Thursday, 11 February 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From Johnston Press in £24 million bid for the i to the best journalist at never finding Lord Lucan all over the world

Johnston Press in a statement: "The Board of Johnston Press plc (the "Company") notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is in late stage discussions with Independent Print Limited ("IPL") for the potential acquisition of the business and certain assets of the i.​..The consideration for the proposed acquisition is likely to be £24 million, to be provided from the Group’s existing cash resources. In the year ended 30 September 2015, the i had unaudited carve-out operating profit of £5.2 million."

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser in a statement: “Johnston Press and the Lebedev’s are just treating staff as pawns in a game played behind closed doors. They should step up and give immediate guarantees on jobs, terms; explain what this deal means and what JP is actually buying. The closure of the Independent print titles would be a disaster not only for those working on the newspapers but the whole UK media landscape. The i's content comes from Independent journalists and is successful as part of the whole because of its experienced journalists who have stuck with the titles through thick and thin. How can you separate that out?"

Ian Katz ‏@iankatz1000 on Twitter: "Independent co-founder Stephen Glover predicts FT and Guardian likely to follow Indy and abandon print edition in next few years #newsnight."

Raymond Snoddy ‏@RaymondSnoddy on Twitter: "Alas fear I now understand sale of the i to Johnston Press - end of the road for The Independent as a paper publication - online oblivion?"

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times [£] on the prosecution of the Sun's Fergus Shanahan:"It isn’t clear even now, a year after his acquittal, whether the things that Fergus stark-staringly obviously didn’t do were actually illegal even if he had done them. So how on earth did it end with him in the dock, as he put it, 'like Don Corleone', and me watching? The answer is the same in his and Lord Bramall’s case. It happened because the police and prosecuting authorities were protecting themselves against public criticism. Phone hacking is in the news, we’d better prosecute a journalist. VIP sex abuse is in the news, we’d better get a celebrity or two in the dock. It was 'justice' for the purposes of spin and defensive briefing."

Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette, following the judgment of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal to reject a compensation claim by a Sun journalist whose phone records were illegally seized by police: "So if a journalist illegally listens to the voicemails of a celebrity they can expect dawn raids, years on bail, an Old Bailey trial and a stretch in Belmarsh. If a cop illegally accesses a journalists' mobile phone data to identify their confidential sources, driving a coach and horses through Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the punishment is nothing."

Man United manager Louis van Gaal meets the press, as reported by the Mirror: "You are creating stories. You haven't spoken with Ed Woodward or the Glazers and you are inventing the story. Then I have to answer that question. I don't answer this question and I shall repeat myself every week. I have to say that you are getting the sack tomorrow. What is your name? Then I can announce the name also. Look at your wife - maybe you have children, or a nephew or something like that."

Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times in an open letter to Henry Gomez, head of marketing and communications at Hewlett Packard Enterprise: "You say the FT management should think about 'unacceptable biases' and its relationship with its advertisers. My piece was not biased and I fear you misunderstand our business model. It is my editors’ steadfast refusal to consider the impact of stories on advertisers that makes us the decent newspaper we are. It is why I want to go on working here. It is why the FT goes on paying me."

Jeremy Lewis in the Observer on the paper's former editor David Astor: "He also preferred employing writers rather than professional journalists, whom he referred to as 'plumbers', a proclivity that eventually brought him into conflict with the National Union of Journalists."

Croydon Advertiser reports: "A JUDGE has granted Croydon Advertiser chief reporter Gareth Davies permission for a judicial review of the police watchdog's decision to uphold the harassment warning issued to him for questioning a convicted criminal. After considering submissions from Mr Davies, backed by Advertiser publisher Local World, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Mr Justice Picken, of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, ruled the claim is arguable."

The Guardian reports: "The former cabinet minister Jack Straw, who has been tasked with considering how to tighten up the Freedom of Information Act, led two of the Whitehall departments most likely to reject public requests for information. Straw’s ministries never ranked higher than 15 out of 21 government departments in terms of releasing information in full, according to a Guardian analysis."

The late Mirror journalist Garth Gibbs, quoted by Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "I regard not finding Lord Lucan as my most spectacular success in journalism. Of course, many of my colleagues have also been fairly successful in not finding Lord Lucan. But I have successfully not found him in more exotic spots than anybody else.”

When Garth died in 2011 an obit it Press Gazette included the same quote, which continued: "I spent three glorious weeks not finding him in Cape Town, magical days and nights not finding him in the Black Mountains of Wales, and wonderful and successful short breaks not finding him in Macau either, or in Hong Kong or even in Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas where you can find anyone."


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From revengeful right-wing press out to get Cameron on EU to MPs urge government to save local press from destruction

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"The press has never forgiven Cameron for the Leveson Inquiry  into the phone-hacking scandal, after Nick Davies’ Guardian expose. Leveson’s unenacted press regulation hangs over their head: some further scandal could oblige it to be enforced. Murdoch’s humblest day didn’t last long, with Rebekah Brooks back in the saddle, James Murdoch back in charge of Sky and angling to take over the whole company. What better leverage or revenge does the press have, than to humiliate Cameron over the EU referendum? A natural thuggish instinct urges these papers to prove their bully-power over governments. Tasting blood with that 'It’s the Sun Wot Won It' boast over Kinnock’s 1992 defeat, sheer delight in brute power fires up Murdoch, Paul Dacre and their imitators."

Peter Sands in InPublishing: "Sir Martin Sorrell, whose agency WPP spends an annual £76 billion in advertising, told the Society of Editors’ conference in October that paywalls were the way to go. 'If you have content that has value, consumers will pay for it,' he said. He knows better than anyone of course. But the issue for some might just be the ‘value’ bit. I go through newspapers and websites searching for content which readers will put their hands in their pockets for. It can be a fruitless task. And if The Sun couldn’t make a paywall work, what chance for the Posts and Chronicles?"

Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists, on its 25th annual report showing 2,297 journalists and media workers have been killed since 1990, including 112 killed in 2015: "This milestone publication charts the trajectory of safety crisis in journalism and bears witness to the IFJ’s long running campaign to end impunity for violence against media professionals. These annual reports were more than just about recording the killings of colleagues. They also represented our tribute for their courage and the ultimate sacrifice paid by journalists in their thousands who lost their lives fulfilling the role to inform and empower the public."

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Beyond the Guardian’s own business clumsiness or bad luck, its losses point out a broader digital news reality: There is yet no foreseeable way to cover the costs of digital growth, and digital 'success' is wholly measured by growth. Therefore, success is in some way a suicide pill." 

Mary Hamilton, executive editor for audience at the Guardian, on the paper's decision to cut down the number of places where it opens comments on stories relating to some contentious subjects – particularly migration and race: "At their best – when they are respectful, thoughtful, interesting, or constructive – comments make our journalism better. At their worst, they can diminish its impact, reduce its credibility, and harm our writers and their subjects, while making those constructive comments impossible to find or recognise."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "Of course, you can block users who are abusive, but that’s like standing in a Bangladeshi sewer after Ramadan finishes. You can flail about as much as you like and wail loudly about the importance of free speech. But ultimately you’re going to get covered in excrement. This is Twitter’s big problem. It’s being policed by the Stasi. And of course, when they react angrily to what you’ve said, the Mirror and the BBC and The Guardian see this as evidence that you’ve done something wrong. So they run a story saying, 'Twitter has reacted with fury . . .', which then causes the whole site to become angrier still. Really, they should drop that bird logo and replace it with an endlessly spinning red flag."

Regional journalist, quoted in Press Gazette survey: "I fear for my job, the young people coming into the industry and the public who will soon live off nothing but attention-seeking, fact-free, gossipy clickbait."

liz gerard ‏@gameoldgirl on Twitter: "Hands up all who spotted CS Lewis in @TheSun splash head. And hands up anyone who thinks it relevant. Thought not."

Man United manager Louis van Gaal meets the press, as reported by BBC Sport: “You make your own stories and I am concerned that people believe what you write. This is the third time I am sacked and I am still sitting here. You write all these stories and then I have to answer questions about them. I am not doing that, it is awful and horrible.”

Early Day Motion tabled by Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland: "This House is concerned by the announcement that Johnston Press, which publishes titles including the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Lancashire Evening Post, The Scotsman and Derry Journal, is to cull almost 100 editorial posts; notes that this announcement comes just days after Newsquest announced that up to 25 journalist posts are to be axed across its Scottish titles; further notes that year-on-year cuts in jobs and closure of newspaper titles have resulted in the loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press, and the closure of more than 150 newspapers since March 2011; believes that local and regional news coverage is an essential feature of civic life and a healthy democracy; and therefore calls for active government intervention to prevent the destruction of these vital community assets and to establish a short, sharp inquiry to produce a coherent strategy for defending local journalism.”


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's 'fragile foundations' to is this the best local headline of the year so far?

David Pemsel, chief executive of the Guardian News & Media, announcing plans to cut costs by 20 per cent“We need to create a confident and secure footing to then be able to be as innovative and progressive as we’ve always been. I don’t want to just pile on the ‘let’s be innovative and bravely go into this new world’ when the foundation is that fragile.”

Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: "The Guardian’s abiding problem, however, is that the people who run it seem unable to add up, or at least read a balance sheet. Company revenues are up 10 per cent over the past five years, which isn’t bad in these straitened times. Alas, costs rose by 23 per cent, with 479 new editorial and commercial staff hired to work on a paper that already has many more journalists than its rivals."

Michael Wolff ‏@MichaelWolffNYC on Twitter: "Guardian defenders said it could live off the interest on its almost billion pounds trust. But in a year it's spent 10% of its principal."

Tony Gallagher ‏@tonygallagher on Twitter: "Can anyone tell me where in the paper is The Guardian story on its horrendous losses?"

The Daily Telegraph reports: "Jack Straw, a member of the five-strong panel reviewing the Freedom of Information Act, advised a paying client how to avoid the release of information relating to the parliamentary scandal in which he was engulfed.  Mr Straw told his client, a commodities firm, that it could argue that emails he exchanged with the Foreign Office on its behalf contained “commercially sensitive” information that should not be made public under the legislation."

BuzzFeed News reports: "The watchdog set up by the government to oversee a new system of press regulation has spent at least £589,000 of public money in its first year of existence, despite having no one yet to regulate, BuzzFeed News has learned. The Press Recognition Panel was founded to oversee a new system of press regulation following the Leveson inquiry into media ethics following phone hacking at the News of the World. However, a lack of support from the media industry means the panel, which has been promised up to £3 million of public funds over three years, currently exists in isolation, with a staff of six and no press regulator to oversee."

Peter Preston in the Observer on reporting opinion polls: "Papers and broadcasters must test the information they display. They have a duty not merely to mention sample size or methods used, but comparative costs of various surveys (more expense should mean more skilled resource) and the record of individual pollsters. They need someone to hand like Professor John Curtice who can crunch his own numbers. They need the utmost caution when they blithely turn data into a shock headline. And if that entails much less zippy certainty at too high a cost so we don’t get another 1,942 polls by 2020? Well, into every media life, a little chastened scepticism must eventually fall."

Andy Coulson in PRWeek on his new PR company Coulson Chappell: "I’ve always wanted to establish and grow my own company and in Henry I have the perfect business partner. From our combined experience Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice."

John Prescott ‏@johnprescott on Twitter: "I see Andy Coulson has got a new job in PR. I left him a good luck message on my mobile."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on a 38 degrees petition calling for Andrew Neil and Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked for inviting Stephen Doughty, the shadow foreign affairs minister, to announce his resignation on the Daily Politics show: "Calling for journalists to be sacked for doing their job is farcical. This was a legitimate story any journalist would have wanted to run on their show. You cannot run witch hunts against journalists just because you don't like the news they report. In the same way we supported journalists – at the BBC and elsewhere - who were attacked on social media by people from both sides of the argument on independence during the Scottish Referendum, we will not tolerate people who try to suppress legitimate news coverage."

Home Secretary, Theresa May, in a speech at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Irish Embassy, said it was not right that people had been put on pre-trial bail: “Not just for months, but sometimes years without being charged, and their life put on hold”.

Charlie Ashcroft ‏@charlieashcroft on Twitter: "The Central Somerset Gazette with an early contender for headline of the year so far."

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From the joy of scoops to columnists bring Bowie 'hysteria' down to earth

Robert Peston, interviewed in the Guardian: “There is no better fun than getting a whiff of a scoop and then landing it. It is the best fun ever, and if anybody in our trade tells you otherwise they shouldn’t really be in our trade."

Newsquest NUJ group chapel motion: “This group chapel expresses deep concern at the lack of communication between regional centres and the Newport hub. This is an inherent flaw in the system established by Newsquest and calls on management to address this urgently to safeguard the quality of the products and the journalism produced. To be clear, the criticism made is of the system, not the people having to work within the system. Unnecessary pressure and conflict is being caused to all as a result.”

Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard: "Newsquest’s cost-saving decision to create centralised production hubs in Newport, South Wales, and Weymouth has not proved as efficient as hoped. The company’s editors have not been thrilled with the headline-writing skills of sub-editors located many miles away who lack relevant local knowledge. I would guess that this particular problem will gradually be solved by sensible compromise. What it indicates, however, is the way local papers are moving ever further from their audiences. In a digital world, where everyone is a click or two away from everyone else and everything they want, it is easy to forget the virtues of maintaining a local presence. Publishers may have no economic alternative but to cut and run, but they do so at their peril."

Rosie Brighouse, legal officer for Liberty, on the judgment regarding David Miranda’s 2013 detention at Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act: “This judgment is a major victory for the free press. Schedule 7 has been a blot on our legal landscape for years – breathtakingly broad and intrusive, ripe for discrimination, routinely misused. Its repeal is long overdue. It is also a timely reminder of how crucial the Human Rights Act is for protecting journalists’ rights. Once again it has come to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of power by the State.”

Johnston Press in a trading update: “As part of the group’s portfolio review, a number of brands have been identified that are not part of its long-term future, as they fall outside its selected markets, do not match the audience focus, or do not offer the levels of digital growth sought by the group. A process has been initiated to explore the sale of these assets to identified parties."

The Times in a leader[£]: "A second inquest into the death of Poppi Worthington is soon to begin, entirely due to media intervention. This disturbing case should stand as a reminder that justice in the dark is no justice at all."

Labour Party report on why it lost the General Election: “It is the fate of every Labour leader of the opposition to be the target of ferocious attack from partisan sections of our media. However, Ed Miliband faced an exceptionally vitriolic and personal attack. Even before he courageously took on the public concerns that led to the Leveson inquiry, elements in the news media seemed determined to try to destroy him.”

John Prescott on TwitLonger"I thought Andrew Marr's interview this morning with Jeremy Corbyn was a disgrace...All journalists should recognise the public wants to here what Labour's policies are for today. Not hypothetical positions on the issues of yesterday. So please can TV interviewers put the interests of the public first, not those of newspaper editors. If Marr wants to make headlines in the Daily Mail he should go and join them."

Sherif Mansour, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, on the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran: "We welcome news of the release of Jason Rezaian, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place. The farce of a judicial process that kept him in custody for 544 days has earned Tehran nothing but scorn from the international community. The Iranian government should begin taking steps immediately to improve its press freedom record by releasing all journalists imprisoned in relation to their work."

Henry Mance in the Financial Times: "The Guardian newspaper is braced for significant job losses after it burnt through more than £70m in cash last year, according to people familiar with its performance. The left-leaning publisher, which runs one of the world’s most popular news websites, is preparing to embrace austerity as it cuts costs across the business."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell  on Twitter re-FT Guardian story: "Sad news for journalism, but also a check on those journalists happy to glory in their condemnation of paywalls."

Fraser Nelson in The Spectator on Philip Webster who has just retired from The Times: "I once went on a press trip with him, when Blair was in the habit of jetting around the world trying to drum up support for the Iraq war. During the flight I spent ages on my laptop, fretting about how to report it all – writing draft after draft, making edit after edit. I was sitting across the aisle from Phil, who was reading a novel. When the plane landed, he switched on his mobile and started to dictate a story from the top of his head, glancing at his notebook only to read out quotes, which he had written in his Pitman shorthand (his was the fastest in the lobby)."

Giles Coren in The Times [£] on the reaction to the death of David Bowie: "The hysteria was positively Diana-like (indeed the two had much in common — all skinny and sad, obsessed with hair and clothes, desperately shagging everything that moved) and that is because Bowie (like Diana) appealed to hysterical people. People who make a massive great fuss about the teeniest thing. People who think clothes matter. People who can’t decide from one minute to the next who they want to have sex with...On Thursday, The Times flagged up an instalment of Bowie’s life story with the headline 'Debauchery seven days a week'. I mean, fine. We’ve got to sell newspapers (just like Bowie had to sell records). But debauchery is a bad thing. It’s what the Roman Empire declined into."

Camilla Long in the Sunday Times [£] on starting a Twitter storm on David Bowie: "I wanted to say how much I distrusted the fake crying and everyone pretending they were 'in bits', an infantile cliché I loathe for its insincerity both literally and as a metaphor. So I put out a few messages, including one in which I said people should 'man the f*** up and say something interesting'.  I’m now on day 7 of threats and abuse from angry Bowie fans, people telling me to kill myself, or saying I’m a 'bitch' or a 'witch' or ugly or worse. And, well, I don’t mind. For a journalist this is often part of the territory."


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From when an evening paper had 85 journalists and was like a live blog to why a good newspaper can beat the web for quality

Jeremy Vine on his first day as a trainee reporter on the Coventry Evening Telegraph in 1986, as told to the Guardian: "There were 85 editorial staff and it was all manual typewriters. When it was close to deadline, and the whole office was typing, it sounded as if the room was going to take off. It was almost like hearing birdsong. For me, it was just like a dream to be turning up at work [as a journalist]. The paper had three or four editions a day. There was one called the 3pm edition and one called the late final, so the paper was almost like the equivalent of a live blog now."

Johnston Press editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford in a memo to staff: “We expect the review of our newsroom structures will lead to a reorganisation for some of our teams as well. In some cases that will mean a reduction in team sizes."

The Johnstoon Press NUJ group chapel in a statement: "It is very difficult to see how the company can continue to function after yet more editorial job cuts. The lack of consultation also raises concerns that this could be to make short-term savings which will ultimately be self-defeating. Newsrooms around the company are already carrying high levels of staff vacancies and we hope the company is fully aware of this. Meaningful talks need to happen as a matter of urgency and our members should be involved in any decisions about possible restructuring."

Press Gazette on the Johnston Press job cuts: "The latest proposed job cuts at Johnston Press will mean the company’s editorial headcount has more than halved since 2009...According to the company’s accounts, in 2009 it employed 2,222 editorial and photographic staff and 1,029 production staff. In 2014, Johnston Press had 1,133 editorial and photographic staff, and 355 people in production. These numbers are likely to have fallen further in 2015 and, with the latest cuts, the editorial and photographic count is likely to be around 1,000."

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at a press conference after a question about Wayne Rooney, as reported by BBC Sport: "You have criticised him, I don't...You too. Fat man. There."

Sun journalist Neil Custis told BBC Sport he was the reporter Van Gaal was talking to and later wrote: "You are right Louis I am fat. I had a knee operation four months ago that stopped me running and going to the gym."

BBC’s live political programmes editor Robbie Gibb defends the way Labour MP Stephen Doughty announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet live on Daily Politics: “It is a long standing tradition that political programmes on the BBC, along with all other news outlets, seek to break stories. It is true that we seek to make maximum impact with our journalism which is entirely consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines and values.”
grounds that it wasn't as good as PA."

BuzzFeed News: "The Daily Telegraph has installed devices to monitor whether journalists are at their desks, BuzzFeed News has learned. The newspaper confirmed the move in email to staff after multiple employees said they came into work on Monday morning to find small plastic monitoring boxes attached to their desks. Journalists were baffled by the unannounced appearance of the boxes. Staff resorted to googling the brand name and discovered they were wireless motion detectors produced by a company called OccupEye that monitor whether individuals are using their desks."

BuzzFeed News: "UPDATE: The devices have been removed following this story."

Lord Kerslake in The Times [£] on the Freedom of Information Act: "Given its success, you might expect the government, which regularly declares its commitment to greater transparency, to celebrate its success and look for ways to strengthen it. Instead it has set in train a process that, unless challenged, will lead to a watering down of the act."

Harold Evans, interviewed in The Observer: “A good newspaper is a mosaic of attractions, and investigations are a part of that broad appeal. So far the web can’t imitate that quality of a newspaper.”