Sunday 28 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Year: January to June 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron after Andy Coulson was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones, as reported by BBC News: "I am extremely sorry I employed him. It was the wrong decision."

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph: "The phone hacking affair has displayed the Prime Minister at his worst – a shallow, amoral, conniving careerist, determined to secure high office at any cost."

The Guardian in a leader: "The vast majority of journalists in this country have never hacked a phone, bribed a public official or used a private detective. Even those who worked on the tiny handful of (albeit influential) papers that regularly trampled on privacy often felt deeply uneasy about it. Numerous individuals within the News of the World newsroom guided Nick Davies's investigations into phone hacking because they felt so uncomfortable about the practices going on around them. So, most journalists feel no regret about the cleansing of the stables, even if they feel conflicted about the prospect of journalists facing jail sentences for crimes committed."

Nick Davies on Coulson and Brooks in the Guardian: "With all the intellectual focus of a masturbatory adolescent, their papers spied in the bedrooms of their targets, dragging out and humiliating anybody who dared to be gay or to have an affair or to engage in any kind of sexual activity beyond that approved by a Victorian missionary."

Rebekah Brooks, on BBC News: "I am innocent of the crimes that I was charged with and I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts...When I was arrested, it was in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy, of politics and of comment. Some of that was fair but much of it was not so I am very grateful to the jury for coming to their decision."

Ed Miliband, interviewed by BuzzFeed: “It’s always a good idea not to read the newspapers. I don’t read much British news. You get a lot of advice in the newspapers about what you should do. It’s much more important to follow your own path and stick to your own path.”

Alan Rusbridger after Guardian named Newspaper of the Year at The Press Awards for its Edward Snowden revelations: "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."

Ben Bryant ‏@benbryant on Twitter: "Daily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher has left. Newsroom in shock. Some in tears."

Tim Montgomerie @TimMontgomerie on Twitter: "Under @gallaghereditor The Telegraph was strikingly independent of the Tory Party- relentlessly reader-focused. CCHQ will hope that changes."

Matthew Parris in The Times [£]: "Twitter’s a great idea. I absolutely don’t knock the concept of a turbo-charged village pump but it’s not for me. Several times I’ve had to be restrained from tweeting something really stupid; and, worse, if you’re commissioned to write something these days, or perform in a debate, or whatever, the client emails asking you to tweet that you’ll be doing it, or have done it, or re-tweet someone else’s reference to it, or tweet positively about something else somebody has done, and . . . oh dash it all: once marketing people get their claws in, it’s time to get out."

Dan Snow in the Observer: "Anyone who doesn't love Twitter is an idiot. They're being a ridiculous Luddite or taking a stance. Twitter is a way of filtering the news. You tailor your own timeline so who you follow reflects your interests. Mine is populated by politics and history. It's a phenomenal news service, far better for me than any conventional news outlet because I built it myself. I've made new friends on Twitter, interacted with some incredible people, had some of my most satisfying professional experiences and found out lots of fascinating things about the world. It's been a hugely enriching experience."

Jeremy Paxman interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News: "I don't want to be followed by anyone...Twitter is for people who have nothing going on between their ears, or in their lives."

Dan Hodges on his Telegraph blog: "There will be lots of excited speculation about Paxman’s replacement. But the fact is that whoever it is, the BBC will in many ways be delaying the inevitable. In truth, the place people now go at 10.30pm to get their current affairs fix isn't the TV, but Twitter."

Robert Peston ‏@Peston on Twitter: "Can barely hear myself think amid din of schadenfreude in UK media at cancellation by CNN of fellow Gooner @piersmorgan's show"

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "Humbling to bring such happiness to so many people today. Coming 3rd, as I've always said, is not a trophy. #MorganOut #CNN"

Jeremy Clarkson ‏@JeremyClarkson on Twitter:
 "I understand that Nigerian TV is looking for a new chat show host. Anyone got any suggestions?"

The New York Times: "There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favour."

Fraser Nelson on the Spectator blog: "I’ve worked for newspapers that have unwisely cut back on sub-editing. It seems to work, at first, because there is no immediate cliff-edge drop-off in quality. But the rot accumulates. Errors creep in that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Sloppy writing goes unchecked, flabby ideas go unchallenged. And even then, the newspapers don’t suffer immediate penalty – readers who have been with the same title for years put up with a lot, before cancelling their subscription. But when they do, the reputation for quality is hard to win back. The management respond to falling revenues with even more cuts, which sends even more readers into despair. This is what I call the cycle of doom."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley:"TORQUAY Police tweet from last night: 'An Historic momentfor the team. We have just published our own story directly to @TQHeraldExpress website with a picture. Amazing.' So that’s the police, posting their own stories directly onto the website of the Torquay Herald Express, without any intervention or examination by journalists. Amazing? No, fucking terrifying."

News UK chief Mike Darcey speaking at the Digital Media Strategies conference , as quoted by the Guardian: "Chasing online advertising revenue at scale requires a deep, free online proposition and this in turn undermines the incentive for people to pay for print editions. The Guardian web proposition is so good I wonder why anyone continues to buy the Guardian edition in print at all. They must be very wealthy people."

Guardian Media Group chief excutive Andrew Miller, also at the Digital Media Strategies conference, as quoted by "If we could do a paywall of course we’d do it. We’d love to, but that horse has bolted."

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid in The Times [£]: “In terms of the role of this department . . . the work has been done, and it is now a decision for the press what they want to do next. I don’t see any further role for government in this. Notwithstanding the fact that any industry has its bad apples, I think our press is the best in the world. It is fearless without favour.”

Ex-Sun editor David Yelland@davidyelland on Twitter: "Quiet surrender on a Saturday: Govt has 'no further role' in regulating the press, says new culture sec Sajid Javid."

Some believe this is the work of Banksy on a wall in Battersea
David Sanderson in The Times [£] on Max Clifford: "Clifford is not the biggest star to have been ensnared in the dragnet of Operation Yewtree. He is perhaps the one who best defines our age. In his autobiography he recounts his role in the downfall of so many public figures of our time and admits that he 'got a huge buzz from being in the middle of a great story'. As he walked from the court yesterday, to three days of freedom before sentencing on Friday, he said it was 'not the first time' he had been the story. He knew this is the one story that he will be remembered for."

The New York Times runs a correction 161 years after it ran the story that inspired the Oscar-winning film '12 Years A Slave': "An article on Jan. 20, 1853, recounting the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir “12 Years a Slave” became a movie 160 years later that won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup. The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives.”

John Humphrys, as quoted by Press Gazette: “As to my advice for aspiring journalists.... that's easy. Don't do it! I am deeply pessimistic for the future of serious print journalism and I tell my own children and grandchildren to train for a profession where they're more likely to get a decent job with some hope of security.”

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."

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."

Anthony Lloyd in The Times [£] on being beaten up and shot in Syria: "I was covered in blood and lying on the ground when Hakim walked up. He was white with rage. His double cross had failed, and now he had to contend with a questioning crowd. 'I thought you were my friend,' I told him. 'No friends,' he replied, pulling his pistol and shooting me twice in the ankle just to have the satisfaction of crippling me...He may have beaten us and hurt us, but his greatest crime was to rob from his own people. Our entire documentation of a week’s work in Aleppo — notebooks, cameras, video — was stolen by his men. The voices of decent, innocent Syrians struggling for life amid abysmal conditions were stolen by Hakim in his bid for personal profit, making him guilty of a crime far worse than abduction with violence."

Camden New Journal editor Eric Gordon in his obituary of Tom Welsh: "A gentle man with a conscience, he was a journalist imbued with a fine sense of ethics that, lamentably, he found wanting in much of today’s journalism, especially that of the tabloids."

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."

Publisher Felix Dennis, who died in June, interviewed in the Observer in 2013: "It's not quite right, is it? To shag all the women, have all the money and two cases of Petrus in my wine cellar and then write poetry that sells and that people love. It shouldn't be allowed. That's what annoys people. They think that I've got to get what's coming to me and no doubt I will."


Thursday 18 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: The BBC and local journalism, cover ups and downgrading editors

BBC head of news James Harding, speaking at City University:"We have renewed the case for the BBC’s contribution to the revival of local journalism. We have shown a willingness to take on the wrong-headed argument that the problems of the local newspaper industry are the BBC’s fault; and we have shown a willingness to work with the local newspapers in meaningful partnerships...Rich, old, white people are getting a better diet of news than poorer, younger and non-white people. And that’s increasingly true in national vs local news. Redressing the balance is one of the reasons we’ve doubled the regional news coverage in England in the 10 O’Clock news hour in the months ahead of the election."

SubScribe: "Men with machine guns set out on a mission. They are heading for a school where they intend to kill as many pupils as they can. They achieve their aim with a death toll of 132 children - and a teacher is burnt alive for good measure.  By any yardstick this is a big story. But not, to judge from today's front pages, as big as the NHS populating hospital wards with foreign nurses or slightly cheaper petrol. Indeed, the possibility of life on Mars is more compelling for the Telegraph than the real loss of life on Earth."

Tom Mangold in the Daily Mail on the Jeremy Thorpe scandal: "With the benefit of hindsight, it now becomes more than a mere suspicion that we investigative journalists at the cutting edge of the story were being gently manipulated by others in powerful positions — people who were anxious to know how much information there was about the developing scandal, how accessible it was, and what could be done to shut it down."

Peter Preston in The Observer on Christopher Jeffries: "It wasn’t reporters and broadcasters who lit the blaze. It was the police, yet again, making an arrest on vestigial evidence and then publicising it to attract witnesses – in short, scrappily setting up an innocent man as prime target for media destruction. Of course the press went much too far, too fast. But Jefferies, first and foremost, was a victim of pressurised policing."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "Is history about to be made at The Guardian? The editor, Alan Rusbridger, announced last week that he would be stepping down next summer. And the chilling news for Guardian readers is that at least one of the frontrunners for the job was educated at a state school. This could be the first time a Guardian editor is drawn from the ranks of normal people — certainly since William Percival Crozier in 1932 and possibly ever."

Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer, on Rod Liddle's "joke" about transgender Labour candidate Emily Brothers in the Sun [£]: “Is there no-one at the Sun who felt that this was a despicable piece which needed spiking as soon as it was thought of? This utterly vile comment is not an example of freedom of the press but is a dangerous type of bullying. Has the Sun every heard of the way hate crime stems from this type of nasty rubbish? A front page apology at least is required from the Sun and condemnation by all supporters of this so called newspaper.”

Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon after Turkish authorities detained journalists they accused of conspiring against the state: "We are deeply concerned about the detention of journalists in Turkey: Turkish authorities, who have a history of politicized prosecutions against the media, do not tolerate critical reporting. The heavy-handed actions this morning smack of political vengeance."

alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "New life: as well as chairing Scott Trust I'm to be next principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford."

Juan Direction, Exeter, posts on HoldTheFrontPage about the axing of the two weekly editors in Gloucestershire: "Across the country, faceless (and in many cases witless) management types make these decisions with a) little or no regard for what this will mean to the quality and status of the papers in their communities and b) zero respect for journalism. It’s easy to sound precious when you try and defend journalism as a concept, but what these dunderheads don’t realise is that their extreme short termism is eating away at the very thing which gives their ‘product’ (as they are wont to call it) its USP – compelling, well presented, curated content, delivered with authority and adherence to standards."

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor on Twitter: "Bad news for democracy in Gloucestershire. Two good editors get the push at a time when we need strong newspapers."


Thursday 11 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From police vs press battle rages on to Alan Rusbridger stands down

Keith Vaz MP, chair of the the Home Affairs Select Committee: "RIPA is not fit for purpose. We were astonished that law enforcement agencies failed to routinely record the professions of individuals who have had their communications data accessed under the legislation. Using RIPA to access telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistleblowers from coming forward."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary: "The NUJ welcomes the Home Affairs Select Committee report and agrees that RIPA is not fit for purpose but we are urging political leaders and the Interception of Communications Commissioner to go further and agree there must be judicial oversight before journalists' records and data can be obtained by the police and other authorities."

Press Gazette: "A new draft Code of Practice on government spying powers has finally been published and states that police should continue to access journalists’ phone records without any outside approval. Not only does it make clear that police forces can continue to sign off their own RIPA requests for journalists' telecoms data, but it emphasises that such records are not privileged. The new code merely requires police forces to make a note of the fact they have accessed a journalists’ phone records."

Daily Mail: "The Home Office was embroiled in a fresh row over Press freedom last night after sneaking out proposals that would still allow police to sign off their own snooping into journalists’ phone records."

Lord Black of Brentwood in a letter to the Home Secretary requesting changes to the primary legislation to safeguard journalistic sources: “The industry is united in its concern about the threat to journalism, journalists themselves and to their sources from unwarranted use of state surveillance and enforcement powers. RIPA, counter terrorism and public order legislation are particularly open to abuse. These draconian legislative powers are being used without proper regard to the protection of freedom of expression and press freedom, an intrinsic part of which is the fundamental principle of protection of sources.”

Sun managing editor Stig Abell @StigAbell on Twitter: "Sun runs good story about MP playing Candy Crush. Parliamentary response: hunt the whistleblower. What is wrong with these people?"

The Sun in an editorial: "This is Britain since the Leveson Inquiry, that declaration of war on the Press by the elite we are here to hold to account. Leveson’s biased witch-hunt empowered them to try to stop the Press revealing inconvenient truths the public has a right to know.  One MP playing Candy Crush isn’t the biggest scandal ever — and we welcome that Mr Mills had the good grace to own up and swiftly apologise. The authorities’ reaction, though, is of graver significance."

James Harding, BBC director, news and current affairs, on the BBC blog"The BBC’s job is to keep reporting and analysing the news, questioning politicians, investigating the issues, and pressing for the real story. The election campaign has begun. The BBC will, undeterred, do its job. A meek BBC wouldn’t be fulfilling its role for the public.

The Guardian in an editorial: "In an era of digital revolution, the future shape of the BBC is of huge importance to every British citizen and its audience overseas. Narrow political squabbles must not be allowed to interfere with a mature discussion of what the BBC brings to Britain and its civic life."

The Sunday Times in an editorial [£]: "Do we need a reimagining of the role of the state? Yes, we do. And we need more imagination and realism in thinking about these things. As Mr Blair put it in another context, the talents of the British people need to be liberated “from the forces of conservatism” in Labour — and the BBC."

Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "The very fact that a title has been around for more than a century and has archives containing the intimate records of cities, towns and communities stretching back several generations is no longer a selling point. It’s history. It’s not tomorrow."

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley"I keep hearing a suggestion that some kind of subsidy or central funding of the local press might be a good idea. Frankly, that’s bollocks. The fat cats in charge would just run off with the cash and continue to leave local papers under-staffed and under-resourced. And what would happen if one of these government-funded newspapers managed to upset the government – as we all should be striving to do on a daily basis? You could see that grant suddenly disappearing faster than any remaining talent at the Daily Telegraph."

Alan Rusbridger announcing his retirement after 20 years as editor of the Guardian: “It’s been quite an extraordinary period in the life of the Guardian. In February 1995 newspaper websites were, if they existed at all, exotic things: we were still four years off launching Guardian Unlimited. Since 1999 we’ve grown to overtake all others to become the most-read serious English language digital newspaper in the world."


Thursday 4 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From police and press at war to dictator's son complains about obituary

Roy Greeenslade in the Guardian on the police and the press: "Not speaking to journalists is very different, however, from treating journalists as criminals or using their private phone conversations as ways of investigating crime. As many reporters have pointed out, the result will be to scare off whistleblowers. Who will dare to speak to journalists who cannot ensure the confidentiality of their calls and emails? Stories that should be told will not see the light of day. In effect, therefore, the war the police have launched on journalists is really a war on the public’s right to know."

Times journalist Andrew Norfolk after being named British Journalist of the Year, quoted by Press Gazette“Senior officers you once had a relationship with based on what you thought was mutual trust and respect suddenly too scared to speak to you, or perhaps it’s not that, they’ve just got so much on, the poor dears: planning your arrest, wading through your phone records, I think it’s 1,700 phones from my company alone. Cheers for that, Vodafone, by the way.”

Andrew Norfolk looking back at his days on the Yorkshire Post, as quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: "The Yorkshire Post's staffing levels are a skeletal shadow of those days.”

Tim Crook @libertarianspir on Twitter: "Why haven't journalism bodies been demonstrating outside the courtrooms where working journalists face prosecution for doing their job?"

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "Friends who helped break the Snowden revelations are close to despair. The British, who survived the First and Second World Wars, the cold war and IRA bombs appear willing to tear up their civil liberties because of Islamist murderers. The electorate greeted the Guardian’s exposé of mass surveillance with indifference. Neither Labour nor the Tories feels public pressure to reform the secret state."

Nick Cohen in Standpoint: "When James Harding was Editor of The Times he was a decent man who made some bad journalistic decisions. Now he has moved on to head BBC News he is still making bad journalistic decisions and his sense of decency appears to have deserted him."

George Osborne on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I would have thought the BBC would have learned from the last four years that its totally hyperbolic coverage of spending cuts has not been matched by what has actually happened."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times [£]: "I used to think (I feel a little ashamed about this now) that my colleagues in the press were spending too much time chronicling the disputes between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Now I think perhaps we didn’t spend enough time on it."

Kevin Maguire ‏@Kevin_Maguire on Twitter: "The Sun's Clodagh Hartley was prosecuted (not guilty) over Budget leaks. Meanwhile Treasury Ministers & staff leak like sieves."

Early day motion 585: CLOSURE OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS:"That this House regrets the latest announcement from Trinity Mirror newspapers that approximately 50 editorial and non-editorial jobs will be lost as seven newspapers in the south of England, including the Harrow Observer, Reading Post and Surrey Herald, are to be closed; notes that the proposals will mean that the county of Berkshire will be served by a digital-only model; further notes that the latest closures come on top of the closure of 150 local newspaper titles since the financial crisis of 2008, with many more reducing the frequency of publication or the range of locally-specific news coverage; is concerned about the loss of such assets to local communities and the important democratic function they serve in reporting on public life including local and national election campaigning; welcomes the recent cross-party stakeholder seminar organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider policy responses; and joins the National Union of Journalists in calling for a short, sharp cross-party and inter-departmental government inquiry into securing a future for the industry, in order to protect the public interest and defend jobs in quality local journalism."

Hussein Amin from Kampala complains to the Guardian: “Allow me to raise my displeasure at a Guardian obituary about my father, Idi Amin.”

The Guardian responds by stating the obituary was supported by all the major sources the paper consulted and said it would not be revising it online, adding: "Perhaps the definitive view is that of Amnesty International, as set out in a report in June 1978.Amnesty International’s main concerns are as follows:
1) the overthrow of the rule of law;
2) the extensive practice of murder by government security officers, which often reaches massacre proportions;
3) the institutionalised use of torture;
4) the denial of fundamental human rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
5) the regime’s constant disregard for the extreme concern expressed by international opinion and international organisations such as the United Nations, which results in the impression that gross human rights violations may be committed with impunity.”