Thursday 30 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From 450 jobs go as BBC News puts focus on digital to Chancellor will look at tax incentives for news publishing industry

Director of BBC News, Fran Unsworth, after the corporation announced around 450 jobs will be cut from BBC News under plans to complete its £80m savings target by 2022. "The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us. We need to reshape BBC News for the next five to 10 years in a way which saves substantial amounts of money. We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital."
  • NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement on The BBC cuts: “These damaging cuts are part of an existential threat to the BBC, and a direct consequence of the last disastrous, secret licence fee deal the BBC agreed with the government. This is before the impact of taking over responsibility for the over-75s licences kicks in. Against this backdrop, the BBC’s very existence is being threatened with public service broadcasting under unprecedented threat."

  • Amol Rajan on BBC News: "Adapt or die is a passable motto for modern media, particularly the publicly-funded kind. The BBC faces an existential crisis. It's one hell of a moment for arguably the BBC's most important division to undertake a radical experiment."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian: "The BBC can be maddening, prompting both left and right to tear their hair out. But in a world of fake news, we need a broadcaster free of commercial pressure, one that aims to stand aside from the partisan din. It may not always get there. But without it, our grip on the truth would get even looser."

The BBC in a statement on the decision by Fergal Keane to stand down as BBC News Africa editor: “ For several years, Fergal has been dealing privately with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stemming from several decades of work in conflict zones around the world. He has been supported throughout this time by friends and colleagues in News, as well as receiving professional medical advice. However, he now feels he needs to change his role in order to further assist his recovery. It is both brave and welcome that he is ready to be open about PTSD.”
  • Ben Fenton on Twitter: "Reporters, not necessarily in warzones, are the unreported victims of traumatic events. Not least because of guilt factor of being "vultures", but also because they don't talk about it. Covering Dunblane pushed two of my former colleagues over edge into leaving the industry."

Stig Abell, launch director of The Times and the Sunday Times' new current affairs digital radio station Times Radio which is launching this year, as reported by The Times [£]:  “I want to be able to listen to this station and learn something, and get the world presented to me. I don’t want pomposity, I don’t want stuffiness.”

John McDonnell in The Times [£]: "We now see a finance, data/media complex capable of combining the traditional financial clout over economic decision-making by governments with the ability to use its ownership and influence of the various media platforms to decisively influence decision-making and even elections. As we have just witnessed, not just in the UK but across the globe, elections can be decisively influenced by the dominating ownership and control of the mainstream press, the resultant permeation of the broadcasting media and the purchase of overwhelming influence via social media and use of data targeting. This is not a conspiracy theory. There is no need for conspiracy. It’s simply the capitalist system naturally evolving to protect its distribution of power and wealth from any radical challenge."

International Federation of Journalists general secretary Anthony Bellanger, in a statement on investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, accused by Brazil's federal prosecutor of  criminal association and illegally intercepting private conversations: “This decision of the Brazilian public prosecutor evidences the systematic attacks by the Brazilian government against media freedom and freedom of expression. We stand in solidarity with Glenn Greenwald and all the Brazilian journalists who are facing permanent attacks and threats for doing their job in an attempt to intimidate and silence investigative journalists. They will never silence us.”

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust communications manager Mark Prentice in an email accidently sent to an Eastern Daily Press reporter:"Just to let you know in advance of the Board meeting that there’s nothing in the EADT today (either in print or online) about eating disorders following Emily Townsend’s query yesterday. Perhaps she might attend the Board today and try to talk to someone about it then? Also, we seem to have got away (again) with the Adult Safeguarding Review story. I used iPlayer to check Radio Norfolk between 4pm and 7pm last night, and it was not on there at all. I think we may have been saved by the death of Terry Jones."

From the government's response to the Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism: "The government accepts the public good of traditional print newspapers and is committed to maintaining zero-rated VAT in this area. We also recognise that changes in technology are shifting traditional journalism online and we are therefore considering the merits and risks associated with extending the zero rate. In addition, the government has committed to extend the existing tax relief it provides through a business rate relief for local newspapers which has been in place since 2017, until 31 March 2025. The Chancellor will consider the case for a range of potential tax incentives to support the news publishing industry this year.”


Thursday 23 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From ex-Guardian and Sun editors slam press over Harry and Meghan coverage to cameras in Crown Courts at last

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer: "All three of the major newspaper groups most obsessed with Harry and Meghan are themselves being sued by the couple for assorted breaches of privacy and copyright. There is, to any reasonable eyes, a glaring conflict of interest that, for the most part, goes undeclared."
  • David Yelland on Twitter: "Serious issues raised in this piece by @arusbridger; it is the absence of kindness, honesty and compassion, as I've said many times, which appalls."

Rebecca Long-Bailey on Twitter: 'The toxic combination of sexism and racism that runs rife through the right-wing press must be stopped. As leader of the Labour Party, I will do everything I can to fight it.'

Michael Moore in The Times [£]: "The BBC will announce significant cuts to its news operation as painful reforms are pushed through before the next director-general is appointed. Popular news programmes, which could include BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire and Radio 4’s World At One, are likely to bear the brunt in a push for more centralised commissioning. Producers and reporters will increasingly be expected to produce packages that can be reworked for multiple BBC news outlets, across TV, radio and online. Resources will be focused on digital news, a controversial move given complaints from commercial publishers that its ever-expanding website undermines their business models."
  • Victoria Derbyshire on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated at the plan to end our programme (which I first learned about in yesterday’s Times). I’m unbelievably proud of what our team and our show have achieved in under 5 years....breaking tonnes of original stories (which we were asked to do); attracting a working class, young, diverse audience that BBC radio & TV news progs just don’t reach (which we were asked to do); & smashing the digital figures (which we were asked to do) ... "

Robert Peston on Twitter: "Decision on who replaces Lord Hall as bbc DG is probably as important as who becomes next Labour leader. Because given size of @BorisJohnson’s majority, the task of holding the government to account will probably fall more on media than on parliamentary opposition."

Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson on Twitter: "Dear university (in Yorkshire) contemplating dropping shorthand from your syllabus as students ‘don’t like it’ nor feel it’s ‘relevant’. Here’s a thing: it is, and those who show the minerals to pass it are the ones that get jobs. End of."
  • Ex-Guardian investigations editor David Leigh on Twitter: "I managed a 45-year journalist career without having shorthand. Students, don't listen to this dinosaur. Learn Chinese or something."

The Guardian reports: "A man has been found guilty of aggravated assault against the Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of hostility to his leftwing political views and homophobia, following a two-day trial at Snaresbrook crown court. Anne Studd QC, the presiding judge, concluded at the end of the hearing that Jones was the victim of a “wholly unprovoked assault” outside a central London pub last August because of “his LGBT and his leftwing beliefs."

The Telegraph in a statement on pulling out of the Audit Bureau of Circulations monthly audit: "The ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) results published, today, January 16th, are the final set of ABC results Telegraph Media Group will take part in. Whilst they do show that the Telegraph remains the highest selling quality newspaper, by circa 8,000 copies a day, the ABC metric is not the key metric behind our subscription strategy and not how we measure our success. We will be transparent with our core subscriber numbers which are omni-channel and we will communicate these numbers each month. We will share both volumes and average revenue per subscription."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement welcoming news that television cameras are to be allowed into some Crown Courts across England and Wales: “The cause of open justice can only be served by this development which will open up the court proceedings to a public that is now used to receiving news and information in this video age. The proposals, while retaining the dignity of the courts, will be a huge step forward in ensuring transparency in the justice system, enabling the media to allow the public better access to judicial proceedings which in turn can only assure communities that justice is being seen to be carried out correctly."
  • John Battle, head of cmpliance at ITN, added: “This is a landmark moment and an important day for open justice and transparency of our legal system. For the first time the public will see images of proceedings in the Crown Court on television news. This change will help a wider audience to see and understand the criminal justice process for themselves."

Thursday 16 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From sue or take it on the chin? Royals split over how to handle hostile media to journalists wanted for local news network

Tom Bradbury in the Sunday Times [£]: "The young couple believe themselves to be taking a moral stand against the repeated hypocrisy of the tabloid press. Their argument is that if they, with all the privileges of position, power and fame, don’t do something, then who will? Some of the rest of the family agree with their analysis, but they part ways entirely with the couple on the solution. They appear united in believing that, while suing one or more newspapers might — at best — result in a famous victory, the royal family as a whole will never win the war and that to try is madness. Better to just take it on the chin."

The Guardian in a leader: "No news organisation should dismiss one of the most clearly stated reasons for this dramatic decision – the fears of Prince Harry and Meghan that the British press has them under siege to a degree that threatens to do to them what it did to Diana, Princess of Wales. The collective turn against the Sussexes by much of the media since they made their announcement illustrates precisely where part of the problem lies. It does not help that Britain has just elected a government led by a journalist who made stories up and whose manifesto gives the press a free pass to continue the abuses and techniques that led to the Leveson inquiry."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The Sussexes have declared an intention to withdraw from the “royal rota” pool of coverage, whereby significant titles gain access to official engagements. Instead they intend to “engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists” while “widening the spectrum of news coverage”. Nothing within existing structures would prevent them from doing this, leading to a reasonable suspicion that the real intent is to marginalise mainstream publications. This represents unparalleled naivety to imagine that losing access to the odd hospital ribbon-cutting ceremony will entice chastened editors to force columnists to refrain from waspishness."

Spokesmen for Prince William and Prince Harry in a joint statement reported by The Times [£]: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”

Hugh Grant, speaking on Andy Cohen’s Radio Andy show on Sirius XM, as reported by the Guardian: “I’m rather on Harry’s side. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now they’re tearing his wife to pieces.”

Iranian state news presenter Gelare Jabbari in an Instagram post, as reported by the Sun: “It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed. Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement welcoming the finding of the London Central Employment Tribunal, which determined that the presenting work of Samira Ahmed on BBC’s Newswatch programme was equal to that of Jeremy Vine on Points of View: "This outcome should also be a wake-up call for all employers. Stamping out the scourge of unequal pay at work should be a priority for all organisations – the NUJ will be building on this victory and supporting our members throughout the industry in making pay inequity a thing of the past.”

Society of Editors in a letter to the Prime Minister: "With your background as a journalist in both the regional and national press you will be aware of just how important access to those at the heart of government is in producing accurate and balanced coverage. During the recent Queen’s Speech your government committed itself to protecting freedom of expression and you yourself have often spoken of your support for a free press. The daily lobby briefings play a vital role in ensuring the UK’s democracy is scrutinised by the media, but also, we would contend, ensures that those involved in the politics of the nation have face to face access with journalists."

Jeff Stelling on Twitter: "So @markpougatch not presenting on 5 live any more. Sad that his total professionalism will be replaced by someone who is considered to be more in touch with the youth of today, even if they know sod all about football or interviewing. He can’t say it so I will."

Karl Hancock, ex-City banker who is hiring journalists for his hyper-local Nub News network, in The Times [£]: “The whole industry is seeing closures and consolidation. We’re trying to fill that vacuum. Thirty years ago if you wanted to address the audience of a town the only way you could do that was through the local paper. We want to go back to that. Old-style journalism, getting back into the community, meeting people face to face — that’s where the real stories come from.”

 [£] =paywall

Thursday 9 January 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From Harry and Meghan plan to chose 'credible' media and drop out of Royal rota system to scandal of Mirror journalists portrayal in Christine Keeler drama

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their website: "In the spring of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles. This updated approach aims to:
  • Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists; Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage; Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events; Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels; No longer participate in the Royal Rota system."
Piers Morgan on Twitter: "Harry & Meghan have just published their new rulebook for the media to obey. Even Putin wouldn't try to pull a stunt like this. I fear they've both gone nuts."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Prince Harry has never made any secret of his dislike of the attention and scrutiny that it brings. He remains haunted by the memory of the treatment of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and has spoken of fears of the impact of such attention on his wife. The duchess for her part has suffered vile online abuse. Their desire to shield their son, Archie, from similar scrutiny is understandable."

Manchester Evening News reporter Beth Abbit, who covered the four Reynhard Sinaga rape trials, on Twitter:  "Should mention that my bosses at @MENnewsdesk gave me time to cover the Reynhard Sinaga case properly, allowing me to sit in court each day, even though they had to wait more than a year for the story. Great to work for a paper that gives you that freedom."

Harry Cole in the Mail on Sunday: "When asked at a Christmas party about his plans for Westminster’s press pack known as the Lobby, Dominic Cummings simply drew a finger across his throat. Whitehall’s ‘disrupter in chief’ has added the antiquated system for briefing political journalists to his list of things to blow up."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on the Lobby: “This decision to move the briefings from Parliament to Downing Street will make it more difficult, particularly for local papers and small press organisations to attend the briefings. The chair of the lobby has raised concerns that this will make lobby journalists’ jobs harder. Downing Street must consult with those reporters affected as this sends out a very worrying message to the press at the start of the new year and a new government. Proper discussions are needed so Westminster journalists can continue to do their jobs, holding government to account, without impediment.”

Amol Rajan on Twitter: "Scoop: John Humphrys is joining the Daily Mail as a columnist. My very distinguished former colleague, who left @BBCr4today in September after 32yrs, starts on Saturday. Replaces Peter Oborne. Will range beyond politics. Suspect @BBC will be in his sights from time to time!"

Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg  launching a new project aiming to expose the way those with wealth and influence use legal threats to shut down investigations by journalists: “Defamation law was reformed in 2013 to make it harder for people who had little or no connection to the UK to bring lawsuits here. However, we are still seeing people and organisations with almost no UK links bringing expensive and spurious defamation cases. In addition, increasingly people are turning to privacy and data protection laws in an attempt to prevent journalists reporting on corrupt, illegal or poor practice.”

Northern Echo editor Hannah Chapman in a comment on the paper's 150th anniversary:  "If I have to read another article in the national press about the death of local newspapers, or be asked one more time how we can hope to compete with social media-inspired citizen journalists, I might throw my phone into the River Skerne. And that’s not me looking through rose tinted spectacles. These are undoubtedly tough times, and we may be a bit battered and bruised, but we’re a long way from the description of the regional media that is commonly circulated. WE’VE just come through an election campaign that was marred by dishonesty and nastiness, with the national press sticking determinedly to their party lines. It was left to the largely non-partisan local and regional media to focus on the actual issues that matter to our readers, and hold candidates to account for their campaign statements.”

James Marriott in The Times [£]:  "Adults are likely to be loyal to one newspaper. Teenagers prefer to browse a number of outlets. Almost every teenage phone has Instagram installed on it — barely any has a news app. Even the influence of the BBC is fading — Ofcom reports that teenagers are more familiar with YouTube and Netflix. The average age of a BBC One viewer is now 61. It’s hardly worth pointing out that YouTube, Netflix, Snapchat and Instagram do not employ foreign correspondents or fund investigative journalism or send reporters to court cases and council meetings. But for many in their teens, news is now more likely to come from an influencer than from a journalist."

Roy Greenslade on Twitter: "Reviews of BBC1's excellent Trial of Christine Keeler ranged from the silly to the intelligent. But none mentioned the one big error - the cartoonish stereotypical portrayal of the Daily Mirror and its news editor. Hopelessly wrong."