Friday 29 August 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Andrew Norfolk and Rotherham, freelances on the frontline and old Times as clattering typewriters make comeback

How The Times broke the Rotherham scandal

Andrew Norfolk, who exposed the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal,  in The Times [£]:  "There have been many days during the past four years when I secretly longed for it all to come to an end. It was just too bleak, the details of the crimes too grotesque, too calculated to make one utterly despair of human nature. In those dark days, it was always the girls and their families who kept me going. Some victims understandably broke and sank without trace. Others, remarkably, survived. They went through months and years of self-hating misery but — sometimes with admirable support from specialist projects — have shown extraordinary resilience to build a future for themselves. They decided to trust The Times with their stories and they are the closest this tale will ever come to having heroes or heroines."

The Times [£] in a leader: "When forced by The Times in 2012 to confront its neglect, Rotherham tried to muzzle this newspaper and launch a witch-hunt for whistleblowers."

Peter Oborne ‏@OborneTweets on Twitter: "Andrew Norfolk of the Times, who played such a brave role in uncovering the Rotherham scandal, commands the admiration and gratitude of all."

Hannah Storm of the International News Safety Institute, on the murder of James Foley, quoted in the Observer: "He is not the first freelance journalist to be killed this year, and he will probably not be the last… With a dearth of jobs in newsrooms, and overseas bureaux being cut by major news organisations, many freelances have turned to conflicts to cut their teeth."

Martin Chulov in the Guardian: "Stripped down, pared-back journalism has created opportunities for those who dare, but it has also allowed outlets to hide behind flaky bottom lines as a means of abdicating responsibility. Radio stations, television networks and print outlets continue to outsource their coverage to reporters who often work without basic protection. The price of that dereliction has been paid in the dungeons of north Syria. The meltdown of the Middle East is one of the most important stories of our time, every bit as significant globally as the end of the cold war. Too many outlets have covered it through exploitation."

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Mail Online, with 180 million unique visitors a month, is not only the world's most-trafficked English-language newspaper website — establishing a powerful mass market connection or, depending on your point of view, a new low in the taste deficit — but quite possibly the first time a traditional print organization has solved the paradox of digital migration."

Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian :"At its inception the world wide web seemed to promise an escape from corporate and governmental powers, an egalitarian free-for-all. Now? It has increasingly become a sophisticated extension of them. The hopes once nurtured by the man who invented the web have been not so much abandoned as betrayed."

John Naughton in the Observer: "'Be careful what you wish for,' runs the adage. 'You might just get it.' In the case of the internet, or, at any rate, the world wide web, this is exactly what happened. We wanted exciting services – email, blogging, social networking, image hosting – that were 'free'. And we got them. What we also got, but hadn't bargained for, was deep, intensive and persistent surveillance of everything we do online."

Michael Cross ‏@michaelcross on Twitter: "I am convinced there is a gap in the market for a newspaper without a bloody picture of Kate Bush on the front page."

The Drum: "Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and her co-defendants are planning legal action to recover up to £25 million in legal costs from the taxpayer."

Newspaper Society website: "Sir Alan Moses, chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, has written to publishers to confirm that IPSO will be launched on 8 September. From that date, complainants to IPSO who raise substantive concerns under the Editors’ Code will be referred directly to publications to resolve their complaints, so he stressed the need for publishers to have effective complaints-handling systems in place."

MailOnline: "Men are more than twice as likely as women to be victims of trolling on Twitter, but are the ones most responsible for the bullying, it has been revealed. According to an analysis of more than 2million messages sent to celebrities, politicians and journalists - one in every 20 sent to prominent male figures was abusive compared to only one in 70 for females. Piers Morgan is hit by the most hate-filled messages, with 8.4 per cent of the tweets he receives including derogatory comments."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "REVEALED: 91.6% of all tweets to me are not offensive."

The Independent: "To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press."


Thursday 21 August 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Murder of James Foley, Cliff Richard and the press, Google wiping stories

President Obama on the beheading of journalist James Foley, as reported by BBC News: "An act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world."

James Foley's mother Diane in a statement: "We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages."

SubScribe: "We mourn not only James Foley, but those others whose deaths we may have overlooked. And as we hope - and possibly pray - for the release of Austin Tice, Peter Greste and the rest, maybe we will remind ourselves that ours is an honourable calling and that we have a duty to follow it honourably. Whether we're writing about Kalashnikovs or Kardashians."

The Met Police in a statement: "The MPS counter-terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley. We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under terrorism legislation."

David Allen Green ‏@DavidAllenGreen on Twitter: "Some may say viewing video should be an offence; but it isn't, and @metpoliceuk should not publish false alarmist statements about the law."

Tim Walker @ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "In the days when print & TV editors controlled what we saw, a video of a barbaric murder would never be seen. Internet must grow up v quickly."

emily bell ‏@emilybell on Twitter: "I am interested in the semantics which have Twitter 'censoring' content but which would have news organisations making 'editorial decisions'."

The Guardian in a leader on Cliff Richard: "The relationship between the police and the press in this case raises, yet again, wider and troubling issues about the way that due process, and the presumption of anonymity for suspects, including celebrities, lacks the robustness that was called for by Leveson and to which the police – and the press – are supposed to be committed. When the dust settles on this week’s events, there could be a strong case for fresh reflection and a stronger set of rules to prevent prejudicial coverage of such cases."

The Telegraph in a leader: "Of course, it is right that any allegation should be properly investigated and, again, this will likely involve some necessary liaison with the media. However, it is odd that such a degree of advance publicity did not occur in other celebrity cases. Justice should proceed equally and in a demonstrably fair manner – regardless of how well known the person under investigation might be."

Steve Hewlett in the Guardian: "The BBC's real mistake would appear to be that having got its exclusive and the deal with the police it simply went over the top producing too much coverage – including a helicopter with aerial images of the singer's home – exposing itself to the sort of questions usually directed straight at the tabloid press about fairness to suspects in these high-profile historic sex abuse inquiries."

Dominic Ponsford on Press Gazette on the BBC's Cliff Richard scoop: "The BBC deserves praise in my opinion for getting there first and for having the courage to run with it so forcefully, complete with helicopter. As we know from Rolf Harris and others, publicity around a case can lead to more witnesses coming forward.It is tough on Richard to face the taint of this sort of coverage when he has not even been questioned yet himself. But once the police had undertaken such a big raid on his home, what is going on becomes a matter of public record."

BBC director-general Lord Hall in a letter to Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz: "I believe that BBC journalists have acted appropriately in pursuing this story. As you rightly say, the media has a right to report on matters of public interest."

The chief constable of South Yorkshire police, David Crompton, in a letter to Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, Keith Vaz: "The aerial photography used by the BBC was, in my opinion, disproportionate. South Yorkshire police did not encourage the use of a helicopter and actively sought to delay its arrival at the scene. Ultimately the broadcast had the effect of making the house search look heavy handed and intrusive. I recognise this has caused concern and it is for the BBC to justify why it felt its actions were appropriate."

Letter in the Telegraph"SIR – Who’s next? The Duke of Edinburgh? Archbishop Tutu? The Pope?"
Jeremy Burton
Shurlock Row, Berkshire

Geoffrey Robinson QC in the Independent: "The CPS has taken up to 2 years to tell journalists like Patrick Foster that they will not be prosecuted, after unnecessary dawn raids, and publicity every time they are bailed. This lack of care for their liberty is amoral, because it subjects them to drawn-out psychological cruelty. If the CPS cannot decide whether to prosecute 3 months after receiving the police file, it should not prosecute at all."

Paul Lewis @PaulLewis on Twitter: "Hard for the United States to condemn foreign countries for detaining journalists when it is happening, with such frequency, in #Ferguson."

Rory Carroll ‏@rorycarroll72 on Twitter: "In the old days journos ducked when projectiles zinged past. Now we stand around snapping pics and tweeting. I miss the old days. #ferguson"

Journalists quoted by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian on the BBC after the Hutton Report: “The BBC always buckles, always folds. You feel that as a journalist, they will abandon you; if you take a risky story to them it’s as if you are actively trying to get them into trouble. There is an institutionalised anxiety and mistrust.”

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on Jeremy Paxman's one man show: "Paxman does not do stand-up comedy. It is more the blossoming of a grumpy old man enjoying his dotage and no longer constrained by anyone’s rules but his own. There is talk of a national tour — MPs, minsters and the BBC had better put their tin hats on. It’s good to have him back"

The Guardian's readers' editor Chris Elliott on the paper's decision to run the This World ad accusing Hamas of using children as human shields in Gaza: "I agree with the readers that whatever the intention, the biblical language, the references to child sacrifice, all evoke images of that most ancient of antisemitic tropes: the blood libel. The authors may believe that they have steered a careful course by aiming these matters at an organisation, Hamas, rather than all Palestinians, but the association is there. If an advertisement was couched in similar terms but the organisation named was the IDF rather than Hamas, I can’t imagine the Guardian would run it – I certainly hope it wouldn’t. I think that’s the issue."

Croydon Advertiser Glenn Ebrey on his blog after Crystal Palace sacked its manager messing up the paper's football season preview supplement: "Oh bugger. This was my immediate reaction on Twitter, when news of Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace was confirmed on Thursday night."

Clay Shirky on Medium: "The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic. If that’s you, it’s time to learn something outside the production routine of your current job. It will be difficult and annoying, your employer won’t be much help, and it may not even work, but we’re nearing the next great contraction. If you want to get through it, doing almost anything will be better than doing almost nothing."

Brendan O'Neil in the Telegraph"The Telegraph has received a flurry of G-notices – four this week alone. Among the latest were two concerning stories published in 2001, about the arrest of three men following the discovery of explosives at an apartment in Dublin. These are hardly trivial matters, yet internet users in Europe, notably in Britain and Ireland, will no longer find the stories when they turn to the globe’s principal search engine – Google."

Daily Mail: "A newspaper sales director who 'terrorised' a shopkeeper and ‘viciously’ smashed up an off-licence has managed to get his conviction successfully wiped from Google using the EU’s controversial 'right to be forgotten' ruling."

Friday 15 August 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From papers slammed over Robin Williams suicide coverage to is there a course on regional press management claptrap?

James Ball ‏@jamesrbuk on Twitter: "Samaritans circulated an email via PCC to all papers today. The papers were warned, and ran those front pages anyway. I don't have words."

Sarah Boseley in the Guardian: "The Samaritans produced a set of guidelines for the media reporting suicides some years ago, in conjunction with journalists, in the understanding that there is a genuine public interest in exploring why people kill themselves. Nobody has ever suggested a news blackout. But the Samaritans and other mental health groups such as Mind say that, above all else, reporting details of the manner in which somebody killed themselves may give the depressed individual information they lacked or an idea they had not thought of and spur them to try it. But in the rush to understand and report the death of Robin Williams, even that basic rule has been flouted."

SubScribe: "It is a long time since I have felt so angry and ashamed of our industry as a whole. From just after midnight on Tuesday until 10pm there was a constant stream of tweets from all sorts of people urging restraint in the reporting of the actor's suicide...Yet the tabloids put a collective two fingers up at everyone and blithely went their own way...We have been on the back foot in the fight to protect press freedom ever since the phone hacking scandal broke. Yet in failing to show any self-control in this, in failing to show the slightest concern about whether our actions might cost people their lives, we have handed Hacked Off and those who say we can't be trusted a gift."

David Banks on the Robin Williams coverage on his Media Law blog"This is a very complex issue. People sometimes criticise the tabloid press for reporting an issue, while still reading every word of the content. Conversely, sometimes criticism is levelled at the papers for a ‘sensational’ (ie attention-grabbing) front page – and the nuances of coverage inside might be overlooked. Some people feel that any examination of the lives of the dead while their families are still grieving is an unjustifiable intrusion. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some believe that after a life lived in the limelight, the death of a celebrity is public property too. A reasonable path lies somewhere between those two extremes...It is interesting to note that the one media that seems to have caused greatest distress in the immediate aftermath of Robin Williams’ death is social media, in particular Twitter, where trolls attacked his daughter, Zelda, causing her to close her account."

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, on CNN: "We are hopeful that there is willingness in the media industry to listen and act on the concerns raised by the mental health charities, experts and their own audiences. Social media is giving readers a voice like never before and editors now know quickly when they are out of step with the public mood. We believe we can work collaboratively with the media to make mental health and suicide reporting safe."

Neville Thurlbeck on his blog after being released from Bellmarsh Prison: "Despite being left in a 'Category A' prison, Andy Coulson is in good spirits and is getting on well with his fellow inmates. Reports that he has been attacked are totally untrue. We have been in each others' company for between 22 to 24 hours per day and I have witnessed nothing other than the hand of friendship to both of us. We would like to put the record straight on this."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader headlined 'Move the NoW One': "Six weeks ago, Andy Coulson, once the Prime Minister’s chief spokesman, was jailed for conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications, more popularly known as phone hacking. Notwithstanding some of the hysteria surrounding the nature of this offence, it is, in the scheme of things, pretty low on the list of heinous crimes. Yet Coulson, who was sentenced to 18 months’ custody, remains in a cell in Belmarsh Prison, east London, a Category A jail more usually associated with murderers, terrorists and bank robbers."

Cliff Richard in a statement, reported by BBC News: "The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen. However, the police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear to the press."

Ex-Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright in a letter to the Guardian: "Roy Greenslade is wrong to say I deliberately 'withheld' from the Press Complaints Commission and the Leveson inquiry 'vital information' about how some Mail on Sunday journalists’ phones were hacked by the News of the World. We were contacted by police in October 2006 and told some of our journalists’ phones had been hacked. The police recommended our journalists improve their phone security, but did not want them to make statements, nor suggest the hacking had involved anyone other than Goodman and Mulcaire."

Roy Greenslade responds on his MediaGuardian blog: "Wright, as emeritus editor of the Mail group, has been the leading light in the foundation of the PCC's replacement, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). So a man who spent years withholding significant information from one regulatory body is now the architect of another (much disputed) regulatory body. Does his record really suggest a willingness to shed light into the dark corners of Fleet Street?"

YouGov poll: "Around two thirds of British people trust the authors of Wikipedia entries to tell the truth, many more than trust newspaper journalists."

Celia Walden [aka Mrs Piers Morgan] in the Telegraph: "Now, my loathing of social media runs so deep that my husband – a Twitterholic who prides himself on having 4.2 million followers – has been banned from mentioning the ghastly life-sapping force or employing any of its cultish, playground lingo in my presence."

David Hepworth in the Guardian on advertorials: "Back in the 80s on Smash Hits we once told an advertiser to re-do an entire creative execution because it contained a word we didn’t like. They did it. But that won’t happen again. Nowadays only one person will get their own way and it’s the one with the chequebook."

Fleet Street Fox on the Mirror: "A lot of what people say on Twitter would make Hitler happy."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinalley: "ANOTHER chief exec off to spend more time with his money is Archant’s Adrian Jeakings, who departed the group rather suddenly this month. Like his boardoom peers, Adrian also appears to have adopted the weird vocabulary common in the marbled halls. While Monty thinks he’s running a ‘digitised transaction business’, Mr Jeakings thinks he’s transformed the company from ‘a primarily print and product-focussed group to a customer and community-focussed media solutions business’. Where do they get this claptrap from? Is there a special course they go on? I wonder if back in 1845, Jeremiah Colman, one of the founders of the group, ever thought that his fortune wasn’t based on making world-famous mustard, but was instead ‘delivering a food-focused condiment application’. Somehow I doubt it."

Friday 8 August 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From Davies blames MacKenzie for 'flushing journalistic rules down the toilet' to Alex Salmond's sobering headline

Nick Davies in Hack Attack: "For anybody who wants to understand why things went so wrong in British newspapers, there is a very simple answer which consists of only two words - 'Kelvin' and 'MacKenzie'. When Rupert Murdoch made him editor of the Sun in 1981, MacKenzie effectively took the book of journalistic rules and flushed it down one of the office's famously horrible toilets."

Nick Davies, interviewed by Press Gazette: "I think that the bad guys hate me. Is it reasonable to cite this, that [Press Gazette editor] Dominic Ponsford once said to me: ‘I can’t follow up your stories because all our advertising comes from these newspapers'."

Dominic Ponsford in an editor's note to the above: "I can only think that I must have been being largely flippant, or flattering, when I said that, because there was a long time (between July 2009 and July 2011) when Press Gazette was among the very few titles following up The Guardian hacking scandal coverage. As a trade title for all journalists it is true that we are more positive in general about tabloid journalism than The Guardian."

Peter Oborne reviewing Hack Attack in the Telegraph: "There are very few British journalists and politicians who are entitled to reflect on the lessons of the phone-hacking scandal without feeling a sense of profound personal shame."

Will Gore reviewing Hack Attack in the Independent: "Davies may be on the side of the just. But he is as ideologically driven as those he despises. In the end, his real target is neo-liberalism, which 'has reversed hundreds of years of struggle' and undermined the protection offered by democratic governments to ordinary working people. The consequence is that, while it is a great read, Hack Attack’s outlook sometimes feels a little too black and white: you are either with us or against us."

Catherine Bennett in the Observer: "Not for the first time, the public willingness to forget all about Max Mosley is frustrated by Max Mosley's determination to be forgotten about. His latest legal action against Google, for not having suppressed pictures of what the News of the World falsely alleged to be a 'Nazi themed' sex party, has duly renewed interest in records of that historic event and in its host, Mr Mosley, who may now be less well known as the son of the fascist demagogue, Sir Oswald Mosley."

Max Mosley in the Observer: "Your privacy or your private life belongs to you. Some of it you may choose to make available, some of it should be made available, because it's in the public interest to make it known. The rest should be yours alone. And if anyone takes it from you, that's theft and it's the same as the theft of property."

Rodney Edwards ‏@rodneyedwards  on Twitter: "John Simpson tells Enniskillen audience that BBC 'grotesquely over-managed', adding: 'All these rough women we have running the place now'."
  • N.B. Simpson, according to the Sunday Times [£], claims he said "tough" not "rough."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser: "Local World is a new company born without the twin millstones of historic debt and pension fund deficit to drag it down so its future should look bright. Indeed, the £18.5m operating profits show newspapers do continue to make big money as digital revenues were still less than a tenth of the total revenue. Yet the company’s declared strategy does not earmark any place for newspapers and instead David Montgomery merely seeks to transform Local World into a ‘digitised transaction business’."

Media law expert David Banks in the Telegraph on the decision by an Old Bailey judge not to name two councillors who didn't pay their council tax: “This is an example of the way that data protection laws create privacy rights which many ordinary people would say are barmy.”

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in a personal minute to his minister of defence about Chapman Pincher, who died this week aged 100, according to the Daily Telegraph: “I do not understand how the Express alone of all the newspapers has got the exact decision that we reached at the cabinet last Thursday on space. Can nothing be done to suppress or get rid of Mr Chapman Pincher? I am getting very concerned about how well informed he always seems to be on defence matters.”

Martin Bright in the Mail on Sunday on working for Tony Blair's Faith Foundation: "Blair’s Religion And Geopolitics site was launched last month, and I’m proud of it, despite its omissions. But there was no chance of autonomy for its editor – me. Blair’s increasingly strident position on the world stage clearly is affecting the ability of his charities to work independently. I always found Tony himself engaging, committed and utterly genuine in his belief that we need a better understanding of the role religion plays in global conflict. But something always jarred about the grandness of it all. He doesn’t do humility and nor do his organisations. Perhaps that’s his tragedy. In that strange first interview, I had been asked what I would do if I disagreed with the future direction of the charity.  I said that there was only one course of action possible: I would have to resign. So, a few weeks ago, I did."

David Loyn in the Guardian:"Emotion is the stuff of propaganda, and news is against propaganda. Reporting should privilege the emotional responses of audiences, not indulge journalists."

From the Guardian: "This article was amended on Monday 4 August 2014 to change the headline, removing the word 'sober'."

  • [£] = paywall

Friday 1 August 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From Sun sniffer dog caused panic in the News of the World newsroom to why are there so few women sports journalists?

Nick Davies in an extract from his new book Hack Attack in the Guardian on News of the World staff: "In the same way, they were ruthless in exposing any target who used illegal drugs, but there was no shortage of journalists using the same drugs. Former reporters tell stories of a Christmas disco where the dancefloor was almost empty while various guests resorted to the toilets to snort cocaine; and of a ripple of panic when the Sun let their anti-drug hound, Charlie the Sniffer Dog, loose in the newsroom."

Neil Wallis ‏@neilwallis on Twitter after being charged with phone hacking: "I'm devastated that more than 3 years after my initial arrest, this swingeing indiscriminate charge had been brought against me."

The Sunday Mirror: "Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s son Nicky threatened to gag the Sunday Mirror tonight over claims about his private life. The 28-year-old instructed lawyers who threatened an injunction at London’s High Court on Saturday afternoon over a story about him we planned to publish."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "Hmm... @thetimes transcript of @usainbolt 'bit s***' comment looks like he's talking about the weather to me."

Dylan Jones on Press Gazette:
 "I fear for it [the newspaper industry]. I don’t have a magic wand, but I’m a keen advocate of charging for content... If you give people things for free they expect to keep getting it for free. It’s very simple – the psychology is not difficult to understand."

Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "Journalists are, quite rightly, in jail because they broke the law but why do bankers seem to be immune from criminal prosecution?"

Robert Fisk in the Independent: "To die is one thing – to be turned into a blob quite another matter. The blob is the weird, mystical “cloud” which weak-kneed television producers place over the image of a dead human face. They are not worried that the Israelis will complain that a dead Palestinian face demonstrates Israeli brutality. Nor that a dead Israeli face will make a beast of the Palestinian who killed the dead Israeli. No. They are worried about Ofcom. They are worried about rules. They are worried about good taste – something these TV chappies know all about – because they are fearful that someone will scream if they see a real dead human being on the news."

The Women and Sport report: "The NUJ argued that the 'briefest of flicks through the back pages of newspapers will show a dearth of women reporting or photographing sport and virtually no coverage of women's sporting events. This partially reflects the situation in national papers, where the majority of bylines belong to men… it seems that you are more likely to see a female reporter on the frontline of a war than the touchline of a football or rugby match.'"

The Women and Sport report: "There are comparatively easy ways in which the media could contribute to reinforcing the view that women’s sport is normal and worthy of interest. One example would be for more national newspapers to publish the results of women’s matches alongside the men’s. Another would be for journalists and commentators to refrain from discussing the appearance
of sportswomen and from making derogatory comments about the ability of women in general to play sports."

Veteran newspaper journalist at a leaving do: "It's easy to remember the names of staff now - because there's so few of them."