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."


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