Thursday 26 May 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From Alan Rusbridger predicts stormy weather ahead for news media to the sexist jibe aimed at woman rugby reporter

Alan Rusbridger in the New Statesman: "Is there an economic model for serious news? Let’s hope so – but the gales blowing through my old industry are now truly frightening. When I stepped down from the Guardian just over a year ago, my Guardian Media Group colleagues were happy to go on the record to emphasise their confidence in increasing digital revenues and a future based on growth. But something profound and alarming has been happening in recent months and all our eyes ought to be on the West Coast giants – especially, but not only, Facebook – that are cleaning up quite extraordinarily."

The Guardian reports: "The Telegraph has started a round of targeted cuts of senior newsroom staff, including the deputy editor, Liz Hunt. Also axed are feature writer Harry Wallop, head of arts Andrew Pettie, foreign chiefs Richard Spencer and Colin Freeman and Asia editor Philip Cherwell."

Research for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism showing a pro-leave bias in national press coverage of the EU referendum:"The Daily Mail included the most pro-leave articles followed by The Daily Express, The Daily Star, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph, while the newspapers including the most pro-remain articles were, in order, The Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Financial Times. The articles examined in The Times were relatively evenly balanced between the two positions, with a slight preponderance of pro-leave articles. All newspapers, whatever their main position, included some articles from the other point of view, but the proportion of these was smallest in The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror."

Anonymous newspaper executive on Digiday UK: "The digital media industry has completely screwed up by pursuing scale for the sake of scale. There’s been a relentless pursuit for the biggest number you can get, which has partly been driven by what advertisers want, and partly driven by vanity."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Who can define the power of love? You may answer poetically, clinically, statistically or, in the case of Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, social medially. Once Rupert got hitched, episode four, he suddenly stopped tweeting. Love doesn’t need 140 words. Sociability beats any media."

 Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell in a letter to The Times [£]  "The inclination of some judges to tip the balance away from the public right to know must be addressed. The need for a US-style First Amendment protection for the media and overarching public defences in all legislation is long overdue and should be part of a new British bill of rights."

Paul Connew, ex-editor of the Sunday Mirror, in a letter to The Times [£]: "King Canute tried only to hold back the tide, but the Supreme Court is attempting to hold back a modern-day cyberspace tsunami. In doing so it has bypassed parliament and established a judge-led privacy law. The reality of the internet/social media age only demonstrates that the Court of Appeal got it right in wishing to lift an unrealistic mainstream media gag and the Supreme Court got it wrong in overruling its pragmatic decision. The effect of the Supreme Court decision does indeed make the law resemble an ass. The internet genie is out of the bottle, and there is no point in trying to stuff it back."

Weekly Newspaper Reporter of the Year Gareth Davies of the Croydon Advertiser, interviewed by Press Gazette: "Despite all that stuff that gets thrown at us, all the ways in which the industry puts barriers in the way of doing the job, at the end of the day we’re getting paid to talk to someone and write a story down – and who really gets to do that? No matter how much things get you down, you think actually, at the end of the day, this is an amazing job to do."

Regional Press Daily/Sunday Sports Journalist of the Year Carolyn Hitt of the Western Mail at the Regional Press Awards on what she was was once told by a Cardiff businessman: "I don't write about cross stitch, why do you write about rugby?"

Old Quote of the Week

John Whittingdale asked in June 2006 by the Independent who in the media do you most admire and why?: "Rupert Murdoch has transformed the media in Britain not once but twice. If it wasn't for him we would still have grubby newspapers run by trade unions that strike at the drop of a hat. And he launched satellite TV. Also Kelvin MacKenzie - because he is courageous, funny and very often right."


Friday 20 May 2016

Media Quotes of the Week : From Sun pours olive oil on Supreme Court privacy injunction ruling to when Jeremy Clarkson covered parish councils

The Sun in a leader"HEAVEN help our judicial system if the judges who upheld the celebrity gagging order yesterday are the best it can find for the Supreme Court. Their illogical and idiotic ruling exposed them as out-of-touch old ­duffers with a predictably contemptuous snobbery towards popular papers and our millions of readers...They have sneered at tabloid readers and created a charter for cheating celebs, especially those with kids. Any caught with their pants down can use the children as a Get Out Of Jail Free card. And their pricey lawyers are already eyeing up new holiday homes in Tuscany."

Lord Mance, as the Supreme Court upholding the celebrity threesome privacy injunction against the Sun on Sunday, as reported by BBC News"There is no public interest (however much it may be of interest to some members of the public) in publishing kiss and tell stories or criticisms of private sexual conduct, simply because the persons involved are well known; and so there is no right to invade privacy by publishing them."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The Supreme Court has come to a decision which would have been merely foolish 20 years ago. Today it is both sinister and absurd. Courts of all levels should think very carefully before allowing this sort of farce to unfold again."

Ex-MP John Hemming on his blog: “I am surprised that the Supreme Court have upheld this injunction. The logical conclusion of this is that gossip about anyone with children will become a criminal offence subject to a potential penalty of 2 years's imprisonment.  It is important to note that the injunction covers people talking in pubs, gossiping over the garden fence, or twittering on the internet. All of these could potentially see an application for committal for contempt of court. That comes with large amounts of legal costs and up to 2 years imprisonment...the Supreme Court have not learnt from the lesson of King Canute that there are realities that it is not practical to resist."

The Sun in a leader: "DOES the Queen back Brexit? We’re sure she does. But today we are having to publish a front page ruling by the Press regulator IPSO over our March 9 headline which claimed Her Majesty was for Leaving. 'Queen Backs Brexit' was qualified by another headline above it reading 'Exclusive: bombshell claim over Europe vote'. It seemed fair enough to us. Tabloid newspapers like The Sun have long made eye-catching assertions in headlines alongside a smaller headline to qualify or attribute them. It is a standard device. But IPSO decided it wasn’t right — though it had no problem with the story beneath it, about Her Majesty’s eurosceptic remarks which two impeccable sources confirmed. We stand by all of it."

David Yelland ‏@davidyelland on Twitter: "Hats off to @tonygallagher for skilled @BBCr4today defence. Headline was clearly as dodgy as some of mine."

Alan Rusbridger in an email, published by BuzzFeed, to Guardian Media Group staff explaining his reasons for no longer becoming chair of the Scott Trust: “When, in late 2014, the Scott Trust appointed me to succeed Liz as chair I was beyond honoured, But much has changed in the year since I stepped down. All newspapers – and many media organisations beyond – have been battered by turbulent and economic forces that were difficult to see last summer. I have been on the trust long enough to understand its role. We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force 12 digital hurricane. It is surely obvious to anyone that changed circumstances will demand dramatically changed solutions. Kath [Viner] and David [Pemsel] clearly believe they would like to plot a route into the future with a new chair and I understand their reasoning."

Ian Katzt‏@iankatz1000 on Twitter: "Whatever you think of @arusbridger becoming trust chair, v sad that his Guardian career ends like this. He did more for paper than anyone."

Michael Wolff in GQ: "In the end, the Rusbridger legacy cannot likely be undone. The brand is what there is—that’s the asset. Rusbridger had the fun part of the job, spending money like a Romanoff to create it. Now the workers have to figure out how to claw back value from it."

Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies after Met Police revoked a harassment warning against him for questioning a convicted fraudster: "I behaved as journalists across the country do on a daily basis but was issued with a warning by the police, which could have appeared on my criminal record, without officers conducting any form of investigation to establish whether the allegations were true. I'm glad that, in agreeing to write to the College of Policing, the Met and the IPCC have acknowledged that the use of PINs [Police Information Notices] in relation to journalists needs to be reviewed. As my case has demonstrated, PINs can be used to impede responsible journalism."

Philip Collins in The Times [£]: "The loudest noises in politics are now made by empty vessels who believe in systematic bias, arranged and dispensed to do down their pet cause. One side thinks “the media” is pro-EU. The other thinks it is anti-Corbyn. Presumably “the media” gets all confused when Mr Corbyn delivers a pro-EU speech, not knowing which of its establishment causes to abandon. This is the context into which John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, has dropped his BBC white paper and it is dispiriting to see, once you get past the unexciting, predictable boringness of most of it, that he doesn’t trust the BBC either."

Can Dündar, the editor of Cumhuriyet in Turkey, who is facing more than five years in prison for publishing leaked star documents,  quoted in the Guardian“During this entire saga, it has particularly attracted my attention that the British government preferred not to utter even a single word. This should be embarrassing for the government of a country that takes pride in its democracy.”

Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian: "Those now fighting for freedom of expression around the world should perceive more support from the land of John Milton, John Stuart Mill and George Orwell."

Times in a leader [£]: "Facebook, perhaps the most visited website in the world, is suffering from an identity crisis. Around 1.65 billion people worldwide use the service every month, and media analysts estimate that 70 per cent of them rely upon it as their gateway to reading news. In keeping with other social networks, however, Facebook continues to regard itself as a platform and not as a publisher. The difference is not just semantic. A publisher, such as the one that brings you this newspaper, has a clearly defined responsibility towards its readers...The internet is global and online freedom of speech is, today, one of America’s greatest exports. Influence this vast, even so, must at least be scrutinised. Most of all, it would be far easier to defend the companies which are now the most powerful publishers in the world if they could admit, at least, that this is what they are."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times Magazine [£]: "At school, after committing some trivial misdemeanour — hopping through the memorial garden or putting Polyfilla in all the classroom locks; I can’t remember what — I was made to write a thousand-word essay about the inside of a ping-pong ball. It was tough, but the practice was useful later, on the Rotherham Advertiser, where I was regularly made to file a report on what had happened at the previous evening’s meeting of Brinsworth parish council. That meant coming up with six or seven paragraphs about absolutely nothing at all."


Thursday 12 May 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From BBC deal for 150 regional reporters will strengthen local journalism to damning analysis on closure of The New Day

Johnston Press boss Ashley Highfield in the i on the deal withe BBC to pay £8 million a year to fund 150 regional reporters to cover courts and councils: “We believe this will strengthen and enhance local journalism, and the crucial role it has in holding local authorities to account, while maintaining the healthy competition between different news sources which is so important in a democracy.More coverage and content from councils will be more widely distributed ensuring greater accountability and transparency in an ever more devolved Britain.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, in a statement: "The NUJ believes there is a democratic deficit in local news – the press is not covering the decisions of courts, councils and public bodies in a way which properly informs readers about their democratic institutions. But should it be the licence-fee payer who plugs this gap? Local newspaper groups have a proven track record of cutting staff, merging titles, closing local offices and overstretching the few workers left on the ground just to maintain their profits. What checks are there that these groups will not exploit this licence-fee subsidy in the same way?"

Tom Utley in the Daily Mail: "That's that, then. After all the luvvies’ wailing at the Baftas — and the hysterical claims that the Government was intent on turning the BBC into a ‘North Korea-style’ state broadcaster — Auntie seems to have come through her ten-yearly ordeal of charter renewal pretty much unscathed."

James Naughtie in the Big Issue: "It sounds corny but I remember watching the hot metal plates being put together and hearing the presses roll on my first day at the Aberdeen Press and Journal. It was like watching the Flying Scotsman pulling into a station. I tell my children and it sounds like a story from the Bronze Age. Don't get me started on the state of newspapers today. I find the decline of the printed page really sad."

Cathy Newman‏ @cathynewman on Twitter: "Glad sexist petition calling on BBC to sack @bbclaurak has been removed. A great reporter doing a great job."

BBC in a statement"We are very disappointed that our reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes and his team have been deported from North Korea after the government took offence at material he had filed."

Hunter Davies on 20 years as a sports columnist at the New Statesman: "I don’t think anyone in football actually reads the column. In November 1996 I was very disobliging about Gazza, saying he was 'unbalancing the team' and 'throwing himself around like a mad cow'. I kept this quiet when I later ghosted his autobiography."

Prince Harry interviewed by Andrew Marr on the BBC: “That line between public and private life is almost non-existent. Everyone has a right to their privacy, and a lot of the members of the public get it, but sadly in some areas there is this sort of incessant need to find out every little bit of detail about what goes on behind the scenes. It’s unnecessary.”

Jonathan Calvert on the Insight team of investigative journalists in the 10,000 edition of the Sunday Times [£]: "This type of journalism will never be easy and it will never be cheap. It also involves fighting for our right to freedom of expression in the courts. For The Sunday Times, two of the most significant events of last year were found not in our pages but in two libel victories that vindicated not just our commitment to investigative journalism but also our willingness to fight back at great expense when political heavyweights try to bully us."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on police PR Hayley Court who claims she was expected to persuade journalists to put the South Yorkshire force in a better light, and says she felt the police strategy over Hillsborough was to blame others, including the fans: "Hayley Court highlighted a stark example of unacceptable pressure being put on communications staff by employers facing difficult media coverage. Hayley Court is an experienced expert and she had set out to report the Hillsborough inquest hearings fairly. Her approach would have served South Yorkshire Police well, but she was put under extreme pressure, which she described as bullying, by senior officials to be a spin doctor for the force's ill-conceived position which included blaming fans for the tragic loss of life at that football game.”

Analyst Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, quoted by CityAM: “Trinity Mirror shares are popping as investors are cheering the group’s decision to ditch New Day. This is hardly a surprise – the move was moronic in the first place...Ill-conceived, badly executed and completely foolish – it’s hard to fathom what Trinity Mirror was trying to achieve.”

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on the demise of The New Day: "Trinity Mirror had been bamboozled by optimistic forecasts of widespread public enthusiasm for a magazine-style paper with 'positive' content. Did no-one at the company stop to wonder at the unlikelihood of convincing a target audience composed of people who dislike newspapers to buy a newspaper?"

Thursday 5 May 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From battling a bullying businessman to the journalist who (almost) always backed Leicester to be champions

Business correspondent Oliver Shah, who has led the way on uncovering the BHS story, on Sir Philip Green in the Sunday Times [£]: "Later that month, he tried — and failed — to get the editor to rein in the story. 'I’m gonna call Rupert Murdoch [ultimate owner of The Sunday Times] on Monday morning because this is unacceptable,' he ranted at me. 'This has got to stop.' It did not. As I continued to dig, rival journalists on other papers expressed amazement that I was being allowed to take on Green. One gave me a front-page story on BHS. 'There’s no way my editor will let me print it, so you may as well have it,' he shrugged."

Sir Philip Green quoted by Oliver Shah in the Sunday Times [£]: "“If you want to call me a liar, come round to my office on Monday, call me a liar to my face and face the consequences. How’s that, if you’re such a big f****** boy? Because you will get thrown through the f****** window.”

Reuters reports: "British retail tycoon Philip Green on Thursday hit out at UK lawmakers for leading what he called a 'trial by media' in relation to last week's fall into administration of department store BHS...The letter, which Green circulated to news media, marks his first public comments on BHS's administration. In the letter, he also criticised the media for writing 'much inaccurate and misleading' information."

Trinity Mirror in a statement: "Although The New Day has received many supportive reviews and built a strong following on Facebook, the circulation for the title is below our expectations. As a result, we have decided to close the title on 6 May 2016. Whilst disappointing, the launch and subsequent closure have provided new insights into enhancing our newspapers and a number of these opportunities will be considered over time.”

Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday: "I was just leaving the BBC’s Westminster studios on Thursday when Mr Livingstone stepped into an over-excited knot of political reporters. They looked like what they are – simultaneously a pack of snapping wolves, buzzing with self-righteousness, and a flock of bleating, conformist sheep, all thinking and saying exactly the same thing...At one point this stumbling, squawking carnival was joined by a barking dog. If it had gone on much longer, crowds of tourists would have gathered, mistaking it for an ancient London tradition. This is how politics is reported in this country, almost completely without thought."

Will Gore in the Independent: "In response to articles about Livingstone’s outburst, Holocaust deniers suddenly appear with alacrity, just as Islamophobes pop their heads above the parapet any time we write about refugees fleeing Syria. It is enough to make you wonder about the state of humanity. But it also raises practical questions for outlets such as The Independent: do we need to hire dozens of moderators to stem the tide; should we have a longer list of prohibited terms so we can automatically filter out the worst comments; or ought we simply to close comment boards? The more steps we take, the more we will be accused of stifling debate; hold back and ever more bile will slip through. Whatever course we steer, one thing is plain: responsibility for combatting discrimination lies with every right thinking person – it isn’t a subject for buck-passing."

International Federation of Journalists' president Jim Boumelha on the IFJ annual survey showing press freedom violations around the world: “This survey exposes a shocking toll of violations of media freedom and a woeful lack of willingness on the part of too many governments and authorities to act to defend journalists. But as it also shows journalists’ unions are ensuring there can be no hiding place for those who attack journalists or undermine media freedom. Whether in print or on the airwaves, in courts or international bodies, on the streets and in the workplaces journalists unions are standing up against the threats to media freedom.”

Feedback editor Rose Wild in The Times [£] on the paper's not carrying any reference to the Hillsborough inquests' verdicts in its first edition: " As soon as the first edition of the paper went out on Tuesday night, our choice of front-page stories was called into question by, among others, members of The Times staff...Our coverage of the 'unlawful killing' verdict in the Hillsborough inquiry, extensive as it was, was not flagged on the front, suggesting that we had overlooked both its significance in legal terms and its importance to the many people who had campaigned for this result for so long. The paper immediately realised it had made a mistake. In the second edition the front page was changed...The initial decision not to put the story on the front was because it had been running as a news story all day. But it was an error not to have a visual signal to the coverage inside."

Sun editor Tony Gallagher doorstepped by Channel 4 News' Paraic O'Brien and asked why his paper did not lead on Hillsborough inquests' verdict: "I'm afraid I am not talking about it at all."

Stig Abell, former director of the Press Complaints Commission, interviewed in the Guardian“We were a small group trying to help members of the public while upholding the principle of freedom of expression. But the PCC’s phone-hacking report was wrong. And we were widely criticised for being insufficiently interested in hacking, which has a certain amount of truth to it. We were overwhelmed, and I spent two years trying to keep the PCC relevant as the scandal grew worse. Let’s be honest: it was an issue that bamboozled institutions a lot more powerful than the PCC."

Chris Frost, the chair of the NUJ’s Ethics Council, on why the union is backing would be press regulator Impress, as reported by Press Gazette: “Our view is that Impress represents the best opportunity we have for independent press regulation and for providing an alternative to those national newspapers and their publishers who continue to fail to take their responsibilities seriously by hiding their failings behind another pointless so-called regulator. We have welcomed Impress as the alternative press regulator because we want to see regulation which is both Leveson complaint and independent of publishers, whilst involving journalists on its board and with its future development.”

George Osborne at the Westminster correspondents' dinner, as reported by The Times [£]: “It is the irreverence of journalism; the challenging, sometimes infuriating, occasionally wayward, always invigorating free journalistic spirit that makes a free society truly free. Show me a country that controls its press and I will show you a government that controls its people."

John Mickelwait on Bloombergview: "This column should begin with a financial disclosure -- of the writer’s own ineptitude. For around 20 years, every August I have bet £20 on Leicester City to win their league. The wall of my office at The Economist in London was festooned with the resulting betting stubs, to be mocked by my colleagues who followed more successful teams. True, Leicester did once finish second -- but that was back in the 1928-29 season; their main battle in my lifetime has been to avoid relegation, a struggle they have lost seven times. Last summer, having moved to New York to work for Bloomberg, I missed making my routine bet; the odds being offered on Leicester winning the title were 5,000-1, but, somewhere deep down, I assumed it was £20 pounds saved."