Thursday, 18 January 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's tabloid revamp to how Trump's 'fake news' jibe enables repressive regimes to silence journalists

Guardian editor Kath Viner on the paper's new tabloid revamp: "We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are.  These hopeful themes of clarity and imagination have also been our guiding principles as the Guardian’s new design has taken shape."

The Sun in a leader: "THE Sun warmly welcomes the Guardian to the tabloid club. As of today, the cash-strapped newspaper has shrunk to save on costs after making a £38million loss in 2016/17. So, from one tabloid to another, here is our suggestion for them to turn around their failing fortunes: actually report some exclusive, rip-roaring stories...We know that is an alien concept to them but it might help them flog a copy, or two."

Roy Greenslade‏ @GreensladeR on Twitter: "Sure, I'm biased. But I was delighted to see - and read - today's new-look @guardian. It has pace, uses colour intelligently and the new typeface is elegant. Would have liked a separate sports section but that's just a niggle. All round, a great effort."

Amol Rajan on his BBC blog: "Curiously, given how much thought would have gone into it, I think the front page is the weakest aspect of this otherwise commendable switch. When you change from broadsheet - or indeed Berliner - to compact size, you obviously lose a lot of height. That means that the journalism gets squashed, or pushed downwards. There's a danger it can be cramped, and doesn't have room to breathe...Tabloid or compact size is simply more convenient to read, especially in transit, than broadsheet. When Simon Kelner, the former Editor of The Independent, made that argument in the early 2000s, he was initially met in some quarters with derision. Imitation is a high form of flattery; and on seeing The Guardian go compact fifteen years after he championed the idea, Kelner could be forgiven a wry smile this morning."

Matthew Moore in The Times [£]: "The head of a press regulation campaign group that helped to draw up the media restrictions approved by the House of Lords is representing the offshore law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, the chairman of Hacked Off, has been instructed by Appleby to block further publication of leaked documents detailing its clients’ tax avoidance schemes. Appleby is suing the BBC and The Guardian for breach of confidence, and has sought a permanent injunction stopping future use of information in the documents."

Richard Branson  on the decision to reverse the Virgin Trains decision to longer stock the Daily Mail, as quoted by Press Gazette:“Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society. While Virgin Trains has always said that their passengers are free to read whatever newspaper they choose on board West Coast trains, it is clear that on this occasion the decision to no longer sell The Mail has not been seen to live up to these principles...we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice. Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others."

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "For all their bombast, censors give every appearance of being dictatorial neurotics, who are so frightened of their opponents that they cannot find the strength to take them on in the open. I can’t imagine many saying, 'I’ll side with the people who tell me what I can and can’t think.' I find it equally hard to picture readers turning away from the Mail because Sir Richard Branson and 'alternative'comedians who haven’t had an alternative thought since Blair’s second term tell them to."

Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement: "CPJ and IFEX [the global network defending free expression] will lead a delegation of global press freedom groups on an unprecedented mission to the United States, reflecting concerns about threats to journalists and heightened anti-press rhetoric. The mission will coincide with the one-year anniversary of President Trump's inauguration and will leverage the first year's findings of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which will be released at an event at the Newseum. CPJ, IFEX, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19, Index on Censorship, and International Press Institute--will conduct a fact-finding visit to Houston, Texas, and the Missouri cities of Columbia and St. Louis."

Michael J. Socolow in the Columbia Journalism Review on the backlash against Michael Wolff's book on Trump: "Wolff is going to make millions, if not tens of millions, on this book, at precisely the time when ethical, professional, nuts-and-bolts political journalism is collapsing. In other words: Part of what’s animating all the Wolff-hate is envy, and journalists should admit this. Some of this jealousy is rooted in the way journalists historically have prefered to see their work, as service to the public rather than as an opportunity for riches. The problem isn’t just Wolff. It’s that political journalism at every level is dying. Local newspapers are firing seasoned reporters, and the idea of dedicating a single, full-time employee to a city hall or a statehouse is now considered a luxury in many newsrooms."

Conrad Black in the National Review on Micheal Wolff: "I attest that he is an utterly odious man. He can’t write properly, has no professional integrity, and is a sociophobic mud-slinger and myth-maker. His entry into the continuing Trump controversy in its twilight proclaims that we have reached the era of the swiftly evaporating, nausea-inducing nothingburger. "

Senator John McCain in The Washington Post: "While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase “fake news” — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens."
  • Syrian President Bashar Assad, confronted with evidence in an Amnesty International report of torture and mass hangings of up to 13,000 prisoners in one of his military prisons,  told Yahoo News last February: “You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.”

  • Rob Crilly in the Telegraph: "Donald Trump’s fake news awards arrived with not so much a bang as the 2018 equivalent of a whimper. They arrived with an error message. When Mr Trump dropped the tweet announcing the "winners" it offered a link to the Republican National Committee webpage which promptly crashed, leaving viewers with the message: “The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up. Please try back later.” It is difficult to think of a more fitting metaphor for this administration."

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: Lords support Leveson 2, Oprah backs press, Trump wins a new media award and some of the best of Peter Preston

New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock @MattHancock on Twitter after Lords vote for part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry into the behaviour of the press and a move which would see newspapers not signed up to a state-supported regulator pay their own and their opponent’s legal costs in relation to alleged data protection breaches, win or lose in court: "House of Lords have just voted to restrict press freedoms. This vote will undermine high quality journalism, fail to resolve challenges the media face and is a hammer blow to local press. We support a free press and will seek to overturn these amendments in the Commons."

Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes, via "The press is under siege these days, but we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice – to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. ”

BBC China editor Carrie Gracie in a letter, obtained by BuzzFeedNews, explaining why she is leaving her post: "With great regret, I have left my post as China editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC. The BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure. In thirty years at the BBC, I have never sought to make myself the story and never publicly criticised the organisation I love. I am not asking for more money. I believe I am very well paid already – especially as someone working for a publicly funded organisation. I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally."

Index on Censorship chair David Aaronovitch‏ @DAaronovitch on Twitter: "I think Virgin is wrong in its decision not to sell the Mail - a decision taken for the wrong reasons. You can't have one rule for publications you approve of and another for those you don't...I'm afraid Virgin's IS an act of censorship. On their own admission they are not selling something they sold before mainly because they don't like what it says."

The Daily Mail in a statement: “It is disgraceful that, at a time of massive customer dissatisfaction over ever-increasing rail fares, and after the taxpayer was forced to bail out Virgin’s East Coast mainline franchise – a decision strongly criticised by the Mail – that Virgin Trains should now announce that for political reasons it is censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers."

Emily Bell‏ on Twitter: "Dilemma of the Wolff book for journalism commentators : those who said press should break the rules, not normalize Trump, call it what it is etc., did not anticipate the most effective route to that would be by pulling off the most audacious act of access journalism of all time."

Drew Magary in GQ: "Wolff has spent this week thoroughly exploiting Trump and his minions the same way they've exploited the cluelessness of others. And he pulled it off because, at long last, there was a reporter out there willing to toss decorum aside and burn bridges the same way Trump does."

Michael Wolff asked on The Today Show [clip via BBC News] if attempts to block the book's publication, and the attendant publicity, had helped sales: "Where do I send the box of chocolates?"

Trump, reported by NBC News"We are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws ... You can't say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account."

Committee to Protect Journalists in its new Press Oppressors Awards gives the 'Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom' prize to Donald Trump: "The United States, with its First Amendment protection for a free press, has long stood as a beacon for independent media around the world. While previous U.S. presidents have each criticized the press to some degree, they have also made public commitments to uphold its essential role in democracy, at home and abroad. Trump, by contrast, has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdoğan, and Sisi. Authorities in China, Syria, and Russia have adopted Trump's "fake news" epithet, and Erdoğan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump's administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists' sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression. As Trump and other Western powers fail to pressure the world's most repressive leaders into improving the climate for press freedom, the number of journalists in prison globally is at a record high."

The Guardian on former editor Peter Preston who died on Saturday"Peter Preston embodied some of the best qualities not just of this paper, but of journalism more widely. By hard work and personal example he showed how a newspaper could change and improve without losing touch with its roots. During his editorship of the Guardian, he introduced to a rather self-important paper a light touch that was not merely superficial. He loved his trade, and was a master of all aspects of newspaper editing, but he never supposed that the media were more important than their subjects."
  • Here are some of the best quotes from Peter Preston's media column in the Observer:
On Newsquest-owner Gannett: "Gannett is not well-loved here, or in the US. Gannett seems to exist to keep shareholders cheerful and pay executives royally. Gannett is a row of figures on the bottom line."

On Andrew Norfolk of The Times: "Andrew Norfolk, the Times reporter in Rotherham, is the hero of most press awards these days and was again at the press awards. Warm applause, but also a warm lesson as Norfolk thanked his editors, going back years, for giving him time, especially time listening quietly in court, to nail a great, sickening story. Time is the essence of investigation. Courts are the underreported casualty of staff cuts. We no longer sit through trials. We don’t register detail after an opening statement or two. We believe in open justice: but we’re shutting the door on it."

On press-regulation: "Messrs Cameron and Miliband appear to want a replacement for the Press Complaints Commission whose independent members are chosen by an equally independent nominating committee buried somewhere in the depths of Whitehall. Let's be straightforward about this. It's not self-regulation at all. It is effectively statutory regulation, rule by whoever the government of the day says is in regulatory charge."

On local papers: "A truly local paper is like a policeman on his beat (or that family doctor). It's what helps local life go around. It opens a world of possibilities. And – golly! – it's more important than 30% profit margins. Or, at least, it damned well should be."

On the Lobby: "They're expert, self-regulated members of one gentlemen's club, monitoring another one. They need to cultivate sources, buy drinks and keep onside to keep the chat coming. They are part of the institution, in a way. They do not turn over stones."
  • Peter Preston contributed this article to Local Newspaper Week in 2011, looking back to his days covering funerals, dog shows and Rotary Club speeches
“Journalism isn’t about sitting in some lofty office thinking great thoughts. It is about knowing the people you're writing for, understanding their concerns, their hopes and fears. And you can only do that if you’re out there amongst them, being part of the community you aim to serve.

“I started in journalism, long ago, doing school holiday shifts on my local paper, writing my first features about life at the university just up the road. When I went to university myself I did every job going on the twice-weekly student paper there - and then learned my trade on Liverpool’s big evening and morning papers. I did funerals, Rotary Club speeches, dog shows, council rows and rugby matches.

"And at the end of that stint, when I moved on to cover local politics for the Guardian, I think I’d learned something precious. That politics doesn’t exist in some rarefied world at Westminster. That democracy lives, breathes and reacts in the minds and the lives of the people you catch a bus to work with every morning. That the local dimension isn’t some remote step ladder on the route to the top. It’s where everything begins. It’s the foundation stone of society.

“And that’s as true today as it ever was. Your local paper, in villages, towns and cities up and down the land, is there to reflect you, yourself - your own running commentary on life. In the mazy world of the world-wide web, where nothing seems more than a click away, it is still the place where the people around you put down their roots.

“There’s been a local press in Britain for as long as there have been newspapers. There will be newspapers - in one form or another - for as long as people care about what happens around them. News is a necessity, your link to your neighbours. Prize it, relish it, support it... because, not just in Local Newspaper Week but every week of the year, it helps your world go round.”

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trump says media will back him for second term because they need the ratings to remember the good old days when reporters had 15 minutes to write a story?

Donald Trump in an interview with the New York Times: "We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, 'Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump'.”

Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "The Failing New York Times has a new publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Congratulations! Here is a last chance for the Times to fulfill the vision of its Founder, Adolph Ochs, “to give the news impartially, without fear or FAVOR, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved.” Get...impartial journalists of a much higher standard, lose all of your phony and non-existent “sources,” and treat the President of the United States FAIRLY, so that the next time I (and the people) win, you won’t have to write an apology to your readers for a job poorly done! GL"

New publisher A.G. Sulzberger in a message to New York Times readers: "The business model that long supported the hard and expensive work of original reporting is eroding, forcing news organizations of all shapes and sizes to cut their reporting staffs and scale back their ambitions. Misinformation is rising and trust in the media is declining as technology platforms elevate clickbait, rumor and propaganda over real journalism, and politicians jockey for advantage by inflaming suspicion of the press. Growing polarization is jeopardizing even the foundational assumption of common truths, the stuff that binds a society together. Like our predecessors at The Times, my colleagues and I will not give in to these forces."

Bath Chronicle news editor Sam Petherick in the Guardian on how his paper broke the Bath University vice-chancellor pay scandal: "In the case of the vice-chancellor pay story, while to some it looked like a David v Goliath tale of a local rag taking on a giant local employer, the biggest challenge was possibly my newspaper’s business model. To attract advertising, reporters must strive for web hits – it’s a daily pressure in our newsrooms. Like all in Trinity Mirror, the Bath Chronicle is “audience-driven”, meaning that if a story is not getting enough clicks there’s no justification for continuing to cover it."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "From Panama to Paradise, the enveloping stories of the last few years have concerned tax avoidance at the top, from politicians to bankers to media moguls. Has that last category of avoiders been pursued as hard as it deserved? Have the bowers of tax-free status been stripped bare? You need no particular barrels of cynicism in your cellar to believe that the chase may have faded because it came dangerously close to touching some men and women very near to home – too close to validating the undermining of trust in journalism."

Max Hastings in the Daily Mail: "There must be regulation of social media, and every government in the world ought to address itself on how best this can be implemented, without, of course, imposing improper restrictions on free speech. It must be the beginning of wisdom that we understand how wildly excessive and deeply dangerous are the powers of the social media giants, headed by Facebook. They cannot be uninvented, but they must be tamed. Should we fail to do this, these wild beasts will devour our democracies and our individual freedoms."

Dan Sabbagh on being national news editor for the Guardian: "Sometimes, for fun, you can explain to younger colleagues how, 15 years ago, pre-internet, it was not necessary for this reporter to start writing until 4.30pm when the first edition deadline was 7pm. Five years ago, when starting on the news desk, the aim would be to publish an article within 15 minutes of a news break. Now the task is to beat the rolling news channels and publish, within moments, a single paragraph starting from the desk that is filled out, revised and updated by reporters throughout the day."

Friday, 29 December 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: Global media freedom plummets as 262 journalists jailed in 2017 plus Trump has posted nearly 1,000 anti-Press tweets

Thomas Hughes executive director of Article 19 in the Guardian: "The safety situation is getting steadily worse worldwide. Journalists face not only censorship, but also physical danger, ranging from threats, attempted or actual assaults, abductions, disappearances and murder."

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Twitter: CPJ@pressfreedom: "A record 262 journalists were jailed worldwide on December 1, 2017, with #Turkey#China, and #Egypt accounting for over 51% of the total. Nearly three-quarters of all jailed journalists face anti-state charges." #FreeThePress

Peter Preston in the Observer"'Global media freedom is at its lowest level since the start of the century' the report (from Index on Censorship) said. And so to that other presidential tweet of the week. “@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the US, CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” Doesn’t Donald Trump – even Donald Trump – realise that he invites more persecution this way? That’s he’s a malignant pustule on the scarred face of democracy?"

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement after it was revealed offshore company Appelby  was taking legal against the BBC and the Guardian over the leaked Paradise Papers:  “This is an outrageous and cynical manoeuvre that should be condemned internationally. Wealthy corporate interests attacking the right to report is not new. It is also typical of corporations to use their financial muscle to try and bully individual media outlets in the hope that they will frighten all who seek the truth. The response of all journalists should be that we will not allow this to succeed."

Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray after Pizza Hut apologised for an advertising promotion in the Sun on Sunday: “Obviously, advertisers can decide where they wish to spend their money and which publications they wish to support, but what we are seeing here are what appear to be concerted, organised campaigns against just some newspapers by pressure groups. In a free society it is imperative that voices are heard from across the political spectrum. By attacking advertisers who support just one side of the debate in an attempt to force publications out of business is dangerous for free speech and democracy.”

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, in a statement on plans by BuzzFeed to cut 24 journalists' jobs in London: "As the union is currently battling with redundancies across local newspaper groups such as Newsquest, it is deeply worrying to see such a trail-blazing digital enterprise to be in such trouble. It has sent a chill throughout the whole industry. That is why the union has called for an independent inquiry in the media in the UK. With Google and Facebook hoovering up virtually all digital advertising, there are huge questions to be answered for the future of journalism."

Jonathan Peters in the Columbia Journalism Review"SINCE DECLARING HIS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY in 2015, Donald Trump has posted nearly 1,000 tweets critical of the press...Trump’s prolificacy on Twitter is well documented, and some of his press-related tweets have captured vast public attention. For example, Trump tweeted in July a doctored video in which he wrestled a man whose head had been replaced by the CNN logo. It got hundreds of thousands of retweets."

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Media Quotes of the Year 2017: Getting it wrong

My Media Quotes of the Year 2017 are up on InPublishing and you can read them here.

The quotes cover Trump vs the media and the media vs Trump. The General Election, how did the press get it so wrong? Where was the local media to speak up for the Grenfell Tower residents before the fire? Plus Brexit, local paper cuts and George Osborne being made editor of the Evening Standard.

Contributions from Jon Snow, Robert Peston, Gary Younge, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Roy Greenslade, Jeremy Corbyn, Aaron Banks, Andrea Leadsom, Ian McKewan, Matt Kelly, Mario Garcia and Prince William on the paparazzi.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trump tweets far-right fake news, CNN's Amanpour returns fire and is Twitter a bubble waiting to burst?

The Mirror reports: "At least one of the Britain First videos shared by US President Donald Trump is fake news....The tweet reads: "VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" The video appears to have originated from Dutch website Dumpert but has since been removed. According to two other Dutch websites , the “Muslim migrant” in the video was later found by authorities and was neither a migrant, nor indeed a Muslim."

Donald Trump‏ on Twitter: "@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!"

Christiane Amanpour@camanpour on Twitter: Replying to @realDonaldTrump @FoxNews "At CNN we dodge bullets to bring you the news. Nothing fake about that. #FactsFirst"

Christiane Amanpour‏@camanpour  on Twitter: "It was shocking not only for what it says about President Trump’s state of mind, but for all but authorizing authoritarian regimes around the world to target CNN and other journalists. Without journos’ sacrifice and service, all that remains is propaganda and lies. Damned lies."

Rory Cellan-Jones‏ on Twitter: "If I worked for Fox News I’d be deeply embarrassed by this tweet and angry on behalf of my CNN colleagues. Is there no solidarity amongst US journalists?"

Donald Trump on Twitter: "We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!"

Stig Abell‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "Buzzfeed had a strong new model, invested in really good journalism, and now is laying people off. The economics of journalism is shot. Facebook will win, and there will be just selfies to share on it."

Martin Belamon Twitter: "The drive to be first to publish breaking rumour without proper sources, and the way that algorithms favour the most sensational angle are making people not adhere to journalistic principles."

Inside Housing deputy news editor Sophie Barnes speaking at City University about how the magazine published a story months before the Grenfell Tower blaze warning about the safety of tower block cladding: “We sent that story around to all the nationals, we sent it around to as many people as we could to get some interest and there wasn’t the interest because no-one had died.”

Ken Clarke interviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority, as reported in the Guardian: “Quite how David Cameron got the Sun out of the hands of Gordon Brown I shall never know. Rupert would never let Tony [Blair – Brown’s predecessor] down because Tony had backed the Iraq war. Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side.”

Matt Tee, chief executive of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, announcing a new low-cost arbitration scheme“A key theme of the Leveson report was access to justice for those that can’t afford to go to court. The new IPSO scheme means that anyone can bring a claim against a newspaper for a fee of £50. Access to low-cost arbitration is an important part of the service we offer to the public and I’m pleased that we have been able to reduce the up-front cost of arbitration for a claimant to just £50. In fact, even if the hearing proceeds to final ruling, the maximum it will cost a member of the public is £100, thus making the IPSO scheme fully Leveson-compliant. The culture select committee called for IPSO to offer low cost arbitration in its response to the DCMS consultation on Section 40. We have listened and acted.”

The Independent Press Standards Organisation in rejecting a complaint against an article in the Sun by Trevor Kavanagh: "The Committee acknowledged that the question posed at the end of the column – “What will we do about The Muslim Problem then” – was capable of causing serious offence, given it could be interpreted as a reference to the rhetoric preceding the Holocaust. The Committee made clear that there is no clause in the Editors’ Code which prohibits publication of offensive content. It was clear that many, including the complainant, were offended by this aspect of the article, but there was no breach of the Code on this point."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Stop Funding Hate may legitimately urge Mail readers to quit (and Mail readers may, equally legitimately, examine the causes SFH espouses and make up their own minds). But trolling rather nervous companies such as Paperchase isn’t legitimate. It’s the thin end of a dangerous wedge – with no winners in sight, from left or right. As last week’s Ipso complaints ruling on Trevor Kavanagh’s “The Muslim Problem” column for the Sun mordantly observes: “There is no clause in the editors’ code which prohibits publication of offensive content”. Nor should there be."

Nick Cohen on Standpoint: "Twitter feels dead. As a business, it looks like a bubble waiting to burst. As a means of communication, it is running out of luck. Donald Trump may splutter his hatreds on it. Journalists may treat it as more important than their newspapers. Legions among its 320 million users might believe that their Twitter persona is the most vital face they present to the world. But it has never made a profit, because Facebook and Google have cornered the online advertising market.No one looks to me for investment advice. But I’m going to give it anyway. Sell."

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Russia with tweets as troll army invades British media to journalists are the enemy of the 'bad' people

From the Guardian: "Members of a Russian “troll army” were quoted more than 80 times across British-read media outlets before Twitter revealed their identity and banned them, a Guardian investigation has shown. Some posts from the accounts were embedded in articles to provide apparently local reportage and pictures from the sites of disasters and crime scenes around the world. In fact, Twitter claims, all the accounts were run from the offices of the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg, alleged to be the headquarters of Russia’s troll army."

David Aaronovitch in The Times [£]: "The innovative parts of the cyberworld are to me still wondrous and magical. I am of the generation that started journalism in the slow, inefficient era of the cuttings library, and today the Google algorithm is my gold. But as the Times’s revelations about Russian meddling in the Brexit referendum shows, the development of social media and even of search engines happened far more quickly than our capacity to understand how they might be abused."

Ben Bradshaw MP in Parliament: "When the news website BuzzFeed ran a series of articles recently about unexplained Russia-related deaths in Britain, its head of investigations, Heidi Blake, was inundated with American intelligence sources complaining that they did not think their British counterparts were taking these incidents seriously. If that is true, it is extremely worrying."

Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer about a video clip posted by Leave. EU: "The video was a clip from the film Airplane!, in which a “hysterical” woman is told to calm down and then hit, repeatedly, around the head. The woman – my face photoshopped in – was me. And, as the Russian national anthem played, a line of people queued up to take their turn. The last person in the line had a gun. So far, so weird. Here was a registered political organisation that had gained the support of millions of law-abiding, well-meaning people, promoting violence against women and threatening a journalist. It was a “joke”. A joke underpinned by violent menace."

Owen Jones in the Guardian on Paperchase stopping advertising in the Mail: "Paperchase bowing to pressure from campaigners and committing to no longer advertising in the Daily Mail has upset all the right people. It is a victory for basic decency. Britain’s tabloids are among the most hateful and vicious in the western world."

A Mail spokesman in Press Gazette: "It is it is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising – on the back of a derisory 250 facebook comments and 150 direct tweets – to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media...It is one of the fundamental principles of free and fearless journalism that editorial decisions are not dictated by advertisers."

Kath Viner in the Guardian: "The transition from print to digital did not initially change the basic business model for many news organisations – that is, selling advertisements to fund the journalism delivered to readers. For a time, it seemed that the potentially vast scale of an online audience might compensate for the decline in print readers and advertisers. But this business model is currently collapsing, as Facebook and Google swallow digital advertising; as a result, the digital journalism produced by many news organisations has become less and less meaningful. Publishers that are funded by algorithmic ads are locked in a race to the bottom in pursuit of any audience they can find – desperately binge-publishing without checking facts, pushing out the most shrill and most extreme stories to boost clicks. But even this huge scale can no longer secure enough revenue."

Anna Soubry MP on BBC Radio 4 said she had 13 death threats after featuring on the Telegraph's 'Mutineers' front page: "If the Telegraph had not printed that headline those death threats would not have come through - that is a fact."

Telegraph editor Chris Evans in a tweet to the BBC: "I’d urge you to distinguish between the legitimate actions and language of a free press and the illegitimate actions and language of those who make threats of violence."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "There once was a time when the Telegraph gave readers a unique insight of the manners, preoccupations and mindset of the Conservative party. No more. Now, seemingly, it’s a bludgeon seeking to impose uniformity in the distant, disconnected name of the brothers Barclay."

Meryl Streep at the International Press Freedom Awards"Thank you, you intrepid, underpaid, overextended, trolled and un-extolled, young and old, battered and bold, bought and sold, hyper alert, crack caffeine fiends...chocolate-comforted Twitter clickers. You’re the enemy of the people, yeah, just the bad people."