Thursday, 12 October 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From did Harvey Weinstein buy journalists' silence? to how the Daily Mail helped John Lennon write Beatles' songs

Rebecca Traister in The Cut on an altercation between Harvey Weinstein and her boyfriend after she asked a question he didn't like: "Such was the power of Harvey Weinstein in 2000 that despite the dozens of camera flashes that went off on that sidewalk that night, capturing the sight of an enormously famous film executive trying to pound in the head of a young newspaper reporter, I have never once seen a photo. Back then, Harvey could spin — or suppress — anything; there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine."

Tina Brown in the New York Times: "Harvey spent most of the hours of his working day ensuring that all the bad stories went away, killed, evaporated, spun into something diametrically its opposite. It was a common sight outside a Harvey opening party to see one of his publicists trapped in a car on the phone, spinning — spinning the dross of some new outrage into gold...When I founded Talk magazine in 1998 with Miramax, the movie company Harvey founded with his brother Bob, I also took over the running of their fledgling book company...It was startling — and professionally mortifying — to discover how many hacks writing gossip columns or entertainment coverage were on the Miramax payroll with a 'consultancy' or a 'development deal'."

How The New York Times broke Weinstein story
Amol Rajan‏@amolrajanBBC on Twitter: "Hey you guys who hate the mainstream media. It’s thanks to @nytimes that Ailes and now Weinstein are exposed. Courageous, patient reporting."

Roy Greenslade on his Ipso blog:  "What is crystal clear is that the future of journalism depends on publishers securing a guaranteed form of income. And the best hope lies in recouping money from the two major Silicon Valley giants, Google and Facebook, which use newspaper journalistic content while attracting a huge share of available advertising...It is vital that Google and Facebook are persuaded of the benefits of sharing some of their profits with established news providers...I can accept the loss of newspapers (just about). What I cannot countenance is the loss of the journalism they have provided for 160 years and more. "

James Harding in an announcement to staff that he's leaving the BBC, as reported by Media Guido: “There is some journalism that the BBC, for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do. And that’s what I want to explore: I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view. I know I will enjoy the chance to do some more journalism of my own and, at such a critical time, I’m seriously excited about the prospect of building a new venture in news.”
  • David Yelland‏ on Twitter: "Sign of a digital era when an editor leaves to make and build news not work for the owner of a press or studio..."

Albert Read, managing director of Condé Nast Britain, quoted in the Guardian on why monthly magazine Glamour was switching to a digital first strategy with just two print editions a year: Today’s Glamour consumer moves to a different rhythm than the one who bought the magazine when it launched in 2001. It is a faster, more focused, multi-platform relationship."

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop in The Times [£] after a judge rejected a Herts Police request that the magazine hand over a list of subscribers in three counties after a joke cut out from its pages was sent to a force employee: “I was surprised when the police contacted us over this, really surprised when they insisted that they were serious and absolutely amazed when they went to court over it. What was not in the least surprising was that the judge threw the case out.”

John Harris in the Guardian: "Even partisan commentary can be rooted in the principles of good journalism, so long as it does not ignore uncomfortable facts, blindly offer support to parties or leaders, or distort actuality to score political points. More than that, though, the idea of journalism as a route to the truth is every bit as worthwhile as it ever was. But it is also under threat. In the Facebook age, outlets that value the idea of dispassionate inquiry and dogged research are feeling the pinch, while a great ocean of polemic, often written for nothing and barely interested in the world’s endless complexities, grows ever larger."

Owen Jones in the Guardian: "In this year’s election, four out of 10 voters just opted for a Labour party offering an unapologetically socialist platform. It is a travesty that the ideas represented by that manifesto remain fringe opinion in the British press. Our media has a straightforward choice. Cater for the growing demand for dissenting views – or be challenged by new media outlets that do."

Donald J. Trump‏ on Twitter: "Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!"

Trump speaking in the Oval Office, as reported by The Hill“It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write, and people should look into it.”

Former New York Daily News gossip writer Lloyd Grove on Trump in the Columbia Journalism Review: "His current cold war with the press—featuring name-calling, antagonism, and bitter feuds—runs counter to a media strategy that served Trump well his entire adult life. Through a combination of ego, ruthless energy, laser-like focus, utter availability, and even charm, he controlled the narrative about himself for the better part of four decades—especially in the New York tabloids, of which I was a part—and turned his name into a valuable commodity. Now he has lost that control, and Trump simply has no idea how to respond."

Cotswold Life in an editorial: "It may come as a terrible shock to those who live in their own ‘Hate the Daily Mail’ bubble, but working class hero John Lennon was actually a reader of that much-reviled (and very successful) newspaper. The evidence comes at us direct from 1967 and the lyrics to A Day in the Life from the ground-breaking Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. On January 7 of that year, the Mail carried a report about the death of a friend of Lennon’s, Tara Browne, who drove into the back of a lorry at 106mph in Kensington. 'He blew his mind out in a car...' That same day’s newspaper also carried a story about there being 4,000 potholes in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. So the Mail helped pen some famous Beatles’ lyrics. Now there’s not many people know that..."

 [£] =paywall

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From digital giants help the spread of false news about Las Vegas shooting to the Clare Balding copy control saga

Alexis C. Madigral in The Atlantic: "In the crucial early hours after the Las Vegas mass shooting, it happened again: Hoaxes, completely unverified rumors, failed witch hunts, and blatant falsehoods spread across the internet. But they did not do so by themselves: They used the infrastructure that Google and Facebook and YouTube have built to achieve wide distribution. These companies are the most powerful information gatekeepers that the world has ever known, and yet they refuse to take responsibility for their active role in damaging the quality of information reaching the public."

Kevin Roose in The New York Times: "When they woke up and glanced at their phones on Monday morning, Americans may have been shocked to learn that the man behind the mass shooting in Las Vegas late on Sunday was an anti-Trump liberal who liked Rachel Maddow and, that the F.B.I. had already linked him to the Islamic State, and that mainstream news organizations were suppressing that he had recently converted to Islam.They were shocking, gruesome revelations. They were also entirely false — and widely spread by Google and Facebook."

Nick Robinson, giving the inaugural Steve Hewlett Memorial Lectureas reported by Press Gazette: "Campaigners on the left as well as the right have been looking and listening and learning at what has happened across the pond. They know that there is method behind what some regard as the madness of The Donald’s attacks on the 'failing' press as purveyors of 'fake news'. Attacks on the media are no longer a lazy clap line delivered to a party conference to the raise the morale of a crowd of the party faithful. They are part of a guerilla war being fought on social media day after day and hour after hour."

Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
Jonathan Jones in the Guardian"Like naked mole rats scurrying endlessly in a plastic burrow, foreign secretary Boris Johnson and the Sun editor Tony Gallagher are photographed together. They’re seemingly in the belief that the Conservative party and its media allies have a destination, somewhere to get to, something urgent to do – other than wait for the tide of history to engulf them. Gallagher seems more aware of the futility of it all than Johnson, who keeps going like a puffed-up hamster. That’s right, keep turning the wheel, there’s a treat in store. Gallagher meanwhile appears not just breathless but depressed. He looks tired, tired of it all – not just the jogging but the lies, the distortions, the greasy pole."

Steve Coogan after reaching a six-figure settlement with Trinity Mirror over having his phone hacked, as quoted by Press Gazette“It is my belief that hacking at the Mirror’s papers took place for up to 15 years. Journalists at all three papers – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – and successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people, not just celebrities and public figures, but their families and people who just happened to be in the news. The way they have behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of Hugh Cudlipp.”

Impress chief executive Jonathan Heawood in Press Gazette after a review panel concluded he had brought the state-approved press regulator into disrepute and he should be recused from any regulatory decisions affecting publishers with turnover above £20m: "I am so disappointed to have let the side down...Among thousands of other tweets and retweets, I shared a few posts that took aim at the Mail and the Sun, in relation to their coverage of the EU and migration issues....I believe that journalists should be prepared to put their hands up and accept when they have made a mistake. So should regulators. And that’s what I am doing."

Sarah Baxter in the Sunday Times [£]: "It’s worth noting that The Sunday Times and other national newspapers refused to join Impress — under threat of severe financial penalties in libel and privacy cases — precisely because the organisation, which is supported by the campaign group Hacked Off, seemed riddled with bias. Now it has emerged that Impress itself agrees with that verdict. A self-respecting boss would have resigned when the damning internal report came out.”

Peter Preston in the Observer: "What I can’t quite forgive, though, is the way – six months late – in which the Impress website reported the internal investigation into this folly. 'Impress is growing fast, with publishers reaching 4.5 million monthly readers', trumpets the relevant press release. You have to plough down to the very end and click before you discover the imposition of a new code of conduct plus 'detailed findings and recommendations' and assorted recusings. Score one for stupidity at the top, but score nothing at all for transparency: a total own goal. Wholly unimpressive."

Ginny Dougray, who claimed in The Observer she asked for her byline be taken off a Clare Balding interview for Saga because the sports presenter and her agent had made changes and added quotes to her copy: "At a time when journalism is under siege everywhere – when fake news sites are on the rise and online newspapers just help themselves to journalists’ articles and present them as their own – it is more important than ever for those of us who are still writing to stand up for the values that attracted us to the profession in the first place."

Saga Magazine in a statement, reported by BBC News: "Saga Magazine does not offer copy control, and interviews that require it are declined. In this case, quotes were checked for accuracy alone. New quotes were sourced to rebalance the article against deadline."


Friday, 29 September 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Jeremy Corbyn demands more coverage from the Daily Mail to it can be a bit painful interviewing Marilyn Manson

Jeremy Corbyn in his Labour Party conference speech, as reported by the Independent: “One paper devoted 14 pages to attacking the Labour Party and the following day our vote went up nearly 10 per cent. Never have so many trees died in vain. The British people saw right through it. So this is a message to The Daily Mail’s editor - next time please make it 28 pages.”

Philip Collins in The Times [£]: "There is a new party in British politics. It has borrowed the historical label of the Labour Party. It has an entirely new membership and ideological zeal for the state to take back control. Some of the new politics is horrible. This was a conference at which the political editor of the BBC had to bring a bodyguard. She will not need such protection next week at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Are Labour members not ashamed of this fact? Mr Corbyn perfunctorily said he would not tolerate abuse but all his examples were abuse of the left, not abuse by the left. It was disingenuous to the point of being dishonest."

Index on Censorship reports: "Journalists are increasingly subjected to online harassment, but when the journalist is a woman misogynistic abuse quickly escalates into gender-based defamation and threats of sexual violence, according to a review of incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project. In the latest case, political editor Laura Kuenssberg, who works for the BBC, was provided with a security detail while she covered the Labour party conference in Brighton. Kuenssberg had been targeted with sexist abuse by individuals who were upset by what they saw as her anti-Labour and anti-Jeremy Corbyn bias."
  • Hannah Machlin, project manager at Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project: “Sadly, Laura Kuenssberg’s experience is all too common across the 42 countries that Mapping Media Freedom monitors. Women are often targeted with threats of death and rape. As a society, we only hear about the most high-profile cases, which obscures the fact that this type of misogynistic intimidation is a widespread and pernicious obstacle to the performance of journalists’ professional duties.” 

Press Gazette reports: "Press regulator Impress has largely banned three of its own board members and its chief executive from dealing with major Fleet Street news publishers because of the perception they would be biased against them. The move follows an internal review prompted by a dossier of evidence compiled by the News Media Association which was reported by The Sun in January 2017 and mainly concerned activity on Twitter. Impress chief executive Jonathan Heawood (pictured) and two members of its eight-strong board – journalist Emma Jones and professor Maire Messenger Davies – were all found to have published negative material about sections of the press."

The News Media Association, representing newspaper publishers, in a statement: "The News Media Association has written to the Press Recognition Panel asking how it is going to proceed after an internal review by IMPRESS found that chief executive Jonathan Heawood had breached internal standards against bringing the organisation into disrepute and this raised 'serious issues' about IMPRESS' compliance with the Royal Charter."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian: "The big beasts of the internet are a handy, perennial receptacle for blame. The fury and angst that, understandably, follows any act of terrifying violence can be reliably diverted from those whose prime task is the protection of the country’s citizens, namely the government, to the mammoth corporations who now control the bulk of the world’s information. Don’t get me wrong, those companies can and should do much more. But they are not the only ones with power seeking to shake off responsibility."

Nick Cohen‏ on Twitter: "Love @gilescoren & @amolrajanBBC deeply. But presenting a BBC arts show? It's like me compering London fashion week."

GermanForeignOffice‏@GermanyDiplo on Twitter:"@Twitter is considering #280characters! Or as we say in Germany: 4 words #Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz"

Alexis Petridis in the Guardian:"It is while discussing the difference between his stage persona and his day-to-day life that Marilyn Manson leans over and flicks me in the testicles. This comes as quite a surprise: I have encountered a lot of unusual things as a journalist, but have thus far managed to get by without an interviewee touching my genitals."


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From don't give up on print to the real steps the digital giants can take to combat fake news, hate speech and propaganda

Newspaper and magazine designer Mario Garcia on his blog: "Don’t give up on print, simply place it where it belongs: not as protagonist but as a strong secondary player. Don’t come to work in the newsroom each day anticipating the death of print, because chances are that you will die first."

David Higgerson on his blog: "Digital is not replacing all of the money being lost in print. But it does contribute many many millions, and publishers which focus on driving audiences, and understanding those audiences, will be the ones who secure more revenue now and in the future...Regularly, the strong online audience performances regional publishers report are mocked by commenters on sites such as Holdthefrontpage and Press Gazette. But those publishers are in a far better place in terms of revenue – and therefore cash to support journalism – than if they persisted with early 2000s strategies of trying to strangle digital presence to force readers into print. For all we want to believe it, there is no evidence anywhere that investment in newspapers, or holding back digital, drives up revenue or newspaper sales."

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock in a speech at the UK Internet Governance Forum: "The impact of the digital disruption is far reaching. Our world beating music industry has, over a long and painful time, discovered in streaming a new business model that appears to be sustainable and bearing fruit. Yet the news media, and the high quality journalism that provides such a vital public service, has yet to find such a sustainable business model, and we must work together to get there."

Woman in Journalism in a new report revealing male bylines still dominate national press front pages: "At Women in Journalism, we believe that democracy can only flourish when the mirror the media holds up to society provides a true reflection; we argue today that because of the lack of diversity in British newspapers the lens we hold up to society is a distorted one. Society sees itself not as it is, but through the prism of a predominantly old, white, male gaze. This puts half the population at a disadvantage – and, at its worst, can put women off entering public life."

Robert Shrimsley ‏on Twitter: "So Boris resorting to the classic 'I don't write the headlines' defence. Well fair play to him, I don't suppose he painted the bus either."

Sydney Ember in the New York Times: "The potential sale of Rolling Stone — on the eve of its 50th anniversary, no less — underscores how inhospitable the media landscape has become as print advertising and circulation have dried up."

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"Mounting abuse of the BBC could in the end destroy it: it only survives on the trust and affection of most citizens. Those on the left joining in the attack, dismissing the BBC as part of an “MSM” plot, fuel the right’s aim to dismantle and privatise it."

David Aaronovitch in The Times [£]: "A lot of the stories on sites like The Canary and Skwawkbox are “isn’t life crap under the Tories” offerings, frequently picking up mainstream media items. You also get the occasional straightforward conspiracy theory. But one of the biggest attractions is calling out the BBC for being rigged against the left. That always gets attention, for in the demonology of these sites the BBC or The Times are in on the plot. Never mind the Daily Mail, the Laura Kuenssbergs of this world are the true villains. If you want a revolution and you don’t want too many awkward questions asked about it, you don’t just ignore what you call the conventional media. You try to destroy its reputation. In fact you must make your battle against it one of the centrepieces of your struggle."

Birmingham Mail NUJ chapel statement on plans to cut 10 more editorial jobs: "Our editor Marc Reeves likes to refer to the Birmingham Mail as a ‘house that’s on fire’. There is no doubt he has poured petrol on that house this week...This operation has been run on the fumes of goodwill for too long. That goodwill has been extinguished. In light of this the Chapel has taken a vote of no confidence in the editor or the vague proposals being made. If compulsory redundancies are threatened by management on Monday, we will immediately ballot for industrial action over these forced job losses, low staffing levels and high workloads."

Christopher Williams in the Sunday Telegraph: "The owner of the Evening Standard has made an approach to buy the Metro newspaper from the publisher of the Daily Mail, as media barons jockey for position in an industry merger melee. Evgeny Lebedev, the 37-year-old owner of the London freesheet edited by former chancellor George Osborne, is understood to be keen to add the Metro to his stable to drive cost savings and expansion outside the capital. Industry sources said Mr Lebedev aimed to use the Metro’s nationwide distribution network to launch regional versions of the Evening Standard."

Financial Times reports: "Lord Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, has told staff at the UK media group that it is 'not actively considering any change to the ownership' of its free daily title Metro."

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, in a lecture on fake news to Oxford Alumni Festival: "So what is to be done about the fake news phenomenon and the collateral damage to quality journalism? First, the dominant technology sites must recognise they need to take more responsibility for the content which appears on their sites, not just fake news but also hate speech and extremist propaganda. Second, they must drop the pretence that they are simply platforms and channels for publishers’ rather than media companies themselves. They have fast become the main source of news for significant portions of society. The reality is that they are influencing or even deciding via algorithms what information is consumed."


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."