Thursday 28 March 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalist sets-up crowdfunder for arson attacked Paris news vendors to even tabloid hacks are now from public schools

John Lichfield in the Observer: "In 47 years of journalism, few things have shocked me as deeply as the sight of burning newspaper kiosks on the Champs-Élysées. Journalists are supposed to be neutral observers – impassioned but dispassionate. Forget all that. This was personal. This was an attack on the print newspapers that had been my life’s blood from the day I joined the Bolton Evening News in 1972 until the Independent stopped printing in 2016. This was an attack on something endearingly Parisian, something as instantly recognisable as the Eiffel Tower or the burned-rubber smell of the Métro. What could I do? For once, writing or reporting didn’t seem to be enough. At the suggestion of a friend, I set up a crowdfunder appeal for the stricken kiosk operators. The response was extraordinary – not just from France or Britain, but from all over the world."

Piers Morgan on the Mueller Report on MailOnline: "Once revered newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post are effectively finished as credible purveyors of fair and balanced news. Their sustained, often viciously partisan Russiagate coverage has been dictated not by any ‘higher purpose’ journalistic rigour but by commercial greed: the more they hammer the President, the more copies they sell and website clicks they attract, and the more money they make. And the ‘Trump’s a traitor’ narrative has been their biggest money-spinner."

George Monbiot in the Guardian: "If our politics is becoming less rational, crueller and more divisive, this rule of public life is partly to blame: the more disgracefully you behave, the bigger the platform the media will give you. If you are caught lying, cheating, boasting or behaving like an idiot, you’ll be flooded with invitations to appear on current affairs programmes. If you play straight, don’t expect the phone to ring...Malicious clowns are invited to discuss issues of the utmost complexity. Ludicrous twerps are sought out and lionised. The BBC used its current affairs programmes to turn Nigel Farage and  Jacob Rees-Mogg into reality TV stars, and now they have the nation in their hands."

Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette  on criticism of tabloid coverage of the Christchurch mosque massacre: "We need journalism to continue to hold a mirror up to society, warts and all, so that we can understand what drove men like the Christchurch attacker and find ways to prevent this happening again. While the tabloids make convenient scapegoats, it is the digital giants currently driving them out of business by taking their advertising revenue who we should focus our attention on. And it is the perpetrators of these appalling acts of violence who deserve our scorn, not those who bring us the news."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian: "The failings of social media sites and particularly Facebook are not new, and newspapers crushed by the assault on their revenues have, in the main, led the criticism. So it seems particularly perverse that newspapers themselves acted as platforms for the gunman’s sick footage. If humans are to claim the moral high ground in the way they report stories, they must make better decisions than machines."

Pro-Brexit ‘yellow vest’ activist James Goddard, accused of assaulting Manchester Evening News photographer Joel Goodman, told Manchester Magistrates' Court: “I don’t want the media in here, get them out, I want my family and friends here.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on plans by the BBC to merge Radio 4’s The World Tonight with the World Service’s Newshour“Creating a shot-gun wedding for these two programmes by having one production team and presenter is a nonsense. The need for well-resourced news and analysis could not be greater as the public attempts to grapple with machinations of Brexit.”

Index on Censorship editor Rachael Jolley, after a survey by Index and the Society of Editors showed 97 per cent of senior journalists and editors in the UK’s regional newspapers and news sites say they worry the local press does not have the resources to hold power to account as they did in the past:“Big ideas are needed. Democracy loses if local news disappears. Sadly, those long-held checks and balances are fracturing, and there are few replacements on the horizon. Proper journalism cannot be replaced by people tweeting their opinions and the occasional photo of a squirrel, no matter how amusing the squirrel might be. If no local reporters are left living and working in these communities, are they really going to care about those places? News will go unreported; stories will not be told; people will not know what has happened in their towns and communities.”

Michael Buerk in the Radio Times on the lack of BBC presenters from a working class background, as reported by the Telegraph“When John [Humphrys] goes, all four of the Today programme’s regular presenters will have been privately educated, like a quite remarkable proportion of other people working for the BBC, on both sides of the microphone. The same is true across the media as a whole. Even tabloids newspaper hacks have been to Westminster and Cambridge these days.”

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Everybody Hates Us! The growing abuse and threats made against journalists worldwide

I've done an article for InPublishing on the growing abuse and threats made against journalists. It comes from the left, right, online trolls, governments, dictators, MPs, presidents and online trolls. You can read it here.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From press condemned for carrying mosque terror video to the bad boys of Brexit say they played the media like a Stradivarius

George Trefgar @GeorgeTrefgarne on Twitter: "I cannot believe that @MailOnline is showing video footage live-streamed, with sound, from the New Zealand killers’ headcam on its home page. You can just stumble across it. A classic example of how digital media need regulation. Barbaric. And what happened to self-restraint?"

Raymond Snoddy@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "That was a shocking editorial decision even social media has now taken video of the New Zealand murders down - you expect more from trained journalists and news editors of MailOnline."

MailOnline in a statement: "In common with many other news organisations around the world MailOnline carried for a time a very short excerpt from beginning of the Christchurch mosque gunman’s video that showed no violence or victims. On further reflection we decided to remove it."

Lloyd Embley @Mirror_Editor on Twitter: "For a brief period this morning the Mirror website ran some edited footage filmed by the gunman in Christchurch. We should not have carried this. It is not in line with our policy relating to terrorist propaganda videos."

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern , quoted by BBC News"We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published. They are the publisher. Not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility."

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Speaker getting one of the biggest kickings in Fleet Street history tonight... but it is these papers that created this mess, not him. They misled readers and led them to disaster."

Committee to Protect Journalists @pressfreedom on Twitter: "At least 1,337 journalists have been killed while covering the news since 1992. Their names form The #LastColumn logo. Each time a journalist is killed, their name will be added to the logo. #pressfreedom"

Media Reform Coalition media ownership report: "Just three companies (News UK, DMG and Reach) dominate 83% of the national newspaper market (up from 71% in 2015). This is a market that may be shrinking interms of print circulation but, assisted by large online audiences, is crucial when it comes to settingthe agenda for the rest of the news media. When online readers are included, just five companies (News UK, DMG, Reach, Guardian and Telegraph) dominate some 80% of market share (up from 79% in 2015). In the area of local news, five conglomerates (Gannett, Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror, Tindle and Archant) account for 80% of all titles (it was six companies back in 2015) while 57 smaller publishers have less than 20% of the remaining titles. Local newsrooms continue to haemorrhage journalists while we are facing an increasing number of news deserts given the fact that, as of 2017, two-thirds of Local Authority Districts do not have daily local newspaper coverage."
  • The report concludes: "The levels of concentration revealed in this report demonstrate that we need action that will challenge blockbuster media and tech companies and the influence that flows from their dominance of infrastructure, content and distribution."

Owen Jones @OwenJones84 on Twitter:"Want to work in the media but don’t want obsessive hatred from your “colleagues”? Easy solution: don’t criticise how the media works and just spend your time attacking Muslims or migrants or refugees or trans people instead!"
Owen Jones @OwenJones84 on Twitter: "I'd like to clarify that there are many very good journalists, that challenging much of the media for inciting and fuelling racism doesn't mean that all the journalists working there are racists, and that The Guardian provides space for excellent anti-racism voices."

Mark Di Stefano @MarkDiStef on Twitter: "I’ve come to the sober realisation that the president of the United States watches more TV and tweets more than me, a media reporter."

Brexit backer Aaron Banks quoted by Ed Caesar in The New Yorker“We played the media like a a Stradivarius," noting that “if we spent eight million in the referendum, we got thirty-five, forty million in free publicity” by outraging liberal commentators."

Thursday 14 March 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From why we should pay to read the Jess Phillips interview in The Times to hipster complains about picture that wasn't him

David Miliband @DMiliband  on Twitter: "This is a great interview with ⁦@jessphillips⁩. Clear and principled. Times should take it out from behind pay wall as a public service. Jess Phillips. 'I think I’d be a good prime minister’."

Neville Thurlbeck on Twitter: "So @thetimes and its journalists give away their work free of charge as a “public service“, while you charge £650,000pa for your “public service” to your “charity“? @thetimes is a business not a trough."
Hadley Freeman @HadleyFreeman  on Twitter: "Replying to @DMiliband @jessphillips Paying for quality journalism is a good public service."

Prince Harry in a speech to schoolchildren, reported by The Times [£]: “Every day you are inundated with an over-exposure of advertising and mainstream media, social media and endless comparisons, distorting the truth, and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking."

Stephen Glover, commenting on Prince Harry's speech in the Daily Mail"His suggestion that the most noteworthy role of the mainstream media is to tell lies and manipulate impressionable minds — well, this really was dangerous and offensive nonsense. I’m not sure even Jeremy Corbyn believes that."

George Osborne, giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture, on the critical reaction to him being made editor of the Evening Standard two years ago: "I had simultaneously managed to offend two of the more self-righteous professions in Britain: journalists and politicians. Some journalists thought it was outrageous that someone who had helped run a country should presume to try to run a newspaper. Some politicians thought it was outrageous that someone who they used to work alongside would now be throwing stones at them."

Nick Robinson @bbcnickrobinson on Twitter: "Even at a distance you can feel the pain that @George_Osborne must have felt when writing this headline."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement after the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into equal pay at the BBC: "The EHRC’s starting point for this investigation – a suspicion that ‘some women at the organisation have not received equal pay for equal work’ – is in the NUJ’s view a fact. It is quite clear from the NUJ’s involvement – whether in the informal process, grievances or appeals, and potential tribunal claims – that pay inequity has been a reality at the corporation and that women have lost out in pay, pensions contributions and other terms and conditions."

Michael Greenwood @greenwood100 on Twitter marking Donald Zec's 100th birthday: "I know a few journalists who would sell a body part to have had one of the interviews Donald Zec got for The Daily Mirror - for starters here he is with Muhammad Ali in 1967 (copyright @mirrorpix)."

CBC reports: "A man threatened to sue a technology magazine for using his image in a story about why all hipsters look the same, only to find out the picture was of a completely different guy. The story in the MIT Technology Review detailed a study about the so-called hipster effect — 'the counterintuitive phenomenon in which people who oppose mainstream culture all end up looking the same.' The inclusion of a version of a Getty Images photo of a bearded, flannel-wearing man, tinted with a blue and orange hue, prompted one reader to write to the magazine: 'Your lack of basic journalistic ethics in both the manner in which you 'reported' this uncredited nonsense, and the slanderous, unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response, and I am, of course, pursuing legal action.' But it wasn't actually him."


Thursday 7 March 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hunt and Clooney meet over fight for press freedom to will Fox News save Trump from the Mueller Report?

Jeremy Hunt @Jeremy_Hunt on Twitter: "Good discussion on media freedom w/ Amal Clooney. Discussed how we could work together to tackle those who act w/ impunity against journalists - including the Reuters journalists in Burma she represents - and how to shine a global spotlight on the vital necessity of media freedom."
James O'Brien @mrjamesob on Twitter: "Corbyn’s attitude to journalists is basically: 'How dare you ask me about unprecedented numbers of MPs leaving the party in disgust at my leadership. I want banal invitations to spout hollow platitudes about homelessness & poverty & you show your bias by not issuing them'.”

Helen Lewis in the New Statesman: "By attacking the media, all three men – Corbyn, Maduro and Trump – know exactly what they are doing. Any journalist’s defence of the profession can be dismissed as special pleading: you would say that, wouldn’t you? It’s a cheap trick that works because everyone hates journalists already. Look at them, sitting there in London, earning a packet, not meeting “real people” (whoever they are). This lazy criticism conflates megabucks contrarian columnists with the majority of the industry, where salaries are low and employment is precarious. There’s a reason that the PR business is full of ex-journalists. Puffery pays better than takedowns."

Bill Browder @Billbrowder on Twitter: "This is absolutely appalling. According to new intelligence [documentary by Al Jazeera Arabic], Jamal Khashoggi's body was burned in a newly constructed tandoori oven in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Mohammed bin Salman needs to be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act."

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, in a statement after the union said the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Durham Constabulary attempted to restrict the freedom of investigative journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, makers of the documentary No Stone Unturned, from commenting on their case while on police bail:  "This was a blatant attempt to thwart the massive international campaign against the arrest of two journalists whose only crime is their search for truth and justice... The extension of bail until September 2019 is a travesty and imposes ongoing hardship on our members, their families and colleagues."

Guardian columnist Gary Younge speaking at an NUJ event in London: "Journalists are better at describing things rather than predicting things. Journalism needs more humility. If we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, then we should spend our time looking at what is happening now. We need to be more curious. I go out and talk to people, and I listen to their answers. Too often reporters are told what the story is and are then sent out to get the quotes to stand it up.”

Kim Fletcher in the British Journalism Review: "Unfortunately, many of us look at local journalism the way we look at banks and corner shops, being dismayed to see them disappear while struggling to recall the last time we walked in. The decline in sale has been encouraged by publishers, who have tended to respond to challenging times by cutting staff, reducing quality and raising prices."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian: "One newspaper executive said last week there was no difference between the Saudis or Russians owning a newspaper and a football club. Which would be true if the British media was just a vehicle for identity politics, fun and games rather than a time-honoured way of holding the powerful to account."

Campaign to Protect Journalists' Asia program coordinator Steven Butler, after four journalists were barred from covering a dinner in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, because of "sensitivities over shouted questions": "President Donald Trump and the White House are setting a terrible example, restricting press coverage while meeting with a ruthless foreign dictator of a nation that enjoys no press freedom at all. North Korea's efforts to block the press are deplorable, if unsurprising, but the U.S. government has no business acquiescing in this behavior."
  • Blocked from covering the dinner were reporters from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, according to The Washington Post.

Jerry Taylor, co-founder of the Niskanen Center, quoted by Jane Mayer in her New Yorker article on Fox News: “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”