Thursday 24 July 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Regret over Ukraine air disaster coverage to sub editor struck by lightning

 Sky News spokeswoman, quoted by the Guardian:  "Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused."

Sky News' Colin Brazier in the Guardian: "I stood above a pile of belongings, pointing to items strewn across the ground. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a pink drinking flask. It looked familiar. My six-year-old daughter, Kitty, has one just like it.I bent down and, what my Twitter critics cannot hear - because of the sound quality of internet replays of the broadcast - is that I had lost it. It is a cardinal sin of broadcasting, in my book anyway, to start blubbing on-air. I fought for some self-control, not thinking all that clearly as I did so. Too late, I realised that I was crossing a line. I thought aloud: "we shouldn't be doing this … this is a mistake", an instant apology that was only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism."

Russia Today London correspondent Sara Firth to Press Gazette on why she had quit over coverage of the plane shot down in Ukraine: "When the story broke you get the kick in your stomach when you’re going to get the facts and it’s this huge story. And I walked into the newsroom and they were running an eye-witness account of God-knows who the person was blaming the Ukrainian government, and it is such a volatile situation. I said [in a previous interview], if I was asked to burn the facts and not tell the truth I’d be a goner, and so I’m gone… it’s the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me."

Matthew Price ‏@BBCMatthewPrice on Twitter on BBC News shots of relatives of passengers killed in the Ukrainian air disaster: "We left out much from the relatives we could have used, deliberately. We picked our pictures with care. And I hope my words gave context."

Tulisa, quoted by BBC News, on Sun on Sunday's Mazher Mahmood, after the collapse of her trial on drug charges: "Mahmood has now been exposed by my lawyers openly lying to the judge and jury. These lies were told to stop crucial evidence going before the jury."

Peter Jukes on Rebekah Brooks in the New Statesman: "Over the eight months I spent watching Brooks at the Old Bailey it felt as if the whole courtroom had become her friend. She nearly always smiled and said 'hi' to journalists, whether from the Guardian or the Times. I found myself wishing her happy birthday towards the end of the trial."

David Ho, editor for mobile, tablets and emerging technology at the Wall Street Journal, speaking at News:Rewired, as reported by Adam Tinworth on his blog: "Mobile is not the future. Mobile is here. If you're just now welcoming it into your journalism, you're playing catch-up. This is not to depress us, but to convey urgency. You keep hearing 'mobile, social, video', because it's a safe answer. He's a non-safe answer: Newspapers will outlast websites."

Express NUJ chapel: "This chapel does not see why hardworking journalists should subsidise Britain's greediest billionaire. It rejects Richard Desmond's damaging and flawed proposals to cut a third of editorial posts across Express Newspapers. We say these historic titles deserve better than the man who has mismanaged their decline and, time and time again, asked his staff to pay the price with pay freezes and with their jobs."

Andy Cooper ‏@arrazandy on Twitter: "Is it just me who'd like Louis Van Gaal's NEXT job to be editorial director of a regional media company?"

Edward Snowden 
alan rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Snowden to journalists: If the government thinks you’re the single point of failure, they’ll kill you.”

Hearst magazines chief executive Duncan Edwards in the Guardian: "We are moving from months to moments in our editorial thinking.”

Jay Rayner ‏@jayrayner1 on Twitter: 'Piss poor journalism from @Bwood_times. Misspells my name;gets book title wrong;says I spoke direct to them. I didn't."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "His arms are wrapped around his knees and he is rocking back and forth while gently wailing. He is wearing a cardigan and by his side is a half-empty bottle of plastic cider. Every couple of minutes he stops rocking, looks up, and shouts skywards: 'THERE IS NO ‘E’ IN LIGHTNING!' I instantly realise that he is a sub-editor who has spent too long on Twitter over the weekend."

Friday 18 July 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Is Parly paedo probe payback by Fleet Street? to Hansen on Twitter

Ian Burrell in the Independent: "We are now seeing payback for what many papers regard as Westminster’s disproportionate response to the misdemeanours of Andy Coulson and some of his underlings. The press coverage of Parliament’s paedophiles has been awesome to behold – that is, awesome in the traditional sense of jaw-dropping, rather than punching the air in delight. It refutes the popular notion that Fleet Street’s muscles have been withered by the debilitating impact of the changing media landscape."

Don Hale in the Daily Star Sunday on what happened when he was editor of the Bury Messenger and tried to investigate claims of about politicians involved with a paedophile group: “I was sworn to secrecy by ­Special Branch at the risk of jail if I repeated any of the allegations."

John sweeney ‏@johnsweeneyroar on Twitter: "Today is a great day for Church of Scientology, North Korea, Barclay Twins, Glencore etc. I've been made redundant from #BBCPanorama. Byeee"

Former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour: "I sat at the breakfast table with my male colleague, saying I cannot believe we have all these exciting politicians into key positions and what people are talking about it is what they are wearing, their makeup, how tight their jacket is and what their shoes look like. I think it's just insulting."

Michael Wolff @MichaelWolffNYC on Twitter: "Wouldn't it be a hoot if Murdoch was just beginning the most active and expansive phase of his career?"

Adam Boulton asked on Sky News if he wants to take a pause: “No, I’ve swallowed a fly, that’s alright.”

Socialist Worker: Headline and column caused outrage
Owen Jones in the Guardian on the Socialist Worker column on Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple who was killed in a polar bear attack: "Whoever wrote that Socialist Worker column thought they were being oh-so-revolutionary, so courageously and provocatively sticking it to the man. But all they were doing is laughing at a dead teenager, whose last moments were no less painful or terrifying because of his cosseted childhood. It is socialism with the heart cut out, devoid of the humanity and compassion that must surely underpin it. That might be their socialism. It certainly isn't mine."

Matthew Parris in The Times [£]: "The enemies of internet freedom will advance in a series of individually minor incursions, each individually arguable — usually pleading “emergency”. The best hope for free speech is that a Western government will overstep the mark and some appalling miscarriage of justice will occur, turning the tide of public opinion. However, short of Clare Balding being shot by mistake as an Islamic extremist on the basis of an appalling IT muddle-up at the Home Office internet surveillance department, the outlook is bleak. Arguments in principle, like this column, will be lost in the wind."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "I came across the following charming job advert [placed by Newsquest] on Holdthefrontpage: 'Our regional group editing services department, based in Newport, now has vacancies for Graduate Copy Editors. Working as part of a team, typical candidates will be qualified to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism or have passed some of the modules associated to this qualification. Applications will also be considered from those who are educated to degree level. They must be highly motivated and be able to work to tight deadlines, spot mistakes and have a flair for creating great headlines.' So let me get this right. The legions of experienced, knowledgeable sub-editors who Newsquest have made redundant around the country – most of whom will have progressed to the job through the traditional route of trainee reporter, senior reporter and newsdesk duties – are being replaced by callow youths who may or may not have any actual journalistic training and have never actually done the job. I wonder what those angry hacks who insisted that the Newport hub was manned by talented, experienced subs have to say now?"

Roy Greenslade on his Guardian Media blog on plans by Archant to centralise subbing in Norwich: "The only winners out of this are the owners and their bean-counters. As the NUj points out, Archant's chief executive, Adrian Jeakings, was paid £284,000 plus a cash supplement of £82,000 last year. The same situation exists among the managements at all the major corporate publishers. They are growing wealthy by making others poor. Ain't capitalism wonderful?"

Express & Star editor Keith Harrison interviewed by Steve Dyson in InPublishing: “My personal view is that a metered paywall is likely to be the most successful model for newspaper websites.”

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor on Twitter: " 'Hi Mike. Richard here from XXX. I hope you don't mind me reaching out.' Reach out all you want, pal. Just don't touch."

Alan Hansen in his farewell column in the Daily Telegraph: "Twitter has changed everything, to the point whereby you not only have to make sure that what you say is right, but also that you say nothing wrong. There has never been a hiding place in the media, but nowadays, you can find yourself being judged within 10 seconds of publication or broadcast."

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Local press campaigning journalism is something to be proud of in era shamed by hacking scandal

I enjoyed writing this article on why the local press matters for InPublishing  which was based on my experience as a judge in the 2013 Regional Press Awards.

One of the points I made is that I love the internet and Twitter but still get all my important local news about planning, the health service and local government from my weekly newspaper, the West Sussex Gazette.

It was the same when I lived in London and got brilliant local news coverage from the Islington Tribune, sister paper to the excellent Camden New Journal which won campaign of the year in the Regional Press Awards.

What I liked was the enthusiasm of the journalists at the awards do despite the problems that have beset the sector. One reporter said to me: “Apart from the shit pay and the long hours, it’s the best job in the world.”

The Regional Press Awards showed that campaigning journalism by local newspapers does make a difference and is something to be proud of in an era shamed by the hacking scandal.

Friday 11 July 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From sympathy for Andy Coulson to Germans make a prat of Piers

Andy Coulson: AFP/Getty
Jonathan Aitken in the Telegraph in an open letter to Andy Coulson: "Privately, I sense a tide of sympathy welling up for you. I do not believe I am alone in taking the view that some police officers and some prosecutors have made worse – although non-criminal – errors of judgment than yours in this saga. Your present pariah status will surely fade, perhaps faster than you think if the prosecution go on demanding additional pounds of your flesh. Certainly the prison community, in stark contrast to the legal community, will be saying that the continual hounding of you 'ain’t proper'.’’

Piers Morgan on David Cameron and Andy Coulson in the Mail on Sunday: "Our great leader made no effort to contact Andy during his excruciatingly humiliating and painful ordeal. And he couldn’t find a single word of support for him in his darkest hour. Instead, he chose to deliberately pour petrol on to the flames of Andy’s immolation. That’s not the behaviour of a friend, it’s the behaviour of a self-serving, politically motivated, soulless weasel."

Chris Huhne in the Guardian: "The custodial sentences are ridiculous; they serve no public purpose. The conviction itself will be the most severe part of Coulson's punishment. If he should make amends, it would surely have been better to work for a worthy cause than cost the taxpayer nearly £40,000 a year to bang him up."

Peter Preston in the Observer:  "And the true irony of hacking – from boring gossip about royals to the Milly Dowler tale that didn't come close to making the front page of the News of the World – is in how few instances hacking produced big headlines and extra copies crossing newsagents' counters. It was all pretty exciting in its introverted old newsroom way, one guesses. Call Sam Spade (Glenn Mulcaire) and get him to check. But 5,000 victims, 5,000 stories, 5,000 or 50,000 more papers sold? There the chain of calumny breaks. So much harm and sorrow to the people involved, so little actual gain."

Mick Hume on Press Gazette: "Of course journalists are 'not above the law'. But neither should they be subject to special prosecution and persecution, as has happened in the UK over the past three years with the arrest of more than 60 tabloid journalists. Strangely, few of those high-minded media types at the BBC or Channel 4 news now protesting about the jailing of journalists in Egypt have offered a peep of protest about the criminalisation of tabloid journalism in Britain – and not because anybody has taped over their mouths."

Jack of Kent ‏@JackofKent  on Twitter: "What may come out in #DanielMorgan inquiry may make many current hacking allegations seem like a celeb-ridden garden party. Serious stuff."

The Times [£] in a leader: "When the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Google should delete links to 'inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant' information, it was wrong in principle. Now it is clear that the ruling was wrong, foolish and unenforceable in practice too."

Max Hastings in the Mail: "One of the most demented of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations was that, in some circumstances, newspapers should have to bear the costs of libel cases — even if they won. In other words, even if a court found that a newspaper had been telling the truth, it would have to pay the bill. Now, in the spirit of Leveson, the European Court has gone further. It offers an explicit licence to anybody who wants to airbrush their own CV."

Nick Pollard in the Guardian: "Newspapers get more stories than the broadcasters, by and large, and the broadcasters follow them up. The broadcast production effort is so much more complicated than print. The print people have more time to get stories. And they have a much better network of stringers and sources.”

Daily Mail in a leader: "For a timely reminder of the vital role of the free Press in giving a voice to those with nowhere else to turn, look no further than the Government’s belated launch of two inquiries into the Establishment’s treatment of child abuse."

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, in the Guardian News and Media Annual Review: "The Guardian is held up as a shining beacon of what journalism should be."

Sports News...

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter after Brazil are crushed 7:1 by Germany: "I backed Brazil to win, Fred to score & declared Luiz my man of the tournament. I feel a complete and utter prat."

When Morgan was editor of the Mirror he declared "football war" on Germany during the 1996 European championship. England lost [on penalties].

  • Not much sympathy here from Bill Silver, commenting via Facebook: "Oh what bliss: Jonathan Aitken - a convicted liar - sympathises with Coulson, Chris Huhne, a master of integrity and moral standing, thinks Coulson's sentence ridiculous and doesn't serve a useful purpose - Huhne doesn't work for a worthy cause does he? No, he works for Chris Huhne! Piers Morgan calls Cameron a weasel in one sentence, and himself as a complete and utter prat in another. Which is more accurate? Piers? Piers? I can't hear you ..............."

Friday 4 July 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Rolf Harris and the Leveson effect, more hacking trial reaction and is the Daily Star becoming the new Sunday Sport?

Mr Justice Saunders at the end of the hacking trial, as quoted by the Daily Telegraph: "All the defendants that I have to sentence, save for Mr Mulcaire are distinguished journalists who had no need to behave as they did to be successful. They all achieved a great deal without resorting to the unlawful invasion of other people's privacy. Those achievements will now count for nothing. I accept that their reputations and their careers are irreparably damaged."

The Guardian: "Lawyers for Rolf Harris used a controversial passage in the Leveson report to try to dissuade the media from naming the entertainer after his arrest on suspicion of sexual offences.
The London law firm Harbottle & Lewis cited Lord Justice Leveson's contentious proposal that the public should be prevented from knowing the names of arrest suspects in all but "exceptional" circumstances."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "It was only when Harris was named by journalists – four months after police first interviewed him, in relation to a single victim – that the dam broke and the other women were able to come forward. Disturbingly, post-Leveson, there are many examples of police holding, arresting and even charging suspects in secret. This chilling practice is not only an affront to open justice and the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. It also hands a gift to predators like Harris who depend upon their frightened victims believing they are on their own."

BBC Radio 4 Today @BBCr4today on Twitter: "Liberal MP Cyril Smith wrote to the BBC in 1976 asking it not to investigate the 'private lives of certain MPs'."

From HoldTheFrontPage: "Google yesterday notified Newsquest Oxfordshire, publishers of the Oxford Mail, that it had removed from its search listings a story about Robert Daniels-Dwyer, an archaeology specialist who was convicted of trying to steal £200 worth of Christmas presents from Boots in Oxford in 2006. It follows the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice which allows people to apply to the search engine giant to have 'irrelevant' or 'out of date' stories removed."

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph: "Today’s opposition leader, Ed Miliband, is suffering from exactly the same treatment as Kinnock, Major and Hague. In the wake of the phone hacking trial, the Murdoch newspapers – confronted so bravely by the Labour leader three years ago – are back in full cry. They have long memories at News International – now News UK – and may believe they have Mr Miliband’s measure. But the company is not alone: Mr Miliband is being hunted by nearly all of Fleet Street."

Pic: BBC
Jill Parkin on Press Gazette on the demolition of the Yorkshire Post building in Leeds:"Bulldozed concrete doesn’t speak of past love. All the same, this was a building packed with life – not just of those who worked there, but of those whose lives filled the columns every day. And for that, its dust deserves a nod of recognition."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan: "Humbled to have been voted Britain's most influential journalist on social media by @pressgazette ...well, not really. I deserved it."

The Spectator in a leader: "All but 13 members of parliament voted for a Bill to end press freedom. Mercifully, this ‘Royal Charter’ has been ignored, as the press has instead declined to be regulated by politicians and retains its independence as it continues what is, for many, a fight for survival. Newspapers have lost more than a third of their circulation since the hacking scandal erupted. Each day, 1,500 people stop buying newspapers and never start again. Rather than being too strong, the press is weaker now than at any time in modern history. This was the ideal time for the enemies of press freedom to pounce. Luckily, the threat has been seen off, the law is being allowed to run its course and press freedom has been conserved. This is about the only comfort to be drawn from an episode which has reflected so badly on so many."

Alex Massie in The Spectator: "I also don’t think it is wrong or disgraceful for The Guardian (with some assistance from the BBC) to try to destroy Murdoch. That’s their prerogative. But let’s at least be honest and acknowledge that’s the aim."

Tim Adams in the Observer: "The flashbulb detail of the News of the World's methods revealed in court showed a level of intrusion in the private lives of individuals that often seemed disturbed or pathological."

Tim Crook on The Conversation: on the hacking trial: "The trial’s context is a determined mood in the British state along with the country’s political, cultural, academic, and entertainment elite to reset the capacity of the media to embarrass, outrage, insult and mock the peccadilloes, indulgences and hypocrisies of the rich and powerful."

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Various of his biographers, myself included, have learned the hard way about Rupert Murdoch: Just when you think he's peaked or has hit an impassable wall, the chips break his way, and he keeps going on, his story ever bigger and more operatic than before. The acquittal last week of Rebekah Brooks, his former top lieutenant in Britain, along with most of the other defendants in the London phone-hacking and police-bribery trial — in the British press, "the trial of the century" — is a reversal of fortunes in Britain on the order of, say, were the top Watergate defendants to have gotten off in America. It creates a topsy-turvy sort of history in which Murdoch, surely mortally wounded, suddenly rises from the battlefield, jauntily dusting himself off."

Peter Jukes ‏@peterjukes whose Twitter coverage of the hacking case was crowd funded: "If news organisations relied on my detail, and therefore didn't employ a court reporter - then this is a bad precedent...For that reason - undercutting other court reporters while giving news organisations a free feed - I doubt I'll repeat the experiment."

George Monbiot in the Guardian: "In countries such as ours, the principal threat to freedom of expression comes not from government but from within the media. Censorship, in most cases, happens in the newsroom."

Sunday Sport ‏@thesundaysport on Twitter: "So, @Daily_Star you want to play that game, do you? "