Thursday 31 January 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From readers must pay for quality journalism as digital publishers cut jobs to a night out with Hugh McIlvanney remembered

The Times [£] in a leader on the job cuts by digital publishers: "The Times has long argued that quality journalism should not be given away for free. Trusted news is expensive to produce and it is only right that readers should pay for it. Other publishers are finally accepting this logic. Last week Condé Nast, the magazine publisher, said that it would put all of its content behind a paywall. A shift towards more rational business models should improve the environment for good journalism. It will allow publishers to compete on the quality of their content rather than simply on sensationalism and the number of eyeballs reached."

Mike Rosenberg @ByRosenberg on Twitter:"45% of [US] newspaper journalism jobs have disappeared since 2007. Digital news outlets had replaced only 18% of those jobs even before recent layoffs at BuzzFeed, HuffPo, Mic, etc. This isn't just a jobs thing, it's about people not getting basic information they used to."

Verified account

Indira Lakshmanan @Indira_L on Twitter: "Newspapers are still shedding on average 1,000 jobs per month - more than mining, steel, fishing and all the beleaguered industries politicians talk about. The news industry - in all formats - is in crisis. We need sustainable business models for journalism."

Farhad Manjoo in the New York Times: "It is the rare publication that can survive on subscriptions, and the rarer one that will be saved by billionaires. Digital media needs a way to profitably serve the masses. If even BuzzFeed couldn’t hack that, we are well and truly hosed."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump  on Twitter: "'Ax falls quickly at BuzzFeed and Huffpost!' Headline, New York Post. Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!"

Emily Bell @emilybell on Twitter: "Capitalism is the enemy of journalism in many ways: overpayment and greed among the executive and investors, corrupted incentives embedded in tech platforms, a complete absence of sensible alternative funding models , a widespread misunderstanding that profit does not equal value."

Lionel Barber @lionelbarber on Twitter: "Hats off to the Telegraph newspaper for standing up to Philip Green, despite sky high legal costs. A victory against stifling confidentiality agreements and NDAs inhibiting legitimate journalism."

The Financial Times reports: "Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian owner of the London Evening Standard, sold a stake in the newspaper’s parent company in December to an investor whose identity is concealed behind a Cayman Islands company. The unnamed beneficial owner of the Cayman company poured nearly £14m into Lebedev Holdings, the corporate vehicle that in turn owns nearly 90 per cent of London’s free Evening Standard newspaper, which is edited by George Osborne, the former UK chancellor of the exchequer...The sale raises questions over the transparency of media ownership in the UK and also editorial control. It comes after a similar deal at The Independent newspaper group two years ago, which saw a little-known Saudi businessman take a 30 per cent stake in that publication, which is also controlled by Mr Lebedev."

Susie Beever, who works for the Huddersfiled Daily Examiner and Leeds Live quoted by HoldTheFrontPage after covering a far-right rally in Leeds: “I got into work this morning to be greeted by an email telling me I would ‘soon be paying the ultimate price’ for my live coverage of a far-right protest in Leeds yesterday. It’s interesting how the people who demand their right to freedom of speech in these protests are the same people who send threatening, aggressive and expletive emails to journalists because they don’t like the fact the free press have covered them."

Harlow resident Donna Redding on the closure of the local Harlow Star newspaper, quoted by the BBC: "It is awful news for our community that cannot access the internet and enjoy a read of local news. We have had a local paper ever since Harlow New Town was born."

Mark Di Stefano @MarkDiStef on Twitter: "Sky News reporters have just been told 32 cameras and microphones are being installed all around their newsrooms. Sky News is going to livestream everything that happens in the newsroom online and on a dedicated channel from 5:30am to 10:30pm, calling it “Sky News Raw”."

From the Guardian's obit on Hugh McIlvanney, who died aged 84 last week: "Sport and journalism in the UK could not have asked for a better champion than the man who insisted he was a reporter rather than a 'writer', a title he felt conveyed too much grandiloquence in the circles in which he moved easily, from ringside to the track and, when the mood took him, the bar. His searing intelligence and an old-fashioned regard for accuracy, embroidered by a gift for verbal musicality, lifted his work to sometimes operatic heights."

Hugh McIlvanney in his last column for the Sunday Times [£]: "Technology has delivered many a boon to the working reporter but in sport, especially, there are penalties. The demand for instant information and comment for the internet in addition to the copy transmitted to the newspaper must eat into the opportunities for the ferreting around that I always found productive in the immediate aftermath of an event...I envy the present generation of sportswriters their youth but not their operating conditions. I know how important favourable circumstances were to me."

McIlvanney also quoted Peter Dobereiner's definition of what columnists do: "A columnist is someone who hides up in the hills until the battle is over and then comes down and bayonets the wounded.”

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader: "Hugh started his career in journalism after sending some poems to the editor of the Kilmarnock Standard. Talk about starting as you mean to go on: he managed to discover poetry in even the most brutal of contests. Sport, and journalism, is suddenly a more prosaic occupation"

Norman Giller wrote about a night out with McIlvanney on the Sports Journalists' Association website: "In the dim and distant past Hughie and I have had some wild adventures...we were legless members of a press corps who disgraced ourselves by our raucous behaviour during a Geoff Hurst testimonial dinner at the London Hilton. That was the night a pissed-as-a-pudding Peter Batt insisted on singing My Way with the band, and fell head first off the stage after completing the line, 'And now the end is near …' Our unrehearsed and unwanted cabaret continued with wild fistfights (I floored Straw Dogs author Gordon Williams with an ABA-perfect left hook), and Hughie stripped down to the waist, prepared to take on all-comers. And we call the fans hooligans!"


Thursday 24 January 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Duke of Edinburgh runs Brexit off front pages to the Brexit-backing Sun sends a love letter to Germany

Anthony Spiro in a letter to The Times [£]: "Sir, The nation owes the duke a debt of gratitude for his valiant attempts to change the news agenda."

BuzzFeed's global investigations editor Heidi Blake @HeidilBlake on Twitter: "True grit. We’re standing by our story that Trump directed his longtime personal lawyer to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal, and the law enforcement sources who informed it. We won’t stop reporting till the public has the whole truth."

Spokesperson for Dianne Abbot, quoted in the Guardian: “We are appalled by the treatment of Diane Abbott on BBC’s Question Time. It was clear that a hostile atmosphere was whipped up, propped up by reports of inappropriate and sexist commentary in the audience warm-up session. A public broadcaster like the BBC should be expected to be a model of impartiality and equality. The BBC cannot claim anything of the sort when analysis of the programme shows that the only black woman on the panel was jeered at and interrupted more times than any other panellist, including by the chair herself.”
Rory Stewart @RoryStewartUK on Twitter: "The hounding of Fiona Bruce for perceived bias - like that of @bbclaurak - is a worrying sign of the aggression that female journalists too often face for doing their jobs. It's interesting that I've seen claims that she's both pro & anti Brexit - maybe she's just fair?"

Christopher Williams in the Telegraph: "Rupert Murdoch has asked the Government to lift legal restrictions barring the merger of The Times and The Sunday Times, as News Corp seeks to cut costs in its newspaper empire. News UK, the Murdoch subsidiary that publishes the titles, has written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to ask for freedom to share editorial resources across the titles, claiming supporting its separate newsrooms represent an "obsolete" approach."

Nick Cohen @NickCohen on Twitter: "The Observer's editor @paulfwebster announces that we are making a profit. It's all frightfully vulgar. I may have to resign." Nick Cohen @NickCohen on Twitter: "The editor has explained that since I submitted my expenses we are back in the red again. Still. Nice while it lasted."

Janice Turner in The Times [£]: "Why must TV reporting on big stories be conducted Outside Things? Fine if you’re in a war zone or a royal wedding is unfolding behind you. But if you’re simply describing what occurred inside a building, a journalist looks silly shivering on a traffic island."

Polly Toynbee on Twitter @pollytoynbee: "This Saturday Britain turns a remainer nation: more young remainers joined the electoral register, more old leavers died. A Final Say vote would stop the will of dead ruling over the will of the young."
Isabel Oakeshott @IsabelOakeshott on Twitter: "On this basis, elderly commentators like you should be replaced by teenage bloggers to prevent the wisdom of age drowning out the naïveté of youth."

The Sun in a love letter to Germany: "Around 100,000 Brits live in Germany, and about 300,000 Germans call the UK their home. There’s no need to move out — our Government has announced EU citizens won’t need to pay a penny in fees to stay. So let’s not allow Brexit to come between us. If we can put two World Wars and five World Cups behind us, we can certainly manage a little regulatory divergence and the odd new treaty. It’s not auf wiedersehen, yet. Lots of love, your British friends."


Thursday 17 January 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists facing biggest lay-offs in years in hollowed out industry to vulture capitalist swoops on Newsquest's US owner

From the Reuters Institute Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019 report by Nic Newman: "Journalism will continue to be hollowed out by structural shifts that have already led to significant falls in advertising revenue. Publishers are looking to subscriptions to make up the difference but the limits of this are likely to become apparent in 2019. Taken together these trends are likely to lead to the biggest wave of journalistic lay-offs in years – weakening further the ability of publishers to hold populist politicians and powerful business leaders to account."

Owen Jones @OwenJones84 on Twitter: "When one of us on the left is hurt or killed, which will happen, the entire right wing press and their so called “journalists”, who could have chosen to take a job which actually helps people, are all partly responsible and let’s put that on record now."

Hannah Al-Othman @HannahAlOthman on Twitter on Owen Jones: "The ignorance & privilege of this is astounding. Some people have to take jobs that pay the bills - not everyone gets handed a column in the guardian. Junior reporters trying to make a career aren’t guilty of anything."

Emily Bell in The Atlantic: "The real damage that Trump has rendered to press access is in his general attitude of undermining journalists’ credibility, particularly those he sees as investigating his affairs, or those who are more generally considered to be adversarial. Trump’s lack of respect toward women reporters and reporters of color has widespread effects, too. Online harassment of reporters is flourishing, and women and nonwhite reporters are particularly vulnerable to it."

Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeedNews revealing BBC journalists have been told top stop stating "the BBC understands" in news reports because it sounds pompous: "It also happens to be a running joke among those in the British media. Journalists often accuse the corporation of using the phrase "BBC understands" in relation to stories reported by other outlets, which the BBC has then confirmed with its sources."

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt  on Twitter on after an appeal by Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar against their imprisonment was turned down: "The thin red line between open and closed societies is whether journalists are able to do their job. Due process at best questionable in this case so please Aung San Suu Kyi take a personal interest in the future of these two brave journalists."

Joel Simon @Joelcpj on Twitter: "This has been a complete miscarriage of justice, from start to finish. It has done grave damage to Myanmar's standing in the world, and sullied the reputation of Aung San Suu Kyi. It's time for a pardon. #JournalismIsNotACrime #PressFreedom"

Federica Bedendo, NUJ Newsquest group chapel MoC, in a statement: "We are really concerned about the news of a potential acquisition by MNG Enterprises Inc. to acquire Gannett. Journalists within Newsquest already think this company has hit rock bottom and the prospect of being acquired by an organisation that's renowned for cost cutting and job slashing isn't going to do anything to benefit our titles or indeed our working conditions.

Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ national coordinator, in a statement: "The proprietorship of Gannett over Newsquest as its UK operation has been a sorry tale of shameless cost-cutting that has threatened to bring low once mighty titles through the pursuit of unsustainable profits and starvation of investment. But the reports coming out of the US from those who should know, is that Gannett itself is being pursued by the most predatory of vulture capitalist corporate raiders who are far distant from the needs and responsibilities of a modern media company."

Thursday 10 January 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Wikileaks confidential email to journalists leaks to how a sports reporter scored an own goal for Man City

John Simpson in The Times [£]: "The words “private” and “confidential” have had little deterrent effect on Julian Assange during his long career leaking other people’s secrets. It was no small irony, then, that the terminology sat atop a 5,000-word email from his Wikileaks site ordering journalists not to report 140 “false and defamatory” allegations about its founder. It was perhaps then doubly ironic that the instruction was so widely ignored by the email’s recipients that Wikileaks put the entire thing on the internet for all to see."

Anna Soubry MP  @Anna_Soubry on Twitter: "First for many a year - a #DailyMail front page to be proud of."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on media coverage of refugees crossing the channel in boats: "Looking at the totality of the news coverage brings one to the undeniably sad conclusion that Britain’s media is out of step with our modern multicultural society. Despite the demographic changes wrought over the last 60 years or so, its output is informed, albeit unconsciously, by an old-fashioned notion of white, Anglo-Saxon supremacy. The reporting of the migrants “surge” is but an extension of the pro-Brexit propaganda."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "I’ve reduced my wine intake to just three-quarters of a bottle a day. This will have an effect upon my work, my writing. Two or three glasses and the prose is full of life and there are jokes. More than that and the Independent Press Standards Organisation tends to get involved."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "With all of the success that our Country is having, including the just released jobs numbers which are off the charts, the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse. Many have become crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!..."

HoldTheFrontPage reports: "The Northern Echo’s 102-year-old Priestgate home could be turned into 52 apartments under new plans submitted to Darlington Borough Council"

David Coates, regional managing director of Echo publisher Newsquest Yorkshire and North-East, quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: Hopefully this time we will see it through to completion and we’ll be able to move into accommodation that’s more befitting a modern digital marketing services business.”

Chris Morley, the NUJ’s regional organiser for the North of England, quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: “Clearly it is very sad that a once great newspaper building – with such a tremendous history – is faced with this but the reality of the situation after a decade of relentless cuts makes it perhaps understandable. However, what my members cannot understand is that the managing director talks about his business only as a ‘modern digital marketing services business’. I think this perhaps sums up where Newsquest and the major media companies have gone wrong – senior managers wish they were in a different industry and have little affinity for journalism as their business’s bedrock.”

Tim Crook @libertarianspir on Twitter: "When I was working as a journalist in the North East of England 40 years ago I would never have believed something so iconic being turned into something so banal."

Katie Clark @Katie_Messer_on Twitter: "Yesterday was my last day @Bournemouthecho after 11 yrs. I'll miss everyone so much. A team of talented journalists who work incredibly hard in an era of 'fake news'. A local press is vital and without it a vacuum created, leaving decisions which affect residents unchallenged..."

Daniel Taylor in the Observer: "I must confess, to my eternal shame, that in the mild panic of a last-minute, potentially deadline-busting goal during my early years of covering Manchester City I managed to type in the wrong name for the scorer, Gareth Taylor, and credit his heroics to, well, this is awkward ... myself instead. The readers of the newspaper I was working for at the time – and Gareth himself, I imagine – must have been bemused to find this rather fanciful version of events slipped past the subeditors and made it into the opening line of the subsequent match report. The only consolation being that it was, thank heavens, before the years when Twitter’s pitchfork mob could be found scouring the internet for fresh prey."


Thursday 3 January 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From media death toll shows a profound global crisis of press freedom to we must stand up for journalists wherever they are

The Washington Post in a leader "THE DEBATE triggered by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was exceptional in part because, by some measures, his case was not unusual. The Post contributing columnist, who was assaulted, suffocated and dismembered by a hit squad in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, was just one of dozens of journalists around the world who were murdered in 2018 because of their work. Hundreds more are imprisoned. The growing climate of violence and intimidation directed against the media recently prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to describe “a profound global crisis of press freedom.”

The International Federation of Journalists in a statement: "This year’s roll call of loss of lives to violence includes 84 journalists, cameramen, fixers and technicians who died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross fire incidents. Ten other media staff members who worked as drivers, protection officers and a sales assistant also lost their lives...The IFJ list for 2018 paints a situation of on-going safety crisis in journalism, which was highlighted by the cruel murder of the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national, Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October."

IFJ President Philippe Leruth on the 2018 death toll of journalists: “These brazen acts of violence in utter disregard to human life have brought to an abrupt end the short lived decrease in journalists’ killings recorded over the last three year. Once again, the IFJ is asking United Nations' Members States to adopt at their general Assembly the Convention on the security and protection of journalists which the IFJ presented to diplomatic missions at the UN in New York last October. This Convention, supported by the profession as a whole, is a concrete response to crimes committed against journalists in full impunity.”

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Why is most of the coverage of the poor people in boats in the channel from OUR point of view not the point of view of those desperate men, women and CHILDREN? Where is our compassion at Christmas?"

One of BBC media editor Amol Rajan's predictions for 2019: "The Cairncross Review won't save a single local newspaper. That's not to say it won't be useful. Dame Frances Cairncross is clever, pragmatic and instinctively on the side of journalists: but her experience attests to the fact that, in some industries, the internet has created problems for which there is no solution."

From the Independent:"Newly released Cabinet papers reveal John Major told his ministers to avoid attending a “jamboree” for Rupert Murdoch, only to have his home secretary Michael Howard go anyway after refusing to catch a “diplomatic cold” as a polite excuse for not turning up. Mr Howard was at the time suspected of being one of the “bastards” referred to by Mr Major while venting his frustrations about three unnamed Eurosceptic cabinet ministers in off-the-record remarks picked up by TV microphones in July 1993." 

Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel on Twitter: "[Jurgen] Klopp on journalists (and our questions about whether LFC can win the title). ‘That’s an easy job. I would love to be in your situation [*thinks for a moment*] - but still earn the money I earn’."

From the Washington PostThe numbers are astonishing. In the first eight months of his presidency, President Trump made 1,137 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. In October, as he barnstormed the country holding rallies in advance of the midterm elections, the president made 1,205 claims — an average of 39 a day.Combined with the rest of his presidency, that adds up to a total of 7,546 claims through Dec. 20, the 700th day of his term in office, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president."

John Kampfner in The Times [£]: "Jeremy Hunt’s intention to make Brexit Britain a beacon in defence of freedom of expression is both a problem and an opportunity...The initiative, however, will have conviction only if it is consistent. That means not just calling out countries where it is easy and opportune, such as Putin’s Russia and the Burmese generals. Will we really risk the wrath of China? Most countries are now too scared of its economic might. What about Bahrain, the UAE or Saudi Arabia? Arguably the biggest global threat to freedom of expression comes from Donald Trump. Not only does he humiliate and threaten reporters but in so doing he has empowered dictators. Every time he attacks journalists, or praises those who harm them, our government must denounce him. Free expression is a principle, not a bargaining chip. For any campaign to convince, it needs to apply to one and all."