Friday 28 June 2013

Quotes of the Week: Independent exposes 'the other hacking scandal,' does it kill Leveson?

The Independent reveals the other hacking scandal: "Some of Britain’s most respected industries routinely employ criminals to hack, blag and steal personal information on business rivals and members of the public, according to a secret report leaked to The Independent. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests."

The Times [£] in a leader:  "SOCA’s report suggests criminal activity by people who have not yet been brought to justice. Perhaps the Metropolitan Police could now redirect some of the 91 officers investigating newspaper hacking towards these other hackers. How busy can they all be?"

on Twitter: "So, legal profession did more phonehacking than journos. That kills Leveson. as this was always about crime, not press regulation."

The Independent further reveals: "Lord Justice Leveson wrote to MPs to say he believed the Soca report fell outside his terms of reference for the hearings, which were to 'inquire into the culture, practices and ethics of the press'. However, he also mysteriously claimed his inquiry was 'specifically asked not to circulate it without further discussion'."

Simon Jenkins on public inquiries in the Guardian: "David Cameron, under attack for his links to News Corporation, sought a judge known to be eager for higher office and chose Lord Justice Leveson to investigate press ethics. From the resulting shambles Cameron escaped scot free."

Daily Mail in a leader: "Hacked Off director Brian Cathcart has taken a sabbatical from his reputed £80,000-a-year university teaching job, while he heads a campaign for a new law to shackle Britain’s free Press. Plainly, it would be inappropriate for Professor Cathcart to continue to draw a taxpayer-funded salary from Kingston University, while engaging in such a hugely contentious political lobbying campaign."

The Independent's Chris Blackhurst on his new role, in his editor's letter: "My new, elevated title of Group Content Director, I accept, has an Orwellian 1984 or John Birt’s BBC ring to it. But we could not find a better name that summarises our changed, multi-platform organisation and our ability to cope with the insatiable demands of the internet, print titles and television."

Daily Mail in a leader on the bid to prevent the naming of  CQC executives on the grounds they were entitled to anonymity under the Data Protection Act: "It was only after newspapers and the Information Commissioner challenged this false claim that the CQC was made to see sense...Alarmingly, however, the row over data protection laws is typical of how, in the post-Leveson world, it is becoming ever harder for the Press to expose and scrutinise State wrongdoing."

Quentin Letts in the Mail on being told off by Culture Secretary Maria Millers's special adviser: "Her high cheeks blushed with displeasure as she scolded me yesterday, told me that I must show more ‘chivalry’ to her employer."

on Twitter: "Interesting that the Guardian so vigorously supports criminal hacking. Same paper that wants journalists jailed for it in UK."

Peter Preston in The Observer on the possibility of Lord Grade brokering a deal on press regulation: "Involving Grade is one, potentially smart way of getting things moving before the long grass chokes all hope of progress. Somebody has to be in charge. Neither the government nor parliament as a whole is because, very simply, there's not a hope in hell of regional papers (or the FT, it seems) rubber-stamping an untried arbitration process only hungry lawyers could love."

City AM's Marion Dakers reveals: "The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark 'Independent Press Standards Organisation' at the end of last month."

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "Venture out into the digital world and you’ll find plenty of sites happy to publish your work, but you won’t find many who want to pay for it. Only this week I had a call from a website owner asking me to contribute to his ‘project’. When I asked how much, he giggled nervously and suggested that I might want to do it for free to get the ‘exposure’. It would look good on my CV, he thought. Look good on what CV? I’ve been at this game for 35 years. I don’t need ‘exposure’ and I don’t have a CV. I’ve never needed one, my reputation going before me." 

The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:
The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:
The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:
The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:
The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:
The Press Standards Board of Finance, which charges newspapers the levy used to fund the PCC, applied to trade mark “Independent Press Standards Organisation” at the end of last month. - See more at:

Tuesday 25 June 2013

John Wilkes - Friend of liberty and now on video

Got sent this by citizen TV channel  WORLDbytes which thinks in the Leveson era we should be reminded of the 18th century press freedom campaigner and radical journalist John Wilkes -  "the friend of liberty."

It includes the friendly door-stepping of Mick Hume, author of "There Is No Such Thing As a Free Press - and we need one more than ever"  and finds, sadly, that few members of  the public have ever heard of John Wilkes.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: Lord Grade the press regulation peacemaker, why we still need reporters and when did sub editors stop being journalists?

Lord Grade in The Times: “It’s very, very important that the future of press regulation is settled as quickly as possible and if anybody thinks I can help in that process obviously I would contribute.
I am presently a member of the PCC [Press Complaints Commission] so I am fairly up to date on everything. If anybody asks me to try and help of course I would help. It is very important for the public that we get to a settlement on this.”

Hacked Off supporters in a letter to the Guardian, after the paper backed the idea of Lord Grade trying to reach a compromise on press regulation: "It is baffling and disappointing to us, as people who have suffered some of the worst press abuses of recent years, that the Guardian suddenly appears ready to surrender to the manipulations of press corporations responsible for many of those abuses."

Robin Lustig accepting the Charles Wheeler award: "Without reporters, there is no journalism worthy of the name. So in this age of talking heads, of wall-to-wall pundits, of hastily rewritten press releases, I would like simply to say we still need reporters as much as we ever did, to be where the story is, to dig, to question, and to challenge."

George Brock on his blog on The Times' Prince William DNA splash: "I can see that The Times might well argue that the DNA of an heir to the throne is a matter of public interest: the accompanying editorial (£) simply takes that for granted before going on to argue for the benefits of DNA testing for medical and general knowledge. But to pretend that there is no ethical issue at all insults the intelligence of the paper’s readers." 

Kent Messenger Group chairman Geraldine Allinson in the Guardian: "New media, including the global giants, are competing with traditional media on the net. We view Google, Monster, Facebook and Gumtree as our major competitors. They may not have offices in Kent. They may not have journalists out in Kent talking to people in the community. But they're our competitors, and the competition regime should recognise that. There appears to be an overbearing desire to regulate and control traditional media when it would be more constructive for public policy and the regulatory agenda to focus on how local media can be unburdened and nurtured."

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I really don’t like the Guardian, or the sinister organisation that runs it. Not content with wrecking the entire publishing industry by giving away all their content for free – easy to do when you’re protected from dirty words like profit – they’re now just taking the piss by playing with Lego, opening a coffee shop and running courses for people who want to be food bloggers. Of course, that’s just what the world needs – more fucking food bloggers. Though if you’re daft enough to give the Guardian £400 just to learn how to take pictures of your dinner, you probably sincerely believe that the world is waiting with bated breath for your clich├ęd culinary crap-spittle."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "A couple of weeks ago I asked whether there was any point to the continued publication of the Sunday People. Ever since – and I know it's not because of what I wrote – the paper has been coming up with must-read stories. But none was more spectacular than yesterday's old-fashioned Fleet Street scoop – the pictures of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. Talk about agenda-setting. The Twittersphere went crazy. News website hits went off the scale. Every newspaper followed it up. It went round the world because Nigella is a global brand."

Amol Rajan  on Twitter on being made editor of the Independent: "Really don't care how trite this sounds: best thing about my new job is leading the most fantastic team of journalists in Fleet St."

London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell in Press Gazette: “My only problem with it [the Standard] is it is largely run by young and inexperienced people. And it doesn’t have any authority. There was a time when Members of Parliament were scared of the paper – what will the Evening Standard headline be if we do this? - but that's going back 20 years or so. No longer does it have that sort of clout.”

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail on the Guardian's spying revelations: "Treachery is too strong a word, but it is impossible to find any decent motive for what The Guardian has done. These supposedly world-shattering revelations were intended to damage the British government at the beginning of a crucial summit. More and more, it looks like a paper driven by its own obsessions, convinced only of its own virtue, which has simply lost the plot."

Gameoldgirl on the Sub Scribe blog: "When did subs stop being journalists? And why do executives everywhere now refer to them as the production department? The production department used to be where the type was made and put into pages, whether in hot metal or bits of sticky paper. Then it was the area where a clutch of people would chase for pages and send them via computer to the printers. Now it refers to the subs. They are no longer thinking, talented journalists, masters of language, mistresses of design,  but 'producers', conveyor-belt handlers of copy, fit only to write a Google-friendly heading and to do the bidding of whoever happens to be sitting on the newsdesk. Never mind how experienced the sub or how green the news editor."

Thursday 13 June 2013

Quotes of the Week: Snowden snooper scoop to why punch-ups at dog shows are national news

Guardian Edward Snowden scoop makes four splashes

 NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Guardian: "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

Matthew Ingram on PaidContent: "The fact that both Greenwald and the Guardian are to some extent 'outsiders' may have helped them land what could be one of the biggest national-security stories since Watergate. And the stories — a series that Greenwald says has only just begun — will undoubtedly burnish the Guardian‘s reputation in the U.S., not to mention its web traffic."

Rod Logan in a letter to the Guardian:  "It is good to know that our email letters to the Guardian that do not make it into your paper are at least being read by somebody, somewhere, sometime."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "The breaking of the Snowden revelations story must surely put The Guardian in line for a Pulitzer, making it the first British newspaper to win the award."

Ben Brogan in the Telegraph on Edward Snowden: "A close reading of his manifesto, with his talk of a “federation of secret law” ruling the world, CIA hit-squads, surveillance nets on the verge of activation and his right to act against a duly constituted, democratically elected government, suggests he has spent too much time watching Hollywood DVDs on his laptop and studying conspiracy theory forums on the web. Whether he is naive, deluded or malicious, he has generated a drama that is more about the fantastical steps he took to put himself beyond America’s grasp than the content of the classified information he released."

Boris Johnson in the Telegraph on the NSA allegations: "I think if I were Shami Chakrabarti, or my old chum David Davis, I might get thoroughly aerated at this point; and I have some sympathy with their general position. But then I am afraid I also have sympathy with our security services, and their very powerful need to use the internet to catch the bad guys – the terrorists, the jihadis, the child porn creeps. There is a trade-off between freedom and security, as Barack Obama rightly says; between the citizen’s right to total internet privacy, and the duty of the state to protect us all from harm."

The Sun apologises to Aliens: "IN an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists." 

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I was quite interested in the Newspaper Society’s seven-point plan to save the regional publishing industry – and then I actually read it. Dropping opposition to mergers despite monopoly issues, curbing BBC competition, enforced use of local press advertising by government and public bodies, keeping statuary public notices in newspapers, shutting down council newspapers which compete with the local press, tighter copyright enforcement on the content of newspaper websites and maintaining zero-rating on newspaper cover prices. Is this really the best the NS can do? Seven points, every single one of them either defensive or protectionist (although I do agree with a couple of them). No leadership, no innovation, no brilliant ideas… Pathetic, just pathetic."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "The delay in agreeing some formula for press regulation is dangerous on both sides. The press – having written off the PCC as not tough enough – can't bodge along indefinitely with no successor in place. Something, in such a vacuum, is bound to go wrong. It always does. Witness the rather unexpected award of damages to a Tory deputy fundraising chairman complaining about a Sunday Times sting. If newspapers can't provide their own authority together, they may be left to swing separately. And think of what, post-2015, an incoming government with a clear mandate might do then."

Acting Times editor John Witherow ruling out an editorial merger with the Sunday Times [£]: “Fundamental changes are limited by the undertakings and in fact we see no great benefits at this stage from merging much of editorial, though we will keep this under review. It is important as much for commercial reasons as editorial that we keep the characters of the papers separate and this requires different staff in several areas.”

Peter Wright on the deal between Hacked Off and the political parties at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, as reported by Press Gazette: "I think it has placed the Government in a position where they are trapped with a royal charter proposal and a set of recognition criteria that they know the industry are not going to sign up to. I can quite see that it may be difficult to get things moving again but at some point they do need to be got moving."

on Twitter: "Great strategic thinker and master tactician Harriet Harman has devised a plan to force Murdoch to support the Tories. 15% market share cap." 

on Twitter re-Murdoch divorce: "Hopefully everyone will respect Rupert Murdoch's right to privacy. Pretty sure he'd do the same."

Charles Moore in the Telegraph accusing the national press of being dominated by bad news compared to the local media: "Local papers and broadcasters are unashamedly on the side of the areas they serve. Of course they relish scandals, but they also delight in successes. At flower and dog shows, if local papers are to be believed, rain always 'fails to dampen the spirits'. National papers only really get interested when every exhibit is swept away in a tidal wave or, as happened recently at a dog show in Kent, people start punching one another."

Peter Hirsch posts on Charles Moore's article (above): "Thank you, Charles. Now perhaps you could just post the link to that dog show in Kent?"

[£] = paywall

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Basil Clarke: Frontline journalist and father of PR

A biography of Sir Basil Clarke, the First World War newspaper correspondent and the father of the UK's public relations industry, is published this week.

From the Frontline is by Richard Evans, a media historian who has written for The Times and the Guardian, and is the first biography of Clarke.

Clarke joined the (then Manchester) Guardian in 1904 and then the Daily Mail in 1910, where he made his name during the First World War by defying a ban on reporters at the Front and living in Dunkirk as a fugitive so that he could send back reports of the fighting.

He was the first reporter into Ypres following the bombardment of it and he also caused a global scandal by accusing the Government of effectively "feeding the Germans" by failing to properly enforce its naval blockade.

After the war, Clarke became the UK's first public relations officer in 1917 and established the UK's first PR firm in 1924. His public relations career included leading British propaganda during the Irish War of Independence.

From the Frontline is published on June 14 and available from Amazon.

Friday 7 June 2013

Quotes of the Week: From online-only can mean death to Guardian headline spoilt my breakfast

Peter Preston in The Observer: "Newsweek used to sell 3.3m copies per edition. Even when it was sold for a dollar, then folded in with Tina Brown's Daily Beast in a digital merger last December, there were more than a million customers out there wanting their old print fix. So the story that Newsweek online was blazing a path into the future rather than lurching towards oblivion seemed to have some validity. But today? What's left is up for sale again: think 50 cents. The owners want to 'concentrate' on the Beast instead. Sometimes going online-only is the sensible thing to do; but more often than not, it can seem like euthanasia with a buoyant press release."

Janice Turner in The Times: "I’m not sure where it started to go wrong with Rhys Ifans. A truly awful interview can catch you like a cloudburst in August. How quickly his answers escalated through disdain to disgust then mad-eyed vibrating hostility until he announced 'I am bored with you' and stalked out, leaving his publicist hand-wringing and ashen."

MP Patrick Mercer asked by an undercover Panorama reporter to lobby on behalf of Fiji: "Guido Fawkes will be all over this like a dose of clap."

The Sun in a leader: "WHAT a bonanza the Leveson inquiry was for lucky lawyers David Sherborne and his doe-eyed lover Carine Patry Hoskins. Not only did they find each other — but they also pocketed £385,000 of taxpayers’ money." 

Acting editor John Witherow in a letter to readers of The Times [£]: "The Times is different from Britain’s other newspapers. Most are dominated by voices from the Left or Right. In contrast, readers of The Times can find a variety of opinions from across the political spectrum. That adds up to a more intellectually stimulating experience."

Daily Mail in a leader: "The politicians may have spent yesterday insisting they are committed to cleaning up the Westminster cesspit. But, disturbingly, their determination to try to silence the newspapers who continue to expose their wrong-doing suggests otherwise." 

Michael Wolff on Rupert Murdoch, on USA Today: "Murdoch, gruff, cold, unable to talk in any personal sense, has seemed like the most steely and hard-hearted of businessmen — that's the Murdoch myth. In fact, he has always been a besieged king, balancing a precarious empire, fighting each battle as it came, seeing his wins and losses as a wholly personal reflection of his strength and character. The hard man is all emotion."

Attorney General Dominic Grieve on ITV News: "Clearly, if the press [has] got to know who somebody is who has been arrested and are publicising that, then clearly it might be very sensible for the police to confirm that fact."

Felix Dennis in The Observer: "I can't even count the number of business failures I've had. Mags that never worked. Mags that worked at the start then failed. Mags that we poured money into and they tanked. No one else remembers them, but I remember them all. They are engraved on my soul."

Suzanne Moore in the Guardian: "Governments play up the idea that a digital future creates jobs rather than eats them up. Culturally, there is now a fantasy world of start-ups and blogs and YouTube TV where a very few people manage to make money but most work simply for 'experience'."

Roy Greenslade's verdict on his MediaGuardian blog on Trinity Mirror's new Sunday Brands division for all its national and regional Sunday newspapers: "Sunday Brands is, quite simply, a giant mistake."

Tim Crook@libertarianspir on Twitter: " 'Oral sex caused my cancer' What an awful headline for the Guardian. Put me off my muesli."