Friday 25 April 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From Lord Gnome's Leveson backlash to was there too much Moyes about Manchester United in the media?

Lord Gnomeson in Private Eye: "I am recommending that a truly independent new body should be set up by Royal Charter to regulate and police the conduct of all Members of Parliament. The regulatory body would be closely supervised by a Privy Council made up of distinguished journalists and editors whose duty would be to ensure that MPs comply with their statutory code of conduct, on behalf of the public interest."
  • The Sun under Kelvin MacKenzie set-up a Politicians Complaints Commission in 1993 after the Calcutt review of self-regulation of the press. I wrote about it here.

Alan Rusbridger: Reporters must learn encryption
Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott in his Open door column on its NSA revelations: "In the UK there had been little noticeable change in attitude to the Guardian's revelations – at least in the media – until the British Press Awards on 2 April 2014, where the Guardian won newspaper of the year and also received the award for its website. Given the feelings of some editors it was a generous decision.The Guardian is still absorbing the lessons of the NSA stories but a point that [Alan] Rusbridger now emphasises in public talks, especially to journalism students, is that reporters, regional or national, must learn the basics of encryption if they are to protect sources. Before the Snowden revelations, that would have seemed eccentric."

Melanie Phillips in The Times [£]: "The Pulitzer prize, America’s most prestigious award for public service journalism, has just been given to the The Guardian and The Washington Post for publishing leaked material about western intelligence-gathering supplied to them by the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden. Yet these disclosures are regarded within defence and security circles as one of the greatest acts of treachery ever committed in the West...The reaction to Snowden is an example of what I think of as the West’s auto-immune disease: turning on its allies and defenders while embracing its foes. With this Pulitzer, a self-destructive pathology seems to have been awarded its own perverse prize."

Jon Snow in The Observer"All good journalists are politically motivated and I like to think I am a good journalist. We want to help to change things."

Peter Barron ‏@EchoPeterBarron on Twitter: "Tomorrow's Northern Echo front page - bloody good job it wasn't Easington Colliery Workingmen's Club."

Community Secretary Eric Pickles on council newspapers, in the Telegraph: “It is scandalous that bloggers have been handcuffed for tweeting from council meetings, whilst propaganda on the rates drives the free press out of business. Only Putin would be proud of a record like that. Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public, and municipal state-produced newspapers suppress that. Town hall Pravdas not only waste taxpayers' money unnecessarily, they undermine free speech.”

The Sun celebrates Will Shakespeare's birthday in style

Graham Lovelace ‏@glovelace on Twitter: "Why, when major world developments threaten peace and stability, is David Moyes leading the news agenda?" #itsonlyfootball

SubScribe blog:"There will be many who look at the papers and wonder at the amount of effort being put into this story in comparison, say, to the Korean ferry disaster. This is not only football, but also very big business, so who manages Manchester United does matter. But there are far, far more people who don't care about United than do. This was demonstrated on Twitter with tweets showing people how to cut anything to do with Moyes from their streams."

Owen Gibson ‏@owen_ on Twitter: "Is it really "BREAKING" if it's your news to break? RT@ManUtd: BREAKING: Manchester United announces that David Moyes has left the club."

[£] = Paywall

Friday 18 April 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From reporting death in the digital age to why journalists can't write

Janice Turner on the coverage of the death of Peaches Geldof, in The Times [£]: "The dilemma now is how we deal with death in a digital age. The press faces constant accusations of tastelessness or intrusion. But it was the US president and British prime minister who posed for a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial; Diane Abbott MP who live-tweeted Tony Benn’s funeral. The more a famous person shares of his or her life, the closer the public feels entitled to be. The last of countless Twitter photographs Peaches shared was a childhood snap with her late mother, yet newspapers who republished it were condemned."

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber on the paper's plan to set-up its own system of press regulation: "After careful consideration, the FT has decided to put in place a system which is accountable, credible, robust and highly adaptable to meet the pace of change in our industry. We believe this approach is consistent with our record of journalistic excellence and integrity, and it builds on our already strong system of governance designed to maintain the highest possible ethical standards."

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on the decision by the Pulitzer prize committee to give the Guardian and Washington Post its top award for the revelations on secret surveillance: "
I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year's reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance. This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy."

Will Gore in the Independent on the way the Oscar Pistorious murder trial in South Africa is being covered, compared to cases in the UK where stricter reporting rules apply: "Readers may have noticed there has been more “colour” than would be the case if the trial was taking place in the UK. Our reporter in Pretoria has given fascinating glimpses into the personalities of the various characters in proceedings (witnesses, onlookers and lawyers) and has hinted at the impression left on the courtroom by some of the interventions, even some of the evidence."

Trinity Mirror's David Higgerson, on his blog, speaking up for User Generated Content in the regional press: "People take the pictures, shoot the video and their thoughts without a second thought thanks to social media – getting them to share it with the media is the challenge. It’s a challenge half-won if people are already aware you regularly deal with UGC. Getting people to think about us and send stuff to us is a much more rewarding relationship than just scouring social media looking for something which might be newsworthy – for all concerned."

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison on the closure by Trinity Mirror of the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, Westminster Chronicle and Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle:“This announcement has come as a terrible shock to the hardworking staff of these titles.The speed of it means there is little time to look at meaningful alternatives to closure.Trinity Mirror should not simply be able to shut down these titles and lock them away after years of starving them of resources. It will leave some communities with no local paper, depriving them of a way to access information and hold local power to account. Readers and the Trinity Mirror journalists who serve them, deserve better.”

Newcastle's Sunday Sun hits back at Newcastle manager Alan Pardew for blaming local press for not backing his team's after a string of poor results.

Peter Preston on Maria Miller in The Observer: "Miller didn't have to make challenging speeches, so she didn't. Nor, whatever the conspiracy theorists may think, was she truly in charge of any power-tinged processes. Leveson and the royal charter? A wheeze cooked up by Oliver Letwin in the Cabinet Office and implemented in a dazed rush by David Cameron – and whatever Westminster says, it's dead in the water until way past the general election."

New Culture Secretary Sajid Javid on Maria Miller on Question Time: "I don't think you can blame this on Leveson or the media or something. The media are a cornerstone of our democracy, their freedom is very important and if they want to investigate wrongdoing by politicians or any other public official they should do that and nothing should stop them from doing that."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley"I KNOW it gets boring, but I have to keep asking the question of every regional editor I meet: 'Why have your bosses butchered your newspaper when it still makes 90% of your profits?' They smile ruefully at me and nod in silent agreement but nobody, nobody, has ever attempted to answer the question. I know, and they know, that their website is never going to make serious money."

Giles Coren in The Times [£] on the claims that people no longer read books because they are too busy skimming social media: "This is worst among journalists, who are without question the least well-read people you will ever meet (unless you regularly meet chefs). They spend all day 'reading' newspapers, shorthand notes, filed copy, newswires, blogs, and when they come home they reckon they’ve done their 'reading' for the day and now it’s time to drink cheap wine and watch Game of Thrones. Which is why the writing in news publications is getting worse and worse by the week: because the people who write the words only ever skim-read other, similar words, thus 'deactivating their deep-reading facility' and stunting their literary development. The result is that, with a few exceptions, the university-educated journalists of my generation write like swotty teenagers, while the straight-from-school-to-the-newsroom guys and girls write like policemen. Because they do not read (because they read too much), their ability with words does not develop over time."

Friday 11 April 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Maria Miller, gay kissing splash, Peaches Geldof and are the Guardian and national press now united?

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The irony that Mrs Miller is overseeing the efforts to make newspapers sign up to a state-sponsored regulatory system, while MPs seem to blithely ignore their own, has not gone unnoticed."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "The nasty nexus of interests revealed in the Miller case shows why public opinion is right: neither MPs nor the press are fit to regulate themselves."

Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter:"So who thinks Maria Miller's Royal Charter on the press is such a good idea now? Can such politicians be trusted with press freedom?"

The Times [£] in a leader: "Relations with the media are already fraught because of Parliament’s insistence on trying to impose state intervention. A Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport need not agree with the media, but she should at least retain a minimal amount of trust. Sadly that trust has been broken. The only possible interpretation of the comments made by her special adviser at the outset of the expenses inquiry is that she was threatening newspapers, using her leverage as the Cabinet minister with the biggest say over the regulatory system."

Daily Mail in a leader: "Right up to the end, Maria Miller couldn’t bring herself to utter the word ‘sorry’. Indeed, she seemed unable to grasp that she had done anything seriously wrong. Instead, she sought to portray herself as victim of a media witch-hunt, mounted in vengeance for her role in implementing Leveson and legalising gay marriage. How childish – and how deeply offensive."

Patrick Wintour in the Guardian: "In opposition, guided by Andy Coulson, the former News of the World executive, Cameron proved ruthless with his errant MPs. In government cocooned in Downing Street, bonded with colleagues by the pressure of office and distracted by issues of state, he totally misread the public mood. Right to the end he was prepared to defend her. It will make his skin that bit thicker, and relations with the media that much more wary, but above all remind him how far the political class have yet to travel to restore trust."

  1. If Miller goes would become first editor to bring down a Cabinet minister AFTER leaving his paper
  2. Greetings Tony and well done. This is a Twitter moment: a former editor led a campaign and succeeded AFTER leaving job

Roy Greenslade on the coverage of the death of Peaches Geldof on his MediaGuardian blog: "Inevitably, we are bound to ask why a 25-year-old woman should engender so much coverage. What is it about our 2014 news values that dictated such a response? Yes, celebrity, is at its heart. It is also the case that when people die young and unexpectedly the uniqueness of the event affects the coverage."

Bristol Post editor Mike Norton on his gay kiss front page, as quoted by HoldTheFrontPage
“I’m a Bristolian, brought up in South Bristol. Real Bristol. One of the things I love about my home town is how characterful, tolerant and non-conformist its people are. So I thought Bristol was ready for that picture. But, boy, was I wrong. We lost thousands of sales of the paper. Which surprised me. Because, on the day, we received just nine phone calls of complaint."

Telegraph Media Group editor in chief Jason Seiken, on the future of journalism, as reported by Press Gazette: "A culture that is less top down and more about empowering journalists and holding them accountable. A culture where staff in their twenties and thirties rise more rapidly than ever because in areas such as social media they are the true digital natives."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley on the departure of the editor of the Reading Chronicle following its football violence splash: "As far as I am concerned, this seems like a massively over-the-top, knee-jerk reaction to what was, after all, an innocent misjudgement made without malice. Maurice O’Brien is 64. This is a terrible way for his lengthy and distinguished career to end. Worse than that, it sets a very dangerous precedent for his successor. The Powers That Be, never slow to try to influence press coverage, now know that if they make enough fuss about a story that displeases them, then management in Reading is liable to cave in rather than support their editor. This will not have gone unnoticed and will almost certainly be exploited in future. A bad day all round.

Steve Hewlett in the Guardian: "Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is on the record as writing off the whole idea of underpinning press self-regulation with a royal charter as 'medieval' and profoundly undemocratic, describing it as a 'constitutional pantomime horse'. And of course the paper's experience when running the Snowden revelations of being attacked by politicians – some of whom went as far as calling for Rusbridger to be arrested – impacted on these broader arguments in two significant ways. First it might be seen as having strengthened arguments for keeping politicians away from press regulation altogether (the current Royal Charter can be changed with two thirds majorities in both houses of Parliament), and secondly it brought other newspapers and the Guardian closer together than they have been in a long time."

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: Not being paranoid, but new houseboat has moored itself under my office window for the past 24 hours

[£] =paywall

Friday 4 April 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From outrage over police threats to reporter who pursued fraudster to Alan Rusbridger's chilling warning on sources

Gareth Davies, chief reporter of the Croydon Advertiser, on what a police officer said as they served a harassment order on him for putting allegations to a convicted fraudster, as reported by Press Gazette: “Because you’re a journalist that doesn’t give you special privileges. You say you are just doing your job, but that’s what the News of the World said and look what happened to that.”

The Croydon Advertiser responds to the Police action against Gareth Davies: “NEELAM Desai – a self confessed fraudster – has said she feels 'persecuted' by articles written about her in the Advertiser. Those articles are the result of an extensive investigation through which our chief reporter has exposed a complex dating website scam, which cost one victim £35,500. Desai, 33, is accused of conning at least three men out of thousands of pounds after contacting them through Asian marriage site She used a fake identity and claimed to be raising money for homeless children, but the woman they fell for did not exist. As a newspaper we have a responsibility to put those allegations to Desai, to give her the chance to respond...Our reports have prompted two police investigations into her actions which, for one alleged victim, follows months of fighting for his accusations to be taken seriously. That progress has come from good old fashioned journalism – not ‘harassment’."

Daily Mail comment on the treatment of Gareth Davies.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors: "This is a ridiculous misuse of a law originally introduced to deal with stalkers. It is also extremely silly. It is time someone gave the police an injection of common sense. It seems some police officers do not understand that the media is simply a conduit to the public who they are supposed to serve and who have a right to know. If this is a reaction to critical headlines about the police they have only themselves to blame for increasing public concern about their behaviour."

Jeremy Clarkson ‏@JeremyClarkson on Twitter: "Nothing damages journalism more than the Mail online. They absolutely could not give a shit about the truth."

MailOnline headline: BBC faces £1MILLION racism lawsuit over Jeremy Clarkson's 'slope' quip on Top Gear Burma special

SubScribe blog on the Reading Chronicle and its football hooliganism story which caused outrage: "Call me an old softie, but it seems so sad. A local paper trying to do "proper" journalism and coming unstuck spectacularly. The editor is suspended, the reporter is under siege, the readers are outraged, the PCC and the Attorney-General are on their case. How much less trouble would it have been simply to have gone down the road of UGC and let the police, the council and the WI fill their pages?"

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "So where are these Wunderkids going to come from? The truth is that nobody’s perfect. I am a good designer, a good headline writer, a half-decent columnist, a poor interviewer and a lousy reporter. I know this; the people who have employed me for 30 years have known this. The idea that we can suddenly produce a generation of multi-skilled journalists capable of excelling in all disciplines is just risible."

Western Morning News editor WMN editor Bill Martin on plans to publish seven days a week, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “The WMN on Sunday will build on established Western Morning News values and issues, and give our journalists the chance to tell West country stories differently - backed by quality design and pictures. It is a real privilege to be involved in a project that combines innovation, top quality design and investment in top quality journalism. The project is testament to Local World’s commitment to quality journalism and the regional press.”

Nigella Lawson on the Michael McIntyre Chat Show:
 "If anything all I’ve done is stop reading newspapers. Which is a bit of a shame as I’m a bit of a print fanatic. But of all the things to go, that’s relatively alright."

Nick Cohen on his Spectator blog on job cuts at Index On Censorship: "Among the recipients of redundancy notices are Padraig Reidy who was Index’s public face and its most thoughtful writer, and Michael Harris, who organised the lobbying to reform England’s repressive libel laws, the most successful free speech campaign since the fight to overturn the ban on Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the 1960s."

Index in a response to Nick Cohen: "Index almost alone among similar organisations, took the position after Leveson that we should campaign against state involvement in the regulation of the press. This almost certainly cost us donors and continues to be a highly controversial position...The result of the shortfall was a retrenchment and some redundancies, inevitably involving very valuable and respected staff members. This was painful and necessary but there was no other credible way of safeguarding Index’s position. The financial outlook for Index is now much more robust."

Alan Rusbridger, at the London School of Economics, as quoted by Press Gazette: "Every journalist should understand that there is no such thing as confidential digital communication. None of us have confidential sources. Peer to peer encryption is difficult for most journalists and it is quite time consuming and most journalists don't do it. We are all going to have to work on this in this world where people can intercept everything."

Alan Rusbridger after Guardian named Newspaper of the Year at The Press 
Awards: "It's a great honour for the Guardian to be named newspaper of the year by a jury of our peers. The story was not, in the end, publishable out of London and I want in particular to thank colleagues on ProPublica and the New York Times for collaborating with us. The support of editors and press freedom bodies around the world was also crucial. I want to acknowledge the personal cost to Edward Snowden involved in his decision to become a whistleblower. I must thank a team of extremely talented colleagues on the Guardian. And I dedicate the award to our friend and former deputy editor, Georgina Henry, who died recently."