Friday 28 November 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From trashing Tatler to why we need more not fewer journalists in the digital age via ex-Sun ed sorry for 'white van man'

Julia Raeside reviewing BBC 2's Posh People: Inside Tatler for the Guardian: "They all seemed like nice people but what they represented was a revolting, self-serving waste of everyone’s time and money."

Giles Coren about working for Tatler, in The Times [£]: "Newspapers in the 1990s were for the most part grim, windowless tram sheds in the middle of nowhere, full of angry middle-aged men trying to cling on to their jobs in a dying industry. But Tatler was on the second floor of Vogue House, slap in the heart of the West End and positively bursting with girls. The place was full of natural light and the smell of expensive perfume. And my desk was right by a window looking over the trees of Hanover Square towards Bond Street. Not that I ever looked out of it. Because the view inside was so much better. I just used to sit there all day in a puddle of my own drool, wearing three pairs of underpants just in case I was called upon to stand up."

Mr Justice Mitting finding in favour of the Sun in the 'plebgate' libel case: "For the reasons given I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word pleb."

The Sun [£] in a leader: "We must not forget the whistleblower who was the source of our original story. He also displayed courage by coming forward to expose Mitchell. Shamefully, and despite the clear public interest dimension  The Sun's story, he was sacked by the Met for gross misconduct."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Great for London Sun and freedom of speech. Journalist cleared on public interest grounds, top Tory snob minister loses libel action."

Dr Evan Harris, associate director of Hacked Off, on the release of Andy Coulson: “Like any other prisoner Andy Coulson is entitled to be released early on licence, but it will be interesting to see whether the newspapers make the same complaints about this convict being released after serving 5 months of an 18 month sentence as they usually do when they express outrage at the same treatment for other prisoners who aren’t their former colleagues. For too many papers when it comes to the criminal justice system it is one rule for them and one rule for the rest of us.”

Labour MP tom_watson ‏@tom_watson on Twitter: "Coulson: The repercussions of his time at News Corp aren't quite over but I hope he finds peace and a productive life."

Mike Darcey, chief executive of News UK in The Times [£], after it was revealed police had viewed phone data of 1,700 News UK staff which was mistakenly handed over by Vodafone: "A senior Vodafone executive has personally apologised to me for what he insists was ‘human error’. Vodafone accepts that the data was ‘wrongly disclosed’. They also recognise that the mobile phone records of journalists — and lawyers — contain privileged information and we have made clear to them that we regard this as a very serious issue. I am personally appalled that this could happen and have relayed this in the strongest terms when speaking with Vodafone.”

Ex-Sun editor David Yelland ‏@davidyelland on Twitter: "I think I helped invent the term white van man. I am most terribly sorry.."

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor  on Twitter: "Did a news editor write this head?"

The Times [£] in a leader: "Facebook did not kill Lee Rigby. Adebowale and Adebolajo did. The organisation charged with watching them was MI5. Mr Cameron should bear these facts in mind before embarking on a quixotic crusade against the internet."

Emily Bell, giving the Reuters Memorial Lecture 2014: "Cover technology as a human rights and political issue as if it were Parliament. Maybe even with more verve and clarity ­were that possible. It is just as interesting and about ten thousand times more important. The beats of data, privacy and algorithmic accountability currently either don't exist or are inadequately staffed. We have to stop coverage of technology being about queueing for an iPhone and make it about society and power. We need to explain these new systems of power to the world and hold them accountable. It is after all what we do best."

Herald & Times Group managing director Tim Blott on the launch of The National in Scotland: "It is the first time in many years that a new daily newspaper has been launched in Scotland. The National is an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of a very politically-engaged section of the Scottish population. We recognise that launching a newspaper in 2014 is to some extent counter-intuitive but we consistently argue for the power of great journalism and informed opinion."

Paul Lewis ‏@PaulLewis on Twitter: "Reporters ordered what to wear in the presence of British Royals when they visit New York and DC next month should absolutely resist."

    Nick Cohen ‏@NickCohen4 on Twitter: "@PaulLewis And don't stand when they enter the room"

Malcolm Starbrook in InPublishing: "As revenues get slimmer, publishers will continue to try to run stripped down versions of their newspapers with a direct result on content. Increasingly, we seem to be in the business of curation rather than creation and the unique voice of the newspaper is lost in the competing and strident shouts emanating from the world wide web publishing the same stories, same photos and same tokenism approach to breaking news. We need web platforms that break stories and newspapers that explain and put that information into context. For that, we need more journalists not fewer. But then we struggle to convince people they need to value our journalism. The trend is for people not to pay for the news and information they can obtain though the web. However, as publishers, we need to continue to provide the news, views and information that impacts on people’s lives. By doing that, we will build the audience that our advertisers will want to interact with. It is still the journalism that matters and, internally, we need to support the importance of that basic function.”

[£] = Paywall

Tuesday 25 November 2014

'Cut me and I bleed ink': Malcolm Starbrook

I've done an interview with Malcolm Starbrook in the latest edition of InPublishing. Malcolm started as a trainee on his local paper in the East End of London, went on to work for the Sun, edited the Milton Keynes Mirror, the Bury Free Press and the Croydon Advertiser and was on the Press Complaints Commission. He was editor / owner of the Milton Keynes Standard, worked in magazines for International Thomson, was chief sub of Press Gazette and ended up as group editor for Archant Essex and East London.

At a time of cutbacks in editorial staff in the regional and national press, I liked the way he argues more journalists are needed as newspapers face the challenge of the digital age and says it is still the journalism that matters.

Malcom says: “By love of, training in, and affection for… I am a newspaper hack: cut me and I bleed ink. So one of the biggest threats I feel facing the newspaper industry is our rush for web revenue without fully understanding what that is doing to the print business. Few of us have the power of the Daily Mail, Guardian or Bild to build significant audiences with little or no paywall. So we will always be playing catch up, and not very well at that."

He warns: “As revenues get slimmer, publishers will continue to try to run stripped down versions of their newspapers with a direct result on content. Increasingly, we seem to be in the business of curation rather than creation and the unique voice of the newspaper is lost in the competing and strident shouts emanating from the world wide web publishing the same stories, same photos and same tokenism approach to breaking news.
We need web platforms that break stories and newspapers that explain and put that information into context. For that, we need more journalists not fewer. But then we struggle to convince people they need to value our journalism. The trend is for people not to pay for the news and information they can obtain though the web. However, as publishers, we need to continue to provide the news, views and information that impacts on people’s lives. By doing that, we will build the audience that our advertisers will want to interact with. It is still the journalism that matters and, internally, we need to support the importance of that basic function.”

Friday 21 November 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From what they won't be reading in Reading any more to what's on the menu for readers of different national newspapers

Simon Edgley, managing director of Trinity Mirror Southern, on the move to close seven local papers in Berkshire, including the Reading Post, and focus on digital publishing around the getreading website: “This is a bold digital-only publishing transformation that will re-establish us as a growing media business that delivers the best quality journalism to our digital-savvy audience. We wholeheartedly believe that the future of our business here in Berkshire is online and this is an important and pioneering step that might, in time, be applicable to other existing markets or indeed new ones.”

The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley:"I think we all know what’s going to happen here. The 'best quality journalism' will turn out to be a roomful of kids with no journalism qualifications, cutting and pasting complete bollocks while uploading submitted content and mobile phone pictures with nary a glance at its relevance or even legality. 'Go out of the building and research and write a proper story? Sorry, don’t know how to do that.' It’s a sad day for the regional newspaper industry and especially for the journalists involved. It’s an even sadder day for the population of Reading."

Martin Shipton, chair of the Trinity Mirror NUJ group chapel, on the newspaper closures in Berkshire: "This is a watershed moment for the regional newspaper industry. Trinity Mirror is shutting down well-established titles and replacing them with an online news presence unattached to newspapers. So far there is little evidence that an operation of this kind can generate the revenues needed to sustain a workforce of sufficient size to provide a decent news service. The speed at which this transition is taking place is very worrying. It seems the remaining journalists will be used as guinea pigs for an as yet unproven business model. There are good grounds to fear for the future of the sector."

Steve Dyson on the Guardian's Media Blog: "Trinity Mirror, of course, is a plc and so is perfectly entitled – some would say legally bound – to employ strategies it thinks will best make the most profits for its shareholders. But if its ‘digital-only’ gamble is played out across the company’s regional portfolio, with fewer fixed costs, and fewer reporters, and if this is then looked at and emulated by other publishers, it could spell catastrophe for the local newspaper industry."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on the legal challenge by six NUJ members who say they are being monitored by the Met Police: "It is outrageous that the police are using their resources and wide-ranging powers to put journalists under surveillance and to compile information about their movements and work on secret databases. There is no justification for treating journalists as criminals or enemies of the state, and it raises serious questions for our democracy when the NUJ is forced to launch a legal challenge to compel the police to reveal the secret evidence they have collected about media workers."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott on the paper's decision to lead the successful legal fight to name 16-year-old murderer Will Cornick: "Whatever the legal arguments, the Guardian has to be sure that its decision to go to court to have the boy named is consistent with the values it espouses and for which it is often criticised, not least when it puts its faith in the capacity for rehabilitation. The next time we are faced with a choice, I hope we take a longer, harder look at the options."

Tatler editor Kate Reardon in the Observer: "When people are being cruel about Tatler, they say it’s the only magazine that tries to photograph every single one of its readers. Hell, yes! My God, if I could, I would!"

David Conn ‏@david_connon Twitter: "When Panorama exposed Fifa corruption in 2010, FA wanted World Cup & denounced BBC. Now Bernstein is on BBC saying FA should boycott Fifa..."

Rory Cellan-Jones @ruskin147 on Twitter: "PR email this morning starts 'Hi Rory, I hope you're both well..' I'm in two minds about this..."

YouGov profiles of newspaper readers, as published on the Guardian's Media Blog:

  • The top three favourite dishes of Guardian readers are likely to be antipasti, aubergine parmigiana and braised endive, they are into hiking and shop at Waitrose.
  • Chips, curry sauce, ham and eggs are a Daily Mirror customer’s dishes of choice. The favourite sport of this reader is football and they describe themselves as bighearted.
  • The Telegraph reader enjoys eating Vichyssoise soup, stinking bishop cheese and Tournedos rossini, is most likely to own a cat as a pet and describe themselves as analytical but arrogant on occasion.
  • Sun customer enjoys eating pork chops and chips, watches 36-40 hours of TV per week and describes themselves as big-hearted but headstrong on occasion.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: Will Bill of Rights protect journalists? to monstering Miliband

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid at the Society of Editors' conference: "I have agreed with the Justice Secretary that the British Bill of Rights will include specific protection for journalists and a free press.The Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights have not done enough to protect journalists who play such a unique role in our society. Our British Bill of Rights will change that.”

Liberty in a statement: "Article 10 of our HRA, freedom of expression, and the Strasbourg court have long acted as vital defenders of reporters and their sources. However, the so-called 'British Bill of Rights' would diminish the rights of everyone in Britain, including reporters – leaving the already powerful freer to act with impunity. And it’s only the lax laws and lousy surveillance policies of successive Governments that have allowed the authorities to snoop on such sensitive sources in the first place. That’s precisely why The Sun is currently relying on Article 10 in its complaint over the Metropolitan Police’s obtaining of its journalists’ telephone records."

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses, speaking at the Society of Editors' conference“Proper, successful independent regulation will not be established by manic firing of a big bazooka (a fine)… and anyway we don’t know how to fire it.”

Eastern Daily Press editor Nigel Pickover on relations with the police, at the Society of Editors' conference, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage“We are lied to on a regular basis…we are made to feel like the enemy when really we are on the same side."

John Sweeney on why Panorama showed pictures of Mazher Mahmood: "We're identifying him  to make it more difficult for him to entrap people in the future."

Jack of Kent ‏@JackofKent on Twitter:

2012: News International figures warn Leveson of prior restraint injunctions.

2014: News International journalist seeks such an injunction.

The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "IN MOST towns and cities in Britain, the editor of the local newspaper used to be a man of significance; a figurehead of the community, a person to be looked up to. You could see it at school fetes and WI coffee mornings, town council meetings and business forums. This due – or perhaps undue – reverence gradually diminished as first children in suits began to get the top jobs, and then as the position itself began to be ‘rationalised’, leaving the local newspaper to be run by a stranger on an industrial estate 30 miles down the road."

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron blogs about his paper's special Remembrance Sunday edition "Newspapers still have their place, and it is an important place too. We should acknowledge their faults and apologise sincerely when mistakes are made. But we really should love newspapers, protect them, and never underestimate the work and care that goes into producing them - especially on days like this."

Olenka Frenkiel in the Guardian on women and ageism at the BBC: "Only Miriam O’Reilly – braver than the rest – had fought the enormously powerful BBC and won. And even after she’d won and the BBC had expressed contrition and promised change, inside the BBC, they were still doing it. Nothing had changed. Nothing except for the ever bigger and tighter gagging clauses BBC lawyers were demanding we sign preventing us from discussing why we’d left. Not to reveal how we’d been forced out. That’s when I protested. I loved the BBC. I still believed in it as a beacon of free speech and open debate. It was supposed to be an equal opportunities employer, opposed to discrimination of all kinds. This was now a matter of public interest ripe for a vigorous airing with participants from all sides.The gagging clauses were there to prevent exactly that."

Matthew Parris in The Times [£]: "The personal attacks on Mr Miliband are lazy, evasive and rather cowardly: a kind of displacement activity for people stumped for ideas as to what their dream leader would actually do, and falling back on shin-kicking an inexperienced and somewhat maladroit leader for a gap that he is powerless to fill. We in the media, too, are being shallow about this. Once the world has got it in for somebody, once their 'haplessness' is the big story and journalists clamour to reinforce it, there will never be a shortage of trivial incidents to giggle or gasp at. People must eat, and sooner or later the cameras will find a mouth and a bacon roll, just as with David Miliband (when we were casting him as hapless, rather than a lost leader) we once found a banana."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "There is nothing new about pre-electoral anti-Labour propaganda in Tory-cheerleading newspapers. It is part of Britain’s post-war political history stretching back to Clement Attlee.Every Labour leader – with the single exception of Tony Blair – has suffered. Three modern leaders were subjected to especially harsh treatment. Gordon Brown was scathingly lampooned in 2010 as a ditherer, with papers giving huge coverage to supposed plotters within the party. Neil Kinnock was savagely mocked in 1992 as 'the Welsh windbag' among many other insults about his competence. Michael Foot was witheringly derided for his inappropriate dress sense as well as his political stance in 1983. There was a grain of truth in each case, but the attention paid to the various misrepresentations of their characters was disproportionate."

David Wooding ‏@DavidWooding on Twitter: "Ed Miliband's aides really must stop blaming the messenger over plight of their leader. Newspapers are only reporting what his MPs tell us."


Thursday 6 November 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists are right to pay sources to Telegraph goes to the dogs

John Butterfield QC, defending a News of the World reporter accused at the Old Bailey of paying a prison officer for stories about Jon Venables, as reported by the Daily Mail: "They call it crime – we call it democracy. It is necessary and appropriate to reimburse whistleblowers against the risk they are going to get the sack. The issues that this prosecution would seek to trample over are as serious as it gets in a democratic country."

Nigel Rumfitt QC, representing the Sun’s head of news Chris Pharo who is accused of paying public officials for confidential information, on News International's Management Standards Committee giving material to police, as reported by the Guardian: “In slang, they were shopping their own staff.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, on the latests job cuts at Newsquest: "Newsquest's previous cost cutting record speaks for itself and now more journalists are facing the chop. This is not building a sustainable future for the business. The announcement of these cuts was made a week before an industry summit called by the government to ensure a vibrant future for the local and regional press. Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey has called together industry figures and union representatives to discuss future strategy and this sends out a very poor signal."

Johnston Press group NUJ chapel in a statement: "Morale is at rock bottom in Johnston Press, yet further cuts have been announced. Our members are shocked by further photographic redundancies, a move which is likely to hit the quality of newspapers and websites we produce, lead to further declining readership and harm the long-term prospects of the company. Alarmingly, Johnston Press management believes that more 'user generated content' is the way forward."

Jeremy Bowen in the Radio Times: “The threat from Islamic State is so unequivocal that even the most enterprising and daring reporters are hesitating to take the risk of being anywhere near them.”

Ian Katz ‏@iankatz1000 on Twitter: "World's most eminent biologist EO Wilson reserves ultimate insult for @RichardDawkins in #newsnight interview tonight: 'He's a journalist'."

Sky's Alex Crawford interviewed in the Guardian: "If I was a bloke I’m just reaching my peak now. In America they have a totally different approach to older women working in broadcasting. It’s time Britain woke up.”

Tim Walker ‏@ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "Proud to have been banged out in the Telegraph newsroom just now by such great colleagues. There wasn't a day I didn't love that job & them."

Tim Walker ‏@ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "There are actually some things to be said for redundancy: I see in my diary I was due to review @MadeinDagenham tonight."

Oliver Kamm in The Times [£] on tv news channel Russia Today: "The problem with RT is not just bias but that it’s not a news channel at all. It’s a propaganda outlet for Vladimir Putin. Its broadcasting is a constant diet of lies in the service of a regime that murders journalists, imprisons protesters, defends dictators and menaces neighbouring states."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "Newspaper stories about pending hot/cold/wet/dry weather are much loved by editors because they are cheap/unprovable till much later/good for sales/quickly forgotten."

Callum Baird in The Herald reports on the less than riveting goaless draw between Morton and Airdrie:"BACK in the sixth century BC, when Babylonia fell, the Persian Empire rose from its ashes and toga-wearing Greek philosophers first started to look quizzically at tortoises, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu delicately laid down the first few brushstrokes of the Tao Te Ching, the text that would go on to become the bedrock of Taoism. Lao Tzu had faith in the duality of the universe. "When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly," he declared. Yin and yang. Each thing must, by its very nature, have an opposite. So perhaps that in order to have that mouthwatering Old Firm derby drawn out of the hat on Saturday evening we first had to sit through this: 90 minutes of the most tedious, excruciating football imaginable. For what seemed like an eternity, the large clock hanging over one of the stands at Cappielow poked fun of the spectator. Time stood still. The little hand lazily ticked its way round, trundling through treacle. The match cloyed at the senses."

Bob Preston from Marlborough, Wiltshire, in a letter to the Daily Telegraph: "SIR – I have a better use for my “used” copies of The Daily Telegraph than Malcolm Parkin’s friend (Letters, October 30). I have three working English springer spaniels and when they come home from a shoot on a wet day in winter the Telegraph comes into its own. It is the only paper I can tear into inch-wide vertical strips: just tear down and shake into the dogs’ box. Once the dogs are dry in the morning the used paper can be sent for recycling in the usual way. A very versatile newspaper. I don’t know what paper the Telegraph uses for its newsprint, but please don’t change it."