Thursday 30 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From 'job massacre' at Newsquest newspapers to the journalists who exposed corruption at Tower Hamlets Council

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, in a statement on 30 more proposed job cuts at Newsquest: “The words used by our members following today's announcements are 'shell shocked' and 'job massacre'. After so many casualties and waves of cutbacks at Newsquest centres, it does seem that the company is at war with its staff. "

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, objecting to the pay rise for Johnston Press chief Ashley Highfield: "A pay rise of £26,000 is more than the pay of a news editor on some weekly titles in an entire year. The number of jobs axed by JP over the past three years has left staff stressed and newsrooms struggling. That's why Johnston Press NUJ members have called on the directors to give up their bonuses and invest the money in frontline editorial where it matters."

GuardianObserver NUJ ‏@go_NUJ on Twitter: "Johnston Press wants to know #WhatMattersToMe Tell them you want a strong local press with proper pay and staffing levels for journalists."

Paul Dacre, quoted by the Spectator"All newspapers – I would argue – face the threat of being chained by statutory press controls as an authoritarian state, aided by those giants of rectitude Max Mosley and Hugh Grant – becomes ever more powerful and intolerant of criticism. As it conspires to extend its control over a commercially viable free press which I love because it is beholden to no one and the only genuinely free thing we have left in modern Britain."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement: "“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tabloid press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long. I am an unswerving advocate of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), but it is not absolute. Article 20 of the same Covenant says ‘Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’”

Jeremy Paxman interviewed in the Radio Times: "I don't see Newsnight, I'm afraid. My idea of fun is to go to bed at 10.30pm and read a book."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "Do not forget either that Rahman at all times enjoyed the mulish support of Ken Livingstone and elements of what now passes for the British left. The BBC, the Daily Telegraph, Private Eye and Ted Jeory, a fantastic Tower Hamlets reporter, who exposed on his blog the corruption stories that local papers wouldn’t print, fought back. But with honourable exceptions, London’s leftwing press ignored the stink in its own backyard and dismissed the accusations against Rahman as evidence of a 'deep substrate of' – you guessed it – 'racism'."

Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph: "Rahman’s removal from office represents a victory for The Telegraph which has tirelessly investigated allegations of corruption and has long called for further scrutiny of Rahman’s office."

Ted Jeory in the Independent: "I started my spare-time blog in 2010 when I realised my former paper, the East London Advertiser, was no longer able or willing to keep an eye on the detail of the council administration. I kept plugging away where it should have been. For that, I received numerous legal threats from the town hall. None succeeded. But the retreat of so many local papers is deeply worrying. How many other Lutfur Rahmans are there out there?"

Daily Mail "Journalists rather than police or officials exposed Lutfur Rahman’s corruption – often at personal risk. It was only after dogged investigations by reporters such as Andrew Gilligan and Panorama’s John Ware that the scandal was revealed."

Thursday 23 April 2015

Quotes of the Week: From Operation Elveden undone to an interview tip from Lynn Barber

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "Operation Elveden: 42 charges against Sun journalists, 0 convictions."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The acquitted journalists, three from The Sun and one from the Mirror, are relieved but understandably angry. Like ten others before them and those spared and still awaiting trial, they have been subjected to long legal ordeals at a cost of £20 million in a process that juries have consistently rejected as flawed. The prosecutions appear to have ignored almost to the end the real nature androle of journalism as a foundation of free speech. Only today has that fundamental right been acknowledged but only as an attempt to justify previous misjudgments."

Ex-Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald on the Today programme: “It looks as though in the charging decisions that were made in the past in the Elveden cases, not enough weight was attached to the public interest in free expression and the freedom of the press, and that was an error I think the DPP [Alison Saunders] has tried to correct by dumping these cases.”

Tim Walker ‏@ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "Surely we are at the point where the people who approved Operation Elveden ought to be considering their positions."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "The authoritarian fiasco of Operation Elveden is only the end result of a campaign to sanitise Britain’s unruly press, involving everybody from political leaders and top judges to police chiefs, celebrity crusaders and assorted media snobs. All of them share the same contempt for what one top prosecutor called ‘the gutter press’."

Brian Cathcart on Inforrm's blog: "It might be thought that News International (now News UK), having failed to give its journalists proper legal advice about paying public officials and then having presented evidence against them to the police, might have shown shame and humility. The fact that it now attacks the police and the CPS for taking proper independent decisions demonstrates, yet again, the breathtaking hypocrisy to which the big newspapers are particularly prone."

Simon Usborne in The Independent on Katie Hopkins: "Hopkins has children to feed and dress - and we can unfollow her, and avoid what she writes and says. Free country, free speech. Just look the other way. But when a national newspaper, which gives this brand an audience of two million people, happily prints language that might give Hitler pause, is that still OK? Or is it worth responding this time, even if she’ll love every minute?"

Daily Mirror ‏@DailyMirror on Twitter: "As a public service we are live blogging pictures of nice things while @KTHopkins is on@LBC"

Jonathan Liew in the Telegraph: "Increasingly, and worryingly, a consensus is emerging that the only interpretation of sport worth hearing is by those involved in it. 'You’ve never played the game' is a frequent jibe aimed at reporters, and yet this world-view is an assault not just on the media, but on everyone. Had sport been allowed to write its own history over the years, Lance Armstrong would still be a seven‑time Tour de France winner, the Pakistani spot-fixers would have gone unpunished, and everyone would be looking forward to a wonderful 2022 World Cup in Qatar."

The Times [£] in a leader on Twitter: "But, contrary to its image, Twitter is not just a medium for exchanging banal experiences. It is a means for social exchange whose value lies precisely in its capacity for being used as the individual wants or needs. If you want to promote a book or an idea or a product then Twitter can connect you to a discriminating audience. If you want to receive links to the best expert arguments at home or reports from far-off countries, a judicious use of Twitter will furnish you with them. And if you merely want to be involved in some small way in the nation’s conversation, then you can do that too. Without paying."

An interview tip from Lynn Barber in @XCityMag"A trip to the loo is often instructive - it's where people put their awards and cartoons - things they're proud of and want visitors to see...look for the pills!"

[£] = paywall

Thursday 16 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From political parties' pledges on press to what made Murdoch a radical?

Labour Party manifesto: “We remain strongly committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. We expect the industry to establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for individuals, as set out in the Royal Charter, and agreed by all parties in Parliament. We made a promise to victims of the phone hacking scandal. We stand by that promise and will keep it.”

Conservative Party manifesto: “We will continue to defend hard-won liberties and the operation of a free press. But alongside the media’s rights comes a clear responsibility, which is why we set up the public, judge-led Leveson Inquiry in response to the phone-hacking scandal, created a new watchdog by Royal Charter and legislated to toughen media libel laws.”

Liberal Party manifesto: "Introduce statutory public interest defences for exceptional cases where journalists may need to break the law (such as RIPA, the 2010 Bribery Act, and the 1998 Computer Misuse Act) to expose corruption or other criminal acts. Ensure judicial authorisation is required for the acquisition of communications data which might reveal journalists’ sources or other privileged communications, for any of the purposes allowed under RIPA; and allow journalists the opportunity to address the court before authorisation is granted, where this would not jeopardise the investigation."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Styanistreet: "The National Union of Journalists is deeply concerned about reports from local newspapers and our members in the BBC that reporters and photographers, many of them with local knowledge of the area where an election event or photo-opportunity is being held, are being denied access or are being blocked from asking the questions they know their readers and viewers want to hear."

Richard Desmond in the Express on why he is donating £1 million to UKIP: "I firmly believe in Ukip. It's a party for good, ordinary British people. It is not run by elitists.They are struggling to have a voice. They do not have a massive party machine or highly paid public relations people. They are human; they are not perfect and they do not pretend to be. But what they believe in is the best for the British people. They are the sort of people who will stand up for people who are struggling."

Matt Wells ‏@MatthewWells on Twitter: "Another one for 'Only in the British election" - Nigel Farage backs Ukip candidate in sausage roll bribery row "

Nick Robinson ‏@bbcnickrobinson on Twitter: "Good to be back on air. Don't worry about the voice. It doesn't hurt & I'm not risking my recovery. I'm listening to Drs & speech therapist."

From Press Gazette: "At least 3,400 press officers and other communications staff are employed by the UK's local councils. Press Gazette used the Freedom of Information Act to ask 435 city, borough and district councils across the UK how many people they employ in their communications departments."

Andrew Morton asked in the Telegraph about the reaction to the success of his book on Princess Diana: "There was a lot of jealousy. I was dubbed a 'tabloid oik from Leeds'. I’m quite sure if I’d been an effete former Etonian, everything would have been fine."

David Yelland ‏@davidyelland on Twitter: "Very few people in public life have been made to suffer again and again like Andy Coulson has. It just seems too much to me. It really does."

From Exaro: "Rebekah Brooks is set to return to The Sun following her acquittal last year of all charges related to the “phone-hacking” scandal. The former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper division in the UK is being lined up to take charge of the paper’s digital operation and its video offering, according to well-placed sources at The Sun."

Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Guardian today suggests my dad's expose of Gallipoli fiasco led to my anti-establishment views. Maybe, but confirmed by many later events."

Thursday 9 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From newspapers are crazy not to nurture their older readers to rise of the SNP freaks out a fearful Fleet Street

Stefano Hatfield in the Guardian: "Newspapers are crazy, newspapers spend so much money chasing a market that is not really interested in them, young people, instead of nurturing the audience they’ve got, that is, 50 somethings. I think they are just beginning to wake up to that, just beginning to change.”

Grey Cardigan @thegreycardigan on Twitter: "Is this really the front page of a national newspaper?"

Sean O’Neill, crime and security editor of The Times [£], : "Welcome to post-Leveson Britain — whose leaders march in Paris for free speech and declare 'Je suis Charlie' while at home they undermine the same principle. The buzzwords of our 'information age' are transparency, scrutiny, big data and 24-hour live feeds. The reality is that we face a blizzard of 'content' which is blinding us to the fact that we are being led by the nose into a sinister period of state secrecy, control and censorship."

The Daily Mail in a leader on Edward Snowden: The Mail is passionate in its defence of free speech, but this right has to be balanced against public safety and we remain convinced these leaks have seriously weakened Britain’s ability to protect its citizens. Snowden has made us all less safe and the Guardian, in its self-righteousness, has been his willing accomplice."

Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "The supposed virtue of a journalism of the people by the people for the people is nothing more than a way of publishers maximising profit. Media companies are using the technology as a way of reducing labour costs rather than as a way of democratising, and thereby enhancing, editorial content."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott on protests over the paper commissioning a piece by Kelvin MacKenzie on immigration: "My journalistic instincts tell me it is wrong to ban MacKenzie, not least because readers wouldn’t have read his admission that the Sun maligned minorities. But what I realised on re-reading the emails is that this may appear an indulgent, abstract view of the world to those whose lives were shattered by the deaths at Hillsborough and who have lived with it every day since. We acknowledge that."

Nick Davies in the Guardian: "A man who worked closely with Rupert Murdoch for years says: 'Rupert is very loyal … until he isn’t any more.' There is no sign of his retaining any loyalty to his disobedient prime minister. Nor is there the faintest glimmer of affection for Ed Miliband, who had reached only the earliest stage of attempted hand-holding before speaking out against the hacking and – much more serious – organising the sabotage of the Murdoch bid for BSkyB... So,Cameron and Miliband and anybody else who fancies themselves as a political leader might as well speak out – to protest against news organisations that print propaganda and call it journalism, who are happy to smear and to expose the sex lives of those who dare oppose them, who behave as though it were their job to decide who runs the country, who after all the scandal and all the exposure of their crimes and abuse of power still enjoy the prerogative of harlots. What do those politicians have to lose? Nothing but the chains of fear."

Meanwhile In Scotia @MeanwhileScotia on Twitter: "Can anyone spot the subtle difference between the English and Scottish versions of The Daily Mail#NoCashPrize"

BBC Scotland's James Cook @BBCJamesCook on Twitter: "What an extraordinary level of vicious abuse I have received today for simply reporting the news. Is this the country we want folks? Is it?"

Fraser Nelson on his Spectator blog: "To nationalist zealots, a BBC journalist asking challenging questions of the Dear Leader is inherently reprehensible and demonstrates a collapse of journalistic standards. Today, even serious SNP-sympathising commentators have been demanding that the Telegraph apologises for revealing a leaked memo...The SNP leadership are, in my experience, refreshingly open-minded, good-humoured and intelligent. But the problem with nationalisms as a creed is that it attracts, as its followers, an angry mob – in the SNP’s case, a digital lynch mob. I suspect we’ll hear a lot more from them before this campaign is out."

openDemocracy: "Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Westminster has been replaced with a bouncy castle, and our political class with hysterical children. As the long anticipated rise of the SNP looms closer into sight, the Conservative press seems to have wet itself in fear."


Thursday 2 April 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From the online chase for clickbait turns journalists into thieves and liars to should star columnists hit sub editors?

Nick Cohen blogs on the online chase for clickbait: "The system turns journalists into thieves and liars. Not the traditional journalistic frauds in the Jayson Blair/Johann Hari mould but liars who lie because lying is a corporate imperative. To get traffic, fewer and fewer news sites can afford to send out writers to find original content. So they steal from other news sites, or lift and repackage a YouTube video or Twitter exchange that may go viral."

Nick Clegg, quoted in the Guardian: “I have long been concerned that the laws of the land are not clear enough on the public interest defence for journalists and other people who are covering information in the interests of the public. It’s just far too opaque, in too many of our laws, exactly what is the strength and nature of a public interest defence. I would like to see that clarified in law, my party has always advocated that. The fact that prosecutors are relying on 13th century laws, that we don’t have an up-to-date definition of what a public interest defence is, shows the need for a proper review and a proper reform of the law in this area.”

Daily Mail in a leader: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Posing as a champion of Press freedom, Nick Clegg pledges a law offering special status to journalists and a public interest defence for responsible reporting. Forgive the Mail if we sound ungrateful – but no, thanks. Indeed, the last thing any true freedom-lover wants is self-interested and often self-enriching MPs defining what is in the public interest.  But then Mr Clegg, whose stitch-up led to the disgraceful post-Leveson clampdown on newspapers, has hardly a true liberal bone in his body. How significant his latest idea was floated in the Guardian, whose ability to lose eye-watering sums of money is matched only by its almost psychotic hatred of the commercially viable free Press."

Lord Thomas, quoted in The Times [£] after allowing an appeal by a former News of the World journalist convicted of“This is without doubt a difficult area of the criminal law. An ancient common law offence is being used in circumstances where it has rarely before been applied.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, speaking in a debate on state surveillance at City University:  "The secret back-door accessing of data – which has led to sources being identified and outed – puts journalism and journalists in an incredibly vulnerable position. It renders our collective ability to work safely and in a way that genuinely guarantees the safety and confidentiality of others nigh on impossible."

The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "I thought all my friends in Newsquest who have had their livelihoods taken away might want to know how the boss of their parent company is muddling by.
Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett, earned an eye-watering total of $12.4 million in 2014, compared with a measly $7.9 million in 2013. Just think of that when you’ve got to go home and tell your wife that you’ve got to take the children out of school, sell the house and move to Wales to work in a ‘subbing’ factory."

Ad agency boss Sir Martin Sorrell, quoted in The Times [£]: “There is an argument at the moment going on about the effectiveness of newspapers and magazines, even in their traditional form, and maybe they are more effective than people give them credit [for]. There is some interesting data that I have seen recently on consumer engagement in terms of newspapers and magazines — just like we’ve seen in traditional TV.”

Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Thanks for 2 mentions, Ed Miliband. Only met once for all of 2 minutes when you embarrassed me with over the top flattery."

Kay Burley ‏@KayBurley on Twitter: "Oh look @guardian have bothered to write about my frock. My 37 years as a journalist have all been worth it."

Graham Stringer, MP, in a letter to The Times [£]: "Sir, Having defended the continued employment of Jeremy Clarkson at the BBC, can The Times inform its readers which of its star columnists are allowed to hit its sub-editors?"