Thursday 29 October 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From the crisis facing jobs in journalism to how Prince Andrew tried to influence the Financial Times' coverage of Dubai

Lauren Harris in the Columbia Journalism Review on the crisis facing journalism in the US: "For those reporters now unemployed, job prospects are grim. According to a September report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, while employment across all occupations is projected to grow by four percent over the next ten years, employment in journalism is projected to decline by eleven percent. The crisis is not going away...The crisis has been happening for years. Like a frog boiled slowly, we’ve allowed ourselves to adjust to the calamity, again and again. But emphasizing survival over dwindling capacity hurts the industry, and hurts the people who keep it alive."
  • The Journalism Crisis Project has set its sights on finding and elevating possible solutions to the challenges that face the press in 2020. It aims to focus on the present crisis, tallying lost jobs and outlets and fostering a conversation about what comes next.

John Pienaar in The Sunday Times [£]: "In 40 years of reporting and broadcasting about politics, daily and most weekends, I’ve never known a time when rational, mature leadership has been more needed and yet been so wretchedly absent."

Jim Waterson in the Guardian on the fake Woolworths story sparked by a Twitter account: "
The person who duped many of the UK’s leading news outlets into running stories wrongly claiming Woolworths was returning to the high street can be revealed as a 17-year-old sixth-form student from York...The sixth former told the Guardian they had been practising skills learned while taking a course in digital marketing as part of their business A-level: “The experiment wasn’t meant to get that big … but thanks to the media and over 5,000 followers, the story got big and it spread further.”

Sean O'Neill in The Times [£]:  
"Journalists will be protected by new laws that require social media companies to take responsibility for threats and abusive material on their platforms. Ministers have established a national committee for the safety of journalists in the face of increased hostility. Ministers are about to publish plans for legislation to tackle online hatred. John Whittingdale, junior minister at the department of culture, media and sport, said: 'The need for accurate and trusted news has never been greater, yet attacks against journalists and the vital work they do are increasing'.”

editor Olly Duff, interviewed on Press Gazette:
 I’m optimistic for the future in terms of the appeal of print newspapers: they are tactile, curated, finishable, there’s an element of serendipity, they’re full of surprise… and it’s community as well – a group of like-minded people who gather every day, united by their curiosity. Papers will continue to evolve but they will be an important part of publishers’ portfolios for a long time to come."

David Higgerson on his blog
"To be fair, the Government has done a lot to help keep regional media upright during the pandemic, with a major advertising campaign. Now the spirit which made them step in with advertising needs to be applied to the way Government deals with local media on daily basis: The government might have lost step with large parts of the country, but local media hasn’t – as borne out by the relative reslience of print sales during the pandemic, and the remarkable loyal online audience growth seen in many places too."

Ian Hislop in The Times [£]: 
"When I became editor of Private Eye at 25, lots of middle-aged men were furious. Now I’m a ghastly middle-aged man myself and I think, 'They were right. How annoying'.”

Carole Cadwalladr on Twitter: 
"So. I’m in court again tomorrow. Because someone I investigated & reported on & who was subsequently found to have broken the law has decided to make me pay. For the crime of doing journalism...Clarification. I really didn’t mean that to sound like a bad Aaron Sorkin take or ‘I wield the sword of truth!’ type thing. It’s just literally true. I am *literally* being sued for doing my job. And I do literally face losing my home because of the state of Britain’s libel laws."

Grant Woodthorpe, executive director – investment at Mail Metro Media, on the launch of ECO2, a a carbon neutral, biodegradable green zine produced biannually in association with the Daily Mail, quoted by Newsworks:
“We know that ECO2 will be an important editorial contribution to the fight against environmental change and will give advertisers a safe, positive environment in which to show their eco-credibility to Daily Mail’s keenly environmentally-conscious audience.”

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, in a statement after police dropped the investigation into Darren Grimes controversial interview with historian David Starkey:
“The Society welcomes the decision by Scotland Yard to drop the investigation into Darren Grimes. The investigation should never have taken place and, as the Society previously warned, it posed a serious threat to free speech and could have had a chilling effect on the media’s ability to interview controversial figures.”

Extract from former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber's diary published in the FT
"In 2009, the FT’s reporting from Dubai incurred the wrath of the authorities, prompting an unusual intervention by telephone from Prince Andrew, then the UK’s trade envoy, to my office. 

HRH the Duke of York: “Your man in Dubai, Simon Carr, is causing a lot of trouble.” 
LB: “You mean Simeon Kerr.” 
HRH: “Yes, Simon Kerr . . . Look, I’m just passing on a message . . . your man is causing a lot of problems.” 
LB: “Have you read any of Simeon’s articles from Dubai?” 
HRH: “No. Of course not.” 
LB: “Well, I’ve read every word that Simeon Kerr has written about Dubai and I don’t see a problem . .. ” 

The conversation ended shortly thereafter."


Thursday 22 October 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From why there's no substitute for great sub-editors to more national and BBC correspondents needed in the North

Ben Macintyre in The Times [£] 
"Bill Bryson is laying down his pen and retiring from books. The funny, insightful, amiable, furry and hugely popular American writer will be missed, and nowhere more than here, for he is an alumnus of that unsung university of literary talent: The Times subs’ desk. Sub-editors are the boiler room engineers of newspapers, the experts who take out the mistakes, fit the headlines, correct the spelling, improve the grammar and frequently save people like me from looking extremely stupid. They can be pedantic. They are essential. They love words. And they sometimes emerge as great writers...the most celebrated Times sub-turned-writer was Graham Greene, who joined The Times in 1926. The world of the sub-editor was somewhat different then. Tea and cake were laid out by servants at exactly 5 every afternoon. "

Hermione Lee in her new biography of Tom Stoppard, who worked as a reporter and sub-editor on regional newspapers in Bristol before becoming a playwright and screenwriter:
"Subbing was less exciting to him than reporting, but it taught him 'speed, accuracy and concision' and he was quick to pick up advice from older journalists."

Rose Wild in The Times [£]:
 "Headline writing, in which complex sets of events have to be encapsulated into a painfully restricted space, often under intense time pressure, is an under-appreciated art and our headline writers rarely get the credit they are due. In that spirit, I posted a tweet two weeks ago praising the headline, 'Only a plonker would call time on sozzled bonking', on the column I’d written about obsolete words."

Charlotte Tobitt on Press Gazette:
"Telegraph Media Group is bringing its print subbing back in-house less than four years after outsourcing production work to PA. The publisher said the move was part of its investment into its subscription-first strategy and journalism as it could best serve subscribers across its products by centralising production expertise in one place."

Martin Bell  interviewed in The Sunday Times [£]:
"By the time I left the BBC I was earning about £60,000. It was never about the money. When I read about today’s news stars I think, 'No one deserves that amount, however good they are.' A lot of it is just reading words off an autocue. It’s not like they’re risking their lives. I’m not angry about it, but I just wonder how they can justify the salary to themselves."

Statement on the NUJ website calling for justice for investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was assassinated in Malta in October 2017:
"Three years later we, the undersigned 19 international free expression, anti-corruption, civic participation, and journalists’ organisations, once again demand an end to impunity for this heinous attack. As alleged murder mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, is facing criminal proceedings and the three defendants charged with carrying out the contract killing Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, are awaiting trial, we recall that justice delayed is justice denied. We call for thorough and effective criminal investigations and prosecutions that ensure the whole truth is uncovered and all those responsible for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder are held to account in court."

Damian Collins MP in The Times [£] on plans in Australia to make the tech giants pay news publishers for using their content:
"Funnily enough, Facebook and Google have both responded by threatening to remove all news from their platforms if Australia goes ahead, demonstrating just how much they value a free press. For what it’s worth, in my years of holding platforms to account for enabling disinformation, they always say something is technically and economically impossible, until it suddenly isn’t. I hope that Australia pushes on, regardless of the tech giants’ bullying; and that following the CMA’s [Competition and Markets Authority] report, the UK Government establishes a similar code of conduct. We must uphold our reputation as a champion of the free press – at home as much as abroad."

Alan Rusbridger on Press Gazette:
"Criticise the tech giants all you like – they deserve a great deal of scrutiny and a fair amount of blame – but also learn from them. That means using them in your personal, as well as professional, lives. And being curious as to why more than 2bn people are on Facebook; or 330m on Twitter; or 430m on Reddit. They must be doing something right."

Donald Trump talking to supporters in Arizona, as reported by The Hill:
“You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. Covid, Covid, pandemic, Covid, Covid, Covid… you know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN. You dumb bastards.”

Northern England correspondent Josh Halliday on Twitter:
"Dear news organisations, please invest outside London. I know Brexit was a moment but this too feels like a moment: when else have regional leaders had so much political capital? If you want to know what’s going on here - to be really plugged in - then you simply have to be here."

Stephen Naylor on Twitter: "Also - crazily - this is the moment the BBC are axing so many regional news staff, including some of their most familiar and well known journalists. There’s hardly a worse time for the ‘national’ broadcaster to be doing that."


Thursday 15 October 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From crime reporter condemns police failure to act over rape threats to her baby boy to why journalists should stick to journalism and not go and work for politicians

Sunday World
crime reporter Patricia Devlin on the NUJ website on why she has made a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland: 
"Because of my job as a journalist, exposing criminals and paramilitaries, I have been on the receiving end of threats of violence and death threats for years. In Northern Ireland, that now seems to go with the territory where press freedom comes at the price of constant and repeated threats to journalists. But, when I received a threat to rape my new-born baby, also identifying my grandmother and the location of where the sender believed she lived, I had enough. I reported the threat to the PSNI and was even able to name the individual I suspect was behind the threat. The police have had this individual’s name all this time, yet, a year on, no-one has been brought in for questioning, never mind arrested. Meanwhile, the police have given me a constantly changing and contradictory story as to why they have not acted. It is not acceptable for journalists to have to live under this sort of constant threat, to themselves and their families, simply for doing their jobs."

The Times [£] in a leader on Darren Grimes being investigated by police over his YouTube interview with David Starkey: "Mr Grimes is no reporter but to pursue an interviewer, however incompetent, for offensive remarks made by their subject would be to risk criminalising legitimate journalistic inquiry. Police forces may dislike robust public interest reporting, as Neil Basu, the Met’s assistant commissioner, made clear when he threatened to prosecute journalists who published confidential government documents last year. But questions of taste are not questions of law and the right to free speech is the essence of democracy. Neither Dr Starkey nor Mr Grimes deserves martyrdom. Heavy handed police action risks elevating them to it."

David Banks on Twitter: "Before you dismiss Darren Grimes as ‘not being a journalist’ because he lacks credentials, NCTJ exams etc, you should remember that a lot of your journalistic heroes might not have had any either. I would be very slow to dictate who is or isn’t a journalist."

Marina Hyde in the Guardian"Alas, much of Britain has yet to come to terms with the implications of the fact it elected a newspaper journalist to run it. I honestly can’t believe Boris Johnson has turned out to be a clinical procrastinator, a short-termist headline grabber, and a total chancer who only really responds to the need to do his job three minutes after deadline. If only there’d been some clue, you know?"

Daily Mail
editor Geordie Greig interviewed by Matt Kelly in GQ:
 “My aim is to make the Mail a force for good, a badge of great journalism, crusading, entertaining, informative. Every day I feel this on the newsroom floor – a renewed sense of pride and positivity for what we can achieve...There are times when the Mail should be abrupt, but I don’t think we should ever be acid or toxic. There’s a positive way to tell hard truths. Papers can get stuck in permanent attack mode, but that’s less effective than championing the values it does support. I want my modern Mail to be an effective agent of change for a better Britain. But please don’t think the Mail can never show brutal thunder.”

  • Amber Rudd quoted in the GQ article about Greig's Mail“It’s been a big change. It’s just less nasty. It’s more playful in a way that the former Daily Mail was unpleasant. It’s no longer positioned to egg the readers on to hate their neighbour or particular groups.”

Andrew Neil on Twitter:
"I’ve spent the past two hours jumping between @MSNBC and @FoxNews. American broadcast journalism is truly screwed. Nothing but a wall of partisan propaganda masquerading as reporting."

James Murdoch interviewed in the New York Times on the US election:
 “I’m just concerned that the leadership that we have, to me, just seems characterized by callousness and a level of cruelty that I think is really dangerous and then it infects the population,” he said, referring to the Trump administration. “It’s not a coincidence that the number of hate crimes in this country are rising over the last three years for the first time in a long time.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement calling on MPs to ensure any new powers in the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill do not override existing legal protections on press freedom by giving access to confidential journalistic material and sources:  "Our main concern with the new draft legislation currently being rushed through parliament relates to covert criminal conduct, if it is sanctioned in law then it may act as a means to circumvent the existing legal protections for journalists and journalism. This is a red flag for our democracy so we are calling on every politician who supports press freedom to intervene in the next parliamentary debate to ensure that any new law that is introduced cannot override existing media freedoms."

Irish Times
 correspondent Conor Gallagher on Twitter:
  "This is a cocktail called The Journalist we made tonight  
60 ml gin 15 ml sweet vermouth 15 ml dry vermouth 2 dashes lemon juice 2 dashes triple sec Dash of bitters
 It's nice but I prefer my version: 12 pints of stout and a deep sense of anxiety about the future of the industry."

Martin Kettle in the Guardian on former colleague Allegra Stratton becoming Downing Street press secre
tary: "I say that journalists should stick with journalism. They should not cross the floor to work for the politicians, let alone to become politicians. Far too many of my colleagues have done that over the years and the results have rarely been good – from Johnson himself downwards. I regret every one of those departures from journalism. Naturally, I especially regret the friends who have made the switch. But I even regret the people I disliked and mistrusted who have also trodden that path. The loss of each one of them is bad for the standing of journalism as an independent, truth-seeking trade."

Matt Chorley in The Times [£]: "Sometimes, as Stratton will soon discover, the job means pretending everything is fine even (or perhaps especially) when everyone else can see that it isn’t. Paul Harrison [Theresa May's spokesman]: 'It’s one of those strange experiences where you’re sort of pretending that you’re not standing in front of everybody wearing a clown hat with your trousers on fire'.”


Thursday 8 October 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: Save local press by following Australia and make tech giants pay for news to the paper that's more fun than the Sun

Jawad Iqbal in The Times [£]: "The collapse of local journalism in the digital age is not inevitable but no one should underestimate the threat to democracy if steps are not taken to address the monopolistic practices of the tech behemoths. Ministers should follow the Australian government in requiring tech companies to reimburse news outlets for stories that appear on their sites. More broadly Google and Facebook have to be reined in through regulation and taxation to restore fairness in the digital advertising marketplace."

Key findings of the research into local news consumption and democracy conducted by Plum Consulting for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: 

Importance of journalism: "Local journalism has a key role to play in civil society. The decline of the local newspaper industry and resulting negative impacts on journalism reduce scrutiny of democratic functions. This situation is unlikely to change without intervention."

Correlations between news provision, news consumption and local democracy: "Local newspaper provision and consumption has a positive effect on local democratic participation over time. Further erosion of local newspaper consumption is likely to damage this effect."

Brad Bender, Google's vice president of product management for news, quoted by CNN Business on plans by the digital giant to pay publishers more than $1 billion over the next three years for licensing news: 
"It's clear that the newspaper industry has long faced economic challenges. I think a number of us in the ecosystem want to step up and enable a better future for news. This is a very big investment, our biggest investment today, but it really does build on our 20 years of efforts with the industry."

The Times
 [£] obit on former Sunday Telegraph editor Sir Peregrine Worsthorne:
 "As a commentator he could be salty, moralistic, reactionary, contrary and even, on occasion, self-contradictory, but he was rarely, if ever, boring or predictable. On Desert Island Discs in 1992 he chose as his luxury item a lifetime supply of LSD. "

The Queen in a message of support highlighting the vital role played by newspapers during the coronavirus pandemic to News Media Association members for the Journalism Matters campaign: 
"The Covid-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally. As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital."

Bill Grueskin in the Columbia Journalism Review on covering Trump:
"The President of the United States is acting like a drunk driver, and the press needs to cover him that way. He demonstrated last week a callous disregard for those around him—most critically, those who work for him and those who are assigned to protect him—and there is no benefit of the doubt that can justify his actions. Anything that journalists write or broadcast needs to reflect that reality."

Andrew Marr interviewed in the Guardian:
“The Murdoch empire and others are trying to push us towards a world in which the BBC is pretty marginal and people are getting most of their news and their views from privately funded television companies, as in America. There is a drive on to destroy the BBC. They’ve clearly got supporters in the government, and it’s a very difficult moment for the new director general Tim Davie.”

David Yelland on Twitter:
"Oh Jenni Murray. When WILL BBC talent and former executives realise they play with fire if they do deals with the print press which wishes to destroy the corporation. Grow up! Wise up!"

Nick Cohen in the Observer:
"The BBC has become, for the British right, what the tabloid press was for the socialists of the 20th century: the cause of all their frustrations and an explanation for all their failures. When Conservatives ask why the young won’t vote for them, why Christianity is in decline, why Israel is regarded as a pariah state, why Trump is feared, why anything and everything they hate is happening, the BBC is at the root of the evil."

The Independent's Middle East Correspondent Patrick Cockburn in a statement to the Julian Assange extradition hearing, as reported by the Evening Standardsaid the deaths of two Reuters journalists and unarmed civilians in Iraq by US forces was only confirmed by a classified video given to Wikileaks: “It was known that a film of the killing had been taken by the gun camera of the US Apache helicopter, but the Pentagon refused to give this up even under a Freedom of Information Act request...The information that was disclosed by Wikileaks was no secret to Iraqis or Afghans or foreign journalists, who all know very well about who had been killed and by whom. But this could never be confirmed in the face of official US silence or denial...Making such information public, as Assange and Wikileaks had done, weaponised freedom of expression. If disclosures of this kind went unpunished and became the norm, it would radically shift the balance of power between government and society – and especially the media – in favour of the latter.”

Press Gazette
"Investigative reporter John Ware is seeking £50,000 in damages over reports attempting to discredit his Panorama programme into anti-Semitism in the Labour party in a rare case of one journalist suing another. Paddy French, who edits the Press Gang website, published a 16-page pamphlet in December describing the “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” Panorama that aired in July 2019 as 'a piece of rogue journalism'.”

Peter Jukes on Twitter: "I don’t care what the case is. I don’t care who’s doing it. Journalists should never sue journalists. Period. Reporting is hard enough (as Ware should know) under UK libel laws. Any journalist who then deploys them is effectively undermining the whole trade."

Daily Star 
editor Jon Clark, interviewed in the i, on making the Star more fun than the Sun:
 “I don’t want to get caught up in any hate; hate is not what we are about – we are about fun. I want us to make people joyous. I want to be the antidote to the really, really miserable news agenda that we are having to live with...I think we are more like they [the Sun] were 15-20 years ago in the glory days. They are the market leader and good for them but I think we have moved into the space that they vacated.”


Thursday 1 October 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From First Amendment allows press to publish Trump tax story to would a young Harry Evans rise to a top editorship today?

New York Times
editor Dean Baquet on the paper's investigation into President Trump's tax affairs:
"We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances...Some will raise questions about publishing the president’s personal tax information. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters even when those in power fight to keep it hidden. That powerful principle of the First Amendment applies here."

David Corn on Twitter:
"To all those newspapers with headlines proclaiming the debate was chaotic and disorderly without tying that to Trump: If a man runs into a house, throws gasoline everywhere, and lights a match, the headline should be 'Arsonist Attacks Home,' not 'Fire Breaks Out'."

Andrew Neil quoted by the Financial Times on the planned GB News 24-hour television channel which he will chair and also present programmes: “GB News is the most exciting thing to happen in British television news for more than 20 years. We will champion robust, balanced debate and a range of perspectives on the issues that affect everyone in the UK, not just those living in the London area.”

Andrew Neil on Twitter: "With heavy heart I announce I will be leaving the BBC. Despite sterling efforts by new DG to come up with other programming opportunities, it could not quite repair damage done when Andrew Neil Show cancelled early summer + Politics Live taken off air. They were/are the best of the best. If they can make me look good, they can make anybody look good. There could have been a different outcome but for reasons too dull to adumbrate, we’ll leave it there. I wish the BBC and the new DG well. The BBC will always be special to me."

MP Steve Baker interviewed by Sophy Ridge on Sky News welcoming reports that Charles Moore may be appointed chair of the BBC and Paul Dacre head of Ofcom: “They are conservatives and they might actually start to look at the way the media functions and ensure there is some impartiality.”

David Dimbleby interviewed in The Times [£]
: “I’m a broadcaster, not a bureaucrat. The BBC’s morale is always at an all-time low, it’s always looking at its navel. I am very dismayed by the [Boris] Johnson attacks on the institution. I think they are crowd-pleasing; I think they are quite dangerous; I don’t think they will work...I’ve had him on Question Time a couple of times, way back. He was an entertainer, you don’t really know what he is getting at most of the time, he just blathers.”

Rod Liddle in The Spectator:
 "In the light of recent articles in The Spectator, I think it vital I should point out here and now that I thought Boris Johnson was crap long before Toby Young and our editor, Fraser Nelson, did. I remember suggesting more than a year ago that the entire Johnson clan was a bit thick and borne aloft simply by depthless ambition and droit de seigneur. I felt a bit bad about it because Boris was a former boss and also a kind of mate. But you have to be ruthless in this job, get in quick with your bludgeon, even if its your own granny on the end of it."

Reuters Institute report on how local and regional news organisations across Europe have embraced the shift to paid content online: "In the last two years, all of the case newspapers have shifted from digital strategies emphasising the pursuit of audience reach, monetised through advertising or a blend of paid-content models and auxiliary sources, to a focus on building lasting relationships with readers who will pay for online content in the form of subscriptions, memberships, access to premium articles, donations, or micropayments."

World News Day 2020 — which took place on Monday [September 28] — aimed: 
"To raise awareness of the critical role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news, to help people make sense of — and improve — the rapidly changing world around them. At a time when journalism has the power to save lives and build trust, World News Day is a powerful reminder that journalism can be a force for good."

Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian on Sir Harold Evans"He could do it all. Write like a dream; design with impact; edit with flair; dash off the perfect headline; crop a picture; see off a writ. There was no one who knew more about the craft of journalism, nor anyone to match his passion for communicating that craft – documented in numerous textbooks that were, in turn, studied by generations of would-be journalists...He knew why journalism mattered. He gave journalism a good name. He reminded us why we wanted to be journalists and what, at its best, journalism could – and should – be. None of us should forget that."

Former Northern Echo editor Peter Barron on Twitter: “Once picked up Sir Harold Evans from #Darlington railway station during one of his visits back to the North-East. As a newly-appointed editor of @TheNorthernEcho I asked what advice he'd give me. 'Take no notice of the ******* bean counters,' came the reply."

Stephen O’Loughlin in a letter to The Times [£]:
 "Sir, One wonders if Sir Harold Evans’s rise from leaving school in Eccles at 16 to becoming editor of The Sunday Times could be replicated today. One doubts it: in particular the growth of internships, and their seminal place in a modern career path, puts working-class children, such as he was, at a distinct disadvantage."