Tuesday, 31 May 2011
There are still 10,000 journalists working in the regional press, according to Trinity Mirror Regional Newspapers' managing director Georgina Harvey as she hits back at claims the sector is doomed.
Interviewed by Ray Snoddy in the latest issue of InPublishing magazine, Harvey says of the regional press: "We have 87 publishers, 70 per cent reach in our markets and growing and we have more journalists on the ground, 10,000, than any other medium by a long way, yet apparently we are dying."
She also rejects claims that consolidation of the regional press by the big publishers means cutting journalists' jobs.
Harvey says of Trinity Mirror buying the Manchester Evening News, and related titles, from the Guardian Media Group last year: "Here is one fact. It gets my goat that it's supposed to be all about taking out costs. There are more, slightly more, journalists in the MEN newsroom today than there were a year ago."
Harvey is the first female newspaper executive to become president of the Newspaper Society.
Rustam Makhmudov, the suspected assassin of journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was shot dead more than four years ago, has been arrested in Chechnya, according to a Sky News report.
Makhmudov was taken into custody late on Monday, his family's lawyer said.
Politkovskaya was killed on a Saturday afternoon in October 2006 when she returned to her apartment block after a shopping trip and was shot four times.
She worked for Moscow's Novaya Gazeta newspaper and was widely known for her criticism of the war in Chechnya.
Most newspapers in the UK, Canada and the US and have not yet come up with effective responses to the profound structural changes that are leading to declining circulations for paid for daily newspapers, according to a discussion paper by Canadian communications consultant Ken Goldstein.
- The paper notes: "In 1950, the average daily total paid circulation for British national daily newspapers was about 21 million (equivalent to almost 150 per cent of households); the total paid circulation for British Sunday newspapers was about 31 million (equivalent to more than 200 per cent of households). By 2010, the average daily total paid circulation for British national daily newspapers was about 10.1 million (equivalent to 39.9 per cent of households); the total paid circulation for British national Sunday newspapers was about 9.9 million (equivalent to 39.0 per cent of households)."
- Via The Canadian Journalism Project
He's not just the best footballer on the planet, Barcelona's Lionel Messi is a gift to headline writers.
British sports subs peaked with Messi punning headlines after Barcelona previously beat Man Utd in the European Cup Final in 2009.
That's another fine Messi - Daily Mail
Lionel Flair is perfect 10 - Daily Star
Thrown to the Lionels - Daily Mirror
Fergie in a right Messi - Daily Express
Just Messimerising - Daily Record
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Twitter bows to court action and hands over user contact details to British councillors and officials
The Telegraph says: "The action is believed to have cost council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds.The unprecedented ruling has prompted a row over freedom of speech, with experts warning that it may lead to a flood of actions by lawyers in other cases seeking to obtain personal information about people who breach super-injunctions or post libellous messages on Twitter."
The Telegraph adds: "In their attempt to unmask Mr Monkey, the South Tyneside councillors and officials went to court in California, where Twitter is based.
"They obtained a ruling ordering the company to release contact details, location information and computer addresses of the individuals behind four accounts on the website. The court granted the order after it was told, by lawyers for the council, that messages posted on the accounts had been libellous."
The Telegraph notes the case "comes as lawyers for Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United footballer, attempt to obtain details of individuals who named him on Twitter as the holder of an injunction to protect details of his personal life."
- More background to this story at the Sheilds Gazette
Saturday, 28 May 2011
James was tv critic for the Observer from 1972 to 1982 but left to write books and make tv programmes.His new column for the Telegraph starts next week.
James has written an article for the Telegraph today about how he has fallen back in love with television.
Friday, 27 May 2011
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the Sun's 'Super-injunctionman' Colin Robertson on the helpline
The Sun reveals today that its TV biz editor Colin Robertson has a new role as "Super-injunctionman".
Celebs are urged to give "Super-injunctionman" a call and spill the beans about their private life rather than waste their cash on lawyers like Schillings and expensive injunctions.
The paper has also launched "the Sun super-injunction sweepstake kit" where you can bet on which legal gag will be lifted next.
Former Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer said on the BBC's Question Time programme last night that Imogen Thomas, the ex-lover of Ryan Giggs gagged by the courts, should be allowed to tell her story.
He said: "The woman involved in the Giggs case has had her identity sprayed all over the newspapers from the very outset. She has a right to freedom of expression. The judges have decided that right is overridden by the footballer's right to privacy. I personally think that, in this case, the freedom of expression of the woman should have been permitted.
"The footballer, who was worried about the damage being done to his family life, well he bloody well should have thought of that before starting out on the affair."
Meyer's opinion seems at odds with that of current PCC chair Baroness Buscombe who told Newsnight this week that if Giggs had asked for the Commission's help it would have stopped newspapers publishing the story.
- The Sun reports today that it has been gagged from publishing a story about Karen Matthews, who was jailed for kidnapping her own daughter. It says: "A High Court hearing in Leeds banned us on privacy grounds from printing an article which had been completely substantiated - and there were no complaints about its accuracy. The newspaper was "commended" by the judge, Mr Justice Moylan, for acting "responsibly" by approaching authorities in advance of publication. But although the story was in the public interest, the judge ordered a total ban."
A superb exhibition on 190 years of the Guardian has opened at its Kings Place office in London showing the amazingly rich history of a paper whose origins go back to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819.
The massacre couldn't be reported by a Times journalist because he had been locked up. Instead a couple of Manchester businessmen supplied The Times with the story of how the cavalry had charged a crowd demanding reform at St Peter's Field, killing 15 and injuring many others. They went on to found the Manchester Guardian in 1821.
Brilliantly curated by Stephen Moss, the exhibition is divided into 190 moments that have made the Guardian. It is a wonderful tribute to what makes a newspaper at a time when the future of the printed press is so much in doubt.
Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, speaking at the opening of the exhibition, admitted that it was impossible to say what the circulation of the paper will be when it celebrates its 200th anniversary in 10 years time. "People love print, I love print, " he said "But there are all these forces conspiring against print."
He said a few years ago it would have been incredible to think the Guardian would be reaching 49 million readers a month on the internet.
Rusbridger said there was a thread running through the Guardian from the early days, and the way in which it had risked unpopularity by opposing the Boer War and the Suez invasion, to Paul Lewis investigating the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London in 2009 and being the only paper prepared to report on phone hacking by News International.
Among the exhibits on show are Guardian correspondent Frederick Voight warning about the rise of Hitler, Richard Gott seeing the body of Che Guevara after he was killed in Bolivia and an article by D.H. Lawrence about young soldiers heading for the front in 1914, unfortunately bylined "H.D. Lawrence".
As well as famous front pages showing the first man on the moon, the sinking of the Titanic and the Kennedy assassination there are the more quirky features that make up a newspaper.
For example, the April 1 1977 spoof supplement on San Serriffe, ruled by General Pica, which led to some readers asking if they could book a holiday on the mythical islands. And the Guardian really did run a comic strip featuring the scantily clad Varoomshka.
I love print and left the exhibition thinking will 190 years of Google ever match what a newspaper like the Guardian could do?
Michael White on his Guardian blog: "The awkward fact is that newspapers are desperate to keep a lucrative branch of their trade open in increasingly hard times, when the internet and other new technologies are making it more difficult to pay the rent. The suspicion that they may be orchestrating some of the tweets – as they do pliable MPs – has even reached the ear of judges."
Ray Snoddy on Newsline: "The concept of public interest needs to be widened to take in more categories of behaviour beyond the anti-social and criminal. It would have the merit of going with the grain of technology and history. Why should football supporters or indeed cinema-goers not know about scandalous behaviour of those whose salaries they pay? Many such performers profit massively from image rights and sponsorship deals trading usually on the fact that they are regular guys or girls not flaunting conventional societal values. "
Marina Hyde in the Guardian: "I'm all for privacy injunctions being granted on a case-by-case basis, though others will not concur. But can we at least agree to dispense with the idea that such stories are run for any nobler reason than money-spinning titillation? To pretend otherwise seems a hypocrisy infinitely greater than that Ryan Giggs is supposed to have indulged in."
Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell on politicians: "These men and women are professional idealists and I take my hat off to them. Then I kick them up the arse. Because it's not what they say or what they are, or even what they say they are, that gets my goat: it's the things they actually do to us in our name."
Thursday, 26 May 2011
The union says cuts are planned for Twickenham, Sutton, and the entire sports and leisure department of eight people - two editors, two sport writers, two leisure writers and two subs at Sutton.
The NUJ claims the job cuts would mean news, sport and leisure for seven newspapers would be produced by a total of only twelve reporters, with only two editors left to supervise the work. The journalists at the papers are already balloting about threatened job cuts, and the impact on the papers. The ballot result is due on Tuesday 31 May.
NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “The company's short-sighted business model has reached a level where adverts are in danger of being increasingly ignored as readers toss their disappearing newspapers away unread. The company claims these decisions are being made amid ‘worsening trading conditions’, but the reality is Newsquest continues to rake in vast profits, in 2009 the company recorded an operating profit of £71.7m.
"These cuts threaten the future survival of local newspapers in south London. Newsquest makes millions of pounds worth of profit and at the same time they want to axe our members jobs and retreat from quality local journalism. The union is balloting for action in response to the cuts because we know our members take pride in their work and local citizens wants to read a local paper which contains local news, sports and leisure.”
'Defend the free internet before trying to regulate it' e-G8 Forum told by press freedom campaigners
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard has called for "the free internet to be defended" before attempts are made to regulate it.
Julliard was among those who gave an unofficial news conference in one of the conference rooms of the “e-G8” forum on Internet issues in Paris yesterday, voicing opposition to attempts to regulate the internet and criticising the lack of representativeness of most of those who were invited by the French government to take part in the forum.
Participants in the news conference – improvised at the last minute and not part of the forum’s official programme – also included US journalist Jeff Jarvis.
Jarvis said he was “scared by those who are scared of the internet.” Julliard said he was “extremely disappointed” by the course taken by discussions during the e-G8 forum, including the lack of a strongly-worded message to governments that target journalists, bloggers and cyber-dissidents.
“The free Internet must be defended before thought is given to regulating content,” Julliard said. “The priority for G8 governments should be defending the internet.”
Julliard made similar comments when he took part in a panel discussion today on “Electronic Liberty: New Tools for Freedom,” an official part of the forum’s programme. Other participants included Google representatives, Alec Ross of the US State Department, and journalists and activists from the Arab world.
“The G8 should say clearly that internet access is a fundamental human right, before discussing anything else, whether economic development or copyright issues,” Julliard said.
He also accused certain democracies of saying one thing and doing another. He cited the US administration’s actions as regards WikiLeaks but said other democracies did not lag far behind. “It is easy to defend freedom of speech in Syria, but we should defend it in Italy, Australia and France as well.”
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
The NUJ has launched a new website for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender union members following a unanimous decision by last month’s NUJ delegate conference to endorse the project.
The union says the NUJ Pride website is "the new forum which celebrates and supports the union’s LGBT members and those who support them, providing a safe place for members to discuss issues which impact on their professional lives and the media organisations for which they work."
NUJ general secretary elect Michelle Stanistreet said: “Our aim through this initiative is to counter all forms of discrimination relating to LGBT members. Whether in newsrooms or working as freelances, or as student journalists, we want journalists who feel discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation or trans status to know that they have the support of their union.”
An exhibition celebrating the work of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell over the past 30 years opens today at The Cartoon Museum in London.
The Guardian has put 12 of Bell's cartoons featured in the exhibition online and there is also a feature in G2 in which those portrayed by him, including Nick Clegg, John Prescott, Edwina Curry and Paddy Ashdown, say what it's like to be on the receiving end.
Bell also writes about himself and his work. I like his take on politicians: "These men and women are professional idealists and I take my hat off to them. Then I kick them up the arse. Because it's not what they say or what they are, or even what they say they are, that gets my goat: it's the things they actually do to us in our name."
Bell Epoque: 30 Years of Steve Bell is at The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 24 July.
The Independent has found that more than 333 gagging orders protecting the identities of celebrities, children and private individuals have been granted in the past five years, a far higher figure than previous estimates.
The paper says: "The secret nature of super-injunctions and other restrictive orders means that no definitive figures exist for the number of rulings currently in force in England and Wales."
But it claims an audit by The Independent has found that at least 264 orders exist which grant anonymity to children or vulnerable adults. The figures reveal a further 69 cases where injunctions have been granted barring the publication of the names of high-profile individuals, including 28 men accused of extra-marital affairs and nine cases where convicted criminals have been granted anonymity.
The Independent says: "Courts are ready to issue gagging orders in a wide-ranging and occasionally surprising number of circumstances, including the case of a lawyer accused of possessing a quantity of hardcore pornography and an order preventing disclosure of the identity of a sex change candidate."
It also claims: "Orders have also been granted to at least seven major companies, including the publicly owned bank Northern Rock. The orders, some of which are permanent and some temporary, prevent publication of allegations about their commercial affairs."
Reporters and photographers outside the home of Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs came under attack from a gang who pelted them with eggs and flour and vandalised their cars.
The youths pulled up in a Transit van on the street in Worsley, Salford, with their faces covered by hoods and scarves and attacked six vehicles. Tyres were slashed on two cars.
Photographer John Mather told BBC Manchester: "We saw a group of youths approaching wearing scarves and hoods and carrying objects. It became an ambush of flour and eggs plus kicks were aimed at vehicles."
He added: "You get used to verbal abuse outside footballers homes and things being thrown at you from passing cars. The fans can be very loyal. It became more than that when they started assaulting cars. It was scary for a moment and quite intimidating."
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was the subject of 443 articles; the Queen's widely praised visit to Ireland, 356 articles; privacy, injunctions and super injunctions, including a particular case involving former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, 158 articles; Chris Huhne, his ex-wife Vicky Pryce, and an argument over speeding points, 145 articles.
Covered little, according to journalisted, were Southern Cross, in a critical financial position threatening the future of their 750 UK care homes, 23 articles; Mississippi floods, the worst since 1927, leave more than 4,800 people homeless, 11 articles; 35 Afghan workers killed by Pakistan Taliban in "most deadly attack in months", 6 articles.
Monday, 23 May 2011
The Times, Guardian , Mirror and MailOnline websites all quickly identified the footballer named in the House of Commons by MP John Hemming this afternoon. Some other media remained more cautious as an injunction remains in force. The BBC later followed Sky News in naming Ryan Giggs as did the Sun, the Telegraph and even the Financial Times.
Hemming told Sky News he had decided to name the footballer after he had threatened to sue Twitter.
The MP, Lib Dem John Hemming, also named Times' journalist Giles Coren as the journalist who had been reported for possible contempt for mentioning a footballer on Twitter.
Lawyers acting for the Sun failed today to overturn a privacy injunction brought by a Premier League footballer to stop the paper writing about his private life.
The Sun reports: "A judge today refused to scrap a draconian injunction preventing The Sun from identifying the Prem star who romped with Big Brother's Imogen Thomas."
Before the hearing, a Sun spokesman said: "Following publication on the front page of a Scottish newspaper it is clear this injunction is unworkable.
"When the Prime Minister says on breakfast television that he knows the identity of the footballer, it is time for the courts to do the right thing and end a situation where readers of some newspapers but not others are allowed to know the worst kept secret in the country."
The Sun will today attempt to mount a High Court challenge to lift the injunction banning the identification of a footballer who had an affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.
The paper says it has instructed lawyers to ask the High Court to lift the gag on naming the Premier League player after a picture purporting to be him was splashed over the front page of the Sunday Herald in Scotland.
It adds: "The Sun is seeking a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice where we will ask a judge to allow us to name the player known in legal documents only as CTB. Our move comes after Prime Minister David Cameron today described the privacy rulings affecting newspapers as 'unsustainable' and 'unfair'."
The Sun also claims: "Yesterday's disclosures will make it virtually impossible for the footballer's highly-paid lawyers to argue his name is not already in the public domain."
Journalists at the Tindle newspapers in North London are to hold a fresh ballot on industrial action in their dispute over staffing levels.
The NUJ chapel at Sir Ray Tindle’s Enfield-based North London and Herts Newspapers group held a series of strikes across the bank holiday weeks earlier this month and staged a mock funeral for their titles.
The union says more than a third of editorial staff have left the North London papers without being replaced, and key positions remain unfilled.
In a post on their strike blog, the journalists claim: "Having returned to work after two high-profile weeks of strike action we received three weeks of silence from management and then… an announcement that all our freelance budget was going to be cut! Unbelievable.
"It means no more photographers to help the two full-timers over weekends or on evening jobs, no more freelance sub-editors who help out our couple of staff members sub the vast amount of copy, no more journalists who fill in and help write the many articles when a couple of the reporters are away on holiday.
"It has added insult to injury and is a real kick in the teeth for an already demoralised workforce."NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick met with Tindle management last week, and said those talks had been positive. “The discussions enabled us and management to clarify our positions. Though the talks didn’t actually change anything, they did show that both sides still wish to resolve the dispute.
“We are now preparing for a fresh ballot on industrial action, because the time frame for action under the original ballot is about to expire. I am now seeking a formal meeting with the company to discuss staffing levels at Enfield.”
Pic: Mock funeral in Enfield (Jon Slattery)
The Times argues in a leader today it is absurd that it cannot tell readers the name of the well known journalist who could be prosecuted for contempt for mentioning a footballer on Twitter.
The leader says: "A high-profile journalist on a leading British newspaper has made a comment on Twitter about a Premier League footballer for which he, or she, now risks being prosecuted for contempt of court. For legal reasons, The Times is not at liberty to name the footballer, or the journalist, or the newspaper for which he, or she, works. This would remain true even if The Times was that newspaper, which may, or may not, be the case.
"All of this is absurd, and doubly so because you, the reader, very possibly already know all about it, including the bits that we are not at liberty to print. If you do not, and are sitting at a computer, you could probably find full details in a matter of moments. Although we may not tell you how."
The leader concludes: "Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, declared last week that the internet was 'making an ass of the law'. In fact, the law needs no such help. Contempt of court is a crime, but contempt for Britain’s injunction habit is close to universal."
- The Times is behind a paywall.
A community cooperative which includes redundant journalists is trying to revive local media in Port Talbot and fill the gap left when Trinity Mirror's Media Wales closed the Neath and Port Talbot Guardians in 2009.
The not-for-profit cooperative, Local News South Wales, has launched the Port Talbot Magnet website and is investigating ways that a newspaper could be revived in the Welsh town.
Ken Smith, one of the journalists backing the project, told a conference on media cooperatives at London's Goldsmiths College at the weekend that a business plan has been drawn up which estimates that between £80,000 and £200,000 would be required to fund a new newspaper for the area.
He said the Magnet website was launched last month "to give us an online identity in the community" and added: "We want to do quality journalism, not regurgitated press releases."
Andy Williams, a lecturer at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, said research showed that there was "a hunger for local news".
He said in the decade up to 2009 Media Wales had made profit margins of 28 per cent but despite this the company had ended up with fewer journalists, fewer local offices and fewer titles. Williams estimated that the number of journalists employed by the company had fallen from 692 to 346 over the decade.
William claimed the "localness of news" was being stripped out by large publishing companies. He said if the cooperative succeeded in Port Talbot it would mean a "return to local ownership" and money generated would be used to sustain the local media.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
This is how the Independent sums up the furore surrounding court injunctions on its front page today.
Inside the paper's media commentator Stephen Glover writes: "The High Court is trying to enforce the unenforceable. Until now, newspapers, which are generally obedient, had respected such orders, but their patience is cracking because the information is so readily available on the internet or Twitter. Last Friday, Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, expressed surprise that "someone who has a true claim for protection" should be "at the mercy of modern technology". His Lordship needs to wake up to the 21st century.
"Judges have made things worse for themselves. If they had not issued so many privacy orders forbidding newspapers to publish, there would probably not have been the reaction we have seen on the internet. By denying newspapers the right to publish what is arguably in the public interest, judges have stimulated an enormous public appetite which only the internet can satisfy."The judges are their own worst enemies in another way. They have not understood the rising disquiet at the privacy law they are developing out of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights. They believed only the tabloids were irked. In fact, the issue is turning into one of free speech which concerns parliamentarians and the public."
As AFC Wimbledon celebrates getting into the Football League here is an interesting fact about the club's sensational comeback. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, the man at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, scored their first goal.
- The Mirror has a video of the goal here.
Saturday, 21 May 2011
Punk lives on in these Ramones and Stiff Little Fingers T-shirts as modelled by Miles Barter and Chris Wheal at a conference on media cooperatives at Goldsmiths College at the weekend.
Barry Fitzpatrick, the NUJ's head of publishing and former national newspapers organiser, has confirmed he is to stand for the post of NUJ deputy general secretary.
Fitzpatrick has long experience working for unions and was a Sogat official at the time of the bitter Wapping dispute when Rupert Murdoch sacked his Fleet Street printers.
The election comes as the current deputy, Michelle Stanistreet, takes over as NUJ general secretary from Jeremy Dear who is not seeking re-election.
Closing date for applications for the deputy general secretary's post is June 30.
Friday, 20 May 2011
The NUJ has scorned a Johnston Press offer to the group's journalists to play free games of online bingo.
Noting that the group have made 230 journalists redundant in the past year, NUJ negotiator Jenny Lennox said: “It seems that the real lottery for journalists at Johnston’s is whether or not they will still have a job in a year’s time.
“We have been warning for more than a year that the Johnston Press group is being run into the ground. This once-proud newspaper group has destroyed the bond of trust with its journalists, and is destroying a well-regarded brand, further reducing the credibility of the titles in the eyes of its readers.
Super-injunctions and other anonymised injunctions "can only be granted when they are strictly necessary" and cannot be granted so as to become, in practice, permanent, according to a report by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger.
Lord Judge said he believed that ways would be found to curtail the "misuse of modern technology, in the same way that those involved with online child pornography were pursued by the police.
"Are you really going to say that someone who has a true claim for protection perfectly well made has to be at the mercy of modern technology?" he asked.
The report also says that media reports of comments made in parliament which set out to contravene injunctions may be in contempt of court.
Downing Street said the government would consider the report carefully.
US celebrity news and gossip site TMZ says it has obtained a sworn declaration written by so-called "Botox Mom" Sheena Upton claiming she made up the story about injecting her daughter Britney with Botox after being approached by the Sun and says she was paid $200 for her story.
Upton now says "I was provided with the story, instructions and a script to follow for a recorded interview."
After the story ran in the Sun, Upton was approached by ABC News' "Good Morning America" and "Inside Edition" and claims she was offered "a large fee" to appear on camera. She went on both shows and re-told her story.
After the interview, child welfare officials took Upton's daughter away.
A Sun representative told TMZ the paper "strongly denies any suggestion it solicited or knowingly published a false story regarding Kerry Campbell and her daughter."
They claimed the Sun received the story from a "reputable UK news agency" -- and the reporter from the agency "watched Ms. Campbell administering what appeared to be Botox to her daughter and provided compelling photographs."
According to TMZ, the Sun says it is considering legal action.
- TMZ has published emails from Upton which she claims show that her Botox story was scripted.
- ABC News says after the initial story appeared in the Sun, ABC News contacted the Sun's reporter for sources on the story and was put in touch with Alley Einstein, a features writer from a U.K. news agency who originally brought the story to the paper.
ABC News proceeded with the story and agreed to license a series of photos from Einstein for $10,000, it says, Einstein confirmed to ABC News that Upton would receive no payment and signed a contract stating the photos depicted the events as they actually happened, without any staging or altering.
- Ally Einstein has given TMZ a statement.