Monday 23 December 2019

Media Quotes of the Year: Boris, Brexit, Trump and why the world is your oyster on a local newspaper

It was the year a journalist became prime minister, a US president continued to snipe at the press and Brexit dominated politics and the media. My Media Quotes of the Year 2019 are up on InPublishing.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From in victory and defeat politicians blame media to Guardian praises local newspapers - what a shame it sold them off

Jeremy Corbyn, as reported by Press Gazette: "The pressure on those surrounding politicians is often very, very high indeed. The media intrusion on people’s lives is very high indeed. And the attacks that take place against family and loved ones of politicians continue and they are disgraceful and frankly they are disgusting…I want to thank my three sons for the huge support they give me and thank my wife Laura Alvarez for all that she puts up [with] because of the way the media behave towards me, towards her and indeed towards my party during this election campaign.”

Labour shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald on the  BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We've accepted that the print media are rained against us, but my goodness me. I'm going to look at us. We're the important part here. We got this wrong, but if the BBC are going to hold themselves out as somehow having conducted themselves in an impartial manner, I think they've really got to have a look in the mirror. We've got a lot to say about this."

The Times [£] reports: "Downing Street is squaring up to the BBC, threatening a boycott of Radio 4’s Today and a review of the licence fee as Conservatives fume about the broadcaster’s coverage of the election. The government confirmed yesterday that it had launched a review into decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee as punishment for what the Tories see as pro-Remain bias."

John Humphrys in the Daily Mail: "Johnson and Corbyn have been boycotting Today for a very long time, and I and my colleagues have often 'empty chaired' them. By which I mean we had drawn it to the attention of the listener that they had chosen not to appear. That's our duty. Otherwise the listener might think it was we who were denying them an appearance. As a former Today presenter, I'm saddened and worried that they have been boycotting us — and, we are told, that Johnson's government will continue to do so. I believe the listener is entitled to hold people in power to account. It enables democracy. And answering pre-selected questions on social media is not being held to account."

Huw Edwards on LinkedIn: "In the last week of the campaign, I was simultaneously accused (yeah, by The Sun) of being a Labour supporter, and (on Twitter) of deliberately facilitating a Conservative victory. I have been accused of being a Plaid Cymru voter (this is a difficult notion in London, I have to say) and in one spectacular zinger of a letter a few years ago, a 'vile Welsh neo-con'."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement: "Flagrant bullying rhetoric has been targeted at the BBC and Channel 4 during this election campaign, with threats to their futures issued in response to editorial decisions. These have been amplified over the weekend with comments from the government about reviewing the funding of the BBC and decriminalisation of the licence fee. Let’s be clear – knee-jerk changes to the licence fee would massively damage BBC programmes and news. The corporation is already facing serious cuts in the coming year, with potentially more on the horizon. It needs greater resources, not an attempt to destabilise its very existence. The NUJ salutes the hard work and professionalism of its members who covered one of the most divisive and difficult of election campaigns.”

Editor Mike Sassi announces his departure from the Nottingham Evening Post 
Richard Woodward on Twitter: "There are many issues for regional papers, but one which I’ve not seen talked about often is the loss of experience. So many editors like Mike have left recently. Hopefully he will stay in journalism, but many others haven’t. Papers need that wealth of knowledge."

Kenan Malik in the Guardian: "The obsession with social media has led many to neglect another part of the media ecosystem that is also of vital importance – local newspapers. In the age of global communication, it is easy to condescend to local papers as quaint and old-fashioned. Yet they play a vital role in sustaining both journalism and democracy. It was the Yorkshire Evening Post that broke the story about Jack Williment-Barr and subsequently played a major role in responding to the attempts to dismiss it as fake news. Some of the best investigative journalism these days emerges from local papers – for instance, in the work of the Manchester Evening News’ Jennifer Williams."

Emily Bell in the Guardian: "One of the very few heroes of the UK election campaign is James Mitchinson, editor of the Yorkshire Post. Mitchinson’s email to a reader who would not believe a (true) story about a sick child left to wait on the floor of a Leeds hospital is a model of both public service journalism and how to debunk a lie."

Manchester Evening News politics and investigations editor Jennifer Williams on Twitter:  "Another ode in the Guardian to local news while failing to mention the virtual silence that accompanied the flogging off of its local titles at the time. I’m being very restrained here."

Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian: After the Yorkshire Evening Post‘s reporting of the Leeds story was questioned, its editor in chief, James Mitchinson, wrote a long and considered reply to a reader who, on the basis of something she read on social media, thought the story was fake. Mitchinson’s reply courteously asks the reader why she would believe the word of a total stranger (who might not even exist) over a newspaper she had read for many years in good faith. The fact the paper knew the story to be true was, said Mitchinson, down to “bog-standard journalism”. It was a powerful statement of why good journalism – independent and decently crafted – should matter. So let’s hear it for bog-standard journalism. There’s too little of it. It may not be enough, but it’s all we have."

Manchester Evening News politics and investigations editor Jennifer Williams on Twitter:   "Alan Rusbridger was editor of the Guardian when the Guardian sold its regional press. As it turns out, the Manchester Evening News is doing pretty well these days, so I’m not complaining. But his homage to the local press is still a decade after the fact."


Thursday 5 December 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Boris Johnson offered oven-ready grilling by Andrew Neil to is clocking up the clicks calling time on local news?

Andrew Neil challenges  Boris Johnson to follow all the other party leaders and agree to an interview: "It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say. The theme running through our questions is trust - and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy. It is, of course, relevant to what he is promising us all now...Leaders' interviews have been a key part of the BBC's prime-time election coverage for decades...We have always proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate. And in every election they have. All of them. Until this one...There is no law, no Supreme Court ruling that can force Mr Johnson to participate in a BBC leaders' interview.
But the prime minister of our nation will, at times, have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me."
  • Senior Conservative source, according to Laura Kuenssberg: “The public are fed up with interviews that are all about the interviewer and endless interruptions. The format is tired and broken and needs to change if it is to start engaging and informing the public again.”

Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter:  "The billionaire owner of the Daily Mail, the Viscount Rothermere, has bought @theipaper. Two billionaire press barons now own half of the top 10 daily newspapers. Remember this when they attack Labour's plan to make the super-rich pay their fair share."

Oly Duff, editor-in-chief of the i, on Twitter replies to Jeremy Corbyn: ."Dear Jeremy, We were comfortable holding you to account when you were an i reader (still are? not sure) and we will continue to do so! Every leader of every other political party can expect the same - since we report on politics without fear or favour. It's why our readers trust us. They judge us on our journalism. Hopefully you will welcome the same scrutiny.And on a point of fact we haven't actually attacked Labour's plan to make the highest earners pay more tax... We remain editorially independent, politically impartial. Best - Oly"

Paul Zwillenberg, the chief executive of DMGT, in comments to the City: “The i has a different editorial style and tone to the Mail and the audience has a different demographic. I want to make absolutely clear that we will ensure that the editorial independence of the i is preserved. Its readers value its distinctive style and politically neutral approach and we are committed to maintaining that. We take a long-term approach and we will invest in high-quality editorial."

Guardian media editor Jim Waterson on Twitter: "They've got an excellent editor and a strong editorial team and it makes money in its current format, so DMGT would be absolutely crazy to change its editorial direction. It's not all a plot to control minds, sometimes it's a plan to get cash from different sources."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The corruption of journalism and the corruption of politics march together. On the right, the former columnists Boris Johnson and Michael Gove threaten to review Channel 4’s licence solely because it embarrassed them. On the left, sympathetic 'journalists' receive 'lines, briefings, transcripts, invites to events and asks of support for certain content' directly from a Labour party WhatsApp group. If this were happening in any other country, we would have no hesitation in deciding that the local strongman or mafia boss was striving to control the free press."

The Times of Malta reports: "The family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for the prime minister and his actions to be investigated and for related evidence to be preserved as part of the ongoing investigation. In a judicial protest on Monday morning, Caruana Galizia's husband Peter and their three sons also called upon Joseph Muscat to desist from any further involvement in the investigation and the independent inquiry surrounding the assassination. The family noted that in recent developments in the murder probe, several persons had been interrogated, including the prime minister’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, whose role had placed him in close proximity to the prime minister."

Rachel Sylvester in The Times [£]: "In the era of fake news, truth has become the casualty of a depressingly dishonest election campaign. The Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson was forced to deny a made-up story that she enjoys killing squirrels. Labour has repeatedly suggested that the NHS is 'for sale' although there is no evidence to back this up. The Conservative Party tried to mislead the public by rebranding one of its Twitter accounts “FactCheckUK” during the first leaders’ debate and had one of its ads banned by Facebook after using footage of BBC presenters without permission and out of context."

Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ group chapel coordinator, in a statement"Yet again, as we approach Christmas as the season of goodwill, the ghost of Scroogequest looms large for journalists within Newsquest. Haunted by low pay and relentless workloads that produce unsafe levels of stress for its journalists, the company is yet again recklessly picking off editorial workers seemingly at will at the hardest possible time to be made redundant."

Ex-Burton Mail news editor Jon Griffin in InPublishing on the changing news values of the regional press: "Where once newsrooms would avidly discuss page leads, exclusives, tip-offs and all the rest of what makes – or made – regional journalism so enthralling, a conversation would break out over why an online query ‘Should you say thank-you to the bus driver when you get off?’ had attracted 6,600 comments from screen-happy souls. The best reporter in the office was sent out to take on a monster breakfast challenge at a cafe in Swadlincote and was warmly praised for clocking up thousands of clicks. 'I wouldn’t have got this sort of reaction for uncovering Watergate,' he remarked wryly."