Thursday 29 April 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From Private Eye spent years exposing Post Office scandal to journalists were struggling with a 'perfect storm' of mental health challenges even before the Covid outbreak

Tom Jamieson on Twitter: "Private Eye readers will know how long the mag pursued the Post Office Horizon scandal years before anyone else. Superb today to see justice done for the 39 former Postmasters who have had their convictions quashed. Horrific beyond belief what they endured."

Dominic Cummings on his blog denying he was the leaker to the BBC of the Sir James Dyson texts:
 " I was not directly or indirectly a/the source for the BBC/Kuenssberg story on the PM/Dyson texts... It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves. I will not engage in media briefing regarding these issues but will answer questions about any of these issues to Parliament on 26 May for as long as the MPs want."
  • Alastair Campbell on Twitter: "Interesting change of style in Cummings' latest blog. From long, rambling and incontinent, to rather tight and focused, as though he had the help of an experienced journalist who knew how to land more blows with fewer words. Anyone seen @michaelgove ?"

Peter Oborne on Twitter:
"Credit where credit is due. The Daily Mail has led where others now follow. The funding of the Downing Street flat, and now Johnson's remarks about Covid, since confirmed by ITN and BBC. Superb investigative journalism. Old fashioned reporting. Simon Walters has been plugging away at the Downing Street flat story for months. Ignored by rivals. Persistence, craftsmanship, proper honest reporting. The opposite of client journalism."

Anne McElvoy on Twitter:
 "Reflecting that the 'John Lewis furniture nightmare' at Number 10 is beyond doubt the quote given to me in a story which will be most remembered out of quarter century in political journalism. I shd probably quit while ahead."

Jim Waterson in the Guardian:
"Rupert Murdoch has drastically scaled backed plans for a new opinionated television service in the UK, after concluding that it is not financially viable to launch a fully fledged rolling news channel in the style of Fox News. Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of his News UK company, told staff the enormous cost of getting a television news channel on air meant it did not make business sense to push ahead. She said the company would instead focus on reaching news audiences via shows on streaming platforms."

Steve Bell in Press Gazette on the ending of his If cartoon strip in the Guardian after 40 years: "The Guardian’s got more cautious about things and recently there’s been more strips bumped back for various reasons because somebody thinks it’s transgressing something or other, but I have been there a long time and have got used to it. Maybe I’m out of kilter with the zeitgeist. My stuff is probably too vulgar for the current regime. ”

Richard Brooks in the Observer:
"It was one of the most controversial and shattering TV programmes the BBChas ever broadcast. And early next month, the corporation is to return – in a Panorama special – to its 1995 interview with Princess Diana by the then little-known Martin Bashir. This time, however, the spotlight will be turned on the programme itself and whether it was set up fairly and honourably – and, when a few months later it was shown that some falsehoods had been used to obtain the interview, whether the BBC failed in its own internal inquiry."

The Times [£] reports: "Peers including Lord Heseltine and Baroness Boothroyd have been forbidden to speak to the press by the House of Lords after they failed to attend anti-bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment workshops. ...The peers, who maintain that they were unaware of the need to undergo the training, are now facing an investigation into their conduct. They have been warned that they will be in contempt of parliament if they speak publicly about the inquiry."

George Greenwood in The Times [£]: "
Last year Open Democracy revealed that the government had been flagging reporters who make freedom of information requests to a central screening team. This breaches a key principle of FOI, that requests must be handled impartially...It appears this impartiality is breaking down. I’ve now seen first hand how I have been targeted, after a nine-month battle to access information the government holds on me. Sometimes this targeting was rather entertaining. One civil servant asked an official at the government’s secretive 'clearing house', a team that advises departments on how to respond to FOI requests, whether they had received a request from the 'ever-active Mr Greenwood'. Others were more concerning. One Environment Agency official referred to my request about safety issues at dams, made after the partial collapse of Whaley Bridge reservoir in Derbyshire, as 'sensitive because the customer is a journalist'...While the Cabinet Office maintains that 'all FOI requests are treated exactly the same', the sharing of such details risks creating a culture of targeting journalists."

Ex-Downing Street director of communications and Mirror journalist Lee Cain in the Spectator:
 "Even those who do make it into big professions can struggle to break through the ‘class ceiling’. Britain’s most powerful jobs are still dominated by the tiny proportion (7 per cent) who attended private school. No surprise that Fleet Street and Whitehall are among the worst offenders. It still matters what school tie you wore, it matters what accent you have and it matters what class you are. This is a disaster for working-class boys and girls."

The International Federation of Journalists in an article on mental health problems faced by journalists: 
"First of all it’s important to admit that mental health issues are not new in the media industry. Before the Covid-19 hit our lives, journalists were already struggling with a 'perfect storm' of factors that challenged their mental health. From job insecurity to the economic crisis of the media, from higher polarisation of media to growing attacks from elected officials against journalists, from a relentless breaking news cycle to journalists’ hyperconnectivity, media workers were already highly exposed to mental health problems. On top of this, there’s still a taboo over mental health conditions in many parts of the world and a fear of media workers losing their job or putting at risk their career if they admit mental health problems."


Thursday 22 April 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From UK criticised by press freedom group over detention of Assange to US Capitol riot accused say they were journalists

Reporters Without Borders in its World Press Freedom Index 2021 Report: "Europe continues to be the most favourable continent for press freedom but violence against journalists has increased, and the mechanisms the European Union established to protect fundamental freedoms have yet to loosen Viktor Orbán’s grip on Hungary’s media or halt the draconian measures being taken in other central European countries...There was a different kind of setback for journalism in the United Kingdom (up 2 at 33rd), where a judge based her decision not to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on the potential threats to his mental health rather than the need to protect public interest journalism and free speech."

Jim Bilton on InPublishing on the best film and TV shows about the media business, according to a poll of media insiders: "All the President’s Men (1976) received the most votes by far. It clearly remains the definitive account of what investigative journalism is all about. In the current world of fake news, the misuse of political power and the ability of politicians to manipulate and deceive, the need for independent journalism and the reality of there still being “facts” to find out there, rings true with so many working now in the media business, both editorial and commercial. It also harks back to a “golden age” when management seemed to take big bets and committed real resource to major editorial missions. And of course, every male journalist of a certain age still harbours the secret longing to be."
  • Drop the Dead Donkey was voted best TV show

The Times
[£] reports:
 "Boris Johnson has scrapped plans for televised White House-style briefings amid concerns about the 'political risk' involved despite spending £2.6 million on a new room to host them. The Times has been told that the briefings have been axed because they risk giving 'oxygen' to difficult stories for ministers."

HuffPost UK editor-in-chief Jess Brammar on Twitter: "Ok, deep breath. My time at HuffPost UK is coming to an end. As part of cuts BuzzFeed announced weeks after buying us in February, the UK news desk is being closed down and many of our team are being made redundant - including the entire brilliant, trailblazing news team. My role is going along with about half the team. I was offered a new reduced editor role, running a HuffPost UK without a newsdesk, as part of BuzzFeed’s plan to 'fast track its path to profitability'. But news is at the heart of what HuffPost was for me. So I am bowing out."

James Ball in the New Statesman on the cuts at BuzzFeed and HuffPost:
 "Journalists have proven they can create online newsrooms that generate social value and can reach huge audiences. Other outlets have proven there are multiple ways to raise money off that. And the talent is there. What’s missing is the right owner: someone who wants to make decent, but not venture capital-scale profits and who can be more responsive than distant US corporate overlords. The latest news for digital media might be grim. But that shouldn’t stop people trying."

Former Northern Echo editor Peter Barron on the trials and tribulations of dealing with local safe cracker, businessman and one time Darlington F.C. chairman George Reynolds, who has died:
"IN one call to me, George declared: 'If you’re going to write headlines about me, I’ll write headlines about you.' The next day, he erected a huge billboard outside the stadium, and posted weekly 'headlines' in enormous letters. They included SACK BARRON, BARRON IS A LIAR (complete with a picture of Pinnochio), and his carefully considered coup de grace, BARRON IS GAY."

Chris Blackhurst on Press Gazette on the newsroom under threat after Covid and the growth of working from home:
"The newsroom is much more than covering the occurrence of a terrorist outrage or disaster or some political storm. It’s about a buzz, an intangible chemistry, an intoxicating smell, of people, young and old, sparking off each other, sharing ideas and leads, bits of information and yes, having a gossip and a laugh."

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary in a statement on the second anniversary of the killing of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry:
"We hope that the second anniversary will prompt witnesses to come forward with new information. I know that in the immediate aftermath of the killing there was a climate of fear and intimidation in Derry, but it is vital that those responsible for the killing of a brave, talented and courageous journalist are brought to justice...the greatest tribute to Lyra would be the arrest and prosecution of all those responsible for her killing. That would send a clear signal to the community that violence, harassment and intimidation have no place in Northern Ireland and will not be tolerated.”

Committee to Protect Journalists Asia program coordinator Steven Butler in a statement:
“Forcing a prominent pro-democracy media entrepreneur like Jimmy Lai to spend more than a year in prison and hitting him with additional national security charges that could jail him for life can only be seen as an act of retaliation against an outspoken critic. The Chinese government, which now tightly controls Hong Kong, should reverse course immediately to preserve the tattered remains of the territory’s tradition of press freedom.”

Richard Sambrook on Twitter:
"We now have women running Reuters News, BBC News, BBC Content, ITN, ITV, Editing The Guardian, Sunday Times, Sun, Mirror and more. And about time too."

AP reports:
"The Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January created a trove of self-incriminating evidence, thoroughly documenting their actions and words in videos and social media posts. Now some of the camera-toting people in the crowd are claiming they were only there to record history as journalists, not to join a deadly insurrection. It’s unlikely that any of the self-proclaimed journalists can mount a viable defense on the First Amendment’s free speech grounds, experts say. They face long odds if video captured them acting more like rioters than impartial observers. But as the internet has broadened and blurred the definition of a journalist, some appear intent on trying."


Thursday 15 April 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Royal rebuffs: Prince Philip and the press 'reptiles' to praise for FT and Sunday Times for the Cameron-Greensill story

In 2006 Press Gazette ran some excerpts from 'Duke of Hazard, The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip', by Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton, which included these three tales of his dealings with the press:

In Bangladesh, the Queen and the Duke were standing in the garden of a government building to meet guests waiting in line for a cocktail party. Ashley Walton, then royal correspondent of the Daily Express, was with other members of the travelling “Rat Pack” of reporters at the end of the line. Philip, not realising he could be overheard, turned to the Queen and grimaced: "Here come the bloody reptiles! ”

At a press reception in Windsor Castle to mark the Golden Jubilee: " 'Who are you?' the Duke demanded of Simon Kelner. 'I’m the editor-in-chief of The Independent, sir.' 'What are you doing here?' asked the Duke.'You invited me.' 'Well, you didn’t have to come!' ”

Next victim was Martin Townsend, editor of the Sunday Express: “'Ah the Sunday Express,' said Philip. 'I was very fond of Arthur Christiansen.' 'Yes, there’s been a long line of distinguished editors,' replied Townsend. 'I didn’t say that!' barked Philip, walking away."

Chris Blackhurst on Twitter: 
"At a media reception at Buckingham Palace, a journalist introduced himself to Prince Philip: 'Hello sir, I’m so and so from the East Anglia Daily Press, do you read us when you’re in Sandringham?' Philip looked him up and down, paused, then said 'certainly not' and walked off."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "Guardian investigations regularly reveal royal embarrassments, so it’s not surprising its journalists are not in favour.When the Queen invited a great gathering of journalists to a golden jubilee reception in Windsor Castle, she and Prince Philip entered the hall looking as if they were sucking lemons. Prince Philip approached the group I was with and asked where I was from. 'The Guardian,' I said, and asked: 'Do you ever read it?' 'No fear!' he said, and spun on his heel."

Giles Coren in The Times [£]: on his Times Radio show being dropped to make way for the coverage of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh:
 "As the announcement from the Palace came over Sky News and Cathy Newman’s team roared into action, while super-presenter Stig Abell leapt on to his Harley Davidson out in rural wherever-he-lives and powered towards London Bridge to head up the huge emergency media response the occasion required, I was already shuffling towards the lifts and reflecting, not for the first time, on how there are two kinds of journalist in this world: the ones who see a massive news story as an opportunity to be at the centre of things, grappling with the first draft of history; and the ones who see it as an opportunity to get away with doing nothing at all."

David Yelland on Twitter:
 "If I'd have been editing The Sun in Brexit war the paper would have backed Remain purely because of peace in the island of Ireland. The English Brexit editor class - including Boris - either didn't care or didn't listen. This is a disgrace."

Patricia Devlin on Index on Censorship:
 "Twenty years ago, Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan was assassinated by members of the violent Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). The killing gang – who have never been convicted – later released a statement saying the reporter had been murdered for 'crimes against the loyalist people'. Two decades on the same type of language is not only bedecking lampposts across Northern Ireland in the form of anti-Irish Sea Border placards, but is also being used by those with influence in unionism and loyalism. It is this type of hard rhetoric that has fed into the hostility to media workers here, who have been murdered and attacked as they go about their jobs. Northern Ireland has paid a very high price for its peace; but what price must it pay to protect press freedom?"

Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian on the media in Poland: "The ruling Law and Justice party has launched a systematic attack on independent media. The methods are straight out of Viktor Orbán’s playbook in Hungary. Public sector advertising and subscriptions are withdrawn from independent media. All sorts of regulatory chicanery is used against them. Public money is pumped into state television and radio. A “pandemic tax” is proposed on media advertising revenue. A projected law on the “repolonisation” of media would target foreign owners of the biggest independent outlets. A state-owned petrol company, PKN Orlen, whose boss is a Law and Justice party crony, buys both a major press distributor, Ruch, and the largest network of regional newspapers, Polska Press. The most critical papers are bombarded with lawsuits."

Political correspondent Chris Mason on BBC News at Ten  on the Cameron-Greensill affair: 
“There's another point worth making too: journalism matters.The work of the Financial Times and the Sunday Times, ferreting out awkward truths, is what has prompted this.”


Thursday 8 April 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From photographer attacked in Belfast to digital journalism can't recreate profitability of old regional monopolies

Belfast Telegraph
 photographer Kevin Scott on Twitter after he was attacked by masked men while covering rioting in West Belfast:
 "So much for peaceful - I have just been jumped from behind by two males, masked on Cupar Way. One pulled me to the ground and smashed @BelTel cameras. As I fought this one off I was told to fu*k off back to your own area you fenian cu*t by the other. Police informed."

Belfast Telegraph editor-in-chief Eoin Brannigan commented: "Journalists should not be attacked, threatened or be subject to sectarian abuse while doing their jobs. It's shameful and should be condemned without equivocation. There is no justification for it, but unfortunately it's the reality for many journalists going about their work in Northern Ireland."

Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan described the incident as: "The latest attempt to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs and constitutes an outrageous attack on freedom of the press".

From the Mail's serialisation of Alan Duncan's diaries

Alan Duncan on Boris Johnson in his diaries serialised by the Daily Mail:
 "He loves double-page spreads puffing him up, but is over-sensitive and loses all perspective when he faces an inch of adverse comment...Boris calls. He wants to see me. For the first time ever, we have something of a stand-up confrontation. He has completely popped and accuses me of briefing [the journalist], which I hadn’t. He says, ‘Why do you say they don’t take me seriously?’ I shake my head and say, ‘Just look in the f***ing mirror!’."

Alan Duncan on Michael Gove in his diaries serialised by the Daily Mail: "Gove has secured an interview with Donald Trump. It just feels creepy and a***-licking, keeping him on the map as an ex-minister, and no doubt all set up by Rupert Murdoch."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£] on the Johnson-Arcuri affair:
 "If Boris had launched a scheme called Shag the Mayor and Win a Contract, at least it would have been kinda transparent and we could all have applied. But does it not to you, even if you are a loyal Tory, have the whiff of corruption, of wrongdoing?"

Marina Hyde in the Guardian on David Cameron-Greensill affair:
 "It has now been a full 35 days since the former prime minister first declined to take calls from the Financial Times on the collapse and mushrooming fallout of Greensill, the specialist bank for which he was an active payrolled lobbyist with what he hoped was $60m worth of shares. There was one time Cameron accidentally answered the phone to the FT, then breezed 'Do you want to ring my office?' before hanging up. Said office has not cared to answer a single call or text. David Cameron is still allowed to claim up to £115,000 a year from the public purse, literally to run this office. Surely that’s enough for someone in it to return a call?"

Press Gazette
 "Half of the 1,002 Press Gazette subscribers who chose to respond to our race and the media email survey said they had seen Meghan coverage that they thought was racist. And among non-white survey respondents, the vast majority said they had seen Meghan articles that they thought were racist. Some two-thirds of the 721 survey respondents describing themselves as journalists said they thought there was some evidence of bigotry in the UK media, and they said it was not an issue that was confined to the tabloids."

Richard Osley in the Camden New Journal on the paper's founder and editor Eric Gordon, who has died aged 89:
"As editor of one of the last independent titles in the UK, he was proud of the newspaper’s freedom from large groups and championed a co-op style structure, warning that papers would struggle to survive if they had to answer to faraway group executives or distant shareholders seeking dividends each year."

Salford Star
 announcing its closure:
 "After 15 years, numerous awards, ten print issues and over 6,000 online articles, the Salford Star is to close after the local elections in May. The Star, which we believe to be England's longest running community centred media outlet, brought out its first issue in May 2006, giving a voice to residents caught up in the midst of regeneration, fighting the demolition of their homes."

The Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement:
"Research by CPJ and other organizations shows sophisticated spyware products marketed to governments to fight crime have been used to target the press. Secret surveillance of journalists and their sources poses a severe threat to press freedom globally. That’s why we are calling for national and international action to slow the proliferation and wrongful use of spyware. Use and share this information—because when journalists can’t protect themselves or their sources, everyone’s right to information is at risk."

Josh Marshall in The Atlantic: "The super-low costs of entry and the lack of geographic limitations that were key to the explosive growth of digital journalism were also key to its undoing. These new publications had no way to recreate the profitability and stability that the old regional monopolies had made possible...In digital publishing, scale was the god that failed. And thousands of journalists went along for the roller-coaster ride, without anyone warning them how it was bound to end."


Thursday 1 April 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From why the Mirror's Johnson-Arcuri affair revelations matter to what's inside Piers Morgan fighting to get out?

Fleet Street Fox in her Mirror column:
"As Jennifer Arcuri finally admits the fling that everyone already suspected, the Mirror's story is being widely ignored by other news outlets. And there are plenty of people who glance at it, see a kiss-and-tell which confirms their opinion, and think 'who cares'. But, as any ex-wife knows, knowing someone has done it before does not mean you are fine with it happening again...It was not in the public interest to get his girlfriend on taxpayer-funded trips she had no right to, he has not declared a relationship with someone who may benefit from it, he's refused to discuss it, and it's only his zipper that's been open thus far."
  • George Grylls in The Times [£]: "Boris Johnson conducted himself with honesty and integrity in his alleged relationship with Jennifer Arcuri, his press secretary said yesterday, following new accounts that the two had sex on a sofa in his marital home."
  • Hardeep Matharu on Byline Times: "The BBC has told Byline Times that 'stories are chosen due to their editorial merit' and that it 'has covered the issue substantially when there have been newsworthy updates' when asked why it has not reported new revelations by the businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri that she had a four-year-long sexual affair with Boris Johnson."

Boris Johnson speaking at a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, as reported by The Times [£] :
“We need to recognise on the whole that there is a great deal of instinctual metropolitan bias in the BBC newsroom. Let’s hope they learn from what their viewers and listeners want. It’s pretty clear from the whole Brexit experience that the BBC was pretty detached from a lot of its viewers and listeners and I hope they move more into line.”

BBC News reports
: "The BBC's Beijing correspondent John Sudworth has left China and moved to Taiwan following pressure and threats from the Chinese authorities. Sudworth, who has won awards for his reporting on the treatment of the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region, left Beijing with his family. The BBC says it is proud of his reporting and he remains its China correspondent."

Matty Edwards of Bristol Cable in the Guardian on the reporting of demonstrations and policing in the city: "After local journalists had risked harm to themselves for the third time in six days to accurately document the events, it was incredibly frustrating to see the national media framing the events in line with Priti Patel and Boris Johnson’s condemnations of the protests as 'violent thuggery'. The national public risks being misled about how events unfolded, imagining scenes similar to the police vans set ablaze last Sunday. In fact, a 10-minute scan of excellent reporting from multiple media sources in Bristol would have given any national journalist a more complete picture of what happened."

Eleanor Mills in a statement on her resignation from the board of the Society of Editors, as reported by Press Gazette
“The chronic lack of diversity in British newspaper newsrooms and the lack of representation of BAME groups in decision-making amounts in my view and those of many others, to structural racism in the media. This is not to accuse individuals of racism but merely to remark that the lack of a broader perspective and representation of non-white views can result in unfairly slanted coverage. Often segments of our media do operate a double standard when it comes to race and I believe it is the duty of the Society of Editors to come out and say so. If there is no agreement even on the scale of the problem we are dealing with then it is hard to have confidence in the decisions of the board going forward to remedy it."

Liz Gerard in Press Gazette"Ian Murray [Society of Editors executive director] blundered in his response to the Oprah show because he comes from the 'defend the press at all costs' school of thought; the same school that doubles down when asked 'couldn’t you be a little kinder?', insisting: 'We hold the powerful to account and any challenge to the way we behave is a direct assault on democracy itself” – as though being even slightly less horrid to wretched boat people or glamorous celebrities is the first step to totalitarianism."

The Times
 reports [£]:
 "The paparazzi agency that was sued by the Duchess of Sussex over a photograph of her son has filed for bankruptcy in America, blaming its troubles partly on the 'unbearably expensive' legal costs of the case. Splash News was sued by Meghan in March last year in Britain over photographs taken in January of her strolling through a park on Vancouver Island with Archie. Emma Curzon, the company’s president, said its financial problems stemmed from the duchess’s case and from a suit brought by a former employee. She also blamed the pandemic for limiting 'the availability of celebrity images' and the willingness of newspapers and magazines to pay for them."

New online news website NationalWorld from JPI media on why it's launched: "NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. We will aim to provide incisive, informed and intelligent coverage of the issues that matter to you. We are part of JPI Media, one of the UK’s leading regional media organisations. As such, we won’t report on the news through a London lens. Instead, we will endeavour to shift the focus to the people, places and perspectives which are still often underreported and unheard in the media."

Dominion Voting Systems, the target of conspiracy theories in the US Presidential election, in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, as reported by CNN:
 "Fox took a small flame of disinformation and turned it into a forest fire. The truth matters. Lies have consequences...Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does."

Piers Morgan in the Mail on Sunday on the row over the Harry and Meghan interview that saw him leave Good Morning Britain:
"The show's on fire, in every sense. But the flames are now raging uncontrollably towards me. To compound my growing twitchiness, I got a text from my old foe Jeremy Clarkson that read: 'I am completely on your side.' Oh s**t. This must be more serious than I thought. Mid-afternoon, Kevin Lygo, ITV's Director of Television, who I'd spoken to several times since yesterday, rang to say we were now 'on the cliff edge' and either I apologised, or I would have to leave GMB...I called Kevin back, said I wouldn't be apologising, and we agreed I'd leave GMB with immediate effect."

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker in The Sunday Times Magazine [£]:
 "Piers [Morgan] and I have had a friendly rivalry, but it has been good for BBC Breakfast and GMB. He likes to throw a few insults around, but underneath all the froth I think there is a decent bloke fighting to get out."