Thursday 29 October 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trinity Mirror becomes biggest regional press publisher to football mangers won't play ball with the press

Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox, after the company took control of Local World to become the UK's biggest regional newspaper publisher: “This is a good day for local media. Local World is a business we know and respect and by combining it with Trinity Mirror we will create an organisation of scale, with the talent and financial capacity to invest and adapt to the rapidly changing media landscape. It is a vote of confidence in local press and its future.” 

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on Trinity Mirror and Local World: "This deal is a further blow to media plurality. Already there is little choice on offer in our cities and major towns when it comes to buying a local newspaper. Trinity Mirror's domination will vastly reduce the little choice there is. The never-ending consolidation of the local media market is a consequence of the difficulties in increasing advertising revenue on digital products, but what is needed is a long-term vision and not short-term speculation.”

Mike Lowe on HoldTheFrontPage commenting on the Trinity Mirror and Local World deal: "As a Northcliffe veteran who owes his career to the old group, this is a very sad day."

Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, on the Freedom of Information Act, as reported by the Guardian: “It is, on occasion, misused by those who use it as, effectively, a research tool to generate stories for the media, and that is not acceptable."

Campaign for Freedom of Information director Maurice Frankel: “The FOI Act exists to help hold government to account, improve the public’s understanding of what it does does, to show whether policies are working and identify where public services need to be improved. Journalists are key users of the Act for those purposes and no-one should be surprised if that involves producing ‘stories’. That’s how the public learns what is going on."

Peter Preston in the Observer on Seumas Milne, Labour's new media chief: "Milne came to the Guardian long ago, highly recommended by Andrew Knight at the Economist. He is extremely clever in a Winchester and Oxbridge way. He edited some good – and not notably slanted – comment pages. He is quiet, often charming, a seeming-shy activist. Of course there are difficulties. Columns down the decades can be dredged for unexploded torpedoes. The “on leave” tag appears to make Seumas a once and continuing Guardian man, which won’t help relations with journalists from elsewhere and could hogtie former colleagues who aren’t on leave if they want to criticise Labour’s communications policies. Ethical quagmires ahead."

Lord Mandelson on The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4 on Seumas Milne: "He’s completely unsuited to such a job. He has little connection with mainstream politics or mainstream media in the country and yet he’s in charge of communications for the Labour party. That doesn’t sound very professional to me.”

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron: "It is time to go public with the position taken by Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton, the Conservative MP for Stockton South, who refuses point blank to have anything to do with The Northern Echo. He refuses to take our calls or provide us with answers to our questions and has told me to inform my reporters not to call him."

James Wharton MP on Facebook: "Now this long lasting disagreement has been brought to the fore I would again ask that any constituent with a concern about anything they read in the Echo please feel free to contact me directly. Or even better, don’t read it. There are other ways to get more balanced local news."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser on Newsquest plans to cut 10 editorial jobs  at the Bolton News: "This horrendous news comes just over a week after it was revealed Newsquest directors had awarded themselves a 26 per cent rise in 'performance-related payments' to a third of a million pounds. If this is performance and success I really don't want to see the failures. Newsquest continue to astound with a 'ground zero' approach to producing news with the fewest professional journalists anyone could imagine."

Sun editor Tony Gallagher in the Guardian on his time working in the restaurant Moro after he left the Telegraph: "When the story of my time at Moro reached the papers, I was annoyed by the patronising tone of some of the coverage, as if this were a job beneath journalists. In fact, a large proportion of the staff have degrees of one kind or another and are far more rounded than many of the graduates emerging straight from university to seek work on national newspapers."

Chelsea manager José Mourinho, as quoted by the Guardianat his weekly press conference: “You don’t get from me good and funny headlines. I’m going to treat your bosses the same way they treat me. No respect, no respect. And I’m not speaking about football. Football I’m ready to accept any kind of criticism, even the stupid ones. Private life and stupid things that you bring to light, I don’t like it. So we go to a different level of professional relationship.”

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal to reporters. as quoted by the Manchester Evening News: "I don’t give any more answers about Wayne Rooney. I am sick of them”

Thursday 22 October 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From the fightback begins over Leveson's libel costs plan to leaked Blair memo shows why we need a free press

Professor Tim Luckhurst in the foreword to Leveson's Illegal Legacy report: “In attempting to implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendation that exemplary damages should be available against news publishers ‘in actions for breach of privacy, breach of confidence and similar media torts as well as for libel and slander’, the Crime and Courts Act risks embarrassing the country royally. It menaces newspapers with a form of collective punishment for daring to insist upon the independence that allows their readers to trust them. It subjects them to rules expressly intended to impose requirements above and beyond those required by law.”

Nick Cohen on the Spectator: "On 3 November a state-created and state-funded quango called the Press Regulation Panel will start flexing its muscles and its £3 million budget. It will trigger exemplary damages for any news organisation, which loses a ‘news related’ court case, such as a libel or privacy action. A shadowy body called IMPRESS, whose financial backers are a mystery to me, says it will then apply to become the press regulator. If newspapers, magazines and websites fail to join IMPRESS, they will not only face punitive damages, but be forced to pay the other side’s cost in a libel case, regardless of whether they win or lose. Investigative or contentious journalism of any kind will become a formidably risky business in Britain: too risky for all local and most national titles."

Lord Black, speaking at the launch of Leveson's Illiberal Legacy, reported by Press Gazette: “I can certainly think of no other country where newspapers are forced to pay the costs of a trial for defamation where what they said was truthful and accurate, and proved to be so in court. Just think how odious that is in a free society – you can punished for honesty. The repercussions of that are enormous and the controls themselves undoubtedly contrary to the most basic definitions of human rights – on freedom of expression, and on arbitrary discrimination.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Had the new laws been in force at the time of the parliamentary expenses scandal, every MP involved could have sued The Daily Telegraph, knowing that even if they lost, they would not have to pay the newspaper’s legal fees. Faced with these financial penalties, many editors would simply choose not to risk publishing. Public disquiet over journalistic wrongdoing and phone hacking is perfectly understandable. Effectively forcing the press to sign up to a state-sponsored body, and the stifling of legitimate journalistic inquiry, is not."

Culture secretary John Whittingdale, speaking at the Society of Editors conference: "I have to say that at the moment, I am not convinced the time is right for the introduction of these costs provisions. Given the changes under way within the industry, the introduction of the new exemplary damages provisions, and the pressures on the industry, I question whether this additional step, now, will be positive and will lead to the changes I want to see. My mind is not made up, and I will want to examine the matter further in the coming weeks before taking any decision. But let me be very clear: I would like to see the press bring themselves within the Royal Charter’s scheme of recognition."

Mick Hume on Free Speech NOW!: "No doubt there are many imperfections with the press and the wider media today. But history suggests there is always one thing worse than a free press, and that is its opposite."

Alan Rusbridger, speaking at the Society of Editors' conference: "Of course, there’s no requirement for the press to deal with anyone fairly, impartially or in a balanced way - and, quite often, Fleet Street, relishes the freedom to be as aggressive and biased as it likes. That’s as it should be. But when Fleet Street is in fully cry you don’t half appreciate the BBC’s still small voice of calm."

Simon Schama berates Rod Liddle on Question Time: "Do not presume to lecture me about the inadequacy of an emotional response to mass human suffering. Go back to your journalistic hackery and talk about outcomes, and turn your suburban face away from the plight of the miserable."

Toby Young in the Daily Mail: "According to this high priest of the liberal intelligentsia, Liddle didn’t deserve to be taken seriously because he was a resident of that lower middle-class hinterland that people like Schama only ever see from the business-class cabin of a Boeing 747 as it soars away from Heathrow."

Mail on Sunday in a leader: "Written just before the famous Texas meeting at which Mr Blair is said to have pledged unconditional support for the Iraq invasion, the secret Powell memorandum is a historic document of some significance, especially useful to us because of the disgraceful delay in publishing the Chilcot report. It has the uncomfortable ring of truth. No doubt its publication will be unwelcome to many in our establishment. But it is the task of a free press to report on such things. The Mail on Sunday’s revelation of this inconvenient truth is yet another example of the urgent need to preserve that free press from the growing and real threat of state regulation."


Thursday 15 October 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: Don't quote me I'm from the FoI Commission to Kloop challenges British journalists to prove they're not liars

Rajeev Sval in the Guardian: "The government-appointed body reviewing the Freedom of Information Act has held its first official briefing – but journalists were asked not to disclose who was there or attribute what they said."

Campaign for Freedom of Information director Maurice Frankel on the possible introduction of charges for FoI requests: “It would make the FoI Act inaccessible for individual requesters and small and medium organisations as well as for freelance journalists.”

The Guardian in a leader: "If FoI had one aim, it was meant to be forcing political decision-making out into the open. But Mr [Jack] Straw this year let slip to undercover reporters that he thought some political work was best done “under the radar”. What an irony it would be if Britain’s transparency legislation ended up being neutered without detection."

The Sun in a leader [£]: "The clue is in the Act's name. This information should be freely available."

Charles Moore in the Telegraph: "Since we are in the mood for government inquiries and police investigations, I suggest that one or two more get started. Let’s look at possible collusion between MPs such as Mr Watson, police officers, the media and child abuse lawyers and campaigners to put pressure on vulnerable 'survivors' to make lurid, unsubstantiated claims which they could then repeat."

Nick Cohen in the Observer on Labour deputy leader Tom Watson: "When he hounded a dying man to his grave, Watson sank lower than the News of the World reporters he and Hacked Off once fought. However invasive and prurient their scoops, they were at least true. Unless convincing witnesses come forward, you will not be able to say the same about Watson’s 'exposé'."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on regional press publishers, speaking to the Lords Communications Committee"The titans, who run these groups, either here or from the United States, are to blame for the failure of their own business models. They enjoyed lavish profits for many years and didn't re-invest in journalism. They have cut and cut costs to maintain high profit levels and have not cared they do not have enough reporters to send to council meetings or cover such vital areas such as health and education and matters of importance to local communities. Now they see the BBC is ripe for the picking and have gone hell for leather to secure money from the corporation."

BBC Director-general Tony Hall on Sue Lloyd-Roberts, who died this week: "She went to dangerous places to give a voice to people who otherwise would not be heard. She was quite simply a remarkable woman who got remarkable stories. She will be deeply missed."

NUJ organiser Chris Morley on Newsquest's annual pre-tax profit of £58.65m: "This is still a very profitable company whose employees are on their knees with year after endless year without a pay rise. This has to stop in 2016 and staff must share in the one-sided gain the company is reaping from massive productivity increases coming through the grim conveyor belt of job losses."

Isabel Oakeshott on that pig story in Call Me Dave, speaking at the Cheltenham Festival, reported in The Times [£]: “Would I have got that story into The Sunday Times? Well, I reckon it probably could have been a diary story, expressed much more euphemistically.”
Poynter"For the second year in a row, newspaper reporters have found themselves among uncomfortable company on CareerCast’s annual list of endangered jobs: Right next to mail carriers, meter readers, farmers and other professions that have been disrupted by technology."

New Liverpool F.C. manager Jurgen Kloop to journalists at his first press conference: "All the people told me so much about British press, it's up to you to show me they are all liars."


Thursday 8 October 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From Peston poached, praised and criticised to PM on what Twitter isn't

Robert Peston on his BBC blog: "So you may have noticed that I am off to another place. I don't think this is my last blog post here, but I did want to say something a bit more personal than normal on this occasion - which is that working for BBC News has been the high point of my working life. Its unrivalled commitment to objectivity, seriousness and relevance is a beacon. And its journalists, editors, producers and cameramen are world class."

Piers Morgan@piersmorgan on Twitter: "The more BBC stars queue up to mock & brief against @Peston, more obvious it is a) how good he is and b) what a coup ITV have pulled off..."

Andew Marr, on Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 2: It is rumoured that Robert Peston, a man crippled by a sense of his own lack of self-worth and insecurity, is going to be up against me doing an ITV 9am politics show. I think all competition is good, I think we all do better if we're competed against, head to head. Fine. Bring it on."

Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail: "Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I believe that we journalists should be personally respectful when we ask questions of politicians. They are elected; we are not.I don’t mean that the questions should be deferential or soft, but they should be asked in a civil manner.  For that reason, I don’t believe I was the only BBC viewer shocked to witness Robert Peston, the BBC economics editor, asking questions of the Chancellor on his recent trip to China in a casual shirt, unbuttoned, reclining in his chair."

Michael Crick ‏@MichaelLCrick on Twitter: "Anarchists shout 'Tory scum' at us as we enter Conservative conference, and I was spat at."

suzanne moore ‏@suzanne_moore on Twitter: "I do get that a lot of people hate journalists. An elite from very narrow pool. That pool has narrowed since I started. Its a problem."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "The Guardian: writing incomprehensible headlines for awful hipsters since 1834."

Mr Justice Saunders refusing to lift an order banning the media naming the 15-year-old Blackburn boy who plotted an Anzac Day terror attack in Australia, as reported by PA/Press Gazette: "I am satisfied that in this case there will only be a limited deterrent effect in naming and shaming, and that there is a risk that in some parts of our society he will be glorified for what he has done. That glorification is more likely to be effective if (the defendant) is identified and more likely to encourage others to do what he has done."

Committee to Protect Journalists' executive director Joel Simon in a statement on Turkish journalist, Ahmet Hakan, who was assaulted by four men in Istanbul: "Turkish journalists have been jailed, harassed, insulted, and sued, but this physical attack makes clear that press freedom is being further undermined in Turkey. Authorities must take immediate action to ensure that all those responsible for this attack are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The right of Ahmet Hakan to express himself is guaranteed under Turkish law and must be protected."

Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "Former FT editor Andrew Gowers is nothing if not courageous - PR director for Leahman Brothers, BP during great oil spill and now Glencore."

The News Media Association in a submission to the Government: "The NMA believes that business rates relief should apply to all properties which are involved in the production of local newspapers, irrespective of the type of property occupied or the size of publisher. Some of our members still have properties in town centres and it is important that they continue, where possible, to have a presence on the high street so they remain central to the communities they serve."

David Cameron told the Conservative party conference the reason polls were wrong in the run-up to the General Election was because: "Britain and Twitter are not the same thing."

Thursday 1 October 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From being a journalist means never having to grow up to Llama Drama Ding Dong! the famous headline that just won't die

James Delingpole in the Sunday Times [£] on why he revealed in Call Me Dave he had smoked dope with David Cameron in their student days: "Was this naive, irresponsible and impulsive of me? Well, of course. That’s why I chose to be a journalist rather than, say, a diplomat or a senior civil servant or a lawyer. The whole point of being a hack is — or should be, I believe — that you never grow up. You spend your whole life in a state of arrested adolescence, forever the cheeky fifth-former at the back of the bus, waving for attention, gurning for easy laughs and flicking two fingers at authority."

David Cameron on Sky News says he won't sue authors of Call Me Dave: "No. I'm too busy running the country, taking decisions, getting on with work. If you do a job like this, you do get people who have agendas and write books and write articles and write all sorts of things. The most important thing is not to let it bother you, get on with the job."

Jeremy Corbyn in his speech to the Labour conference: "Now some media commentators who’ve spent years complaining about how few people have engaged with political parties have sneered at our huge increase in membership. If they were sports reporters writing about a football team they’d be saying:  'They’ve had a terrible summer. They’ve got 160,000 new fans. Season tickets are sold out. The new supporters are young and optimistic. I don’t know how this club can survive a crisis like this'.”

Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail: "No one who is loathed by the bankers, the BBC and Tony Blair all at once can be that bad. Corbyn is the first genuinely original party leader to emerge in Britain since a certain Margaret Hilda Thatcher made her first speech to Conservative conference in 1975. Remember: the establishment hated her, too."

Peter Barron, editor of the Northern Echo, on the way the national press covered the closure of Teesside's steelworks with the loss of 1,700 jobs: "At best underwhelming, at worst pretty pathetic, and a failure to understand the consequences of what is happening in part of the United Kingdom. Imagine if a 150-year-old industry in the Home Counties was being consigned to the scrapheap, with 1,700 jobs axed. I respectfully suggest the national press might find it would have different priorities. Thank goodness for local papers."

Peter Preston on Newsquest-owner Gannett in the Observer: "Gannett is not well-loved here, or in the US. Gannett seems to exist to keep shareholders cheerful and pay executives royally. Gannett is a row of figures on the bottom line."

Sean O'Neill in The Times: "He hosts the most salacious show on daytime TV — a raucous parade of abandoned spouses, jilted fiancées and bitter ex-boyfriends. Yet Jeremy Kyle emerged yesterday as Britain’s most unlikely shrinking violet with a plea for privacy over his own private life.  Famous for curating controversy and confrontation on his eponymous ITV show, Kyle, 50, has hired lawyers to request a media blackout over his recent separation from his wife, Carla Germaine, 40. It is understood that the break-up is amicable and the couple are anxious to protect their three children from media intrusion."

Daily Mail in a leader: "In what looks like a stitch-up between the Civil Service and Government, Sir Jeremy [Heywood - Cabinet Secretarytold his audience of fellow mandarins that an ‘independent panel’ had begun work to look at the ‘pros and cons of the current regime’. Its membership? The five person cabal includes the chairman of Ofcom, which is itself subject to FoI, and two ex-Home Secretaries – including Jack Straw, who has repeatedly argued the law allows too great a level of disclosure. Little wonder that 140 freedom of information campaigners wrote to the Prime Minister this week to complain that the commission is prejudiced and appears to have been established to propose savage new curbs on the public’s right to know.David Cameron – who, let’s not forget, was elected on a promise of greater ‘transparency’ – should stand ready to throw this biased panel’s findings in the Downing Street bin."

Daily Star resurrects a famous headline over the story of love rival zookeepers. I blogged about the origins of Llama Drama Ding Dong! here. It first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post above a story about a llama that escaped and caused havoc in a school playground. It was adapted by the Sun over a story about President Obama meeting the Dalai Lama despite sparking a row with China: Obama Llama Ding Dong; and was the title of a book on headlines.