Thursday 9 December 2021

Media Quotes of the Year 2021: Riots, Royal rows, jail threats, abuse, Morgan, Murdoch and Neil

It was a year that began with reporters attacked while covering the Capitol riot in Washington and ended with journalists in Afghanistan fearing for their lives after the Taliban takeover. In the UK, there was a royal row over racism, the BBC was rocked by the Martin Bashir-Princess Di interview scandal and new TV channel GB News got off to a shaky start with the departure of Andrew Neil. My Media Quotes of the Year 2021 can be read here on InPublishing magazine.

Thursday 25 November 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From ITV reporter asks Boris Johnson if everything is okay to Royal Family blasts BBC over Princes and the Press documentary

ITV reporter to the Prime Minister: “In your speech to the CBI, you lost your notes, you lost your place, you went off on a tangent about Peppa Pig. Frankly, is everything okay?"

Andrew Darling in a letter to The Times [£]:
 "Sir, Hugo Rifkind (Comment, Nov 16) is right to suggest that the reason the prime minister turned up at the Cenotaph looking neat and respectable is that he did not have time to scruff himself up beforehand. When I was news editor at Channel Four News in the 1990s one of my tasks was to escort guests from reception via make-up to the studio. I recall the evening when I collected Boris Johnson and took him to make-up, where his face was duly powdered and his hair neatly brushed. Virtually his first action on then setting off to be interviewed by Jon Snow was to run both hands vigorously through his hair until he once again, as Rifkind rightly describes it, resembled someone whose second job is 'being tied to a pole in a field with a turnip for a head'.”

Stewart Purvis on Twitter:
"Nadine Dorries tells @CommonsDCMS Channel 4’s future should be ‘brought into question,particularly when it is in receipt of taxpayers’ money. It is our responsibility to evaluate whether taxpayers are receiving value for money’. Channel 4 receives no taxpayers’ money."

Paul Dacre, in a letter to The Times [£], reveals he will not be reapplying to be the new chair of Ofcom: "To anyone from the private sector, who, God forbid, has convictions, and is thinking of applying for a public appointment, I say the following: the civil service will control (and leak) everything; the process could take a year in which your life will be put on hold; and if you are possessed of an independent mind and are unassociated with the liberal-left, you will have more chance of winning the lottery than getting the job. Me? After my infelicitous dalliance with the Blob, I’m taking up an exciting new job in the private sector that, in a climate that is increasingly hostile to business, struggles to create the wealth to pay for all those senior civil servants working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness, safe in the knowledge that it is they, not elected politicians, who really run this country."

George Osborne on Twitter: "I admired Dacre’s forceful editorship of the Mail even if I was often on the wrong end of it. Can’t quite understand why he - like others of his ilk - wielded such power, got the government, the PM and the Brexit he wanted, and still thinks the system is stacked against him."

Press Gazette reports: "Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre is returning to his advisory editor-in-chief position at Mail publisher DMG Media, just three weeks after leaving the same role."

Rory Cellan-Jones on Twitter: "Blimey. As the Chinese saying goes if you sit by the river long enough you’ll see the body of Geordie Greig go floating by. Makes Succession look like The Vicar of Dibley."

Andrew Marr on Twitter:
 "Personal announcement. After 21 years, I have decided to move on from the BBC.l leave behind many happy memories and wonderful colleagues. But from the New Year I am moving to Global to write and present political and cultural shows, and to write for newspapers...I think British politics and public life are going to go through an even more turbulent decade, and as I’ve said, I am keen to get my own voice back."

Bill Browder on Twitter:
 "The 2021 winner of the Magnitsky Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalist is Catherine Belton. She has exposed the crimes of the Putin regime in ways that nobody has ever done before. She’s now paid a very dear price in their retaliation with multiple abusive libel suits."

Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House in a joint-statement on BBC2 documentary The Princes and the Press, as reported by the Mail:
 "A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy. However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility."
  • David Aaronovitch on Twitter: "Just watched the first part of BBC2’s Royals and the press series. I am struck by how much time, money and intelligent people’s effort is spent on earnest discussion of what is, when all is said and done, fatuous, gossipy nonsense."


Thursday 18 November 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From terrorist attack coverage shows why local journalism matters to no return to the pre-Covid full-time newsroom

David Higgerson on Twitter:
"When we talk about how "Journalism Matters" in the future, I hope we bang the drum for @LiveEchoNews and their coverage of the terrorist incident at the Women's Hospital yesterday. A beacon of accurate, reliable, information, making it clear what the team did know, and what... they were seeking answers too. Told readers how they were getting information, and ensured 'boots on the ground' late into the night. Well done - local journalism at its absolute best."

The Spectator's
Steerpike column on Geordie Greig leaving the Daily Mail and Ted Verity being made editor of both the Mail and Mail on Sunday
"Verity was a key lieutenant to Paul Dacre during the latter's long editorship of the Mail. His ascent into the Daily Mail hotseat will be seen as a final victory for Dacre's allies in the ten-year war against Greig and his backers, which began when the Old Etonian was editing the Mail on Sunday. As one hack remarked to Mr S: 'Dacre always gets his man'."

Sean Ingle in the Guardian on its former football correspondent David Lacey, who has died aged 83:
 "The Azteca in Mexico City was his favourite stadium. It was here he saw the favourite game of his career, Italy’s 4-3 victory in the 1970 World Cup semi-final, and England crash out of the 1986 World Cup to Argentina. He began his report of the latter match with a classic Laceyism, telling his readers: 'The sorcery, not to mention the sauce of Diego Maradona, ended England’s World Cup hopes last night'.”

Reach Midlands political editor Jonathan Walker, quoted by HoldtheFrontPage, after six northern dailies united to run the same front page urging Boris Johnson to keep his promise on rail improvements: “Hard to understand how the Government got itself into this mess. Also, there’s no point briefing national papers about a massive boost for the North if you haven’t thought about how regional papers in the North will report your policy'."

political editor Harry Cole on Twitter: "
PM tells pool clip in response to sleaze questions: 'I just want to salute you and the media for keeping going on this.' Well it is rich pickings..."

Piers Morgan
on Twitter: "
Amusing to hear @OliverDowden tell Nick Robinson on Radio 4 that Britain is not corrupt because ministers are subjected to tough broadcast interviews. Mr Dowden boycotted
@GMB for 8 months along with Boris & the entire cabinet - to avoid tough broadcast interviews."

Marina Hyde in the Guardian:
"What a mania for sympathetic placemen this government does have. Surely there should be some kind of body charged with overseeing “new broom” appointments such as Dacre’s? Call it the Office of Coming Under New Tutelage (Ofcunt). But listen – I love the idea of a fresh face, and Paul, 73, seems the ideal candidate. This is the movie Sunset Boulevard could have been, if only Billy Wilder had had the balls: one in which Norma Desmond is called back into the studio and cast in Roman Holiday instead of Audrey Hepburn. So much more jolly than Paul mouldering away in his mansion and shooting a writer (probably me, after this article)."

The Good Law Project in a statement: "The reason why Ofcom must remain independent of Government is the same reason the media must remain independent of Government: neither can do their job if they are in the Government’s pocket. We’re asking the Secretary of State to explain why the competition for Chair is being rerun and why Mr Dacre is being allowed to reapply. We want proper answers from the Government. If we don’t get them, we expect to take legal action."

Conor Matchett in The Scotsman: "Members of the public should be given the right to take over local newspapers at risk of closure and the Scottish Government should set up a new institute dedicated to supporting public interest journalism, a report has said. The recommendations, which also include the Scottish Government investing at least a quarter of its annual advertising budget in the press, come as part of a report published  by the Public Interest Journalism Working Group...The report’s central recommendation calls for the creation of an independent Scottish Public Interest Journalism Institute which would administer grant funding and donations for public interest journalism projects and publications, while being self-funded after initial backing by the Scottish Government."

 Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Asia program coordinator, in a statement: “The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of American journalist Danny Fenster from prison in Myanmar, where he has been unjustly held for nearly six months. Myanmar authorities should follow this gesture with the immediate release of the dozens of other journalists held in prison merely for doing their job of reporting the news.”

Reuters Institute report Changing Newsrooms 2021 states: "The return to the office is underway but with COVID-19 lingering in a number of countries, progress remains uneven and uncertain. Many will find newsrooms very different places to the ones they left. For some, the office has disappeared completely. This report, which is based on a survey of 132 senior industry leaders from 42 countries as well as a series of in-depth interviews, makes clear that ‘hybrid working’ will soon be the norm for the vast majority of journalists in many news organisations – with some people in the office and others working remotely – and that the industry is still struggling with attracting talent and addressing lack of diversity."

Thursday 11 November 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Sleaze-busting scoops shame Government to Prince Harry says support honest journalists not 'pirates with press cards'

Dominic Ponsford on Press Gazette: "As Boris Johnson’s government, and Parliament itself, are engulfed in yet more sleaze scandals it is worth noting how many entries in this year’s British Journalism Awards involved exposing allegations of corruption and incompetence...No fewer than four of the eight nominations for the prestigious Scoop of the Year prize this year focused on allegations of UK government corruption, sleaze and incompetence. They were:

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: 
"Great reporting by @thesundaytimes & @openDemocracy shows beyond doubt that the going rate for a peerage - ie to make laws for the rest of us - is £3m. Is Johnson really going to press on and handpick who regulates our media as well? Looks like it. Sleazy does it."

David Yelland on Twitter:
 "It was the Daily Mail wot did it for Paterson, not the PM...Geordie Greig take a bow, Daily Mail’s six pages on Owen Paterson corruption scandal is superb, two spreads, two columns, a leader; skewers Whittingdale too, a man who attacks BBC to please press backers."

Adam Boulton, who is leaving Sky News after 33 years, on the rise of opinion-led news in television, 
in The Times [£]“I have no reason to think that’s the direction we [at Sky] want to go. However, it irritates me. To me the hard work, where we expend blood and tears — and there really is blood sometimes: Mick Deane [the cameraman and journalist] was killed [in Egypt in 2015] — is news-gathering in the field. It’s much easier to sit in the studio, let other people gather the news and then bloviate about it.”

BBC News reports: "A report by the Survivors Against Terror group suggested new rules for journalists reporting attacks. They include an agreement not to contact the bereaved and seriously injured directly for at least the first 48 hours after an incident. It is also suggested that the use of pictures of those killed or injured without permission stops and journalists gathering outside victims' homes is prohibited."

Matthew Parris in The Times [£]: "
In politics and journalism, friendship is more corrupting than money."

Jamie Nimmo in the Sunday Times [£]:
"A decision to privatise Channel 4 is facing delays after the new culture secretary Nadine Dorries was overwhelmed by opposition to a sale of The Great British Bake Off broadcaster. Dorries was due to respond this month to submissions made in relation to plans to offload Channel 4, which is state-owned but self-funded through advertising. However, after a flood of opposition, her response is now not expected until next month or January, delaying any sale. The government is understood to have received 60,000 submissions."

Elaine McCarthyin a letter to the Observer: "As a long-term resident of Harlow, I think a big barrier to cohesion in this sprawling town (“Revealed: the towns at risk from far-right extremism”, News) is the absence of a proper local newspaper, the sort of newspaper that includes obituaries, club news and civil announcements. The online offering of local news lacks the opportunity of lucky finds. So if a resident in one part of the town has no knowledge of the happenings in another, apathy, it seems, is all too easy."

Prince Harry in a virtual discussion on “The Internet Lie Machine” organised by Wired magazine:
“I really feel we have to invest in and support professional, honest journalists who respect and uphold the values of journalism, not the pirates with press cards who have hijacked the most powerful industry in the world. I would love to see a movement to expose the unethical, the immoral and dishonest amongst them.”


Thursday 4 November 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From Rusbridger, Barber and MacKenzie on Paul Dacre chairing Ofcom to saving court reporting in the digital age

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter:
 "The Government seems determined to impose the 'unappointable' Paul Dacre on Ofcom. That means, I'm afraid, that Ofcom will no longer be seen as independent from Government. Big price to pay."

Lionel Barber on Twitter: "If Tories don’t like the conclusion of one independent committee hearing, then they move the goalposts. Applies as much to Dacre on Ofcom job as Paterson on parliamentary standards and lobbying. Slow strangulation of representative government."

Kevin MacKenzie in his a spokesman said column: "In a saga that has lasted longer than finding a decent manager for Spurs I am pleased to report that Boris is still determined to make Paul Dacre, the talented ex-Editor of the Daily Mail, chairman of the media regulator Ofcom...A new panel that will give Dacre the nod is currently being put together. Each will be asked before they join if they have a problem with Dacre. If any answer yes they won’t be on the panel. That’s how it works. The establishment hate journalists. They simply aren’t clubbable. That’s why I like them and why I am one of them."
  • According to the Guardian, Paul Dacre has departed his role as chair of the Daily Mail’s parent company. Although Dacre stood down as editor of the Daily Mail in 2018, he remained as chair and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers.

Findings from the government's Call for Evidence on Journalist Safety include:
  • Just over 4 in 5 journalists experienced threats, abuse or violence as a result of their work. These incidents included abuse, intimidation, threats of violence, violence, death threats, bullying, sexism, racism and homophobia.
  • More than a third of women respondents indicated that they did not feel safe operating as a journalist in the UK.
  • The majority of respondents did not report all incidents to platforms, police and employers, due in part to poor confidence they would be taken seriously.
  • The Call for Evidence asked journalists to describe in more detail the impacts of incidents to identify the most common themes. The most prevalent identified impacts on everyday behaviour included avoiding certain places or crowds, being defensive and wary in public, and avoiding engaging with the public or readers in both physical spaces and on social media.

Andy Burnham on culture secretary Nadine Dorries in the Observer:
 "Nadine gets herself noticed, but if it becomes a thing that the culture secretary fights culture wars, then I think the job is in serious trouble. When I heard her [conference] comments, I thought, here we go, a BBC-bashing culture secretary.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries in the Manchester Evening News marking Journalism Matters Week: "We've introduced a trailblazing Online Safety Bill that will make us one of the first countries in the world to force tech companies to clean up their sites. But, crucially for journalists, that Bill will also prevent social media firms from arbitrarily taking down content from respected news organisations. And, even better, it includes extremely important protection and exemptions for journalists, so that we can protect their free speech while forcing social media platforms to police their sites properly."

News Media Association chairman Henry Faure Walker 
in InPublishing marking Journalism Matters Week: "Sadly, the American owned tech giants continue to leech revenues away from British journalism, while exploiting our content to sell advertising on their own platforms. We welcome Government moves to tackle this problem, seeking to deliver a level playing field and fair practices, but time is running out, particularly for some local publishers, and we need the Government to go further, faster. And the BBC needs to be prevented from rolling its tanks, funded by the licence fee, onto the lawn of the hard pressed independent local news sector."

BBC director general Tim Davie on the Corporation's new 10-point impartiality plan :
"The BBC's editorial values of impartiality, accuracy and trust are the foundation of our relationship with audiences in the UK and around the world. Our audiences deserve and expect programmes and content which earn their trust every day and we must meet the highest standards and hold ourselves accountable in everything we do. The changes we have announced not only ensure we learn the lessons from the past but also protect these essential values for the future."

John Witherow, editor of The Times, speaking at the Web Summit and reported in his own paper [£]:
 “Today we are told it’s the tech giants who are killing us. Readers want everything for free, we must do click-bait, it’s a race to the bottom. Except that’s not true. Good journalism does not need saving. It’s thriving. This is a golden age for serious journalism. It’s expanding into audio and visual and reaching new audiences.When young people ask me if they should go into journalism nowadays, I say, by all means, now is a great time.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ’s Global Impunity Index finds: "In more than 80 percent of cases, the killers of journalists are still getting away with murder. Somalia continues to rank as the world’s worst offender, followed by Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and Afghanistan. Yet while Afghanistan’s spot on the Index is unchanged from 2020, the Taliban’s August takeover raises fears that impunity for journalist murders there may become even more entrenched."

EU Commission statement on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists:
"We will stand by and protect journalists, no matter where they are. We will continue supporting a free and diverse media environment, supporting collaborative and cross-border journalism, and tackling violations of media freedom. There is no democracy without media freedom and pluralism. An attack on media is an attack on democracy.”

From openDemocracy’s new report on the UK Government and Freedom of Information, Access Denied’: "Last year was the worst on record for government secrecy, new research by openDemocracy has revealed. Just 41% of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to government departments and agencies were granted in full in 2020, down from 43% the previous year. This is the lowest figure since records began in 2005."

John Battle in The Times [£] on how to improve court reporting in the digital age: "
A step forward would be a reporters’ charter across civil and criminal courts to ensure basic 'rights': a designated place to sit in the court; wi-fi; access to listing details; documents used in evidence; crucial witness statements and the judgment; a point of contact for media inquiries and a right to make representations to the court. Journalists also need a database to access reporting restrictions and relevant documents...The pace of change is not keeping up with the digital age. It is in the interests of the courts, the legal system and the media to make this happen, so let’s get on with it before it’s too late."


Tuesday 26 October 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From if you want Royal scoops pay Palace footmen to BBC urged to appoint a pro-Brexit political editor to replace Kuenssberg

Kelvin MacKenzie on Twitter: "
John Inman sound alike Nicholas Witchell is moaning on BBC that The Queen's people tipped off @theSundaily rather than him when she overnighted in hospital. Why would she tell a pinch-faced tosser like him anything. The answer is for the BBC to bung footmen like Murdoch does."

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries expressing her fury at the BBC’s Nick Robinson after he told the prime minister to “stop talking” during a tense interview, according to The Sunday Times [£]: “Nick Robinson has cost the BBC a lot of money.”

Nick Cohen in the Observer:
"Opposition to censorship should not be based on sympathy for the censored but fear of the censors. To loud applause, the UK government says it wants to implement the most far-reaching web regulation of any western democracy. Too few are noticing that the Conservatives’ answer to the question of how to curb online hate is to give its politicians excessive powers and make Paul Dacre the country’s internet censor-in-chief."

Matt Hancock in a letter to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, as reported by Guido Fawkes: "
I am writing to ask your help to protect my children, following widespread media coverage of my personal life in the last few months. Now, more than three months after my resignation as Secretary of State, there is no longer any public interest whatsoever in any publication about my private life, or the private life of my partner Gina Coladangelo or either of our families. While a perfectly reasonable case could have been made while I was in Government, there is clearly now no public interest case for invasion of our privacy."

The Times
 [£] reports:
 "Paris Match announced a change of editor amid a row over compromising photographs of Éric Zemmour, the far-right pundit who is expected to run for the French presidency.
Hervé Gattegno lost his job as editor a month after putting on the magazine’s front cover a photograph of Zemmour, 63, embracing Sarah Knafo, his 28-year-old assistant, on the French Riviera. The scoop angered Zemmour, who announced that he was taking legal action for breach of privacy."

Jake Kanter in The Times [£] reporting  the departure of Emily Sheffield as editor of the London Evening Standard: "
There have been persistent rumours that [Evgeny] Lebedev is seeking to close the newspaper down and turn it into an online-only publication, as he did with The Independent in 2016...'There is a lot of sentimentality attached to the Standard, but keeping the brand alive in a digital capacity seems a sensible strategy,' a well-placed source said. 'Evgeny has got what he wanted from being a press baron, not least his peerage'.”

Kent Chief Constable Alan Pughsley in a letter to photographer Andy Aitchison, who was arrested after taking pictures of a protest outside Napier Barracks, as reported by the NUJ: "Further to the damages received by Mr Aitchison in compensation, I apologise unreservedly to him for his unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights. I expressly acknowledge there was no culpability on the part of Mr Aitchison who was performing an important function publicising the protest in the public interest. I recognise the fundamental importance of free speech and the independent of journalists; I accept they should not be at risk of arrest and of having their equipment seized when acting lawfully in reporting matters of public interest.” 

Mail photographer Gary Trotter, who has died aged 65 , on his ideal assignment: "A small war, a beach and a bar that serves Jack Daniels."

Iliffe editorial director Ian Carter, quoted on HoldtheFrontPage, about the departure of Cornwall Live chief reporter Lee Trewhela who said abuse on social media was one of the reasons he was leaving: “This is happening at one end of the spectrum, while at the other we are seeing far fewer people enter the industry. I’ve no doubt that is, in part, due to a reluctance to open themselves up to abuse from morons. The anti-press sentiment is exacerbated by lazy politicians shouting ‘fake news’ every time something they don’t like is published, police officers warning victims of crime not to speak to local journalists etc etc.”

Julian Knight MP, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, on who should succeed Laura Kuenssberg as BBC political editor, as reported by the Telegraph"This would be an opportunity for the BBC, maybe, to look at journalists who had a much more pro-Brexit [approach]. In front of our committee [BBC director general], Tim Davie could not name any senior person he had employed during his watch who supported Brexit. Maybe this is a chance to correct that."

 [£] =paywall