Tuesday 31 July 2012

Olympic opening ceremony is top story of the week

The spectacular opening ceremony for the London Olympics was the story that got most coverage in the UK press for the week ending July 29, according to journalisted.

Covered little, according to journalisted were:

Friday 27 July 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Wolff on Murdoch to the problem posed by the local press leaving town

Michael Wolff (top) on Rupert Murdoch resigning from the News International board, on Comment is Free: "Britain with the Times, Sunday Times, and Sun in uncertain hands is a more complicated place, Murdoch is saying. Is that what you want? At the same time, his gesture appeases his US executives, who largely blame James (and, by implication, Rupert's management-parenting skills) for the London debacle – just get rid of the British business, is their view. And maybe he will. Keeping everyone guessing about his real intentions, even the people closest to him, is a signature tactic."

Nick Cohen in the Observer on the arrest of Sun journalist Rhodri Phillips: "Observer readers should not shudder at the suggestion that they have anything in common with Rhodri Phillips. A threat to his freedom is a threat to your freedom. We are all Sun journalists now."

Tom Utley in the Daily Mail on Lord Justice Leveson: "I hope fervently that I’m misjudging him, but every day I become more convinced that he regards journalism not as a trade, as we veterans insist on calling it, but as a profession (though a less respectable one than the law). My fear is that he thinks it should be regulated as such, with the possibility that erring or unqualified journalists should be banned from practising, like disbarred barristers. Or, even worse, that a regulatory body should be controlled by Parliament. Shouldn’t that prospect fill all freedom-lovers with alarm?"

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "The idea that this Press should in any way be answerable to politicians, as French newspapers are, offends against 300 years of history. From the bottom of my heart, I urge Lord Justice Leveson — who is thought to be attracted to some sort of statutory regulation of the Press — to ponder on our hard-won tradition of free speech, and to learn from the example of France."

The Sunday Times [£] on Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger: "Current and former Guardian staff argue that Rusbridger’s doctrinaire approach to the internet — all stories are given away — has exacerbated the financial woes. The future as envisaged by Rusbridger has yet to arrive. Digital revenues accounted for a quarter of turnover last year but did not grow fast enough to offset falls in the traditional print business."

David Sherbourne, the barrister representing hacking victims at the Leveson Inquiry, on ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan: "A parody of a tabloid journalist."

David Sherborne on the Press Complaints Commission: "Still surving, but only just breathing."

Rebekah Brooks in a statement insisting she is not guilty of charges of conspiring to hack voicemail messages: “I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship. I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage. The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations."

Comments on HoldtheFrontPage on local newspaper office closures planned by Johnston Press:

Dave: "Doesn’t this put local newspapers in a rather difficult position, how, for example can they continue to campaign against police office closures, post office and bank closures in towns when they are doing exactly the same thing? "

Ex-Insider: "Sadly, Dave is spot on. When any other company quits town it’s a shock-horror story. When a newspaper does the same it’s an exciting opportunity."

[£] Behind a paywall.
Pic of Michael Wolff :Jon Slattery

Thursday 26 July 2012

NUJ welcome MPs rejection of charges for FoI

The NUJ has welcomed the recommendation by a committee of MPs not to bring in charges for requests for Freedom of Information.

MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who scrutinised the effectiveness of the legislation, have concluded that the Freedom of Information Act is generally working well and its scope should not be diminished.

David Hencke, a senior investigative journalist for ExaroNEWS who worked at the Guardian for more than 30 years, gave evidence to the committee on behalf of the NUJ.

He said: "Journalists everywhere should be delighted that MPs have come down firmly against any charging for freedom of information requests which would have had a chilling effect on the free flow of information and the media's ability to dig out facts the authorities would like to keep quiet.

"The report also makes it clear that with private companies increasingly taking over the delivery of public services the next step forward should be insist that they sign up to contracts which make them as accountable as state providers. This is a positive step."

Sir Alan Beith MP, chair of the Justice Committee, said: “The Freedom of Information Act has enhanced the UK’s democratic system and made our public bodies more open, accountable and transparent. It has been a success and we do not wish to diminish its intended scope, or its effectiveness.

"The Act was never intended to prevent, limit, or stop the recording of policy discussions in Cabinet or at the highest levels of government, and we believe that its existing provisions, properly used, are sufficient to maintain the ‘safe space’ for such discussions...Evidence we have seen suggests that reducing the cost of FOI can be achieved if the way public authorities deal with requests is well-thought through. Complaints about the cost of FoI will ring hollow when made by public authorities which have failed to invest the time and effort needed to create an efficient freedom of information scheme.”

The MPs made a number of further recommendations:
  • Higher fines should be imposed for destruction of information or data and the time limit should be removed on prosecution of these offences.
  • The law should be amended to protect universities from having to disclose research and data before the research has been published.
  • All public bodies subject to the Act should be required to publish data on the timeliness of their response to freedom of information requests.
  • The right to access information must not be undermined by the increased use of private providers in delivering public services and contracts for private providers should be explicit and enforceable in stipulating FOI obligations.
  • Where public authorities publish disclosure logs, the names of those requesting information should be included.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tour winner Wiggins races to top of UK news list

Bradley Wiggins making history by becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France was the top UK news story for the week ending Sunday, July 22, according to journalisted.

Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France generated 276 articles.

The other top stories were:
  • Golfing Championship The Open , 202 articles.
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Friday 20 July 2012

Quotes of the Week: From silence over arrested UK journalists to how Burchill boosted the Oldie

Dominic Ponsford in the the weekly online edition of Press Gazette  and his blog, commenting on the arrest of more than 20 journalists in the UK: "For eight of the nine years I've worked for Press Gazette the arrest of a journalist in the course of their work has been an extraordinarily rare occurrence in the UK. Today it is commonplace. In previous years, editors and publishers would have protested from the rooftops at the sight of police bids to disclose sources and close down unofficial leaks of information by use of draconian powers. Today, at News International anyway, editors and publishers are not just mute - but complicit in the arrest of journalists and disclosure of sources."

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times [£]: "The man standing on the street corner with a placard warning 'The end of the world is nigh' is invariably ignored. He should have gone into journalism instead. In our trade the worse the news, the more the impact. Like the fat boy in the Pickwick Papers (“I wants to make your flesh creep”), we understand how to compel fearful attention."

Huff Post founder Arianna Huffington in the Observer: "In the US alone we have 500 reporters and editors. We are doing great journalism around the world. At the same time, we believe that aggregation is a great service to our readers."

Claire Enders at Leveson, as reported by Guido Fawkes on his blog: “The Huffington Post is an interesting phenomenon but in terms of being able to really employ journalists to do very complex work – I mean, the Trafigura investigation, the Wikileaks, the MPs’ expenses scandal, the phone hacking story – these are not enterprises that have been taken forward by any enterprise but print enterprises.“

Peter Preston in the Observer on the Leveson Inquiry: "You can visualise LJL frowning over the headlines on a Times law report, or Jay thumbing languidly through the FT. Maybe, on the benches beyond, Carine Patry Hoskins (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) reads Femail under the desk, maybe not. Perhaps an usher or two passes their shorthand breaks breaking open the Bun. But the five expert assessors Leveson put on his team have, famously, no tabloid experience whatsoever, and nor has anyone else. This, emotionally and practically, is a red-top- and middle-market-free zone."

A letter from the NUJ Derby and Burton branch to Ashley Highfield, Johnston Press chief executive, objecting to the proposed closures of the Matlock Mercury and the Ripley and Heanor News: "Both are well-established newspapers serving the towns and communities where they are based. The Matlock Mercury used to have a sister title, the Matlock edition of the Derbyshire Times. I am sure that you are aware of the paper achieving considerable fame and glory during the time of former editor Don Hale for its work involving the Wendy Sewell murder case and the conviction and subsequent release after years in gaol of Stephen Downing which made national headlines."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger in a briefing for Guardian and Observer staff announced editorial cuts of £7 million and said the newspapers: "Will do less, less of what's called commodity journalism, so that we can do more on our core purpose and the type of journalism that we're here to do".

Professor Steven Barnett at Leveson: "This is a formative moment in public life." 

Lord Justice Leveson: "I hoped people would stop saying that."

Richard Ingrams in the Telegraph celebrating 20 years of his magazine, The Oldie: "Soon after issue one went on sale, Julie Burchill sent me a fax saying: 'Congratulations on producing the most pathetic magazine ever published.' I felt more confident. It was exactly the kind of attack from exactly the kind of person to suggest that we must be doing something right."

Tuesday 17 July 2012

G4S Olympic security fail is top story of the week

The failure of G4S to recruit enough staff for the Olympics was the top story for the week ending Sunday, July15, according to journalisted.

Army drafted in as G4S fail to train sufficient numbers of security staff for the Olympics, generated 209 articles. Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Sunday 15 July 2012

New chapters for phone hacking scandal book

A second and updated version of The Phone Hacking Scandal; Journalism On Trial, edited by Richard Lance Keeble and John Mair, is to be published in the Autumn by Abramis.

It will contain new chapters by Ray Snoddy, Roy Greenslade, Sir Harold Evans and others.

The first edition was published in February 2012. It included contributions from Alan Rusbridger, Brian Cathcart, Kevin Marsh, Robert Peppiatt, Tony Harcup on the need for a "conscience clause" in work contracts to prevent journalists getting sacked for refusing to do unethical journalism and Tim Crook on why jailing journalists for hacking would serve no useful social purpose.

The updated version will be published in October.

Friday 13 July 2012

Quotes of the Week: From why the News of the World had to close to MacKenzie quits the Mail

Jules Stenson, ex-assistant editor of the News of the World, on the Huffington Post: "So what went wrong at the News of the World? We'll leave that to the courts, but to me the humbling of Rupert Murdoch and his cohorts came about because of their arrogance. They really did think they ruled Britain, and, frankly, who could blame them when the prime minister was writing text messages to the chief executive that he thought were ending 'Lots of Love'. I have never wavered from the view that the decision to close the NOTW was right. Whatever pain we have suffered as journalists is nothing compared to that of the Dowlers. A terrible, terrible wrong needed to be put right. Not just to them but all the victims of hacking."

Grey Cardigan on Press Gazette: "No doubt if it was happening in Mexico or Guatemala, the systematic persecution of a national newspaper’s journalists by the police and State would be all over Professor Greenslade’s Guardian blog. But it’s not. It’s happening here and now, and nobody seems to give a shit. It seems that not a week goes by without another group of Sun journos having their collars felt by the Old Bill after being grassed up by their own employer for making ‘inappropriate payments’ to public officials, alleged ‘evidence’ seemingly based on nothing more than ancient expenses claims "

Nick Cohen in The Observer:  "Coulson and Brooks were once leaders of the tabloid wing of the British right's alliance between snob and mob. Politicians bowed before them. Celebrities feared them. I doubt that they will accept their fall from power without a fight. Coulson and Brooks never managed to create a memorable sentence when they were reporters. But as the saying goes: 'Everybody's got a book inside them.' Their account of how Cameron entwined himself with News International will be the one piece they write that will be worth reading."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "Print has lost 5,000 news gatherers over the last five years. That's only the beginning, unless a new revenue wheeze emerges. BBC TV and radio has lost 800 in the last few months, thanks to the licence fee freeze, and has many more cuts left to make. ITV cut a swathe through its London newsroom last week. Meanwhile, online's contribution is puny – and, given the lack of a potent ad revenue model, seems doomed to remain so. It's instructive enough to talk about citizen journalism and the rest, but these are still only adjuncts to the core professional news service we rely on day by day. And the money to provide that, at home or abroad, is draining away."

Lord Black at the Leveson Inquiry: "We don't want the chilling impact which flows from state intervention to have an impact on how our newspapers scrutinise those who are in positions of power."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet at Leveson on Lord Black's proposals to reform self-regulation:  “The proposals amount to more of the same. An attempt by owners and editors to continue the staus quo. It is important not to waste a golden opportunity for change.”

Roy Greenslade at Leveson on Lord Black's plan: "A bureaucratic spider's web. The industry still at the centre of the web."

Lord Justice Leveson: “I 've no truck with anything that would lead to censorship.”

Jon Excel the editor of the Engineer magazine on plans to go online only: "It’s hard to know what our Victorian forbears would make of the proposal to close the magazine. Some would certainly be horrified. Others might well be astonished to know that a publication launched more than a century and half ago is still in existence. But none would have anticipated the rise of the internet — a technological development every bit as disruptive as the invention of the automobile or the aircraft."

Kelvin MacKenzie bids farewell to readers of his Daily Mail column: "Due to my increasing commercial workload, I have decided to give up the column after today to concentrate on my businesses. Thank you for your time over the past year. It has been lovely to know you."

Thursday 12 July 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Who regulates Robert Jay's ties?

Robert Jay QC
That tie

Forget press regulation, it's Leveson Inquiry lead counsel Robert Jay QC's choice of tie which is getting the Twitterati talking today.

: Do not like Jay's tie today at all. Too flowery for the occasion. Hard to take him seriously w/ it .
Robert Jay is wearing a rather funky tie at hearing today. And using funkier words like

Gemma Hallam@badhedgehog Did Mr Jay get that tie off etsy?
[ fanwatch Mr Jay is sporting a particularly -------- tie today. Fill in your own adjective. I am struggling but maybe "whimsical"]

Therese@TiggerTherese: JayQC's wearing an interesting tie today. ;-)

Plus a comment on Roy Greenslade's tie:
Roy Greenslade is giving evidence at . Red polkadot tie, braces not visible.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Where do top journalists go to get their hair cut?

 Why, the Hackers hair salon in Arundel, West Sussex, of course.

Barclays bank scandal was top story of the week

The Libor rate fixing scandal that led to the resignation of Barclays' boss Bob Diamond was the biggest UK news story for the week ending Sunday, July 8,  according to Journalisted.

The top news stories were:
  • Andy Murray reaches the Wimbledon final before losing to Roger Federer, 450 articles.

Covered little, according to Journalisted were:

Monday 9 July 2012

Anyone for a Sun headline on British sport?

Like these Sun headlines that quickly move the story on after another British failure to win a championship. From being knocked out of the Euro football championships (left) to today's on Wimbledon (right) which looks forward to the Olympics.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Sun and Times Andy Murray headlines match up

The Sun and The Times thinking alomg the same lines for their headlines on Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final at last.

Friday 6 July 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From the last of The Word to Oborne on the new BBC director-general

David Hepworth on the sad news his magazine The Word is to close: "We regret to announce that the August issue of The Word, which will be published in the second week of July, will be the last. In the nine years since the magazine launched there have been dramatic changes in the media and the music business. These changes have made it more difficult for a small independent magazine to survive and provide its staff with a living. This hasn't been made any easier by the economic climate of the wider world."

Mark Ellen, editor of The Word in the October 2009 issue, as reported on my blog: "The internet is perfect for exploring tangents. But magazines can carry the most intricate thoughts and images, the ones you can only fully appreciate if you look at them more than once."

BBC pundit Alan Shearer gets tongue-tied on the Spanish football team, via the Daily Telegraph and YouTube: “It’s the hunger and the desire from these guys, because let’s not forget these guys have had an unbelievable amount of sex ... success.”

Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun: "We need another costly judge-led inquiry like a hole in the head. It would paralyse banking — almost as crucial to Britain as a free Press — at a perilous moment in this economic crisis. We cannot risk putting a complex financial system under the microscope of a legal eagle who hasn’t a clue how it works"

Rupert Murdoch on Twitter: "Watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story develop. Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people."

Cleland Thom on Press Gazette: "If you’re planning to publish user-generated content from spectators at the Olympic Games, it’s best to have your solicitor on standby. There are strict rules on what ticketholders can do with photos and videos they take. And one thing’s clear – they can only post them on their Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages and personal blogs if there’s no commercial purpose involved."

Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times [£] on Piers Morgan's CNN show: "His ingratiating yet snobbish affectation, his prim yet crass questions, and his celebrity worship and boundless self-love had me reaching for the remote in minutes. There are some awful types on American cable news who compel by their repulsiveness — Fox’s Bill O’Reilly comes to mind — but Morgan didn’t even have that counterintuitive appeal. He was just horrible television. Pompous and, above all, boring.'

Community secretary Eric Pickles threatens new measures against council newspaper, telling BBC London, as reported by Press Gazette: “What we will do is we will put it on a statutory footing and we will stop these town hall Pravdas.”

Northcliffe Media md Steve Auckland in a memo to staff, as reported by Press Gazette: “I’m not one for speeches on the future in 20 years’ time. Technology is changing, but I believe print will be around for a long time to come.”

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph on the new BBC director-general: "Admittedly, George Entwistle does not sport a three-day beard. But in all other respects he is a manifestation of exactly the same phenomenon as his predecessor: the thrusting, middle-aged, white, male, ultimately meaningless media executive. Both men are habitually called brilliant by their acolytes. Both men – as was tellingly remarked of the broadcaster David Frost – have risen without trace."
  • [£] means quote behind paywall

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Last words from The Word... 'we're closing down'

Really sad to see this statement from David Hepworth re-his magazine The Word, edited by Mark Ellen.  I was a fan and subscriber from the first issue.

"We regret to announce that the August issue of The Word, which will be published in the second week of July, will be the last.
In the nine years since the magazine launched there have been dramatic changes in the media and the music business. These changes have made it more difficult for a small independent magazine to survive and provide its staff with a living. This hasn't been made any easier by the economic climate of the wider world.
We would like to thank all the staff members past and present, plus the writers, photographers, illustrators, artists, PRs and advertisers who have helped make the magazine what it has been. We also want to thank the backers who have supported us throughout.
Most of all we want to thank you, the readers. Your heartfelt involvement with the magazine - via its pages, its website, its events and its podcasts - have made the last nine years one of the most satisfying periods of our working lives. Mark has written about this in greater detail in the August issue
The website will remain open for the immediate future as a point of contact. We will be writing to subscribers with their copy of the August issue.
When we came up with that slogan - 'The Word - a magazine, a website, a podcast, a way of life" - we were being a bit tongue in cheek. But it was, wasn't it?' "

  • In February Stewart Lee in the Observer wrote: "I was reading Word, the culture primer for the time-poor ageing hipsters, a midlife crisis in magazine form."
  • Mark Ellen wrote this in The Word about magazines in the September 2009 issue:
    Magazines are deep: "The internet is perfect for exploring tangents. But magazines can carry the most intricate thoughts and images, the ones you can only fully appreciate if you look at them more than once."

    Ellen also conducted one of the funniest interviews with a rock star - Cream's Ginger Baker in the January 2009 issue of The Word  - I've ever read. Here's an extract: 

    Ellen: Why did you move to South Africa?
    Baker: It's a long, long story.
    Ellen: Well don't feel you have to tell me if it's a long story.
    Baker: No, I'll tell you it. I married an American and..(Ellen informs The Word readers: this answer lasts exactly 15 minutes and 20 seconds. Any attempt to reroute Ginger from this saga is greeted with "You asked me why I ended up in South Africa and I am trying to fucking tell you alright?" Here are a few key phrases- fill in the gaps...) Green card, drug busts in 1971, Canadian border, waiver, deported, stable girl was illegal alien, knock on door, handcuffs, strip-searched in jail, thugs, dogs, guns, "You get that fucking gun out, boy and you're dead!", subpoena, investigation, best immigration lawyer in Denver, deported, found guilty of knowingly employing an illegal alien, $2,000 dollar fine, costly dental work, implant, wife, bad things, READ MY BOOK! "lost all my Cream money in Nigeria in 1975", Ireland, tax thing, "can visit UK but can't live here as they will JUMP on me", Dominican Republic, Christian/Muslim bullshit, South Africa operation on leg, nerve cut open, taking the muscle out and sticking it back again."I'm TRYING to answer your questions but you keep going off on fucking TANGENTS!" money transfers going astray, "huge fucking fraud/sex scandal in South Africa which I am not allowed to discuss for legal reasons", Cape Town.