Thursday, 14 September 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From the digital hurricanes destroying journalism to it is not just the internet to blame for killing the local press

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

Graydon Carter, who is stepping down as editor of Vanity Fair, on Donald Trump, in the New York Times: “He’s tweeted about me 42 times, all in the negative. So I blew up all the tweets and I framed them all. They’re all on a wall — this is the only wall Trump’s built — outside my office."

Katherine Forster, a 48-year-old mother of three on how she became The Spectator's new intern:"The Spectator’s internship scheme has a no-CV policy, so they don’t care (or ask) if you’re 16 or 60. They select on the simple basis of what you can actually do. Completely sensible, utterly egalitarian and yet highly unusual. I sent off a 200-word blog, three suggestions for articles, fact-checked an article (by Polly Toynbee on inequality) and made a three-minute audio file analysing a Prime Minister’s Questions (this last one nearly scuppered my entire effort and I almost abandoned the whole thing). Out of 150 applications, only a dozen get through. So like all of the interns, I ended up here on merit."

Brian Reade in the Mirror says some ex-football stars turned broadcasters: "Sound like they are lazily living off their playing ­ other sports, you have to earn your legendary status as a broadcaster just as you did as a player. But, in football, the rule is clearly 'once a ledge, always a ledge'."

Matt Tee on the Independent Press Standards Organisation blog on its third anniversary: "Over the years some of our opponents have decided it’s more constructive to work with us than shout from a distance. Others continue their opposition, but it’s become increasingly clear that there’s nothing we could do that would satisfy them....Nearly 50,000 people have complained to us about an article in a newspaper or magazine or about the behaviour of a journalist and many thousands of other complaints have been resolved by publishers directly with the public. Over the same period we have issued nearly 200 Private Advisory Notices to editors – telling them that someone does not wish to speak to journalists or be photographed. These are confidential, so it’s not possible to give real examples, but, although they’re not binding on the press, they work. "

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, in a statement after reports that up to 40 local journalists' posts are under threat at Trinity Mirror: "Jargon about a ‘more synchronised approach’ and ‘aligning design structures’ can’t hide the fact that these are bad old fashioned job cuts affecting several Trinity Mirror centres around the country. More generic content across the titles and an increase in user generated content if it is at the expense of other coverage such as courts and councils, means short-changing local readers. Our members will be asking what evidence the company has that these further cuts will lead to success."

Gloucestershire Media managing director Sarah Pullen on turning the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo weekly, in a statement: “This change to our print titles is being dictated by the behaviour of our readers and the amazing growth success of our website Gloucestershire Live. We still have a loyal print audience but the majority of the people who read the Echo or the Citizen do so just once a week."

Birmingham Mail editor Marc Reeves on Medium on why his newsroom is being split between print and digital"Lots of titles are going digital only, that’s true — but only after shutting their print incarnations. What’s different in Birmingham is we’re building a sustainable digital business structure now to sit alongside our print business, so we’re ready for the challenge when it comes, rather than respond in the middle of a real crisis. I believe there remains several years’ profitable life in the Birmingham Mail in print, but that doesn’t mean we should put off the creation of a digital-only model until the last minute."

Former Taunton Times reporter Matt Chorley in The Times [£]: "Every time a paper closes, lazy MPs, corrupt councillors, dodgy police chiefs, rip-off businesses and anyone in the dock can relax a little. This isn’t just nostalgia: the great and good didn’t stop behaving badly because we all got Snapchat and iPlayer...People ranting about parking charges and dog mess on Facebook groups are no substitute for local papers that might get something changed; doing the hard, boring yards to expose wrongdoing. I fear that unless some of the tech giants who’ve hollowed them out start paying something back, the demise of these papers may be inevitable."

Peter Preston in the Observer on the local press: "Is this another business wrecked by the internet? Up to a point. But it is also a business crippled by the debts of big chains that bought family newspapers when the going was good and then found the foundations of that highly profitable game crumbling – a business in hock to its share price. And, like many other businesses, the gloom is not universal. Some areas, some papers, some digital expansions, are doing well enough."


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From the rise of Left leaning journalists and demise of the Tory Press to what the death of a paper means to a community

Tim Montgomerie in the Guardian: "Large percentages of teachers in schools, academics in universities, journalists, playwrights and other ideas-generators lean towards left, liberal perspectives. While the left has marched through the institutions of learning, entertainment and the arts, taking over the commanding heights of culture, the right’s own once powerful generators of values – including the Tory press and the church – are of declining power."

Les Hinton in a promo for his autobiography The Bootle Boy: An Untidy Life in News due to be published next year: "Rupert Murdoch was a big part of my working life and this book contains my version of the truth about him. Rupert could be hell to work for and he earned many of his enemies. He’s a driven businessman with heavy boots who bruised a lot of people. But, love or hate him, he’s an authentic colossus. I saw him at all angles: brilliant, brutal, and often - to the surprise of many - extraordinarily kind."

Matthew Syed in The Times [£] on Wayne Rooney: "I am a great believer in the right to privacy, but I have to confess that I am not terribly sympathetic to the plight of Wayne Rooney. The former England football captain has talked openly about the strength of his marriage in lucrative autobiographies, and let the BBC cameras into his home to project an image as a good family man. His handlers are aware that strong family values can be a powerful commercial asset. Last week, however, he was picked up by the police for allegedly drink-driving in circumstances that bring his personal life directly into the frame (he was driving the car of a woman he had met in a nightclub). When someone’s public image, carefully cultivated to maximise earning potential, is contradicted by their own private actions, the press has a right to expose it. This is a hole that Rooney has dug for himself."

Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian on the Tower Hamlets fostering story: "Mistakes do happen, sometimes to good journalists, and it ill behoves any of us to get on our high horse. Reporting on children in care, or in hospital, or in custody battles, is incredibly tricky because you only really get one side of the story; constrained by a legal duty of confidentiality to the child, professionals can’t disclose much even if they want to, which makes it devilishly difficult to know who is telling the truth. Even abusive parents often desperately miss their children, who in turn may beg to go home even when it could literally be the death of them. But that’s precisely why caution is needed, and doubly so when a newspaper is playing with fire."

The Guardian in a leader on the Tower Hamlets fostering story: "The whiplash effect of successive revelations in the Tower Hamlets fostering case has been astonishing. The publication of the court’s judgment makes it clear that all of the details which gave the original story its racist and xenophobic power were false. One thing the case shows clearly is the monstrous power of the tabloid press to cut and crush the complexities of private lives till they fit into stereotypes...This is a case that will cause deserved and lasting damage to the reputations of both the reporter and the newspaper which placed the original version on the front pageThis is a case that will cause deserved and lasting damage to the reputations of both the reporter and the newspaper which placed the original version on the front page"

The Times [£] in a leader on the Tower Hamlets fostering story: "Given the religious and cultural sensitivity of the story there was always the likelihood that those less concerned with children’s welfare than with superficial social harmony would cry foul. Sure enough, The Guardian newspaper has seized on a court order issued after our initial reports to claim that it contradicts the facts on which they were based. It does nothing of the sort. Our journalist, Andrew Norfolk, reported the story with care, protecting the child’s welfare and anonymity. That included observations compiled by social services employees that this newspaper’s critics have chosen to ignore. They cast essential light on child protection in a local authority whose children’s services, from the available evidence, are in disarray and in urgent need of reform."

PA Media Lawyer"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been awarded €103,000 (£95,000) in privacy damages by a court in Paris following the trial of six people over topless photographs of Kate which were published in September 2012. France’s Closer magazine was ordered to pay €100,000 (£91,700) at a Paris court over the long-lens images of Kate sunbathing on a terrace, after it was ruled they had breached her privacy."

Bedfordshire on Sunday editor Sarah Cox‏ @says_sarah who is leaving after it was announced the paper is to become a midweek free title and website closed: "Goes without saying my team and I are devastated about closure of @bedfordnews. Unfathomable. We need a strong local press more than ever."

Paul Flint, partner at KPMG and joint administrator on the decision to close the Oldham Evening Chronicle, launched in 1854and related titles, as reported by Prolific North: “The company was faced with an increasing deficit in its defined benefits pension scheme in addition to the challenging trading conditions arising from the changing nature of the local media landscape. Unfortunately despite a rigorous sales process, a buyer for this long standing paper has not been found and it’s not commercially viable to continue operating. We will work to ensure all employees receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process. We are also seeking buyers for the assets of the business, including the newspaper title to try and ensure its heritage will be preserved and continued.”

Oldham West MP Jim McMahon on his blog: "NEWS that the Oldham Evening Chronicle has gone into administration will hit Oldham hard. More than a newspaper it is part of our heritage, our community and has worked hard to help build a future for us too. Observers of the media will have seen the demise of the printed press and with it the cracks in the foundations of our democracy. Freedom of speech is important and it’s aided significantly by quality journalism based on research, facts and balance. For the 49 staff made redundant the news will be devastating but the tears run further because it was more than a company, it was a family and has been since 1854."

Brian Cox‏ @ProfBrianCox on Twitter: "Very sad news - grew up reading this paper. Still have clippings of my band's first interviews in 86 - we'd made it cause we were in't Chron."

Kevin Duffy commenting on the Oldham Evening Chronicle closure on HoldTheFrontPage: "Editor Dave Whaley rather brilliantly summed up just now, in an interview with BBC North West why, from a journalistic point of view, the loss of his title – or any other, for that matter – is to be so greatly regretted, with this remark: 'The lunatics of social media will inherit the asylum.' How true."

 [£] =paywall

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From are journalists part of the elite or classless? to the dangers of President Trump mugging the messenger

Peter Preston in the Observer on Jon Snow's claim journalists are comfortable with the elite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite: "When Jon (educated Winchester Pilgrim’s School via Ardingly) looks around his own C4 News studio, who does he see? Matt Frei, educated at Westminster School and St Peter’s College, Oxford. Krishnan Guru-Murthy, educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, and Hertford College, Oxford. Cathy Newman, educated at Charterhouse and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. With Fatima Manji, lately of the LSE, waiting in line. Is this some covert cause for shame? No: the camera sees a team of formidable professionals, experienced people – largely free from commercial pressures – who can uncover stories and pursue unpopular causes. They are not representatives of one class or another. They are trained journalists: and that training means an ability to dig and discover wherever the news takes them."

Former Daily Mirror editor David Banks in a letter to the Guardian: "Peopling journalism with home counties-bred, middle-class varsity types whose family incomes and proximity to London enable their offspring to fulfil the required “zero pay” contract for a couple of years is a poor way to build a campaigning, popular press; so is recognising an army of gossipy, untrained bloggers as a reasonable alternative to news. An excellent alternative is offered by former leading regional and international editor Neil Fowler, who proposes a national network of (hopefully profitable) local newspapers run by universities and major journalism colleges offering student journalists a two-year course/contract. Learning local journalism on the job would take the accidents of both birth and geography out of the business of producing fine, trustworthy journalists, as was the training regime when I was a junior on a Warrington weekly."

Readers' editor Stephen Pritchard in the Observer: "As an 18-year-old junior reporter, fresh out of an independent school and away from a comfortable middle-class home for the first time, I found myself pitched into a world of which I knew little. Learning my trade on a big city evening newspaper was a passport into alien lives, from the pomp and power of those in authority to those that today we would call the left behind, those who looked to 'their paper' to articulate their worries, their needs. It educated me. It changed me...Caught in a vicious spiral of declining advertising and falling circulations, newspapers today cannot afford large staffs to do the sort of foot-slogging that so many of us did in our youth. Stories go untold. Would Grenfell Tower have happened if a vigorous local media were reporting tenants’ concerns and putting pressure on the council? I doubt it."

Roy Greenslade on his IPSO blog: "Thinking back to my days as a weekly newspaper reporter in the poorest London borough, Barking and Dagenham, neither my paper – nor the rival titles across the whole of east London – got to the heart of the area’s social deprivation. Our journalism was reactive rather than pro-active. It was as if we accepted the situation rather than challenging it. For example, to paraphrase Tony Blair, we were good at reporting crime but hopeless at reporting the causes of crime."

Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times: "The Sun sped the end of deference among ordinary people; deference to the establishment, to the elites, to the royal families and — as we saw in the Brexit campaign — experts. The Sun’s direct political power is often exaggerated, but is it too much to say that Brexit would not have happened but for political discourse The Sun helped mould?"

Andrew Norfolk in The Times [£]: "When The Times told Tower Hamlets last week of its intention to reveal the council’s decision to place a white British child with a family whose culture, faith and primary language were alien, the local authority tried to block the story. It contacted the East London family court, where the girl’s case was the subject of care proceedings, and told Judge Sapnara that confidential court documents had been unlawfully leaked and publication of an article would be an offence. Security staff at the court, where a case hearing took place yesterday morning, ordered a Times journalist to leave the building and threatened an escorted removal by security guards unless the reporter left voluntarily. When Judge Sapnara was informed of the newspaper’s wish to attend the hearing, the reporter was readmitted."

The Times reported on Thursday (Aug 31):  "Courts were ordered never to ban the media from their buildings yesterday after journalists covering the case of a Christian girl fostered by a Muslim family were refused entry. Security staff were told to bar reporters from the East London family court the day after the judge in the case praised The Times for acting responsibly in raising “very concerning matters” of “legitimate public interest”.Journalists were given increased access to family court hearings by the government in 2009 after an award-winning campaign by The Times for open justice."
  • The Guardian reports The Times has attracted 10 complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the reporting of the child fostering case and the Mail has generated six.

i editor Oliver Duff announcing a 10p cover price: "Paid-for journalism in this country faces an unprecedented challenge from the avalanche of free, and often not very good, articles online. The types of journalism that hold the powerful to account and shine a spotlight on society are of little interest to many digital media, especially platforms like Facebook which gobble advertising revenue without any regard for the social contract that once existed between reader and publisher. We are here to inform as well as entertain, and we don’t forget it. A price increase would allow us to cover the rising costs of making i, safeguard against fluctuations in advertising revenue (one national media title recently reported a £62m loss), and invest again in the paper – giving i a bright future."

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: "Sigh. If only President Trump denounced neo-Nazis as passionately and sincerely as he castigates journalists...I’ve lost reporter and photographer friends in war zones all over the world, and have had other friends kidnapped and tortured. When Trump galvanizes crowds against reporters in the room, I worry that we may lose journalists in the line of duty not only in places like Syria but also right here at home. Trump will get people hurt."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Haranguing the press for criticism of his presidency puts Mr Trump on a slippery slope. It hands a propaganda gift to Vladimir Putin, a master of the old Soviet black art of “disinformation” and news manipulation, in whose country independent television channels and reporters find themselves routinely shut down and locked out. There will, of course, be no state censorship in a country whose constitution enshrines freedom of expression. The United States remains a vibrant democracy, in large part because of the resilience of its questioning press. A bullying tone from the top, however, can open the way though for self-censorship even in a free society."


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From the true story of Andrew Morton's Diana book to why every newsroom needs a curmudgeon in a cardigan

Sunday Times' serialisation of Morton's book

Andrew Morton in The Sunday Times [£] on the 25th anniversary of his book Diana: Her True Story: "The Archbishop of Canterbury, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, assorted Labour and Conservative MPs and a loose box of newspaper editors lined up to join the firing squad. Various bookshops banned the book — which had had to be printed in Finland as no British printer would touch it. It was a genuinely scary and frantic time. My daughters, then six and eight, burst into tears when they saw a newspaper cartoon of their dad being tortured on a rack inside the Tower of London with the Queen looking on. I faced the equivalent in my first British interview — a grilling from John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today show."

Nick Cohen‏ @NickCohen4 on Twitter on former Newsnight journalist Liz MacKean who died last week: "In a trade full of poseurs, @lizmackean's fight with the BBC to reveal the truth about Jimmy Savile made her a geuine journalistic hero."

Nick Cohen in The Observer on Liz MacKean, in January 2014: "The BBC has not treated its whistleblowers honourably or encouraged others to speak out in the future. Liz MacKean has had enough. Her managers did not fire her. They would not have dared and in any case the British establishment does not work like that. Instead, they cold-shouldered her. MacKean was miserable. The atmosphere at work was dreadful. The BBC wouldn't put her on air. She could have stayed, but she did not want to waste her time and talent and end up a bitter old hack. She chose the life of a free journalist instead and went off to work in independent – in all sense of that word – television."

Adam Boulton‏ @adamboultonSKY on Twitter: "Sorry BBC Bruce Forsyth dying at 89 is not a lead news item...Over emphasize showbiz and you end up with President Trump."

Donald Trump at his Phoenix rally, as reported by the New York Times: “It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions. They’re very dishonest people. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news...The media can attack me but where I draw the line is when they attack you. They are trying to take away our history and our heritage. They are really, really dishonest people and they are bad people and I really think they don’t like our country."

Jon Snow giving the MacTaggart lecture, reported by the Guardian: "For us in the media, the last two years have taught us that we all know nothing. The explosion of digital media has filled neither the void left by the decimation of the local newspaper industry, nor connected us any more effectively with the “left behind”, the disadvantaged, the excluded. Over this past year, we – me included – mostly London-based media pundits, pollsters and so-called experts, have got it wrong. The Brexit referendum: we got that wrong. Trump defied so-called experts, pundits and journalists alike. Theresa May’s strange general election – predicted to get a majority of 60-70: we got that wrong too. The Grenfell Tower disaster taught me a harrowing lesson – that in increasingly fractured Britain, we in the media are comfortably with the elite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite."

Ian Burrell on the Drum: "While Twitter is seemingly well-placed to benefit from resurgent public interest in news, the divisive nature of the biggest stories (Trump, Brexit, racism, Islamism) is feeding the angry exchanges which have damaged its appeal as a source of information and a showcase for advertising. Having the president of the United States choose your platform as his medium of choice would normally be a ringing brand endorsement but the morning outbursts of the 45th POTUS elicit a deeply polarised reaction and more confrontation."

From the London's Assembly's economic committee report, The fate of local news – read all about it: "As local newspapers concentrate on their web presence, there is evidence of less ‘on-the-ground’ news reporting or investigative journalism…London needs a strong and credible local press. Without addressing the challenges the industry is facing, and finding solutions, we are at risk of losing one of our most important democratic functions. Action needs to be taken now to change the path for local newspapers. The decline of the industry and its impact on the workforce is leading to a less-credible news source. Hyperlocal news sources are a great addition to the industry, but questions remain about their ability to survive as they are often reliant on volunteers and can struggle to get reliable sources of funding.”

Cleethorpes Chronicle founders Mark Webb and Nigel Lowther on the decision to close the independent weekly after nine years, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “We regret to announce that the Cleethorpes Chronicle has published its last edition. The decision is due to tough trading conditions. A shrinking advertising market does not allow us to continue producing the quality of newspaper our readers are accustomed to and deserve."

Edward Lucas in The Times [£]: "Police, social workers, community leaders, Muslim groups and others need to work out proper rules for dealing with organised grooming when the suspects are from a similar ethnic or religious background. Crying “discrimination” and changing the subject won’t work. Politicians such as Mr Corbyn are paid to lead and frame such debates, not to close them down.
Moreover, for such discussions to have any chance of reaching truth and consensus, those taking part need to feel they can speak freely, and can advocate ideas and arguments that may in the end prove to be mistaken. They need to use papers like the mass-market Sun (where Ms Champion decried silence over the rape gangs) not the Labour leadership’s beloved Morning Star."

Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times: "The public elite talk a wonderful game about diversity and work in fields that have a better balance of women and men. But the private elite tend to work among more races and nationalities: some trading floors look like 1980s Benetton commercials. The same seems true of social background. I would advise a young graduate without relatives in high places to choose corporate life over the media."

Phil Creighton‏ @phil_creighton on Twitter: "Every newsroom needs a pipe smoking, cardigan wearing curmudgeon who knows the patch intimately and correct basic errors like school names."


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Kavanagh hits back in Sun racism row to only one journalist was in court to hear how police paid a child rapist

Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun: "SOME Sun readers may have missed the concocted explosion of Labour and Islamic hysteria over a column I wrote on Monday about Muslim sex gangs.This fake fury was largely confined to a small circulation, mostly-online newspaper and a letter from Labour lefties dragooned by the Muslim Council of Britain. My offence was to write about the attitude of predatory Muslim men towards white women – what I called “the Muslim Problem”.I was instantly denounced for fomenting a Nazi-style “Final Solution” comparable only with the Jewish Holocaust. It was a ludicrous, offensive and perverse distortion of the truth. A letter calling for my dismissal signed by 105 cross-party MPs was led by Labour’s Naz Shah, the Bradford MP suspended last year for anti-Semitism."

From the letter sent to Sun editor Tony Gallagher, signed by107 MPs, as reported by the Independent“It is shocking that in the 21st century a columnist is using such Nazi-like terminology about a minority community...We implore you to not only retract this article but given the sacking of Mr Myers following his disgraceful anti-Semitic article in the The [Sunday] Times, strongly consider whether Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper.”

Brendan O'Neill on Spiked on the MPs letter to the Sun's editor: "They want the article taken down and Kavanagh taken down too: the letter asks the Sun’s editor to think about whether ‘Mr Kavanagh’s brand of bigotry fits with your vision for the paper’. Who do they think they are? For 350 years Britain has had a press largely free from state interference, independent of the political class, and yet here we have a significant section of the legislative arm of government — a sixth of it — issuing dire warnings to a newspaper. The arrogance and disregard for historically hard-won liberties are astonishing. And the precedent set is a potentially lethal one: if politicians get the idea that they can bully the press whenever it says something they don’t like, then we’re all in trouble."

NUJ ethics council chair Chris Frost, in a statement, calling for the Independent Press Standards Organisation to investigate racism in the press following Trevor Kavanagh's Sun article which referred to "The Muslim Problem": "Trevor Kavanagh's comments are an abuse of free speech and the press standards watchdog should accept complaints that traduce social groups in our society. Kavanagh is using the actions of a small group of individuals to place blame on a whole religion of 1.8 billion people.  IPSO should launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press. IPSO claim to be set apart from their predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, because they can run investigations and do monitoring - now is the time to prove it."

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion resigning as shadow secretary for women and equalities after writing an article in the Sun about grooming gangs, as reported by BBC News: "I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in the Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career. It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities."

Mo Farah, as reported by the Telegraph: “I find it bizarre how certain ­people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story. Sometimes, you guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain. If I have crossed the line – ‘Mo Farah has done something wrong’ – then prove it. I've achieved what I have achieved - you're trying to destroy it.”

Tony Blair, interviewed by Patrick Hennessy, on BBC Radio 4: "What we should've been doing is trying to get to a situation where the media was not so empowered and instead what we did was empower them significantly because we played into that theme or that climate they operated in. This is something now with social media has become a bigger bigger media so far from being a discipline on conventional media has put a booster rocket on the worst aspects of the conventional media...We back then were determined not to be kicked around like Neil [Kinnock] and his team had been."

HoldTheFrontPage reports"A council rejected a weekly newspaper’s Freedom of Information request because of the 'unnecessary distress' it would cause to the authority’s former chief executive. Teignbridge Council has knocked back two requests from the Mid-Devon Advertiser for the details of the pay-off given to Nicola Bulbeck, who served as the authority’s chief executive until June. In turning down the Advertiser’s latest request, the authority said the information concerned Ms Bulbeck’s private life because it related to her 'identity and financial standing'."

The Society of Editors: "The publisher and CEO of the world’s most popular English-language newspaper website will deliver this year’s Society of Editors’ Lecture. Martin Clarke, who launched MailOnline in its current form in 2008, will deliver the prestigious address at the Society’s ‘Fighting for Real News’ conference on 12 November in Cambridge."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "If you want a definition of irony, then consider this. Martin Clarke, publisher of Mail Online, is to deliver the keynote lecture at the coming Society of Editors’ conference on 'fighting for real news'. According to a press release, the agenda will focus on 'the importance of original reporting, analysis and comment on both print and digital platforms'. Original reporting? Many of my former students who have worked for Mail Online have told me that their entire shifts were taken up by rewriting articles from newspapers and magazines...Yes, he can point to the fact that his site has a vast readership. But what 'real news' will he be able publish in future when all the ripped-off media outlets are forced out of business because of Mail Online’s activities?"

Jacqui Hodgson, editor of BBC factual programmes North East, on the About the BBC Blog reveals how there was only one reporter, Inside Out producer Dan Farthingin court to hear how police paid £10,000 to XY, a child rapist to go undercover: "Dan was following a series of interlinked trials of more than twenty Asian men, accused of grooming vulnerable young teenagers in the west end of Newcastle. Reporting restrictions banning broadcasts until the conclusion of the final trial meant we’d seen little early evidence of Dan’s regular days on the press bench. Then, out of the blue, the prosecution revealed Northumbria Police had used a CHIS - a covert human intelligence source - to supply information on so-called 'parties' where teenagers were plied with drink and drugs and sexually assaulted. And in this case, the CHIS chosen by Northumbria Police was a man convicted as part of a group who raped a child in 2002. In an extraordinary turn of events, XY, as he was known, had fallen out with his police handler and was threatening to go to the press - alleging he’d been asked to plant drugs and even drive girls to the 'parties'. His fee from the public purse? More than ten thousand pounds. For the lone figure on the press bench it was a red flag moment...had producer Dan not been paying attention in his lone press bench vigil - perhaps none of us would have been any the wiser."

Northumbria Police in a warning to journalists after the Newcastle grooming trial, as published by Press Gazette: “Despite issuing two notes to media requesting journalists do not directly contact victims we are aware that some media are still continuing to do this and have provided them with an update from court. We would like to make it clear that we are incredibly concerned this is having a damaging effect on the victims and has the potential to cause them psychological harm. If we become aware any further approaches are made by journalists to contact victims and they have been previously asked to stop that journalist will be served with a harassment notice.”