Thursday 26 March 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From smiling Sun to why Jeremy Clarkson 'adores' the tabloid press

David Dinsmore ‏@davedins on Twitter: "Tomorrow's p1. Put together by a great team in tribute to a great team."

Cleared Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan, interviewed by Press Gazette: “It’s been a very barren, painful and miserable existence.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Journalists are citizens. When they break the law they should be prosecuted. But when successive juries in long, complex and colossally expensive cases refuse to convict them, those pressing charges should pay attention."

The Daily Mail:  "For its part, the Metropolitan Police has taken the default position of treating suspects like gangsters. And certainly no sign of retreat by the zealots at Hacked Off, who want State-backed Press regulation. The result? It was rather eloquently put by defence barrister Trevor Burke QC. He said: '(The) very worrying trend is that journalists that only report the news accurately, honestly and fearlessly now face being prosecuted in our criminal courts. 'You might be aware of events in Moscow . . .where free Press has long ceased to exist. It never did in China.' He said a public interest approach was paramount: 'It is the very basic function of a journalist in a free society to report the news without fear or failure. To expose hypocrisy and to reveal the truth.' The jury agreed. Operation Elveden has become a national shame. The runaway train has to be stopped."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader: "Our significant, if not total, libel victory [over Peter Cruddas] was followed by the acquittal of four journalists from The Sun on Friday on charges of encouraging misconduct in public office by paying civil servants. Our experience in the libel courts was that victory came after a long and costly battle. The wave of prosecutions of recent years is affecting the way journalists do their jobs. Freedom to report what is in the public interest and to expose wrongdoing is vital. We need to ensure that it is preserved."

The Guardian in a leader: "The relationship between source and reporter is complicated enough without adding the element of moral compromise which is introduced by handing over money. If payment is involved, it is strongly arguable that this should be declared at the time of publication. This may be an area on which the new press regulator Ipso might wish to issue guidelines. Meanwhile there needs to be a clear and consistent public interest defence to the entire battery of laws aimed at journalism, including official secrecy."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "This was part of the concerted campaign to control the flow of information and bring the Press to heel. The Gestapo tactics have been a monstrous abuse of police powers. Journalists have been dragged from their beds at dawn, their homes ransacked, their families intimidated."

Alan Rusbridger on the Guardian: "We are delighted the Supreme Court has overwhelmingly backed the brilliant 10-year campaign by Guardian reporter Rob Evans to shine daylight on the letters Princes Charles has been writing to ministers. The government wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to cover up these letters, admitting their publication would ‘seriously damage’ perceptions of the Prince’s political neutrality. Now they must publish them so that the public can make their own judgment. This is a good day for transparency in government and shows how essential it is to have a fully independent judiciary and free press."

Martin Rosenbaum on BBC News politics: "Forty police forces across the country have dismissed as 'vexatious'a BBC freedom of information (FOI) application about police monitoring of journalists' communications. It appears the police have adopted a virtually blanket policy of now rejecting all FOI requests about the use of their surveillance powers to collect communications data on journalists - irrespective of the questions actually asked or how often, if at all, that requester has raised the issue before."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Guardian: "During my 12 years as Sun editor I am sure minorities – and even majorities – were maligned. Editors think they know everything, that they have an umbilical cord to the thought processes of readers. They simply don’t."

John Plunkett ‏@johnplunkett on Twitter: "New BBC News website has 'find local news' button. Much more of this, may need 'find local newspaper' option."

Kath Viner on being appointed editor-in-chief of the Guardian: "I intend to lead a media organisation that is bold, challenging, open and engaging. It will be a home for the most ambitious journalism, ideas and events, setting the agenda and reaching out to readers all around the world.”

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor on Twitter: "Rather relieved that the Clarkson Rule wasn't in place back in the days when I was editing newspapers."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "If he'd stuck to just punching me, he'd have been fine." #Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "I adore tabloid newspapers. Anyone can say, 'Mr Paddy Ashdown, leader of the Liberal Democratic party, today admitted to an extramarital affair.' But it takes a special type of wit and brilliance to come up with 'It’s Paddy Pantsdown' and cover the whole damn thing in three words."

Or in five words, like this...


Tuesday 24 March 2015

The chill in relations between press and police - and when journalists went to jail to protect sources

I've done an article for InPublishing on the chill in relations between the press and police following Leveson, the arrests over allegations of hacking and paying public servants, plus the use of RIPA to access journalists' communications with their sources.

I also look back to a time when journalists went to prison rather than reveal their sources and were regarded as heroes by their peers. You can read it here.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Chancellor offers tax break hope for local press to Van Morrison says lazy rock journalists need a sense of humour

Pic: Jon Slattery
George Osborne in his Budget speech: “Local newspapers are a vital part of community life – but they’ve had a tough time in recent years – so today we announce a consultation on how we can provide them with tax support.”

Johnston Press chief ashley highfield on Twitter: "Osborne's local newspaper tax relief consultation great news for JP, and indicate strong Govt. desire to help us thrive."

The NUJ in a statement: "The NUJ has launched the Local News Matters campaign to reclaim a vital, vigorous press that is at the heart of the community it serves and is owned and operated in the public interest. As part of this, we have called for:
  • a short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news.
  • local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for a paper.
  • action to stem the job cuts and attack on quality journalism.
  • research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community media."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Eliott after the paper received 300 complaints over a Steve Bell strip cartoon about the SNP: "He is a cartoonist who makes Marmite seem like skimmed milk and he is unrepentant about the cartoon."

Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun [£]: “I think it’s fair to say that nature made a mistake when it invented the dinosaur. It was too big, too violent. So one day, all the dinosaurs died and now, many years later, no one mourns their passing. These big, imposing creatures have no place in a world which has moved on.”

A.A. Gill in the Sunday Times [£] on Clarkson: "At The Sunday Times, he and I work for a big corporation. But there is a sense that if things get lairy then the editor and management would stand by us.  At the BBC, some of Jeremy’s colleagues have treated him as a liability. Not just failed to appreciate him but briefed against him while taking the hundreds of millions his talent earns them and using his image and Top Gear to promote themselves around the world."

Award winner: Andrew Norfolk
Peter Preston on Andrew Norfolk in the Observer: "Andrew Norfolk, the Times reporter in Rotherham, is the hero of most press awards these days and was again at the press awards. Warm applause, but also a warm lesson as Norfolk thanked his editors, going back years, for giving him time, especially time listening quietly in court, to nail a great, sickening story. Time is the essence of investigation. Courts are the underreported casualty of staff cuts. We no longer sit through trials. We don’t register detail after an opening statement or two. We believe in open justice: but we’re shutting the door on it."

Gideon Spanier in The Times [£]: "The owner of the Daily Mirror is in talks with Richard Desmond about buying the Daily Express and has been given access to his newspaper group’s confidential accounts, The Times has learnt."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "Overall, no deal involving any of the Express titles makes sense for Trinity Mirror. It would appear that both [Richard] Desmond and [Simon] Fox are engaged in fishing expeditions. But neither looks likely to make a catch."

Roger Mosey ‏@rogermosey on Twitter: "My initial sense is if Cameron agrees to 1 election debate on terms acceptable to the broadcasters it's harder to empty chair him in others."

The Sunday Times in a statement after the Appeal Court ruling on its long running libel case with ex-Consdervative Party treasurer Peter Cruddas: "The Sunday Times and two of its journalists, Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake, are today completely vindicated for reporting that Peter Cruddas corruptly offered access to David Cameron and other leading members of the Government in exchange for donations to the Conservative party. As party treasurer, he told the undercover reporters that if they made substantial donations to the party they would have an opportunity to influence Government policy and to gain unfair commercial advantage through confidential meetings. The Court of Appeal has found that proposing this was unacceptable, inappropriate and wrong. This was an important public interest story. Our journalists acted with professionalism and integrity and with the full support of the newspaper’s editors and lawyers. They and the newspaper have fought this case for three years. Today’s judgment confirms that journalism, and in particular undercover journalism, plays a key role in exposing the conversations behind closed doors which public mistrust. In so doing, it serves a vital purpose in a democracy.”

Van Morrison in The Times [£] insists he enjoys a laugh: “They never write about this stuff in the rock magazines. They never write anything like that. They keep the mythology going — I am grumpy and never have a laugh — because they are so lazy. They might have to get a sense of humour.”

Thursday 12 March 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Clarkson story goes into overdrive to invasion of the front page promos

fleetstreetfox ‏@fleetstreetfox on Twitter: "Jeremy Clarkson in a fracas. No-one has ever seen a fracas outside a tabloid newspaper before, so intrigued by the Beeb's definition of it."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "My scarred right temple is open to lucrative exclusive offers to tell its story of a 'fracas' with @JeremyClarkson."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "I think I got into a Fracas once. Not much leg room, and pretty poor fuel consumption. Still nice to see Top Gear taking an interest."

The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I’M IRRITATED by the Twitterati’s glee at the imminent ‘downfall’ of Jeremy Clarkson. The man is an accomplished journalist who has columns in two of our best-selling newspapers, is the author of many chart-topping books and is a very clever broadcaster who knows his audience and delivers exactly what they want."

Jeremy Clarkson ‏@JeremyClarkson on Twitter: "Sorry Ed. It seems I knocked your "I'm a human" piece down the news agenda."

David Cameron on BBC Midlands Today: "All I would say - because he is a talent and he does amuse and entertain so many people, including my children who'll be heartbroken if Top Gear is taken off air - I hope this can be sorted out because it is a great programme and he is a great talent."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "Funny how the Lefties at the BBC were quick to proclaim ‘Je Suis Charlie’ after a French magazine offended Muslims, but never declare themselves ‘Je Suis Jeremy’ whenever he upsets someone."

The Sun[£] in a leader on Clarkson: "He may occasionally be a kn*b. But he is our kn*b. He is the People's kn*b."

The Times [£] in a leader on Clarkson: "He may have run out of road at the BBC but this is surely a life with a second act."

The Guardian in a leader on Clarkson: "Violent ogres are only entertaining in fairy tales. They don’t belong in public service broadcasting."

Dominic Ponsford ‏@Domponsford on Twitter: "Story about Jeremy Clarkson on The Guardian asks why people are writing so many stories about Jeremy Clarkson."

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield Highfield at the Digital Media Strategies conference, as quoted by the Guardian: “The economics of this business means we will end up with fewer full-time journalists on our books. What you end up with is a much more fluid model with contributors producing a larger percentage of the newspaper."

The Observer: "A future Labour government would take legal steps to ensure that live television debates become permanent features of general election campaigns, in a move to prevent politicians blocking them for their own self-interest."

Tim Walker ‏@ThatTimWalker On Twitter: "The most compelling argument against TV election debates is that the last ones gave us Nick Clegg."

Meirion Jones quoted by Nick Cohen in The Observer: “There is a small group of powerful people at the BBC who think it would have been better if the truth about Savile had never come out. And they aim to punish the reporters who revealed it.”

Alan Yentob on being hacked by Mirror journalists, as reported by the Guardian: “The cynical and systematic nature of this invasion of my privacy is staggering. Even now, some time after the Metropolitan police initially informed me I was a victim, I still find it hard to digest the sheer scale of what took place.”

Alan Rusbridger on Comment Is Free after being cautioned by police over the use of a tripod on Hampstead Heath: "What could I do? We’d been caught bang to rights. Like our colleagues defending charges at the Old Bailey I found myself mumbling that I didn’t know that what we’d done was illegal. But, as any schoolboy knows, ignorance is no defence."

Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "In February, the first full month without Page 3, the Sun recorded its lowest sale since early 1971, less than two years after Rupert Murdoch acquired the title."

"You won't need that here": What Jeremy Wilson was told when he turned up on his first day on the Guido Fawkes website with a copy of Essential Law for Journalists, as reported by Press Gazette.

The Media Blog ‏@TheMediaTweets on Twitter:  "It's in there somewhere: Has a newspaper ever had less space dedicated to its front page lead?"

[£] = paywall

Thursday 5 March 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Hacking back in news with MGN court case to Jihadi John scoop row

Barrister David Sherborne, acting for eight phone-hacking victims, In the High Court: “The evidence demonstrates that voicemail interception, as well as the unlawful obtaining of personal information by blagging or use of private investigators, was in widespread and habitual use by a large number of journalists across all three MGN titles.”

Paul Vickers, the former legal director of  Trinity Mirror and chair of  the Regulatory Funding Company, the funding body behind the Independent Press Standards Organisation, as quoted by Press Gazette"Having devoted a huge amount of my time to setting up Ipso, I do not want my position to be used by its enemies and the enemies of a robust free press as a weapon with which to beat it. I have therefore told the board of the RFC that I have brought forward my departure date and resigned as a director and chairman with immediate effect."

Caitlin Moran in The Times [£]: "I write books, TV shows, films, columns – and every industry award ceremony I go to, and every building I enter, the whiteness, the maleness, the standard London media accent, is the default. The only Asians are waiters; the only Liverpudlian accent is on the Tannoy on the Tube on the way there."

Lyse Doucet in The Observer: "I’ve met journalists who love war, love the adrenaline rush. I don’t, and none of my closest colleagues would say they do either."

Lynne Anderson, deputy chief executive of he News Media Association: “The news media industry has long been keen to explore a more positive relationship with the BBC, one in which independent commercial newspaper companies would be appropriately credited, and rewarded, for sharing their local – and global – content with the BBC, while being able to access publicly-funded content from the BBC...The NMA would welcome a thorough review of the BBC’s role and remit which properly examines how the BBC could benefit from and support a successful independent commercial news media rather than seeking to provide the universal solution for a market failure which doesn’t exist.”

Brian Williams, father of the Guardian and Observer NUJ chapel, after Kath Viner topped the staff poll for a new editor to succeed Alan Rusbridger:  “The journalists have had their say, now the ball is in the Scott Trust’s court. However, we are confident they will recognise the importance of the editorial staff’s opinion and give full weight to our choice.”

Andrew Billen in The Times [£] reviewing BBC 2's Reinventing the Royals: "Kevin Sim’s Diana: Her Story, Her Words was in the final stages of editing when Queengate happened. It was first postponed and then scrapped, thus depriving us of taped interviews with Diana conducted by her voice coach...The BBC says it was never finished. It could be transmitted tomorrow, insists Sim. I would say the BBC has an obligation to either slam it up on iPlayer now or release it to another public service broadcaster.

The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I want to believe what I read in my local paper; I want it to have authority. It’s a bit difficult to be taken seriously when your investigation into council wrongdoing sits between a gallery of pictures of kittens that look like Hitler and a list of Britain’s 37 top dogging spots. And don’t think for one minute that someone might see sense and call a halt to this madness. Local World has just announced that it is recruiting for a national digital team based in Kensington to produce “must-read, highly shareable content” for the group’s existing websites and future new product launches. I can hardly wait."

Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked: "For a few months now, Hacked Off, the self-elected moral arbiters of the British press, have been posing as the one and true defenders of press freedom. It’s a bit like Shane MacGowan making a stab to become the next chief exec of Alcoholics Anonymous. That this gang which instigated Leveson and breathed life back into the 300-year-old corpse of state regulation of the press can claim to care about press freedom confirms that what they lack in basic understanding of liberty they more than make up for with brass neck."

Adam Goldman of the Washington Post, quoted by the Daily Telegraph: "Mr Goldman said he was 'shocked' that Emwazi's identity stayed secret as long as it did and that the news was not first broken by a British media outlet.  He took a gentle dig at the BBC, which has tried to claim that it was the first to reveal Jihadi John's true identity in a story that was published before the Washington Post but little detail beyond the name. 'I think they learned it from us. What did they have? They had the name, we had the full story,' he said."