Thursday 31 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From women MPs back Duchess of Sussex against 'colonial undertones' of press coverage to can this headline rival the News of the World at its bizarre best?

Women MPs in an open letter to the Duchess of Sussex: "As women MPs of all political persuasions, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in a number of our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family. On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy, without good reason as far as we can see. Ever more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "WOW. Female MPs accuse press of being racist towards Meghan Markle. I hope they can justify that extraordinary claim, and that they urgently clarify which stories they think are unfairly intrusive? This looks like a very dangerous attempt to suppress freedom of the press."

Adam Boulton on SKY News: "Of course it is the first duty of journalists to report what they are told - but there is an important difference between saying 'the government says it is going to do such and such' and 'I can reveal from my exclusive sources that the government is going to do such and such.' Journalists vie to have the best "sources" but spin doctors on both sides are using this against them."

Helen Lewis in The Atlantic: "So why has 'Get Brexit done' gained such traction? Because of an unspoken pact between politicians and the media over the framing of the process. It has been presented as a tense drama that will lead to a satisfying end-of-season finale—a series of “knife-edge votes” that will eventually deliver a deal, at which point Britain can revert to its pre-2016 reality of ceasing to care much about the existence of the EU."

Gary Younge in the Guardian"When powerful people say things, too many journalists simply convey them, acting not as critical interlocutors but convenient conduits. The fact that a politician has said something, apparently, makes it news. This is all too often conveyed neat – uncritiqued, unfiltered and unprocessed. It is then injected into the conversational bloodstream caffeinated by social media. It’s as though the act of journalism is limited to getting the quote and distributing, and does not extend to verifying it, contextualising it and making sense of it. When those quotes are non-attributed – 'a senior No 10 source' or 'sources within the cabinet' – the risk of the journalist becoming an enabler and participant is real."

Richard Fletcher in The Times [£]: "The Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers have been put up for sale as their owner, the Barclay family, reviews its multibillion-pound portfolio of British investments."

MailOnline reports: "Donald Trump's White House has discontinued delivery of print editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post, according to administration officials, and he has ordered all federal agencies to follow suit. 'Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving – hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,' said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham."

Ofcom annual report on the BBC: "Although the BBC's online news services currently reach a broad audience, the evidence shows that heavier online users are generally those in older age groups. BBC News has long been aware of the challenge it faces in engaging younger people, who are increasingly consuming news via social media and news aggregators such as Apple News."

North Wales Daily Post editor Andrew Campbell after Coldplay placed a classified ad in the Post giving exclusive track listings of the band's new album: "It's great to see even global rock stars Coldplay recognise the unbeatable value of advertising in the Daily Post."

Roy Greenslade @GreensladeR on Twitter: "A factual headline, in the Dundee Courier almost good enough to rival the News of the World's famous "Nudist welfare man's model wife fell for Chinese hypnotist from the Co-op bacon factory."

  • Here is the bizarre story behind the News of the World's famous headline, as told by Roy Stockdill on Gentleman Ranters


Thursday 24 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From celebs tell press we are hypocrites over climate change but do your job to Prince Harry haunted by clicking cameras

Celebrities, including Steve Coogan, Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch, backing extinction rebellion in an open letter to the press: "Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites, You’re right...The stories that you write calling us climate hypocrites will not silence us. The media exists to tell the public the truth. Right now there has never been a more urgent need for you to educate yourselves on the CEE (Climate and Ecological Emergency) and to use your voices to reach new audiences with the truth."

Peter Oborne on Open Democracy:  "Of course political journalists have always entered into behind-the-scenes deals with politicians, but this kind of arrangement has gained a new dimension since Boris Johnson entered Downing Street with the support of a client press and media. As a former lobby correspondent (on the Evening Standard, the Sunday Express and The Spectator) I understand the need for access. The job of lobby journalists is to produce information. But there is now clear evidence that the prime minister has debauched Downing Street by using the power of his office to spread propaganda and fake news. British political journalists have got chillingly close to providing the same service to Boris Johnson that Fox News delivers for Donald Trump."

Robert Harris @Robert_Harris on Twitter: "The quality of Brexit coverage would be vastly improved if Dominic Cummings was named as the source each time he briefs a journalist. In 40 years I've never seen so much hyperbolic garbage treated as serious news."

BBC News reports"Australia's biggest newspaper rivals have made a rare showing of unity by publishing redacted front pages in a protest against press restrictions. The News Corp Australia and Nine mastheads on Monday showed blacked-out text beside red stamps marked "secret".  The protest is aimed at national security laws which journalists say have stifled reporting and created a "culture of secrecy" in Australia."

David Charter in The Times [£] on the demise of the Newseum in Washington: "Just before “national newspaper week” last week it announced that it would be closing at the end of the year. The decision felt like another sign of the collapse of traditional media. One in five local American newspapers has closed since 2004. In the same week as the Newseum announced its demise, the Biddeford Journal Tribune, a daily in Maine founded in 1884, stopped the presses."
  • The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, wrote of the Newseum closure: “A self-congratulatory monument to the media in our nation’s capital will close . . . proving once again that President Trump cannot stop winning and will never stop owning the libs”.

Leona O'Neill @LeonaONeill1 on Twitter:"Those close to Lyra McKee wrote a tribute to her on Free #Derry Wall early this morning to remember her six months to the day when she died. Hours later it was painted over with a message of solidarity to #Catalunya."

Timothy Snyder in the New York Times on the use of propaganda by Adolf Hitler: "As the voices of journalists were weakened, the propagandists delivered the coup de grace. By then Hitler and the Nazis had found the simple slogan they related again and again to discredit reporters: 'Lügenpresse'. 'Today the extreme right in Germany has revived this term, which in English is 'fake news'."

Prince Harry on his mother in an interview in Africa by Tom Bradbury for ITV News: "Everything I do reminds me of her...I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash it takes me straight back so in that respect it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best. Being here now 22 years later trying to finish what she started will be incredibly emotional but everything that I do reminds me of her. But as I said with the role, with the job and the sort of pressures that come with that, I get reminded of the bad stuff, unfortunately.”

Duchess of Sussex told Tom Bradbury in an interview her friends warned her agianst marrying Prince Harry saying: "You shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life".

Former BBC TV News court correspondent Michael Cole in a letter to The Times [£]: "The prince should call off his fight with the press. Sandhurst must have taught him not start a fight you cannot win. And when you wrestle with a chimney sweep, you cannot help but get dirty."


Thursday 17 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From will another journalist ever be PM after Boris? to reporters matter more than anyone else in journalism

Ray Snoddy in The Journalist"It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to rush to appoint another journalist as Prime Minister anytime soon. The former journalist and maybe soon to be former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has surely seen to that. He has already secured the title of worst Prime Minister in living memory and may already be the worst in history, given his arrogance, incompetence, track record of failure and bluster."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on Dominic Cummings: "He appears determined to be his own man rather than be part of someone else’s story. Whether or not this is bad for the country – we shall see – it cannot be denied it’s rather good for our trade. We thrive on colourful characters courting controversy. Journalism is often the beneficiary of big egos in the sense that, in promoting themselves, they inevitably provide stories...So, in spite of the darkness of his message, let me applaud Cummings, the messenger who has stepped out of the shadows. We may not have him for long, of course, but let’s enjoy him while we can."

John Simson @JohnSimpsonNews on Twitter: "When I became the BBC’s political editor in 1980 the disgraceful old lobby system where ‘Downing St sources’ were quoted for everything was rampant. Thatcher, Major & Blair did away with it. Now it’s back. I think journalists should identify their sources."

Pic: NY Times
New York Times president and ceo and former BBC director-general Mark Thompson giving the 2019 Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture: "The media world is dividing into potential global winners, probable survivors, and the rest. The UK certainly has possible survivors – among national newspapers, the Daily Mail and Guardian for instance. But with due respect – and notwithstanding the sizeable international audiences which several UK newspapers have built up – none looks like a potential global winner....I don’t see how all the current national titles survive. At regional and local level, it looks like something close to a wipe-out without dramatic intervention."

Paul Dacre in a letter to the Financial Times: “Admirable chap he may be, but Geordie Greig, in his Lunch With The FT, is as economic with the actualité [news] as your paper is in reporting matters Brexit. He claims 265 advertisers came back to the Mail in his year as editor. In fact, far more than that number left during the same period.”

Yorksire Post editor James Mitchinson in an interview with the Financial Times says the YP will soon have to put up a paywall: “We will have to ask readers to contribute financially. I do not think there is an alternative.”

State approved press regulator IMPRESS in its third annual report: "The Conversation, Bedford Independent and Plant Based News are among 38 new titles to have come under the regulatory remit of IMPRESS in the past year. They join a steadily growing membership of over 130 newspapers and news sites that also include award-winning titles Bellingcat, New Internationalist and The Lincolnite, reaching over 11 million readers each month. In 2018-19, IMPRESS dealt with 39 complaints and published one arbitration award, seven adjudications and issued three advisory notices concerning unwarranted press intrusion."

John Humphrys talking to Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2: "The really big job, that matters more than anything else, is that of reporter. Without reporters we don't have information. Without reporters we don't have democracy. Reporters are at the heart of journalism."

Jeremy Vine @theJeremy Vine on Twitter: "Totally agree with John Humphrys on this. People say reporters are jealous of presenters — but all presenters, in their hearts, know that reporters are doing the most important thing."

John Humphrys asked by Observer reader Robert Jones if he would encourage young people to go into journalism: "I wouldn’t be encouraging, no, because it is an immensely competitive field. When my son wanted to be a cellist, he had an audition at the Royal College, and I went in with him to turn the pages of the music. When he finished, the tutor said: 'Hmm, I would advise you not to become a professional cellist.' You can imagine my son’s face. And then the tutor said: 'Unless doing anything else would make you very unhappy.' That’s corny, but that’s how I feel about journalism."

Thursday 10 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From press hits back as Prince Harry sues tabloids to Yorkshire Post byline finally answers grandad's question after 18 years

Byline Investigates reports:  "PRINCE Harry is suing the UK tabloid papers of both Rupert Murdoch and their industry rivals Mirror Group Newspapers for allegedly hacking his phone, Byline Investigates can exclusively reveal...It raises for the first time the possibility of a serving member of the Royal family entering the witness box in trials against some of the most powerful media organisations in the world."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "It’s time the ‘terrible’ British press stopped covering any public engagement by the Duke & Duchess of Sussex. Let’s all give them the privacy they purport to crave, and spare them the ‘torment’ of having their myriad causes get huge beneficial publicity."

Camilla Long in the Sunday Times [£]: "Does the press print 'lie after lie' or does it provide a vital service — without the British press, after all, there simply wouldn’t be a royal family as we know it. And if it really has written 'lie after lie' about Meghan, then why are they suing The Mail on Sunday over a story that no one’s heard of or can even remember (sorry, Mail on Sunday), on a relatively minor issue of reprinting a private letter? Infringement of copyright — what a hill to die on. It’s not quite the same as being chased to death by paparazzi, as Harry claims it is."

Philip Collins in The Times [£]: "The relations between media and monarchy are a compact between three parties: the journalists, the reading public and the royal family itself. It is a game in which each party alters its course in accordance with one of the others. The journalists pursue the royals because it sells newspapers. The people buy the idea of celebrity monarchy at least in part because it is publicised and validated by respected news outlets. The royals court the media because it is free and uncritical marketing for a constitutional monarchy." 

Jennifer Arcuri asked on Good Morning Britain by Piers Morgan if she had had an affair with Boris Johnson: “Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer I really am not going to answer that question. I’m sorry, I’m not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer."

Coleen Rooney @ColeenRoo on Twitter on how she put up fake news on Instagram to catch out someone allegedly selling stories about her to the Sun"Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories too see if they made there way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding."

Graham Norton on why he quit as the Telegraph's agony aunt, as reported by the Guardian“When I signed up to be their agony aunt, I was aware that it was a rightwing paper and that didn’t bother me, but about a year before I left, it took a turn and there were some things in that paper about which I thought, ‘I cannot be contained within the same pages as this.’ There was a piece defending Brett Kavanaugh and things president Trump had said about [Kavanaugh’s] accuser, and I just thought, ‘This is toxic.’ And I loved that job; I absolutely adored doing it, but ultimately I didn’t love it enough to be part of that stable. I just had to step away, which saddened me, but I was beginning to feel a bit nauseous."

Julian Mounter, former director-general, Television New Zealand, in a letter to The Times [£]: "A common mistake among BBC news presenters these days is to ask of a colleague in the “field” questions that amount to: “What do you think?” Seasoned journalists dodge the question and tell us what they know."

Former BBC TV Panorama journalist Tom Mangold in a letter to The Times [£]: "In 1968, while working for BBC TV News, I was in Vietnam and witnessed the complete destruction of a village by two Phantom A4 warplanes. After their attack we went through the rubble and discovered only the bodies of the very old or the very young. No fighters. In my on-camera report I concluded: 'Military historians may question the wisdom of these tactics.' It was never transmitted. When I returned to London the deputy editor of TV news told me that he had 'fought like a tiger' not to have me sacked for passing an opinion on air. He was absolutely right. The moment we show our personal attitudes on air we cease to be impartial, and when impartiality ends so will the BBC’s entire news and current affairs service."

Susie Beever @SusieMayJourno on Twitter: "My late grandfather to me, aged nine, as I handed him another hand-written magazine stapled together from my dad’s printer paper: 'So young lady, how long before we see your name on the front of the Yorkshire Post?' 18 years, Gramps."


Thursday 3 October 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: Why the killers of Jamal Khashoggi must be bought to justice to making magazines in smokey rooms 40 years ago

International Federation of Journalists general secretary Anthony Bellanger on the anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul: “It's been a year since Khashoggi's murder and there’s still no justice for those who ordered and executed his murder. We will continue demanding an international and independent investigation on this crime and rejecting any kind of political cover-up of it. If the perpetrators are not held to account, oppressive governments of the world will see it as a green light to commit crimes against a journalist with impunity. We won’t allow it.”

The Washington Post [£] confronts Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi: "He should stop offering half-truths and accept full responsibility for ordering the murder. We don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. History will show that our lost friend and colleague Jamal was on the right side of the debate that Mohammed bin Salman thought, mistakenly, he could win with a bone saw."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in a statement on the decision by the Duchess of Sussex to sue the Mail on Sunday for the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act"Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

Sunday Times Style [£] columnist Charlotte Edwardes on lunching with Boris Johnson: "Under the table, I feel Johnson’s hand on my thigh. He gives it a squeeze. His hand is high up my leg and he has enough inner flesh beneath his fingers to make me sit suddenly upright."

Manchester Evening News political and investigations editor Jennifer Williams in the Observer: “I keep being asked when I’m moving to London as my work’s getting known ‘nationally. I’d rather ask a different question: why aren’t there more reporters like me all over the country? Why are places outside London not properly represented?"

John Sweeney @johnsweeneyroar on Twitter: "After 17 years I'm leaving the BBC. It's high time to make trouble elsewhere. First stop, Malta. With @carlobonini and @Manwel_Delia I've written Murder On The Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, to be published on October 14 by Midsea Books. Thanks to my great pals at BBC. Together we helped free 5 cot death mums starting wi Sally Clark, jailed on wrong evidence of Prof Sir Roy Meadow. Trump got challenged over his links with Russian mob, Putin over the shoot-down of MH17 and I yelled at Church of Scientology."

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer:  "The new elitism is a deadly form of condescension. Sun readers aren’t there to be informed. Entertained, yes. Inflamed, yes. Infuriated: certainly. But not well informed. Interestingly, the Mail, under a new editor, is quietly turning itself into a much more nuanced paper, willing to do justice to more than one side of an argument. An editorial on [Supreme Court president] Hale was notably reasonable – miles away from the finger-jabbing fury of the previous regime. Sales seem to be holding up just fine (and, I’m told, more than 200 advertisers have returned)."

Black journalists and broadcasters in a letter to the Guardian in support of presenter Naga Munchetty over the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit finding she had breached guidelines in a comment on President Trump's 'send them home' jibe at four congresswoman: "To suggest a journalist can 'talk about her own experiences of racism' while withholding a critique on the author of racism (in this case President Trump) has the ludicrous implication that such racism may be legitimate and should be contemplated as such. While we stand in support of Munchetty, the consequences of this decision are widespread with implications for the entire media landscape in the UK and those who work within it."

BBC director general Tony Hall responds by overturning the ECU complaint, as reported by BBC News: "I have also examined the complaint itself. It was only ever in a limited way that there was found to be a breach of our guidelines. These are often finely balanced and difficult judgements. But, in this instance, I don't think Naga's words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made. There was never any sanction against Naga and I hope this step makes that absolutely clear."

Ex-Smash Hits editor David Hepworth in InPublishing on making magazines 40 years ago: "The magazine was put together in those days, like all magazines, in smokey rooms made noisy by the clacking of typewriters, the ringing of immobile telephones and the arrival and departure of motorcycle messengers... The layouts were taken up to the compositors in Peterborough by a retired printer called Len who used to come every day and return on the train. You often didn’t get an idea of what things were going to look like until it was too late to change them...In 1979, most magazines were predominantly black and white and cover mounted gifts were no more valuable than flexi discs and badges...nobody had picture researchers or stylists or executive art directors or car accounts or off-sites in foreign climes or PowerPoint. Nobody talked about pitches or copy approval. PRs didn’t 'reach out' and would have died of embarrassment if it had been suggested that they remained in the room as an interview was going on."

 [£] = paywall