddy on Twitter: "Wouldn't it be strange if Cameron's knee-jerk, dangerously broad Leveson inquiry were to fatally undermine his credibility and reputation?"

Michael Wolff in GQ on Leveson: "The greatest tabloid culture in the world was created out of the joie de guerre of fighting the rules: the reporters are more aggressive, the techniques more intrusive and the prose more lurid, because the market demands it. By over-regulating you increase the value of outsmarting the regulations. Anyway, convict the malefactors if you can and put them in jail. But otherwise resist the reflex to regulate and go home and enjoy the last days of the newspaper business. You'll miss them soon enough." 

Police report to Leveson Inquiry: "Taking all the relevant information into account, it's not possible to state with any certainty whether Milly Dowler's voicemails were or were not deleted". 

Lord Hunt, chair of the Press Complaints Commission, speaking at the PPA conference: "I know there are many MPs who would love to set standards for the newspapers and magazines but I don't want politicians controlling the media." 

Good Housekeeping editorial director and PCC member Lindsay Nicholson at the PPA conference on Richard Desmond pulling his Northern and Shell titles from the PCC: "I think it was his withdrawal that has done more damage to us in magazines than phone hacking."

Wednesday 9 May 2012

PCC chairman: 'Many MPs would love to set the standards for newspapers and magazines'

Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Hunt (top) has set himself firmly against any statutory element in a new regulatory regime for the press.

Speaking at the Professional Publishers Association annual conference in London, the former Tory minister said: "I know there are many MPs who would love to set standards for the newspapers and magazines but I don't want politicians controlling the media."

He claimed the old PCC had been criticised "for not using powers it never had" and had lost the confidence of political parties and the public.

Lord Hunt said he wanted the new PCC to be "a regulator with teeth" and have the power to fine publishers who broke the Editors' Code.

He has proposed a new PCC which would be underpinned by commercial contracts that could be enforced through the civil law. This would mean a publisher could be sued for consistent breaches of the code.

Several members of the audience raised the problem of Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell withdrawing its newspapers and magazines from the PCC, a major blow to self-regulation.

Lord Hunt said all "the giants"of magazine publishing had signed up to the proposed reforms of the PCC which he added should remain "wholly industry funded".

Lord Black, chairman of PressBof, also speaking at the PPA conference, said Northern and Shell had been included in the consultation process and he was hopeful that the company would sign up for the reforms.

Good Housekeeping editorial director and PCC member Lindsay Nicholson said of Desmond's desertion of the PCC: "I think it was his withdrawal that has done more damage to us in magazines than phone hacking."

NUJ to tell shareholders Sly Bailey 'must go now'

The NUJ is issuing a letter to Trinity Mirror shareholders urging that chief executive Sly Bailey (top), who has announced that she is standing down by the end of the year, should go immediately and without a "golden goodbye".

The letter will be handed out to Trinity Mirror shareholders tomorrow morning (May 10) from 10.30am at the newspaper group’s AGM at  the Hilton London Canary Wharf hotel.

The letter says:


Trinity Mirror owns some of the best-known and respected newspaper titles in the UK. In 2003, when Sly Bailey took over as chief executive, it was a FTSE 250 company worth more than £1billion and with a share price of 380p. Now, less than ten years later, the same CEO presides over a company a shadow of its former self – a FTSE Small Cap valued at £80m and a share price of 30p.

Failure on an industrial scale by Ms Bailey has brought at least four years of no dividends for shareholders and misery for the workforce. She has axed more than half of all jobs during her reign. The company’s strength has ebbed away as she has consistently chopped away at the core business: its journalists and the quality journalism they produce.

During this disastrous period, the Trinity Mirror board continued to believe Ms Bailey should be paid as a successful FTSE 100 leader. Unbelievably, she managed to amass payments worth £14 million. Challenges by the NUJ at successive AGMs were breezily waved away by chairman Sir Ian Gibson who said it was “the going rate”.

That was never true and it is demonstrably false today. Following the example of Aviva shareholders last week, we urge you today to vote down the totally unrealistic Resolution 2 on Directors’ Remuneration. We suggest you vote against the re-election of Sir Ian Gibson and also Jane Lighting for approving the monstrous boardroom pay-outs as chair of the remuneration committee.

Sly Bailey said she will stand down by the end of the year. Let’s not prolong the agony: we think she should go immediately and without the touted £1 million golden goodbye.

It is clear that running a major media company without any main board directors having any journalistic background has been disastrous. We call on in-coming chair David Grigson to put this right. Mr Grigson must also immediately scrap Sly Bailey’s £15 million cost cuts planned for this year and look to invest in and grow the company instead.

Yours sincerely,

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary

Surprise choice of England manager tops news

The surprise appointment of Roy Hodgson as the new manager of the England football team, ahead of Harry Redknapp, was the top UK story in the week ending Sunday, May 6, according to journalisted.

Hodgson's appointment as the new England manager generated 459 articles.

Other top stories were:

Local elections take place across Britain as Labour make gains on the Conservatives, 310 articles, but
Boris Johnson wins the London Mayoral race, 107 articles.

Fran├žois Hollande wins the French presidential election, 222 articles.

A Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee concluded that Rupert Murdoch was 'not a fit person' to run a major international company, although the committee members were split along party lines, 217 articles.

Covered littele, according to journalisted, were:

Russian defence staff Gen Nikolai Makarov warned that Russia is ready to use "destructive force pre-emptively" if the US go ahead with building a defensive missile shield in Central Europe, 7 articles.

Troops loyal to Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, take two towns in Congo, 4 articles.

Two explosions in Dagestan kill 13 and injure 120, 4 articles.

The Protection of Freedoms Act, which includes reducing the maximum pre-charge detention period under the Terrorism Act from 28 to 14 days, was given royal assent, 2 articles.

Monday 7 May 2012

MacKenzie bets on Rebekah Brooks' evidence to Leveson Inquiry bringing down David Cameron

In his Daily Mail column, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie reveals he's bet on David Cameron being finished as Prime Minister by the end of November.

He writes: "I like a bet and sensed a killing was to be made when I saw a throwaway line in a Sunday paper. It said Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, was prepared to make public all the texts and emails sent between her and David Cameron.

"Considering what might be in this correspondence, I asked Ladbrokes to give me odds on Cameron not being Prime Minister by the end of November. At 10-1, I wagered £1,000.

"I always thought he would be a one-term premier; I didn’t realise he would be a half-term premier."

Friday 4 May 2012

NUJ welcomes Sly Bailey quitting Trinity Mirror

NUJ leader Michelle Stanistreet: "Staff demoralised by endless cuts'

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has welcomed the news that Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey is to quit the company.

The union has complained that over the past decade Trinity Mirror has cut journalists' jobs, slashed costs and closed papers while Bailey has picked up a bumper pay packet and benefits.

Stanistreet said: “Sly Bailey has presided over ten years of cuts and decline. She has cut the number of employees by almost a half and slashed budgets in some of the most important newspaper titles in the regions and the Mirror national titles to the bone. While Ms Bailey received well over £12m in pay, bonuses and other benefits since her arrival, her staff have been demoralised by endless rounds of job cuts and newspaper closures. Those who remain have found it increasingly difficult to provide quality news to the communities they serve.”
“A recent survey of our reps at Trinity Mirror revealed that staff shortages have meant that court cases and council meetings are not being covered and local papers are unable to fulfil their vital role as a public watchdog, holding local politicians and businesses to account.

“We said in March that Sly Bailey’s continued stewardship was untenable. Her departure will be welcomed by the great majority of her staff who have seen her being rewarded for failure, while they have suffered pay freezes and increased workloads."

She added: "There is a desperate need for a fresh start with imaginative corporate leadership committed to working in partnership with the workforce to build a growing business. The NUJ hopes the group's incoming board will reject the cuts-dominated agenda that has been the characteristic of the Bailey years and show faith in quality journalism.”

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern England organiser, also gave Bailey a less than fond farewell. "In ten long years, Sly Bailey has brought little but demoralisation and misery to Trinity Mirror employees. She has remained impervious to the huge damage done by the ransacking of newsrooms around the group but at the same time maintained the fiction that quality journalism was not a casualty of her lust for cost cuts."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, added: “I hope that during her long goodbye, she will reflect on the damage she has done to Trinity Mirror. She should forgo any sort of bonus this year. She should be called to account by shareholders at next week’s AGM and not receive any payment for what is her resignation.”

Birmingham Mail front page scoop packs a punch

Great splash in the Birmingham Mail today about three Aston Villa players involved in a 2.45am Birmingham nightclub brawl just days before one the club’s biggest games of the season - plus a video of the incident online on the paper's website.

The three players - Chris Herd, James Collins and Fabian Delph - have apologised to the fans for their behaviour and the club have fined them with the proceeds going to charity.

Exclusive video of the bust-up, given to the Birmingham Mail, shows Herd – his shirt open down to his chest to reveal a distinctive tattoo near his neck – kicking the club’s glass doors in a confrontation with staff. He is joined by Collins and Delph in what the Mail describes as "the expletive-laden melee."

I'm sure the Mail will sell stacks and get loads of hits online.

Quotes of the Week: From mocking Hodgson to the difference between a good and bad newspaper

Former Sun editor David Yelland tweets on his old paper's mocking of new England manager Roy Hodgson's speech (top): "So little compassion for Roy Hodgson today, bullying language, pointlessly cruel, pointlessly hurtful."

Sly Bailey: "For the past ten years I have had the privilege of being CEO of Trinity Mirror Plc, a fascinating and all consuming role. Newspapers are a business like no other. Now I feel the time has come to hand over to someone else to take up the challenge and for me to seek new challenges and opportunities elsewhere."

Select Committee report on News International and hacking:"If at all relevant times, Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindess to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person  to exercise the stewardship of a major international company".

Select Committe member Tom Watson MP quotes Bob Dylan's 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll': "The ladder of law has no top and no bottom."

Select Committee member Louise Mensch: "It will be correctly seen as a partisan report and will have lost a very great deal of its credibility, which is an enormous shame. The issue on which no Conservative member felt they could support the report itself was the line in the middle of the report that said that Mr Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to run an international company."

News Corp in a statement: "Hard truths have emerged from the Select Committee Report: that there was serious wrongdoing at the News of the World; that our response to the wrongdoing was too slow and too defensive; and that some of our employees misled the Select Committee in 2009. News Corporation regrets, however, that the Select Committee's analysis of the factual record was followed by some commentary that we, and indeed several members of the committee, consider unjustified and highly partisan. These remarks divided the members along party lines.

Former News International chief executive Les Hinton: "I have always been truthful in my dealings with the Committee and its findings are unfounded, unfair and erroneous."

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "So Leveson is turning out to be an unintended, peacetime version of a war crimes trial. The Murdochs have already been brought before us, in metaphorical handcuffs. Soon will appear, among many others, Mr Blair, Mr Brown, Andy Coulson, whom Mr Cameron hired to handle his press, and, of course, the Prime Minister himself. Because it is a judicial inquiry, the Government dare not concoct a line to take. Each witness is on his own, and so there is a danger of every man for himself. All are “lawyering up”. This is the first week since the election when I have seen the look of fear on ministers’ faces that I remember from the worst days of John Major and of Mr Brown. No one is confident of the ground on which he stands."

London NUJ Freelance Branch: "Some media enterprises seem to regard the serial exploitation of 'workies' as a business model, while outlets that used to pay now seem to work on the basis that online means unpaid."

Nick Cohen on his  Spectator  blog about The Times outing NightJack, the detective blogger Richard Horton: "Educated people in particular think there must be a rational explanation for everything — the Times must have been seeking readers or looking to right a wrong. They forget the power of motiveless malevolence. There is no rational explanation for the Times’ behaviour. It was pure malice. Horton was a successful writer, who was winning awards. But he wasn’t a member of the journalists’ club, so like a vicious boy, who tortures animals, it destroyed him, for no reason at all — just because it could."

Ben Fenton, of the Financial Times, speaking in a discussion on the Leveson Inquiry at the Frontline Club: "The difference between a good newspaper and a bad newspaper is that on a good newspaper the reporter tells the newsdesk what the story is and on a bad newspaper it is the other way around." 

Thursday 3 May 2012

Trinity Mirror announces Sly Bailey to step down

Trinity Mirror has announced that Sly Bailey is to step down as chief executive. She has today given the Board her notice and is expected to leave at the end of the year.

By December she will have served almost 10 years with the company. Trinity  says it will publicly start the search for her successor.

Bailey said in a statement: "For the past ten years I have had the privilege of being CEO of Trinity Mirror Plc, a fascinating and all consuming role. Newspapers are a business like no other.

"Now I feel the time has come to hand over to someone else to take up the challenge and for me to seek new challenges and opportunities elsewhere."

Bailey had come under fire for the size of her pay packet and benefits, with the NUJ campaigning for them to be reduced at a time when editorial staff and budgets were being cut.

The NUJ had claimed Bailey earned a base salary of £750,000 and a short-term cash bonus worth a further 30 per cent of salary, with her pension contributions totalling another £248,000. She also received 503,000 shares worth an extra £396,000 which vest in 2014, and could earn a further 762,000 shares by 2014, the union said.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “What exactly is Trinity Mirror rewarding Sly Bailey for? Her record speaks for itself. The NUJ has long been calling for the newspaper group to invest in its staff and quality journalism, not lining the pockets of management. This is not the politics of envy; this is saying that if Trinity Mirror is to succeed and survive, then it needs to be spending the money on its staff and titles.”

Hodgson: Sun hasn't always found Wossy funny


The Sun turns to Jonathan Ross today to defuse the row about mocking the way new English manager Roy Hodgson speaks on its front page yesterday.

The Sun (left) reports: "Wossy, 51 — who has trouble pronouncing his Rs like new England boss Roy — said yesterday’s Sun front page headline “Bwing On The Euwos” should be taken in the fun spirit intended."

He added: “I can see it’s a joke, everyone can see it’s a joke. Life’s too short."

The Sun couldn't see the joke back in 2008 when Ross was in the middle of the Sachsgate scandal with Russell Brand over their phone messages to actor Andrew Sachs.  It ran front pages (right) with headlines calling for "these sickos" [Ross and Brand] to be sacked.

Press standards: Why not empower the reporters?

Roy Greenslade, Peter Oborne and Ben Fenton at the Frontline Club

It is expected that Lord Justice Leveson will recommend beefed up regulation of the press, underpinned by some form of statutory legislation, when his inquiry into standards is completed.

But could he sweeten the pill by empowering reporters and offering them protection from unscrupulous and bullying newsdesks by recommending that they are offered protection as whistleblowers if they speak out against unethical journalism?

The NUJ has long argued that a "conscience clause" should be inserted in journalists' contracts which would stop them from being unfairly sacked for refusing to do unethical journalism, and raised the matter in its evidence to Leveson.

Ben Fenton, of the Financial Times, speaking in a discussion on the Leveson Inquiry at the Frontline Club last night, claimed: "The difference between a good newspaper and a bad newspaper is that on a good newspaper the reporter tells the newsdesk what the story is and on a bad newspaper it is the other way around."

He said: "I believe that if there was a democratic voice within newspapers, if reporters were allowed in some way to anonymously whistleblow on their editors and newsdesks we would solve a lot of problems we've had in newspaper journalism over the past 50 years."

Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade, also speaking at the Frontline debate, gave his full backing to the NUJ's idea of a conscience clause based on the union's Code of Conduct, saying it would enable journalists to stand up to their newsdesks.

He said the union had come up with its code in the 1960s and it had taken the newspaper industry until 1991 to draw up the Editors' Code of Practice. "We had the ethics but no-one took it up," Greenslade said.

Thais Portilho-Shrimpton, a journalist and co-ordinator of the Hacked Off campaign, said she would like to see a change in culture and cub reporters joining a national newsroom "without being told to leave their ethics at the door."

As well as Leveson, the discussion centred on the select committee report which concluded this week that Rupert Murdoch was "unfit" to run a major international company.

The Telegraph's chief political correspondent Peter Oborne, who has accused David Cameron of being "in the sewer" because of his News International friends, enthused: "This is the most glorious moment in my adult life."

Political blogger Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, was a tad more cynical claiming that 20 years after Lord Justice Leveson completes his inquiry there will be another judge led investigation into the power of the press.

He said all politicians were afraid of the press and noted: "Since the News of the World closed no MPs have had an affair."

Pic: Jon Slattery

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Jeremy Hunt BSkyB bid row is story of the week

The row over Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his alleged closeness to News Corp during the BSkyB bid was the top story for the week ending Sunday, April 29, according to journalisted.

Jeremy Hunt faced calls for his resignation in response to correspondence between his office and News Corp regarding the BSkyB bid, generated 409 articles, released after James Murdoch gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, 255 articles.

Rupert Murdoch also gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, admitting there was a 'cover-up' of practices at the News of the World, but said it was kept from him, 336 articles.

Other top stories were:

The UK was officially declared to be in a double-dip recession, 332 articles.

Fran├žois Hollande, was predicted to win forthcoming French elections, after winning the first round, 124 articles.

Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Political turmoil in the Netherlands as PM Mark Rutte tenders his resignation following concerted opposition to austerity cuts, 28 articles.

Growing international pressure on the Ukraine after the former PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, was reportedly beaten by guards while being held in prison, 27 articles.

Jordanian PM Awn Khasawneh resigns after just 6 months, raising questions over the deportation of Abu Qatada, 5 articles.

The PM of Pakistan - Yusuf Raza Gilani - was found guilty of contempt for blocking corruption case against former President Zardari, 3 articles.