Thursday 28 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's 'fragile foundations' to is this the best local headline of the year so far?

David Pemsel, chief executive of the Guardian News & Media, announcing plans to cut costs by 20 per cent“We need to create a confident and secure footing to then be able to be as innovative and progressive as we’ve always been. I don’t want to just pile on the ‘let’s be innovative and bravely go into this new world’ when the foundation is that fragile.”

Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: "The Guardian’s abiding problem, however, is that the people who run it seem unable to add up, or at least read a balance sheet. Company revenues are up 10 per cent over the past five years, which isn’t bad in these straitened times. Alas, costs rose by 23 per cent, with 479 new editorial and commercial staff hired to work on a paper that already has many more journalists than its rivals."

Michael Wolff ‏@MichaelWolffNYC on Twitter: "Guardian defenders said it could live off the interest on its almost billion pounds trust. But in a year it's spent 10% of its principal."

Tony Gallagher ‏@tonygallagher on Twitter: "Can anyone tell me where in the paper is The Guardian story on its horrendous losses?"

The Daily Telegraph reports: "Jack Straw, a member of the five-strong panel reviewing the Freedom of Information Act, advised a paying client how to avoid the release of information relating to the parliamentary scandal in which he was engulfed.  Mr Straw told his client, a commodities firm, that it could argue that emails he exchanged with the Foreign Office on its behalf contained “commercially sensitive” information that should not be made public under the legislation."

BuzzFeed News reports: "The watchdog set up by the government to oversee a new system of press regulation has spent at least £589,000 of public money in its first year of existence, despite having no one yet to regulate, BuzzFeed News has learned. The Press Recognition Panel was founded to oversee a new system of press regulation following the Leveson inquiry into media ethics following phone hacking at the News of the World. However, a lack of support from the media industry means the panel, which has been promised up to £3 million of public funds over three years, currently exists in isolation, with a staff of six and no press regulator to oversee."

Peter Preston in the Observer on reporting opinion polls: "Papers and broadcasters must test the information they display. They have a duty not merely to mention sample size or methods used, but comparative costs of various surveys (more expense should mean more skilled resource) and the record of individual pollsters. They need someone to hand like Professor John Curtice who can crunch his own numbers. They need the utmost caution when they blithely turn data into a shock headline. And if that entails much less zippy certainty at too high a cost so we don’t get another 1,942 polls by 2020? Well, into every media life, a little chastened scepticism must eventually fall."

Andy Coulson in PRWeek on his new PR company Coulson Chappell: "I’ve always wanted to establish and grow my own company and in Henry I have the perfect business partner. From our combined experience Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice."

John Prescott ‏@johnprescott on Twitter: "I see Andy Coulson has got a new job in PR. I left him a good luck message on my mobile."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on a 38 degrees petition calling for Andrew Neil and Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked for inviting Stephen Doughty, the shadow foreign affairs minister, to announce his resignation on the Daily Politics show: "Calling for journalists to be sacked for doing their job is farcical. This was a legitimate story any journalist would have wanted to run on their show. You cannot run witch hunts against journalists just because you don't like the news they report. In the same way we supported journalists – at the BBC and elsewhere - who were attacked on social media by people from both sides of the argument on independence during the Scottish Referendum, we will not tolerate people who try to suppress legitimate news coverage."

Home Secretary, Theresa May, in a speech at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Irish Embassy, said it was not right that people had been put on pre-trial bail: “Not just for months, but sometimes years without being charged, and their life put on hold”.

Charlie Ashcroft ‏@charlieashcroft on Twitter: "The Central Somerset Gazette with an early contender for headline of the year so far."

Thursday 21 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the joy of scoops to columnists bring Bowie 'hysteria' down to earth

Robert Peston, interviewed in the Guardian: “There is no better fun than getting a whiff of a scoop and then landing it. It is the best fun ever, and if anybody in our trade tells you otherwise they shouldn’t really be in our trade."

Newsquest NUJ group chapel motion: “This group chapel expresses deep concern at the lack of communication between regional centres and the Newport hub. This is an inherent flaw in the system established by Newsquest and calls on management to address this urgently to safeguard the quality of the products and the journalism produced. To be clear, the criticism made is of the system, not the people having to work within the system. Unnecessary pressure and conflict is being caused to all as a result.”

Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard: "Newsquest’s cost-saving decision to create centralised production hubs in Newport, South Wales, and Weymouth has not proved as efficient as hoped. The company’s editors have not been thrilled with the headline-writing skills of sub-editors located many miles away who lack relevant local knowledge. I would guess that this particular problem will gradually be solved by sensible compromise. What it indicates, however, is the way local papers are moving ever further from their audiences. In a digital world, where everyone is a click or two away from everyone else and everything they want, it is easy to forget the virtues of maintaining a local presence. Publishers may have no economic alternative but to cut and run, but they do so at their peril."

Rosie Brighouse, legal officer for Liberty, on the judgment regarding David Miranda’s 2013 detention at Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act: “This judgment is a major victory for the free press. Schedule 7 has been a blot on our legal landscape for years – breathtakingly broad and intrusive, ripe for discrimination, routinely misused. Its repeal is long overdue. It is also a timely reminder of how crucial the Human Rights Act is for protecting journalists’ rights. Once again it has come to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of power by the State.”

Johnston Press in a trading update: “As part of the group’s portfolio review, a number of brands have been identified that are not part of its long-term future, as they fall outside its selected markets, do not match the audience focus, or do not offer the levels of digital growth sought by the group. A process has been initiated to explore the sale of these assets to identified parties."

The Times in a leader[£]: "A second inquest into the death of Poppi Worthington is soon to begin, entirely due to media intervention. This disturbing case should stand as a reminder that justice in the dark is no justice at all."

Labour Party report on why it lost the General Election: “It is the fate of every Labour leader of the opposition to be the target of ferocious attack from partisan sections of our media. However, Ed Miliband faced an exceptionally vitriolic and personal attack. Even before he courageously took on the public concerns that led to the Leveson inquiry, elements in the news media seemed determined to try to destroy him.”

John Prescott on TwitLonger"I thought Andrew Marr's interview this morning with Jeremy Corbyn was a disgrace...All journalists should recognise the public wants to here what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday. So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors. If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them."

Sherif Mansour, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, on the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran: "We welcome news of the release of Jason Rezaian, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place. The farce of a judicial process that kept him in custody for 544 days has earned Tehran nothing but scorn from the international community. The Iranian government should begin taking steps immediately to improve its press freedom record by releasing all journalists imprisoned in relation to their work."

Henry Mance in the Financial Times: "The Guardian newspaper is braced for significant job losses after it burnt through more than £70m in cash last year, according to people familiar with its performance. The left-leaning publisher, which runs one of the world’s most popular news websites, is preparing to embrace austerity as it cuts costs across the business."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell  on Twitter re-FT Guardian story: "Sad news for journalism, but also a check on those journalists happy to glory in their condemnation of paywalls."

Fraser Nelson in The Spectator on Philip Webster who has just retired from The Times: "I once went on a press trip with him, when Blair was in the habit of jetting around the world trying to drum up support for the Iraq war. During the flight I spent ages on my laptop, fretting about how to report it all – writing draft after draft, making edit after edit. I was sitting across the aisle from Phil, who was reading a novel. When the plane landed, he switched on his mobile and started to dictate a story from the top of his head, glancing at his notebook only to read out quotes, which he had written in his Pitman shorthand (his was the fastest in the lobby)."

Giles Coren in The Times [£] on the reaction to the death of David Bowie: "The hysteria was positively Diana-like (indeed the two had much in common — all skinny and sad, obsessed with hair and clothes, desperately shagging everything that moved) and that is because Bowie (like Diana) appealed to hysterical people. People who make a massive great fuss about the teeniest thing. People who think clothes matter. People who can’t decide from one minute to the next who they want to have sex with...On Thursday, The Times flagged up an instalment of Bowie’s life story with the headline 'Debauchery seven days a week'. I mean, fine. We’ve got to sell newspapers (just like Bowie had to sell records). But debauchery is a bad thing. It’s what the Roman Empire declined into."

Camilla Long in the Sunday Times [£] on starting a Twitter storm on David Bowie: "I wanted to say how much I distrusted the fake crying and everyone pretending they were 'in bits', an infantile cliché I loathe for its insincerity both literally and as a metaphor. So I put out a few messages, including one in which I said people should 'man the f*** up and say something interesting'.  I’m now on day 7 of threats and abuse from angry Bowie fans, people telling me to kill myself, or saying I’m a 'bitch' or a 'witch' or ugly or worse. And, well, I don’t mind. For a journalist this is often part of the territory."


Thursday 14 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From when an evening paper had 85 journalists and was like a live blog to why a good newspaper can beat the web for quality

Jeremy Vine on his first day as a trainee reporter on the Coventry Evening Telegraph in 1986, as told to the Guardian: "There were 85 editorial staff and it was all manual typewriters. When it was close to deadline, and the whole office was typing, it sounded as if the room was going to take off. It was almost like hearing birdsong. For me, it was just like a dream to be turning up at work [as a journalist]. The paper had three or four editions a day. There was one called the 3pm edition and one called the late final, so the paper was almost like the equivalent of a live blog now."

Johnston Press editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford in a memo to staff: “We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes."

The Johnstoon Press NUJ group chapel in a statement: "It is very difficult to see how the company can continue to function after yet more editorial job cuts. The lack of consultation also raises concerns that this could be to make short-term savings which will ultimately be self-defeating. Newsrooms around the company are already carrying high levels of staff vacancies and we hope the company is fully aware of this. Meaningful talks need to happen as a matter of urgency and our members should be involved in any decisions about possible restructuring."

Press Gazette on the Johnston Press job cuts: "The latest proposed job cuts at Johnston Press will mean the company’s editorial headcount has more than halved since 2009...According to the company’s accounts, in 2009 it employed 2,222 editorial and photographic staff and 1,029 production staff. In 2014, Johnston Press had 1,133 editorial and photographic staff, and 355 people in production. These numbers are likely to have fallen further in 2015 and, with the latest cuts, the editorial and photographic count is likely to be around 1,000."

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at a press conference after a question about Wayne Rooney, as reported by BBC Sport: "You have criticised him, I don't...You too. Fat man. There."

Sun journalist Neil Custis told BBC Sport he was the reporter Van Gaal was talking to and later wrote: "You are right Louis I am fat. I had a knee operation four months ago that stopped me running and going to the gym."

BBC’s live political programmes editor Robbie Gibb defends the way Labour MP Stephen Doughty announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet live on Daily Politics: “It is a long standing tradition that political programmes on the BBC, along with all other news outlets, seek to break stories. It is true that we seek to make maximum impact with our journalism which is entirely consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines and values.”
grounds that it wasn't as good as PA."

BuzzFeed News: "The Daily Telegraph has installed devices to monitor whether journalists are at their desks, BuzzFeed News has learned. The newspaper confirmed the move in email to staff after multiple employees said they came into work on Monday morning to find small plastic monitoring boxes attached to their desks. Journalists were baffled by the unannounced appearance of the boxes. Staff resorted to googling the brand name and discovered they were wireless motion detectors produced by a company called OccupEye that monitor whether individuals are using their desks."

BuzzFeed News: "UPDATE: The devices have been removed following this story."

Lord Kerslake in The Times [£] on the Freedom of Information Act: "Given its success, you might expect the government, which regularly declares its commitment to greater transparency, to celebrate its success and look for ways to strengthen it. Instead it has set in train a process that, unless challenged, will lead to a watering down of the act."

Harold Evans, interviewed in The Observer: “A good newspaper is a mosaic of attractions, and investigations are a part of that broad appeal. So far the web can’t imitate that quality of a newspaper.”


Thursday 7 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: Charlie Hebdo feels 'alone' to is press doing propaganda for terrorists?

OneYear On: The assassin is still out there
Charlie Hebdo financial director Eric Portheault, quoted in the Guardian, on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the magazine: “We feel terribly alone. We hoped that others would do satire too. No one wants to join us in this fight because it’s dangerous. You can die doing it.”

Maria Eagle MP ‏@meaglemp on Twitter: "Pleased to have been appointed to new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport...And will be calling on the Government to proceed with the implementation of the proposals put forward by Leveson."

Michael Crick ‏@MichaelLCrick on Twitter: "With Corbyn, broadcasters have again started using word 'moderates' to describe non-Left in Labour. They should stop doing so. It's unfair."

Tom Mendelsohn in the New Statesman on Labour's communications chief Seumas Milne: "Milne needs to realise that we don’t have a Pravda, no matter how much he wishes we would, and that he has to start playing the game. If he can’t, or won’t, it’s time for him to be disappeared."

Newsquest group production director Leighton Jones, in a memo to editors, reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “In order to create a more efficient workflow and address the concerns of some of you that you change 80 per cent or more of the headlines that are supplied, it has been decided that headlines, subheads and straplines on stories will no longer be written in the copy-editing hubs."

Chris Morley, NUJ Newsquest group coordinator, in a statement: “Large numbers of experienced and highly talented sub editors who knew their towns and cities inside out were discarded by Newsquest through wasteful redundancy, many with years of loyal service, to create the two hubs. The NUJ warned loudly and clearly that producing local papers hundreds of miles away would hit quality. We warned that the staff, often inexperienced, being recruited to the hubs, especially at Newport, were placed in an impossible position by the company with lack of training and support and having to contend with vast numbers of titles. The results were all too unfortunate to behold and now it seems the shrinking band of remaining editors have at last accepted that the NUJ warnings were valid all along and lack of quality is undermining their titles with the reading public."

Elizabeth Rigby and Francis Elliott in The Times [£]: "Ministers are extending freedom of information laws to cover charities but they are expected to press ahead with plans to strengthen the government’s powers to veto requests."

Barry Glendenning, in the Guardian: "Van Gaal is by no means the first football manager to make little secret of his contempt for those tasked with chronicling the day-to-day activities of his team – but few have ever gone about it in a more consistently entertaining way. We should be grateful that United’s weekend victory over Swansea City looks certain to keep him in a job; United’s performances on the football field this season may have been characterised by a lack of entertainment but their manager’s press briefings remain compulsive viewing."

The SubScribe blog: "Oh dear. It was bad enough when papers persisted in calling Mohamed Emwazi 'Jihadi John'. The nickname, bestowed before we knew his real identity, gave an air of Hollywood hero to a calculating murderer. As hostage after hostage met their fate in the desert, we disseminated Isis propaganda in the form of their orange-robed humiliation as they knelt before man-in-black Emwazi and his machete. It took a long time to grasp that this was not the way to portray those men murdered simply because they were from the West. But the 'Jihadi John' habit was too hard for most to break, even after his real name was released. It was a convenient shorthand, instantly recognisable. But that didn't make it right. Now, six weeks after the death of Emwazi, another Briton in a black balaclava has appeared in another Isis snuff video. And what do we do? Proclaim him the 'new Jihadi John'. Shame on you Daily Telegraph. You should know better. Don't you realise that this is propaganda. You are doing the terrorists' job for them."

The Guardian in a leader: "No free society can impose a total blackout on videos of the kind that Isis has again released, least of all under the transformed conditions of the internet era. Yet a sensible free society should not play the terrorists’ game unthinkingly either. A free media still needs to observe self control. News organisations are right to censor violent videos on grounds of taste. They should also be careful not to glorify the hostile perpetrators inadvertently. They do not want to hand the jihadis the megaphone they crave, or amplify the one they already have. That mistake was made too often in the coverage of Mohammed Emwazi. By surrendering our airwaves to this latest video, we risk repeating the error and doing the terrorists’ job for them."