Thursday 24 September 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From horrific online abuse is driving journalists out of the profession to when a Scottish Sid Vicious joined the Telegraph plus some of the best quotes from Sir Harold Evans

Newsquest Oxfordshire editor Samantha Harman on Behind Local News UK on Medium on a survey of online abuse suffered by regional journalists: 
“We’ve seen a toxic rhetoric emerge over the last couple of years that all journalists are ‘scum’ and that it’s acceptable to hide behind the internet to say whatever you want to them. It reached a boiling point this year during coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, with reporters having to deal with abhorrent, disgusting and racist comments on stories...I’ve been threatened numerous times during the course of my career but now face a daily barrage of abuse — from being threatened with rape to personal attacks on my appearance. I live in the community I work in, as do many of our reporters. Yet we do not feel safe. I am paranoid about people knowing where I live, the car I drive. I worry that the person who used an anonymous account to threaten me today could be standing right behind me in the supermarket. And I know these worries are shared by many other reporters, to the point where they want to, or have left, the profession."

Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the US-based Commmittee to Protect Journalists, launching the U.S. Press Freedom Accountability Project which will award grants for coverage of attacks on journalists during Black Lives Matter protests:
 “For more than a generation, the Committee to Protect Journalists has defended journalists around the world by reporting on attacks and threats against the press. Now it’s time to intensify these efforts at home. Only by holding accountable those who have assaulted or hindered the work of the press during the Black Lives Matter protests do we ensure that reporters can serve us, the public.”
  • The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is investigating reports of more than 700 press freedom violations, including arrests, assaults, tear gassing, and journalists hit with rubber bullets, during Black Lives Matter protests around the U.S. since late May.

Amal Clooney in her letter resigning as the UK government's special envoy for 
media freedom, as reported by the Huffington Post''I have always been proud of the UK's reputation as a champion of the international legal order, and of the culture of fair play for which it is known. However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as Special Envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so itself."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement: “The Society is deeply concerned  journalists were not allowed to follow-up Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance’s briefing with questions. Throughout the entirety of the pandemic, the government has stressed its policy of 'following the science' and it is only right that journalists, on behalf of the public, are permitted to question that science and the scientists that are helping to lead the government’s response."

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter:
"Charles Moore is an elegant and provocative columnist. But it is inconceivable someone fined for refusing to pay a licence fee (in protest at a programme he didn't like) should be Chair of the BBC, an organisation he appears to loathe."

Hugh Grant on twitter: "Astonished and revolted to see @DailyMailUK has a prominent ‘interview’ with me today. Never spoke to them. Yuk."

Nigel Pauley on Twitter: Incredibly disingenuous of Hugh Grant to snag a front cover of the UK’s biggest selling newspaper magazine to plug his latest film - then moan about it.. and claim he never spoke to them. He may or may not not have spoken to the Mail direct but he gave a pool interview to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which is basically full of freelances who provided copy for papers and magazines .. like the Mail."

James Marriott in The Times [£]: 
"Twitter-addicted journalists are popularly supposed to overegg the importance of social media but it’s a crucial factor in the way we think and talk about power. Indeed, one of the most important things social media does is to induce feelings of powerlessness. Thanks to Twitter, politicians, newspaper columnists and the PR managers of big brands who spent the first decades of their careers meeting the public under relatively controlled circumstances are exposed to the power of the mob every day. Brands overreact and cave when confronted with swirling storms of outrage, journalists panic and decide they’re being cancelled."

Anthony Bellanger. International Federation of Journalists general secretary, in a statement backing a campaign for governments to tax major internet companies and support print media: “The current global health crisis is significantly increasing the great difficulties facing the print media sector. Governments need to react urgently. The sector is a public good and a crucial pillar of our democracies. Governments are well aware of this. Indeed, with the COVID crisis they have identified the sector as essential. Today, they cannot just watch the ship sink from their balconies.”

Jonathan Heawood, executive director of the Public Interest News Foundation, which has just been granted charitable status:
"This decision means we can ensure the public have access to high-quality, independent news, by supporting public interest publishers with grants, training and resources. We have already awarded emergency grants to publishers who were struggling during lockdown, and now we can support more public interest news organisations across the UK.”

David Higgerson on Twitter: 
"I find it boggling that often new journalism titles/products spend more time saying what they won't do (a passive-agg way of criticising existing publishers) rather than celebrating what they will do. Imagine if Cadbury launched chocolate celebrating 'fewer bubbles than an Aero'."

Chris Deerin in the Press & Journal on being a Scot joining the Sunday Telegraph to run the comment section in the mid 2000s: "
It was like Sid Vicious joining the London Philharmonic.The English gentry get nervous around gruff, sweary Scots, so I adopted a persona that was part Bill Shankly, part Taggart. I cajoled and argued and took the mickey. By the time I left, a decade later, I had found my place and, I think, acquitted myself well enough. But I never quite got used to, or bridged, the class divide. I was never going to, of course. Our work experience kids had names like Peregrine and Camilla, and were often louchely arrogant. My better-off colleagues glided through life. The wealthy upper classes live and work differently – a job is a way to pass the time or to fulfil their inevitable destiny, not a lifeline between survival and catastrophe. There is often an easiness, a lightness, to them."

Finally, a few quotes from Sir Harold Evans, who has died aged 92:

At the Leveson Inquiry: "We have a situation where newspapers employ private detectives. We used to employ reporters". 

In his Hugh Cudlipp Lecture: "As depressing as exposure of the dark arts has been, it is deepened by the cynicism and arrogance of much of the reaction to Leveson, coming from figures in the press who did nothing to penetrate - indeed whose inertia assisted - the cover-up conducted into oblivion by News International, a cover up which would have continued, but for the skill of Nick Davies and the courage of his editor."

On the revelation Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch met shortly before he was allowed to buy The Times and Sunday Times: "It's highly improper. Here's a prime minister meeting one of a number of bidders for Times Newspapers in secret. There's no mention of the law on monopolies. The whole thing is so squalid, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at being vindicated after all this time."

On the local press in an article for Local Newspaper Week: “I must stress that the relationship between a local newspaper and its community has to be robust. If the relationship is be based on mutual respect, the local newspaper may have to puncture local pride, risk offending advertisers as well as authority; mere boosterism is no substitute for honest, thorough reporting . After a lifetime in journalism, however I have no doubt that when it is true to its community, the local newspaper is an incomparable resource, one to nurture and cherish.”

In his autobiography My Paper Chase, Sir Harold writes about working in the regional press as an assistant editor at the Manchester Evening News and as a campaigning editor of the Northern Echo. He says of working on the MEN: "Nothing before, and nothing I have experienced since, working for newspapers, radio, television and websites in London and New York and Washington, matches the speed demanded of everyone on the Evening News."

Sir Harold on Press Gazette on the digital giants: "Facebook and Google are the Harvey and Irma of journalism – and democracy. Whatever else they do, the electronic duopoly deprive millions of information and argument as surely as the series of super storms deprive millions of light, power, home and hearth. And more to come. Fret as much as Trumpian skeptics still do about the precise link between hurricanes and greenhouse gases – I don’t! – no one can deny the devastating effect of Facebook and Google on the viability of news organisations to investigate complexity and resist suppression."


Thursday 17 September 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists attacked, arrested and killed covering protests to national BBC radio reporters face redundancy

A new UNESCO report Safety of Journalists Covering Protests – Preserving Freedom of the Press During Times of Civil Unrest  highlights a sharp increase in the global number of protests during which the police and security forces violated media freedom in the first half of 2020.
 It says: "Between January and June this year, 21 protests around the world were marred by violations of press freedom, including protests in which journalists were attacked, arrested and even killed. The report suggests that a troubling new threshold has been crossed, revealing a significant and growing threat to media freedom and freedom of access to information in all regions of the world. The report also found that ten journalists were killed while covering protests over the last five years."

The Welsh Parliament’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee report on regional press, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage
“The UK government’s Job Retention Scheme has been widely used within the sector. However, we are concerned that the scheme appears to have turned into a ‘waiting room for redundancy’ and that there could be an avalanche of redundancies and newspapers closures when it ends in October. We are therefore calling on the Welsh government to lobby the UK government to extend the scheme beyond October to allow businesses more time to plan for the future and to avoid major and permanent decisions with potentially severe consequences being made during this crisis.”

Georgina Morris, lead NUJ  rep for the JPIMedia group chapel, in a statement on planned job cuts and the company being up for sale: "The news of up to 30 job cuts has caused huge upset and anxiety, particularly for the 150 or so journalists working in the teams directly affected. While everyone was still reeling from that announcement, we then learned JPIMedia had £22m in cash reserves - via an email confirming the company was up for sale again. It has been difficult for people to reconcile the job cuts in light of those reserves, and more than one reference has been made to the #therewithyou pledge carried on our papers' mastheads after the pandemic began."

Claire Beal in her last column after 20 years at Campaign:
"Two decades, and what a ride: a vein-pulsing, heart-swelling, frustrating, dirty rush of a ride. A relentless privilege. I’ve loved it. I have hated a few things: the newspaper sales chief who threatened to break my legs, the recruitment company boss who menacingly told me they were going to kill my career (15 years ago), the CEO who tried to bring down Campaign because of something we published on our diary page, the agency chief who broke into my conference hotel room in the middle of the night while I was asleep and tried to get into my bed, countless bullying legal threats when we wrote about things people would rather keep hidden."

A Women in Journalism report, based on a week-long review in mid-July of front pages of major newspapers, prime-time popular TV news channels and 100 hours of radio news, found:

● Not a single black reporter was featured on the front page of any of the newspapers.
● Out of the 174 front-page bylines counted, just one in four went to women.
● Out of the 111 people quoted on the front pages, just 16% were women. 
● Out of the 111 people quoted on the front pages, just one was a black woman. 
● Seven of the 11 major newspapers checked did not feature a single BAME reporter on the front page.

David Bartlett, Reach audience and content director, on LinkedIn: "Journalism has a problem. Most people working in the industry would recognise it. We are not representative enough of the communities we aim to report on...We've received support from across the company and as a result announced the launch of Reach Boost. Under the scheme the company will fund three training places for aspiring journalists from a diverse range of backgrounds. If the scheme is successful we hope it can be rolled out in more areas."

George Monbiot on Twitter:
"There is no such thing as "the news". At any time, millions of events and trends are happening around the world. Editors select a tiny handful of them and declare them newsworthy. And, with the help of thinktanks and lobbyists, they invent stories out of thin air."

Donald Trump after being asked by ABC News' Jon Karl about his response to Covid 19: "Why did you lie to the American people, and why should we trust what you have to say now?” as reported by Deadline: "That’s a terrible question, And the phraseology. I didn’t lie. What I said is we have to be calm. We can’t be panicked. It’s a disgrace to ABC television network. It’s a disgrace to your employer.”

Trump on why he gave 17 interviews to Bob Woodward for his book Rage:
"I did it out of curiosity. I wonder whether or not somebody like that can write good. I don't think he can. Let's see what happens."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement on the Julian Assange extradition hearing: "If this extradition is allowed, it will send a clear signal that journalists and publishers are at risk whenever their work discomforts the United States government. Media freedom the world over will take a significant backward step if Assange is forced to face these charges at the behest of a US president."

Matt Hancock gets the newspapers
Matt Hancock gets the newspapers

Alastair Campbell in the New European on the Government's response to the Extinction Rebellion blockade of newspaper print works:
"The problem for Johnson is that a belief in freedom of the press is what we call a ‘principle,’ and he is somewhat short on those. His government is not upholding that belief as a principle, but as a political tactic. They were not rushing to defend the free press but to make sure Murdoch and Co stayed broadly on side. They support and stand up for the press that supports and stands up for them. Hancock and Jenrick would have been far smarter to have included a Mirror, a Guardian or, even better, a New European, in their staged photos."

The Observer reports"The BBC plans to axe all its national radio reporters and ask them to reapply for a smaller number of jobs as television, radio and digital reporters, rather than as dedicated audio journalists. Many fear it is not just the end of their careers but the premature end of an era for the BBC."

A radio journalists tells the Observer: “Radio reporting is a different job. Of course, you can do both, but a report designed for television starts from a completely different place. Radio is also more agile and also a lot less expensive. I am pretty sure most of us will not be given new TV roles. It seems sad to lose all that specific radio expertise.”

Thursday 10 September 2020

Quotes of the Week: From contrasting pictures of Boris Johnson tell a different story to who are the biggest complainers about gossip columns?

Times and Sunday Times news picture editor Sam Stewart on Twitter: "The difference in coverage we get when @StefanRousseau (a press pool photographer) is allowed to cover the press briefings. I'll let you guess which is his and which is a government handout picture."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement on the actions of Extinction Rebellion in preventing the distribution of newspapers by blockading printing plants: "The irony of protesters who wish to have their voices heard and their message listened to attempting to silence others by preventing the distribution of newspapers would be laughable if it was not so serious. You have to wonder whether those planning and taking part in these foolish actions understand anything from history; that controlling or shutting down free speech and an independent media is the first action of totalitarian regimes and dictators."

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"When Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of printing presses used by this newspaper and other national titles led to retailers receiving newspapers late, or not at all, newsagents did not admit defeat. Instead they battled on...Neither Tesco nor Twitter will ever serve their communities as newsagents do. Theirs is not a merely transactional business. In an atomised world, they are citadels of civic duty and community spirit: where children learn the value of work for the first time, small indulgences are permitted without judgment, and the public interest served by bulging newsstands. We salute their dedication. Readers should use them before they lose them."

New BBC director-general Tim Davie in his  introductory speech in Cardiff: "If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Tim Davie has made a faultless start, he’s one of the smartest leaders in global media right now, very rarely met anyone better. Those in my old newspaper world who seek to destroy the BBC will have a tougher time now. Good."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on Left Foot Forward
“It’s time the dark mutterings and veiled threats against the BBC stop. This pandemic has demonstrated the vital role a public service broadcaster plays in democratic societies, and the BBC and its staff rose to the challenge with round-the-clock local and national news coverage, current affairs, and investigations as well as in its unrivalled content and programming to support families home-schooling during an unprecedented period...Calls for Netflix-style subscription models only come from the enemies of public service broadcaster who would like to see the BBC emasculated and hobbled."

Ex-BBC Radio 4 Today editor Sarah Sands on BBC pay in a Sunday Times [£] interview: 
“I think, even in the City, you wouldn’t get these [pay] multiples. You’ve got a producer on £30k working 14-hour shifts, and a presenter on £600,000. It’s a shocker.”

Former British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch in The Sunday Times [£]: "In my time in diplomacy, all the prime ministers for whom I have worked, and all the US presidents I have observed, have had an edgy relationship with the media...No one I ever came across, however, had quite the sense of burning injustice that seemed to live inside Donald Trump. The relationship with the media had already deteriorated in the second half of his campaign. But once he was in office, it became still more toxic."

chairman Andrew Neil on Twitter after the Co-op said it would pull an ad from the magazine over its transgender coverage:
 "No need to bother, Co-op. As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity. We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor. "

Retiring PA legal editor Mike Dodd, intervie
wed by Press Gazette: “The growth of privacy has gone too far. We now have a situation in which the Courtof Appeal takes the view that a man who is accused of or suspected of criminal activity or is even being investigated for potential criminal activity is entitled to regard that as being private informationthat shouldn’t be in the public domain – which is why we’ve got the situation where nobody is prepared to name the MP who is accused of raping a parliamentary worker despite the fact that she thinks he ought to be named.”

Quentin Letts in The Times [£] on his five years as a gossip columnist:
"Few victims complained. The worst were public school headmasters, City tycoons and press proprietors’ wives: megalomaniacs, basically."


Thursday 3 September 2020

Quotes of the Week: Conservatives ramp up pressure for BBC 'reform' as John Simpson warns partisan broadcasting has hastened decline of US

Boris Johnson in the Commons after being asked by MP Andrew Lewer if the BBC licence fee was sustainable in a multi-media era, as reported by the Daily Express:
"He makes an interesting point of view shared I'm sure by many people in this country. But my Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will be setting out a roadmap shortly for reform of the BBC and addressing the very issue that he mentions."

Tory MP Chris Loder in a letter to new BBC director-general Tim Davie signed by 14 MPs:
 "With regret, and given a multiplicity of examples, the BBC is now increasingly seen by licence payers as anti-British and politically biased; focused on the 'on demand metropolitan elite,' and being out of touch with its core audience who want an independent and impartial national broadcaster."

Mail on Sunday
a source close to GB News a proposed television news channel to rival the BBC: "The channel will be a truly impartial source of news, unlike the woke, wet BBC. It will deliver the facts, not opinion dressed up as news Everyone who works for GB News will have total commitment to quality journalism, to factual reporting and to impartiality."

John Simpson on Twitter: "From 1949 to 1987, the US Federal Communications Commission obliged broadcasters to be ‘honest, equitable & balanced’. Ronald Reagan abolished this. Ever since, American society has been riven by angry, dishonest, partisan broadcasting which has hastened the decline of the US."

Ray Snoddy on Twitter: 
"We have got to be very aware that a rightwing witch hunt by a tiny minority is building against the BBC - despite its many failures of judgement - destroy this important British institution at your peril."

Steve Rosenberg on Twitter: "This is a first for me. Had to write the script for my #BBCNews10 report on a cafe receipt while being detained at a Minsk police station...Tonight we were detained by police in the centre of Minsk, held at a police station for two hours for 'document checks'. Same thing happened to many other journalists. A clear attempt to interfere with coverage of events in #Belarus"

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"To be a journalist in an autocracy is to risk one’s life. The case of Hopewell Chin’ono, Zimbabwe’s foremost investigative reporter, is a sharp reminder of that truth. Arbitrarily imprisoned after exposing the corruption of Zimbabwe’s health minister last month, Mr Chin’ono, who has reported for this newspaper, has been incarcerated in a maximum-security prison and denied bail three times. Yesterday, he was dragged to court for a remand hearing despite suspected coronavirus. Yet still he remains in a packed cell, having surrendered his own freedoms in striving to uphold those the West takes for granted. Such is the grim reality of life in Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe."

Chin’ono has been freed on bail but is facing a trial and a long jail term if convicted.

 Sarah Ditum on UnHerd:
 "People have always thought badly of hacks (I remember a secondary teacher who, when I told her I wanted to be a journalist, looked appalled and said: 'But you’ll have to do some awful things'), but today journalism occupies a strange niche of being low reward and low prestige, yet still high resentment. There’s an assumption that writers have reserves of wealth and power which means the public is entitled to a piece of them."

White House spokesman Judd Deere, in a statement to the Washington Post on a story detailing the lucrative business arrangements between the federal government and Trump Organization since the president took office, as reported by The Hill“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop. Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”

Kelvin MacKenzie on Twitter:
"Just when things couldn’t get worse for Harry Maguire, Wayne Rooney spoke up for him on Talksport. At one time NoW editor Andy Coulson asked me to do the same and he... got 18 months."

David Hepworth on Twitter: 
"New rule. Columns exhorting people to get back to work to be accompanied by photo of columnist in the act of writing it."

David Banks on Twitter:
 "One of the Liverpool Daily Post’s Wirral district reporters worked from home and had his garage set up as an office. The editor turned up unexpectedly one day to find him in his pyjamas, playing darts."

 [£] =paywall