Thursday, 20 July 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: Don't use pay to bash the BBC, embargo buster Piers Morgan and what Theresa May told Donald Trump about UK press

Simon Kelner in the i: "I simply don’t understand where the publication of the BBC’s top earners gets anyone. It’s an exercise in embarrassment, instituted by a supine government in response to pressure from Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail. It is intrusive, grubby and, in fact, pretty meaningless, and plays only to the baser, voyeuristic instincts of the general public, while providing ammunition for the commercial and political enemies of the BBC."

Séamus Dooley, acting NUJ general secretary in a statement: "The NUJ represents a vast number of talented, underpaid and badly resourced members within the BBC. Use of the word 'talent' to describe just the top layer of workers is misleading in that every programme depends on a dedicated and talented staff, many of whom earn a fraction of that paid to the top stars...I would warn against allowing understandable anger at the level of top pay to be used as a weapon against the BBC or the principle of public service broadcasting by those with a political or commercial agenda."

Les Hinton‏ on Twitter: "#BBC salaries huge but everyone in private media knows they're not outrageous. Gender pay gap is only shocker."

David Yelland‏ on Twitter: "Anti-BBC front pages no surprise. Triples all round for John Whittingdale! I bet he'll even get dinner!.....I earned more than all the news and current affairs BBC staff on that list - other than Presenters- as Editor of The Sun. In 2003."
20 hours ago
20 hours ago

Piers Morgan‏ on Twitter: "I'd like to apologise to all fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can't help being this good at my job, unfortunately."

Piers Morgan‏ on Twitter: "I'm also truly shocked at the size of these BBC salaries. They get out of bed for THAT?"

HuffPost reports: "Piers Morgan has been branded a 'bellend' after tweeting the pay of the BBC’s highest-paid stars before a pre-arranged embargo. The list of 109 names of those earning above £150,000 was given to journalists earlier this morning with the understanding it would not be published until 11am. Morgan ignored the embargo and began tweeting the list at 10:08 am."

Alastair Stewart on Twitter: "#BBCpay Breaking an embargo, with stuff we've all been sitting on for hours, is not a 'scoop', it is naff, delusional & unprofessional."Beth 

Beth Rigby‏ on Twitter: "@piersmorgan is utterly disgraceful to break embargo when hacks gathered at BBC for press conference & respected lock-in. Shame on him."

Ex-Number 10 communications director Katie Perrior in The Times [£] on Theresa May's former joint chief of stahff Fiona Hill: "I once stopped her going to join a bunch of political journalists at the back of the plane on the way home from a foreign trip, dressed head to toe in flannelette pyjamas and two bottles of red wine down. In hindsight, I should have bloody well let her go."

Ross Barkan in the Guardian on the closure of local newspapers in the US: "Decades ago, when small cities and towns had viable newspapers, even the most conservative readers could rail against the liberal monoliths on TV and in New York while consuming their local dailies. Reporters weren’t villains: they were neighbors, and the editor-in-chief a town fixture. We can hate most what we don’t know. If a newspaper doesn’t operate near you for a hundred miles and you only see a live journalist if one swoops in during a presidential election – or one never shows up at all – you only know what you read about on Facebook or watch on Fox News. There is no lived reality to draw from. There are only the images and the hate, symbols and distortion."

Royal Charter backed press regulator IMPRESS reports: "An arbitrator [Clive Thorne] has made an award of damages in the first legal dispute to be resolved under the IMPRESS arbitration scheme. Dennis Rice [ former investigations editor of the Mail on Sunday], the claimant, contacted IMPRESS to make a request for arbitration to settle a legal claim of defamation, harassment and malicious falsehood, arising from two tweets sent out from the Byline Media Twitter account on 6th March 2017...An award was finalised on 6th July and published on 13th July. In the award, Mr Thorne upheld the claim in part. He found one of the two tweets to be defamatory and ordered that damages of £2,500 be awarded to Mr Rice."

MediaGuido comments: "Try not to laugh too hard. The Leveson-compliant press regulator Impress has made its first adjudication, ruling against Byline Media, one of its most vocal defenders. Byline, the conspiracy theory site with tinfoil mad-hatter Peter Jukes as CEO, was found guilty of defaming tabloid journalist Dennis Rice and ordered to pay him £2,500 in damages. The irony is just too delicious. Byline signed up to Impress as part of its campaign against the tabloid press."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "The huge majority of papers backing Ipso may calculate that, as before, the sheer vehemence of their case against state-endorsed regulation will be enough to see off any renewed challenge. But no one should bank on it...There’s nothing more stupid and dangerous than sitting back and defining press freedom by whoever happens to win, or not win, an election."

John Harris who runs the Cavendish Press news agency in Manchester, quoted by Press Gazette Journalists are of course entitled to follow up news stories filed by others but as long as they do their own work on it such as getting extra background, extra quotes and extra pictures. Bashing the original version around a bit doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Lifting court copy wholesale is not only irresponsible journalism but unethical and should have no place in today’s post-Leveson newsgathering operations."

The Society of Editors in a statement following concerns the House of Lords may once again attempt to force through Section 40 in the provisions in the Crime and Courts Act 2013 by tagging it on to other legislation: “Any further attempt during the next Parliament to force through costs provisions would rightly be judged as an appalling misuse of powers. It is absurd that while our elected, and unelected, officials are quick to condemn attacks on press freedom in Turkey and elsewhere, some remain steadfastly determined to push through legislation on their doorstep that seeks to punish those who are innocent and fine them for telling the truth. It has now been more than three years since Section 40 has been wielded over the newspaper industry like the sword of Damocles and it is time that parliament united in recognising the genuine threat that the legislation poses and takes steps to repeal it with immediate effect.”

Sir Ray Tindle handing over control of his Tindle Newspapers group to his son, Owen, quoted by Press Gazette: "I see a greater need for our local press now than I have ever seen in my 80 or so years connected with this business. Yes, local papers will survive. Local news in depth is what people need. Names, faces and places. There is no doubt about it – sufficient demand is still there. Local detailed news is in a category of its own. It has survived many years. It will live forever."

Theresa May, according to the Sun, after Donald Trump claimed he hadn't been getting great coverage over his proposed visit to the UK: “Well, you know what the British press are like.”


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From defending Laura Kuenssberg and the BBC from Trump-style attacks to media must acknowledge it has a trust problem

Yvette Cooper in a speech to the Fabian Society: "I am sick to death of the vitriol poured out from all sides towards Laura Kuenssberg. It is her job to ask difficult questions. It is her job to be sceptical about everything we say. Nothing justifies the personal vitriol, or the misogyny. It’s straight out of the Trump playbook. And as with Trump, it is part of a wider attack on the very institutions we need to sustain our democracy. Institutions like the BBC which save us from the demagoguery of tyrants or the megaphones of media moguls."

Liam Fox, speaking in the House of Commons, quoted in the London Evening Standard“It does appear that some elements of our media would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed. I cannot recall a single time in recent times when I have seen good economic news that the BBC didn’t describe as ‘despite Brexit’.”

The New European editor Matt Kelly interviewed in Press Gazette a year after the paper launched: “All these old, cynical, bitter losers, were saying online that it’s going to be full of wire copy and that they [Archant] are hopeless, what could they possibly do that would be interesting?...I think it’s essential that our core proposition is that we are a pro European Union newspaper and, until it’s decided, we are the only newspaper that argues that there is no such thing as a good Brexit, hard or soft, and we are unique in the market place in that regard."

John Whittingdale giving the annual  Independent Press Standard Organisation Lecture: "IPSO was promoted as being more independent than the PCC, as having real penalties available to it which the PCC had not had, and also with an ability to initiative investigations...Now I’m not saying that you should start fining newspapers just for the sake of it, or indeed that you should initiate investigations unless they are merited. But I think in the public mind, the public find it difficult to believe that in the over two years since IPSO has been in existence, no newspaper has done anything that merits independent investigation, or the imposition of a fine. "

Whittingdale on hopes of reforming Section 40: "We have a government without a majority in parliament, and that obviously makes the government much less able to be sure of carrying through its legislation, and actually makes it vulnerable to defeat. So even though the Conservative manifesto pledge still holds, I suspect that the “Crime and Courts Act s.40 Repeal Bill” won’t be seen for, certainly, the immediate future."

A spokesman for the Independent after it was accused of lifting freelance court copy sold to Wales Online, quoted by Press Gazette: “We based our report – written in our own words – on material previously published on the Wales Online website, as our piece made clear (with a link back to the Wales Online piece). There is no copyright in news and we have not acted improperly."

Press Gazette also reports: "A local news website [Rochdale Online] has won a legal payout from the Manchester Evening News over using one of its stories [based on a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Parliamentary Standards Authority about former Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk] without payment or attribution...Manchester County Court ordered MEN Media to pay Rochdale Online £200 plus £170 court fees."

Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, interviewed by the Drum on the time last year when the paper called for Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader: “That was based on the fact that 95% of conversations we were having with MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party were telling us that Jeremy would be really bad for Labour fortunes at the general election. That has turned out to be completely wrong, so of course I would like to turn back the clock on that front.”

Ian Katz in the Spectator: "During the election, it was Corbyn supporters convinced the mainstream media was bent on doing down their man. At Grenfell, it was an alarmingly widespread suspicion that the media — and especially the BBC — were part of an establishment conspiracy to play down the scale of the disaster. For the Finsbury Park attack, the charge was that the sensationalist coverage of previous attacks had whipped up Islamophobia. Saying that trust has been declining in most institutions is a bit like noting that fewer people go to church these days. But confidence in the media has been ebbing quicker than a spring tide...Possibly the most important thing we can do, however, is to acknowledge we have a problem. Right now the media’s attitude to trust brings to mind the proverbial frog in the pan of boiling water. Each increase in the temperature seems just about tolerable, but before we know it we are cooked. And it is starting to feel quite hot in here."

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From mainstream media led legal fight over Grenfell fire council meeting to how The Times got Jagger out of jail

Pic: PA

Court order obtained by Guardian, Times, PA, Sky, Associated Newspapers and the FT
"The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is restrained from excluding accredited members of the press from a Council meeting to discuss the Grenfell tower fire."

Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown, who later resigned, cancels the meeting, quoted by BuzzFeedNews: "I'm advised that if there are others present that I cannot have an open discussion ... I'm told that the press are here because of legal intervention, and that therefore means that we can't have the discussion that we intended to have, because that will prejudice the public inquiry."

Jane Merrick in the I : "What the incident at Kensington and Chelsea shows is that the robust free press is alive and well. For all the criticism of the “MSM”, most “mainstream” journalists have had proper training – including shorthand, public affairs and media law. One of the things we are taught in that training is the importance of access to council meetings... What happened last week was properly trained journalists defended something as basic and essential as the right to report on a council meeting and this was upheld by the law, and for any of us who cares about a free press, that is a cause for optimism."

The Society of Editors in a statement: “The decision by the council to attempt to hold the meeting behind closed doors in the first place was met with astonishment and rightly resulted in numerous media organisations launching a legal challenge to grant them access. The fact that upon being ordered by a judge to allow reporters to attend, the council leader then took the decision to halt the meeting is truly shocking. Not only do journalists have a legal right, as recognised by the judge, to attend public meetings of local authorities, there is a huge public interest in the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the media has a vital role to play in keeping the public informed."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Councillors and courts used to be accustomed to transparency. For some, it is now alien. There are signs that the tide is starting to turn. Three Dorset newspapers have returned to print decades after the last copy was sold. The Christchurch Times, Bournemouth Herald and Poole Herald all go back into circulation this year. Meanwhile Sir Ray Tindle, whose company owns more than 200 local newspapers, has found that there is still profit in titles focused on small areas. These are promising developments, worthy of support. It is welcome, for instance, that a change in the law in force from today will mean that anyone can inspect councils’ financial records in person, regardless of whether they live in the borough. That will open up more channels of accountability to the public, via the press. Recent events in Kensington show how sorely that is needed. From the Palace of Westminster to a planning committee meeting, no politician should be able to govern as if no one is watching."

An Elysée official to Le Monde on why President Macron will not be giving the traditional Bastille Day tv interview, as reported by the Telegraph, because his:  "Complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists”

New York Times' sub editors hit back at management plans to halve their numbers, as reported by Poynter : "We feel more respected by our readers than we do by you. We are living in a strange time when routine copy-editing duties such as fact checking, reviewing sources, correcting misleading or inaccurate information, clarifying language and, yes, fixing spelling and grammar mistakes in news covfefe are suddenly matters of public discourse. As those in power declare war against the news media, as deliberately false or lackadaisical reportage finds its way into social media feeds, readers are flocking to our defense. They are sending us pizza. And they are signing up for Times subscriptions in record numbers because they understand that we go to great lengths to ensure quality and, most important, truth."

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£]: "As part of the bubbling feud between seven Arab nations and Qatar, the group, led by Saudi Arabia, are demanding the closure of the Qatari-run TV network Al Jazeera. Grandiose as it might sound, this could be the greatest assault on press freedom in 50 years...Where is the western political outrage about Al Jazeera? It should be deafening but I am not hearing it. Jeremy Corbyn mentioned the fight, albeit only while being interviewed by Al Jazeera, but he cuts a lonely figure. A free press is a cornerstone of western liberalism yet the defence of it has suddenly fallen out of fashion."

New York Daily News on Trump's tweets
Donald Trump, quoted by the Guardian, giving a speech in Washington: “The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House. But I’m president, and they’re not.”

Mick Jagger, quoted in The Times [£] about the paper's famous editorial, written 50 years ago, headlined "Who Breaks A Butterfly On A Wheel" and which criticised the prison sentence given to the Rolling Stone for possessing four amphetamine tablets:  “What did it mean to me personally? That editorial got me out jail. One day it dropped, and the next thing I was out.”

 [£] = paywall

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From should UK broadcasters be patriotic ? - like in the Soviet Union - to Time calls time on fake Trump cover

Andrea Leadsom interviewed about Brexit on Newsnight: “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic.”

John Simpson‏@JohnSimpsonNews on Twitter: "Depressing to hear @andrealeadsom echoing the Soviet view of broadcasting - that its duty is to be 'patriotic' - i.e. to back views of govt."

Robert Peston@Peston on Twitter: "Shout out to @andrealeadsom: we've been listening to you! Look what we've done to Croissant Corner on @pestononsunday"

Mark Damazer in The Times [£]: "I suspect Leadsom’s remarks to Emily Maitlis were naive and daft rather than intended to be menacing. But there is a point to be made. The BBC’s refusal (and not only the BBC’s) over decades to allow the 'patriotic interest' to be defined by the government — any government — is what keeps it alive."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis stood her ground with admirable aplomb. Leadsom is a comical figure, but as the going gets tougher expect more sinister pressures."

Emily Bell in the Guardian on the Grenfell Tower fire and local media: "The revolution in ground-level local media has never taken off in the way it was meant to. The local blogs run by tenants, activists and other citizens, find themselves isolated and crowded out in clogged social streams, short on attention, funding and traction. Often they rely on the tenacity and unpaid labour of their founders for survival...Covering local housing meetings is an unglamorous beat for any journalist; hardly anyone reads your work, almost nobody cares what happens in the meetings, and the pay is extremely low. Yet it is hard to argue there are more civically important jobs for journalism than reporting the daily machinations of local power."

Gary Younge in Prospect magazine on Jeremy Corbyn: "There are two main reasons why many journalists were wrong-footed. The first was a chronic lack of curiosity. This, I believe, to be the most egregious professional malpractice. The issue here is not whether they supported Corbyn or even Labour but the brazen certainty with which so many dismissed him and his supporters, and the credulity with which they treated his detractors...The second great failure of journalism was the failure to expand the gaze from Corbyn, the individual, to broader forces and places."

Tim Walker in the New Statesman on the Mail and Telegraph: "I know these papers well, having spent the best part of a quarter-century working for them, and I don’t care to see them like this. When I worked there, a degree of independent thought was permitted on both titles. I joined the Telegraph in 2002; at the time, my colleagues spoke with pride of the paper’s tolerance to opposing views. And when I was at the Mail, it happily employed the former Labour MP Roy Hattersley. Would I be able to run positive stories about, say, my mate Gina Miller – who successfully campaigned for parliamentary scrutiny of the Brexit process – in the Telegraph if I were there today? Or at the Daily Mail? Dream on: it’s two minutes of hate for that 'enemy of the people'."

Daily Mail in a full page comment: "The Guardian published a cartoon so sick and disgusting – so deranged and offensive to the four million decent, humane and responsible people who read us – that we owe it to every one of them to lay to rest this malicious smear...The Guardian was telling its followers that the Daily Mail and its readers are vicious bigots with the blood of innocent, peace-loving Muslims on their hands....For the Guardian’s editor to publish such deluded, defamatory nonsense – which in itself is a naked incitement to violence – speaks volumes about the hatred that drives this ‘voice of liberalism’. The truth is that the Guardian and the fascist Left are the real purveyors of hate in this country."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "A third-division Guardian writer called Sophie Heawood wrote recently that she looked forward to the day when all Daily Mail readers were dead. That’s more than 3m people. So staggering did I find this that I rang Impress, set up by Max Mosley and the Hacked Off moppets to regulate the press, to see what it thought. I rang three times but it wouldn’t comment. I really wanted to speak to the boss of Impress. That’s a man called Jonathan Heawood. Yup, Sophie’s brother."

The Times [£] in a leader welcomes European Commission fining Google €2.42 billion for taking “illegal advantage” of its market dominance to hurt competitors and deny consumers “genuine choice”:  "The Times has a stake in this argument. Our parent company, News Corporation, is an interested third party in this case and has submitted a complaint in a parallel one focused on news. We make no apology for taking sides. The internet and businesses that use it are by and large a boon, but it should not be the new wild west. The EU is acting as American anti-trust legislators did against Standard Oil in 1911, in the public interest, and about time too."

Donald J. Trump‏@realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!"

Fake cover
Huffington Post reports: "Time on Tuesday asked the Trump Organization to remove any fake covers of the magazine displayed at the presidential family’s business properties. The magazine’s request to the group came after a Washington Post report revealed that several of President Donald Trump’s golf courses had a framed copy of a doctored Time cover, which featured the commander in chief as the cover story."


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From where was the local media to speak up for Grenfell Tower's voiceless residents? to contempt law not conspiracy shaped press reports on Finsbury Mosque attack

Robert Peston on his blog on the Grenfell Tower fire: "There is a social contract between those of us lucky enough to have voices that are heard and those who don't that we should not put them in harm's way.  Grenfell seems the most grotesque breach of that contract in my lifetime. It shames us all."

Londonhyperlocal: "The area around Grenfell Tower is not served by a proper local newspaper. Neither does it seem to have any well-established online local news provision. It is one of the many areas of the UK which is essentially a black spot for dedicated reporting. People died in Grenfell Tower probably because of the type of cladding that was used in the refurbishment but at some point more fundamental causes need to be identified to ensure this kind of catastrophe doesn’t happen again. One of many issues that needs to be addressed is the increasing estrangement of the governed from those who govern them and the disappearance of local news reporting is both a symptom and a cause of this problem."

Grant Feller on LinkedIn, who started his career as a reporter on the Kensington News 27 years ago covering local issues such as fire safety at Grenfell Tower: "I don’t know whether a vibrant local newspaper staffed by idealistic young journalists who watched All The President’s Men way to often and thought they could somehow change the world, would have prevented the catastrophe all of London has been indelibly scarred by. But it could have. The warning signs were there and the pleas of residents’ groups are plentiful, especially online...I know the days of powerful local newspapers are over but the stories they typically once covered are more plentiful than ever, especially in cities where decisions – not scrutinised - are being taken every day that affect the lives of residents. Local newspapers and their websites are still making valiant efforts to report community stories but staffing levels mean that there’s little time for patient, revelatory journalism."

Dominic Ponsford on Press Gazette: "Kensington and Chelsea has a population of nearly 160,000 who are served, as far as I can establish, by not a single journalist dedicated only to covering news in the borough. Its one remaining local newspaper, the Kensington and Chelsea News, has a staff of one journalist who must also file copy for other editions...The sort of grassroots local newspaper journalism which might have picked up on the Grenfell Tower fire safety concerns in advance is being lost...London is in danger of becoming woefully unreported. Its transient population makes local newspaper publishing in the capital a nightmare – over and above all the other issues local newspapers face."

George Monbiot in the Guardian on why the mainstream media misjudged support for Jeremy Corbyn: "It is partly because this industry, in which people without a degree could once work their way up from the floor, now tends to select its entrants from a small, highly educated pool. The use of internships narrows the selection further. Wherever they come from, journalists, on average, end up better paid than most people. Whatever their professed beliefs, they tend to be drawn towards their class interests."

Former NUJ president Jacob Ecclestone in a letter to the Guardian: "The explanation for why young people from working-class backgrounds have, over the past 30 years, been steadily excluded from all forms of mainstream media is to be found in the anti-union legislation of the 1980s and 90s. Media companies were encouraged to derecognise the National Union of Journalists (and other unions), to scrap collective bargaining, to withdraw from agreements on training and – crucially – to kill the longstanding convention that prohibited non-journalists from being given jobs on national newspapers – people like George Osborne [Pictured], for example."

Paul Foot Awards chair of judges Padraig Reidy on this year's winner, Emma Youle, published in the Hackney Gazette: “Emma Youle’s Hidden Homeless campaign combined investigation and campaigning to shed light on a problem many people don’t realise is happening right in front of our faces. She has made a difference to people’s lives, which is the best a journalist can hope for. It’s also important to recognise that in an age of squeezed resources for local papers, a brilliant journalist like Emma is given the support to pursue a story like Hackney’s Hidden Homeless.”

John Harris in the Guardian: "Of course, there are media people and politicians whose view of Corbyn and his supporters was hostile and mocking from the start. If they are now switching on their phone to find daily explosions of ridicule and bile, I am sure they can take it: this is the sport they chose. What’s much more questionable is the way the same vengeful attitude is extended to anyone who ever portrayed the last two years of Labour politics in terms of doubt, concern and malaise, and who are being similarly instructed to say sorry for their alleged heresy or be escorted from the building."

CNN president Jeff Zucker on attacks on US media, reported by HuffPost: "I think it is shameful on the part of the administration and other politicians to cause a frenzy against something that is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. And it does disservice to this country and its position in the world and ... allows for a heightened sense of rhetoric against journalists and media organizations. And it is unconscionable and dangerous and they should know better."

Guardian letter on the switch from Berliner to tabloid from Richard Griffiths, King’s Lynn, Norfolk:"I understand your reasons for going tabloid but fear that, despite your good intentions, you will, like the Independent and the Times, lose that aura of gravitas and je ne sais quoi – is it dignity? – that goes with being a broadsheet."

David Banks@DBanksy on Twitter: "If Finsbury Mosque attacker doesn't get coverage you think he deserves compared to London Bridge or Manchester, it's because of the law...He is alive and will stand trial, so restrictions now apply to reporting by msm. It's not a conspiracy, or a D Notice, just the law."

BuzzFeed UK news editor Alan White‏@aljwhite on Twitter: "I have a hot take. I think contempt of court and defamation should be taught in secondary schools. We're all publishers now."