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."

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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!"


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