Thursday 31 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From are journalists part of the elite or classless? to the dangers of President Trump mugging the messenger

Peter Preston in the Observer on Jon Snow's claim journalists are comfortable with the elite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite: "When Jon (educated Winchester Pilgrim’s School via Ardingly) looks around his own C4 News studio, who does he see? Matt Frei, educated at Westminster School and St Peter’s College, Oxford. Krishnan Guru-Murthy, educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, and Hertford College, Oxford. Cathy Newman, educated at Charterhouse and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. With Fatima Manji, lately of the LSE, waiting in line. Is this some covert cause for shame? No: the camera sees a team of formidable professionals, experienced people – largely free from commercial pressures – who can uncover stories and pursue unpopular causes. They are not representatives of one class or another. They are trained journalists: and that training means an ability to dig and discover wherever the news takes them."

Former Daily Mirror editor David Banks in a letter to the Guardian: "Peopling journalism with home counties-bred, middle-class varsity types whose family incomes and proximity to London enable their offspring to fulfil the required “zero pay” contract for a couple of years is a poor way to build a campaigning, popular press; so is recognising an army of gossipy, untrained bloggers as a reasonable alternative to news. An excellent alternative is offered by former leading regional and international editor Neil Fowler, who proposes a national network of (hopefully profitable) local newspapers run by universities and major journalism colleges offering student journalists a two-year course/contract. Learning local journalism on the job would take the accidents of both birth and geography out of the business of producing fine, trustworthy journalists, as was the training regime when I was a junior on a Warrington weekly."

Readers' editor Stephen Pritchard in the Observer: "As an 18-year-old junior reporter, fresh out of an independent school and away from a comfortable middle-class home for the first time, I found myself pitched into a world of which I knew little. Learning my trade on a big city evening newspaper was a passport into alien lives, from the pomp and power of those in authority to those that today we would call the left behind, those who looked to 'their paper' to articulate their worries, their needs. It educated me. It changed me...Caught in a vicious spiral of declining advertising and falling circulations, newspapers today cannot afford large staffs to do the sort of foot-slogging that so many of us did in our youth. Stories go untold. Would Grenfell Tower have happened if a vigorous local media were reporting tenants’ concerns and putting pressure on the council? I doubt it."

Roy Greenslade on his IPSO blog: "Thinking back to my days as a weekly newspaper reporter in the poorest London borough, Barking and Dagenham, neither my paper – nor the rival titles across the whole of east London – got to the heart of the area’s social deprivation. Our journalism was reactive rather than pro-active. It was as if we accepted the situation rather than challenging it. For example, to paraphrase Tony Blair, we were good at reporting crime but hopeless at reporting the causes of crime."

Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times: "The Sun sped the end of deference among ordinary people; deference to the establishment, to the elites, to the royal families and — as we saw in the Brexit campaign — experts. The Sun’s direct political power is often exaggerated, but is it too much to say that Brexit would not have happened but for political discourse The Sun helped mould?"

Andrew Norfolk in The Times [£]: "When The Times told Tower Hamlets last week of its intention to reveal the council’s decision to place a white British child with a family whose culture, faith and primary language were alien, the local authority tried to block the story. It contacted the East London family court, where the girl’s case was the subject of care proceedings, and told Judge Sapnara that confidential court documents had been unlawfully leaked and publication of an article would be an offence. Security staff at the court, where a case hearing took place yesterday morning, ordered a Times journalist to leave the building and threatened an escorted removal by security guards unless the reporter left voluntarily. When Judge Sapnara was informed of the newspaper’s wish to attend the hearing, the reporter was readmitted."

The Times reported on Thursday (Aug 31):  "Courts were ordered never to ban the media from their buildings yesterday after journalists covering the case of a Christian girl fostered by a Muslim family were refused entry. Security staff were told to bar reporters from the East London family court the day after the judge in the case praised The Times for acting responsibly in raising “very concerning matters” of “legitimate public interest”.Journalists were given increased access to family court hearings by the government in 2009 after an award-winning campaign by The Times for open justice."
  • The Guardian reports The Times has attracted 10 complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the reporting of the child fostering case and the Mail has generated six.

i editor Oliver Duff announcing a 10p cover price: "Paid-for journalism in this country faces an unprecedented challenge from the avalanche of free, and often not very good, articles online. The types of journalism that hold the powerful to account and shine a spotlight on society are of little interest to many digital media, especially platforms like Facebook which gobble advertising revenue without any regard for the social contract that once existed between reader and publisher. We are here to inform as well as entertain, and we don’t forget it. A price increase would allow us to cover the rising costs of making i, safeguard against fluctuations in advertising revenue (one national media title recently reported a £62m loss), and invest again in the paper – giving i a bright future."

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: "Sigh. If only President Trump denounced neo-Nazis as passionately and sincerely as he castigates journalists...I’ve lost reporter and photographer friends in war zones all over the world, and have had other friends kidnapped and tortured. When Trump galvanizes crowds against reporters in the room, I worry that we may lose journalists in the line of duty not only in places like Syria but also right here at home. Trump will get people hurt."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Haranguing the press for criticism of his presidency puts Mr Trump on a slippery slope. It hands a propaganda gift to Vladimir Putin, a master of the old Soviet black art of “disinformation” and news manipulation, in whose country independent television channels and reporters find themselves routinely shut down and locked out. There will, of course, be no state censorship in a country whose constitution enshrines freedom of expression. The United States remains a vibrant democracy, in large part because of the resilience of its questioning press. A bullying tone from the top, however, can open the way though for self-censorship even in a free society."


Thursday 24 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From the true story of Andrew Morton's Diana book to why every newsroom needs a curmudgeon in a cardigan

Sunday Times' serialisation of Morton's book

Andrew Morton in The Sunday Times [£] on the 25th anniversary of his book Diana: Her True Story: "The Archbishop of Canterbury, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, assorted Labour and Conservative MPs and a loose box of newspaper editors lined up to join the firing squad. Various bookshops banned the book — which had had to be printed in Finland as no British printer would touch it. It was a genuinely scary and frantic time. My daughters, then six and eight, burst into tears when they saw a newspaper cartoon of their dad being tortured on a rack inside the Tower of London with the Queen looking on. I faced the equivalent in my first British interview — a grilling from John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today show."

Nick Cohen‏ @NickCohen4 on Twitter on former Newsnight journalist Liz MacKean who died last week: "In a trade full of poseurs, @lizmackean's fight with the BBC to reveal the truth about Jimmy Savile made her a geuine journalistic hero."

Nick Cohen in The Observer on Liz MacKean, in January 2014: "The BBC has not treated its whistleblowers honourably or encouraged others to speak out in the future. Liz MacKean has had enough. Her managers did not fire her. They would not have dared and in any case the British establishment does not work like that. Instead, they cold-shouldered her. MacKean was miserable. The atmosphere at work was dreadful. The BBC wouldn't put her on air. She could have stayed, but she did not want to waste her time and talent and end up a bitter old hack. She chose the life of a free journalist instead and went off to work in independent – in all sense of that word – television."

Adam Boulton‏ @adamboultonSKY on Twitter: "Sorry BBC Bruce Forsyth dying at 89 is not a lead news item...Over emphasize showbiz and you end up with President Trump."

Donald Trump at his Phoenix rally, as reported by the New York Times: “It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions. They’re very dishonest people. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news...The media can attack me but where I draw the line is when they attack you. They are trying to take away our history and our heritage. They are really, really dishonest people and they are bad people and I really think they don’t like our country."

Jon Snow giving the MacTaggart lecture, reported by the Guardian: "For us in the media, the last two years have taught us that we all know nothing. The explosion of digital media has filled neither the void left by the decimation of the local newspaper industry, nor connected us any more effectively with the “left behind”, the disadvantaged, the excluded. Over this past year, we – me included – mostly London-based media pundits, pollsters and so-called experts, have got it wrong. The Brexit referendum: we got that wrong. Trump defied so-called experts, pundits and journalists alike. Theresa May’s strange general election – predicted to get a majority of 60-70: we got that wrong too. The Grenfell Tower disaster taught me a harrowing lesson – that in increasingly fractured Britain, we in the media are comfortably with the elite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite."

Ian Burrell on the Drum: "While Twitter is seemingly well-placed to benefit from resurgent public interest in news, the divisive nature of the biggest stories (Trump, Brexit, racism, Islamism) is feeding the angry exchanges which have damaged its appeal as a source of information and a showcase for advertising. Having the president of the United States choose your platform as his medium of choice would normally be a ringing brand endorsement but the morning outbursts of the 45th POTUS elicit a deeply polarised reaction and more confrontation."

From the London's Assembly's economic committee report, The fate of local news – read all about it: "As local newspapers concentrate on their web presence, there is evidence of less ‘on-the-ground’ news reporting or investigative journalism…London needs a strong and credible local press. Without addressing the challenges the industry is facing, and finding solutions, we are at risk of losing one of our most important democratic functions. Action needs to be taken now to change the path for local newspapers. The decline of the industry and its impact on the workforce is leading to a less-credible news source. Hyperlocal news sources are a great addition to the industry, but questions remain about their ability to survive as they are often reliant on volunteers and can struggle to get reliable sources of funding.”

Cleethorpes Chronicle founders Mark Webb and Nigel Lowther on the decision to close the independent weekly after nine years, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “We regret to announce that the Cleethorpes Chronicle has published its last edition. The decision is due to tough trading conditions. A shrinking advertising market does not allow us to continue producing the quality of newspaper our readers are accustomed to and deserve."

Edward Lucas in The Times [£]: "Police, social workers, community leaders, Muslim groups and others need to work out proper rules for dealing with organised grooming when the suspects are from a similar ethnic or religious background. Crying “discrimination” and changing the subject won’t work. Politicians such as Mr Corbyn are paid to lead and frame such debates, not to close them down.
Moreover, for such discussions to have any chance of reaching truth and consensus, those taking part need to feel they can speak freely, and can advocate ideas and arguments that may in the end prove to be mistaken. They need to use papers like the mass-market Sun (where Ms Champion decried silence over the rape gangs) not the Labour leadership’s beloved Morning Star."

Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times: "The public elite talk a wonderful game about diversity and work in fields that have a better balance of women and men. But the private elite tend to work among more races and nationalities: some trading floors look like 1980s Benetton commercials. The same seems true of social background. I would advise a young graduate without relatives in high places to choose corporate life over the media."

Phil Creighton‏ @phil_creighton on Twitter: "Every newsroom needs a pipe smoking, cardigan wearing curmudgeon who knows the patch intimately and correct basic errors like school names."


Thursday 17 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Kavanagh hits back in Sun racism row to only one journalist was in court to hear how police paid a child rapist

Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun: "SOME Sun readers may have missed the concocted explosion of Labour and Islamic hysteria over a column I wrote on Monday about Muslim sex gangs.This fake fury was largely confined to a small circulation, mostly-online newspaper and a letter from Labour lefties dragooned by the Muslim Council of Britain. My offence was to write about the attitude of predatory Muslim men towards white women – what I called “the Muslim Problem”.I was instantly denounced for fomenting a Nazi-style “Final Solution” comparable only with the Jewish Holocaust. It was a ludicrous, offensive and perverse distortion of the truth. A letter calling for my dismissal signed by 105 cross-party MPs was led by Labour’s Naz Shah, the Bradford MP suspended last year for anti-Semitism."

From the letter sent to Sun editor Tony Gallagher, signed by107 MPs, as reported by the Independent“It is shocking that in the 21st century a columnist is using such Nazi-like terminology about a minority community...We implore you to not only retract this article but given the sacking of Mr Myers following his disgraceful anti-Semitic article in the The [Sunday] Times, strongly consider whether Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper.”

Brendan O'Neill on Spiked on the MPs letter to the Sun's editor: "They want the article taken down and Kavanagh taken down too: the letter asks the Sun’s editor to think about whether ‘Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper’. Who do they think they are? For 350 years Britain has had a press largely free from state interference, independent of the political class, and yet here we have a significant section of the legislative arm of government — a sixth of it — issuing dire warnings to a newspaper. The arrogance and disregard for historically hard-won liberties are astonishing. And the precedent set is a potentially lethal one: if politicians get the idea that they can bully the press whenever it says something they don’t like, then we’re all in trouble."

NUJ ethics council chair Chris Frost, in a statement, calling for the Independent Press Standards Organisation to investigate racism in the press following Trevor Kavanagh's Sun article which referred to "The Muslim Problem": "Trevor Kavanagh's comments are an abuse of free speech and the press standards watchdog should accept complaints that traduce social groups in our society. Kavanagh is using the actions of a small group of individuals to place blame on a whole religion of 1.8 billion people.  IPSO should launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press. IPSO claim to be set apart from their predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, because they can run investigations and do monitoring - now is the time to prove it."

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion resigning as shadow secretary for women and equalities after writing an article in the Sun about grooming gangs, as reported by BBC News: "I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in the Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career. It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities."

Mo Farah, as reported by the Telegraph: “I find it bizarre how certain ­people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story. Sometimes, you guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain. If I have crossed the line – ‘Mo Farah has done something wrong’ – then prove it. I've achieved what I have achieved - you're trying to destroy it.”

Tony Blair, interviewed by Patrick Hennessy, on BBC Radio 4: "What we should've been doing is trying to get to a situation where the media was not so empowered and instead what we did was empower them significantly because we played into that theme or that climate they operated in. This is something now with social media has become a bigger bigger media so far from being a discipline on conventional media has put a booster rocket on the worst aspects of the conventional media...We back then were determined not to be kicked around like Neil [Kinnock] and his team had been."

HoldTheFrontPage reports"A council rejected a weekly newspaper’s Freedom of Information request because of the 'unnecessary distress' it would cause to the authority’s former chief executive. Teignbridge Council has knocked back two requests from the Mid-Devon Advertiser for the details of the pay-off given to Nicola Bulbeck, who served as the authority’s chief executive until June. In turning down the Advertiser’s latest request, the authority said the information concerned Ms Bulbeck’s private life because it related to her 'identity and financial standing'."

The Society of Editors: "The publisher and CEO of the world’s most popular English-language newspaper website will deliver this year’s Society of Editors’ Lecture. Martin Clarke, who launched MailOnline in its current form in 2008, will deliver the prestigious address at the Society’s ‘Fighting for Real News’ conference on 12 November in Cambridge."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "If you want a definition of irony, then consider this. Martin Clarke, publisher of Mail Online, is to deliver the keynote lecture at the coming Society of Editors’ conference on 'fighting for real news'. According to a press release, the agenda will focus on 'the importance of original reporting, analysis and comment on both print and digital platforms'. Original reporting? Many of my former students who have worked for Mail Online have told me that their entire shifts were taken up by rewriting articles from newspapers and magazines...Yes, he can point to the fact that his site has a vast readership. But what 'real news' will he be able publish in future when all the ripped-off media outlets are forced out of business because of Mail Online’s activities?"

Jacqui Hodgson, editor of BBC factual programmes North East, on the About the BBC Blog reveals how there was only one reporter, Inside Out producer Dan Farthingin court to hear how police paid £10,000 to XY, a child rapist to go undercover: "Dan was following a series of interlinked trials of more than twenty Asian men, accused of grooming vulnerable young teenagers in the west end of Newcastle. Reporting restrictions banning broadcasts until the conclusion of the final trial meant we’d seen little early evidence of Dan’s regular days on the press bench. Then, out of the blue, the prosecution revealed Northumbria Police had used a CHIS - a covert human intelligence source - to supply information on so-called 'parties' where teenagers were plied with drink and drugs and sexually assaulted. And in this case, the CHIS chosen by Northumbria Police was a man convicted as part of a group who raped a child in 2002. In an extraordinary turn of events, XY, as he was known, had fallen out with his police handler and was threatening to go to the press - alleging he’d been asked to plant drugs and even drive girls to the 'parties'. His fee from the public purse? More than ten thousand pounds. For the lone figure on the press bench it was a red flag moment...had producer Dan not been paying attention in his lone press bench vigil - perhaps none of us would have been any the wiser."

Northumbria Police in a warning to journalists after the Newcastle grooming trial, as published by Press Gazette: “Despite issuing two notes to media requesting journalists do not directly contact victims we are aware that some media are still continuing to do this and have provided them with an update from court. We would like to make it clear that we are incredibly concerned this is having a damaging effect on the victims and has the potential to cause them psychological harm. If we become aware any further approaches are made by journalists to contact victims and they have been previously asked to stop that journalist will be served with a harassment notice.”

Thursday 10 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: Is PR a better career move than churnalism? to US press hits back at leaks crackdown and a new paper is launched

Agency Provocateur on Press Gazette: "As a career, PR offers young journalists stability, a chance to move up the ladder and a decent wage – at least eventually. Why the hell wouldn’t a trainee graduate with half a brain move over to a profession where they get a chance to be creative rather than one where they sit at a desk rewriting copy from other journalists who did the hard work in the first place?"

Catherine Mayer in the Observer: “I literally know not one single female journalist who has not been in some way discriminated against in the work place, or harassed, whether by interviewees or colleagues or both.”

Ray Snoddy quoted the Observer: “What we’ve seen this year is that ‘mainstream media’ has changed from a general description into a term of abuse. We’ve seen trust in media ebb and flow over many years but there’s been nothing like this before. There is now a completely different way of self-manufacturing and distributing news outside of the mainstream. These new outlets can be very diverse and exciting, but they exist outside any conventional sense of journalistic principles – of fact-checking and at least trying to get it objectively right.”

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "Russian nobles decided that Grigori Rasputin was such a threat to the empire they poisoned him, shot him and dumped his body in a tributary of the Neva. They didn’t stop the reckoning of the Russian Revolution. Nick Timothy, by contrast, has received jobs as columnists on the Telegraph and Sun. The Tory press is his natural home, where his ability to strike radical right postures without a thought for the consequences will be appreciated."

Chris Deerin in The Herald on Nick Timothy becoming a newspaper columnist: "When it emerged recently that he had been asked to write a weekly newspaper column, the response – an outrageous reward for failure – was as hysterical as it was bizarre. Shouldn’t the man be able to earn a living? Must he live in a remote cave, surviving on roots and berries, until the mob decides his penance is served? Aren’t his thoughts, now that he has popped out of the other side of the pipeline of power, of interest?"

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader: "Last weekend we published a column about BBC presenters’ pay in the Irish edition of this newspaper and online which included unacceptable comments that caused offence to many, in particular to the Jewish community. We removed the article and apologised promptly to Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, who had been named in the column. Now we apologise to our readers.Newspapers publish controversial articles that often cause upset. It is important to generate forthright debate about issues affecting our lives. It is also important, however, not to publish comments that overstep the mark. Where this column did so, we are deeply sorry."

Donald J. Trump‏ on Twitter: "Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!"

US attorney general Jeff Sessions, as reported by Politico: “We respect the important role that the press plays and we will give them respect, but it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’ role with protecting national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community and all law-abiding Americans.”

The Chicago Tribune in a leader: "The job of preventing leaks belongs to the federal government, which has plenty of existing tools to do so. If the Trump administration can't keep its own secrets, it shouldn't expect the news media to do that job."

The San Francisco Chronicle in a leader: "The value of whistle-blowers and an unencumbered media to a democracy is not hypothetical. The history of government lies — throughout the Vietnam War, the malfeasance of Watergate and, more recently, the government’s use of torture and illegal surveillance of Americans — all came to light only through anonymous sources. The embattled Sessions, channeling the president who belittles him, is going down a dangerous path."

Tyler Brûlé, editor in chief and chairman of MONOCLE, on the launch of his new newspaper:Monocle – The Summer Weekly is our latest adventure in ink and paper. Everyone is very down about newspapers but there is some- thing very exciting about this form. You don’t mind if it gets a bit of suncream on it, or if it gets waterlogged. It can follow you around for the day – or for the week. We thought that August was the perfect time to let people dive into this again.”


Thursday 3 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From when will print newspapers die? to Saudi takes stake in the Indy

Brian Cathcart on Byline predicts the end of printed newspapers: "The press is a very close-knit industry despite its affectations of rivalry, and the companies are prone to group-think, so instead of a series of dismal one-by-one announcements there could be a big bang, maybe around 2025, with almost all the rest of the titles stopping their daily presses within a few months. When that big bang comes, the great, sad obituaries of the printed morning newspaper will be written and many who have seen newspapers in their pomp will shed a tear, but the bitter truth is that for most people in this country – that is, for the very large numbers who have stopped buying them over the past few years or who never started buying them – print papers are already dead."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on the Brexit supporting right-wing tabloid press: "Where once they affected to inform, they now indulge in undisguised propaganda. Where once they were merely conservative, they are now defiantly reactionary. Where once they shouted, they now scream."

Ian Jack in the Guardian,  on his days on the subs desk on the Scottish Daily Express in the 1960s: "We were a kind of brotherhood. What did we have in common? That we were all men, that none of us had a university degree, that we worked night shifts, that most of us smoked, that we hated excessive length in reporters’ copy...Headlines were the pinnacle of the craft. A typeface such as 72-point Century Bold Expanded allows very few letters across two columns and it could be a struggle to find words that would fit – it was writing headlines that turned me into a smoker. 'FIRST FLUSH OF VICTORY,' I wrote proudly one night, over a planning row about new public toilets in Inverness. 'We’ll have no puns about piss and shit in this newspaper,' said the chief sub sternly, and told me to try again."

Jeremy Corbyn interviewed in the NUJ's national executive digital magazine Informed: “The print media have not been particularly fair to me or to Labour. Broadcast media coverage has varied greatly. We have had issues with various parts of BBC broadcasting, although I am a strong supporter of the BBC and a licence fee. In the election campaign what fundamentally changed was our intensive use of social media and a very good social-media team. Broadcasting rules mean that, instead of talking about political process, we got more of a hearing and were able to shift the focus of the debate.”

Ex-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, according to Ryan Lizzi in the New Yorker, when seeking the source of a leak: “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

Anthony Scaramucci on Twitter: "I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again."

Middle East Eye reports: "A mysterious Saudi-based investor has ploughed millions of dollars into a British news organisation renowned for championing liberal causes, in a move that will enrage human rights and press freedom campaigners. Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel, 42, listed in company records as a Saudi-based Saudi Arabian national, has acquired up to 50 percent of the Independent website, whose newspaper shook Britain's journalism establishment in the 1980s before struggling financially and ditching the printed word in 2016."

Independent editor Christian Broughton in an email to staff, reported by Press Gazette: “I have been given cast-iron, unequivocal reassurances that we will be able to continue to publish as we see fit about Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East, just as we always have, including throughout the period of the negotiations that have led to this new investment."

Amol Rajan on his BBC blog:"The Independent newspaper - of which I was editor between June 2013 and its closure last March - was founded by idealists who wanted an upmarket, centrist paper free from editorial interference. Goodness know what they would have made of the modern publication, a left-wing multi-platform digital title, pursuing a viral social media strategy with frequently salacious stories, whose main owners are the son of a former KGB economic attaché and the scion of Saudi property owners."