Sunday, 31 July 2011
Saturday, 30 July 2011
Is this a sign of the times? After 23 years at the University of Central Lancashire, Mike Ward is retiring as head of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication.
Taking over as temporary head of the School of JoMeC for the next 12 months is John Minten, head of the School of Sport, Tourism and the Outdoors.
The way journalism is going I think there are going to be many more journalists spending time in the great outdoors.
Friday, 29 July 2011
The Shropshire Star's Sarah-Jane Smith today became the fifth regional daily editor to quit her job this summer.
HoldtheFrontPage reports that Smith is leaving after 32 years with the publisher and ten as editor.
Two high profile and long serving editors, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle's Paul Robertson and the Hull Daily Mail's John Meehan, both announced their resignations this week.
Earlier this month the editor of the Lincolnshire Echo Jon Grubb stepped down amid speculation that the Northcliffe daily is about to go weekly.
In June, it was announced that Dave King had resigned as editor of Newsquest's daily Swindon Advertiser.
Smith has been replaced by Keith Harrison, deputy editor of the Star’s sister title the Express and Star.
A statement by Shropshire Star publisher the Midland News Association said Smith had decided to stand down after ten years to pursue other interests.
Baroness Buscombe has confirmed she will be standing down as chair of the Press Complaints Commission when her three-year term of office comes to an end in the New Year.
She announced today her decision not to continue beyond that term to allow time for her successor to be found.
In the interim, Baroness Buscombe says she "will continue her work of promoting industry reform" before handing over to a replacement and that she will contribute to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics.
She said: "I am very proud of my work at the PCC, which - from the very beginning - has been aimed at instigating the process of reform of the organisation. This included a Governance Review in the course of which I decided to make a number of internal improvements and the introduction of revised procedures in regard to the Editors' Code. This was always intended to be a springboard for further reform.
"I am pleased that the Commission want me to continue in post until my successor has been appointed. Thereafter, I will be able to be a campaigner for change from outside the organisation. I wish to contribute to the Leveson inquiry and participate fully in the overall debate regarding reform, unfettered by my role as Chairman of the PCC."
She added that she leaves with three clear messages:
"First, the public rightly demands stronger powers for dealing with the misconduct of the press. They must get them.
"Second, the public needs the existing work of the PCC to continue and be built upon. I have worked as Chairman to ensure that we give real help (both before and after publication) to members of the public, who otherwise would have no-one to turn to. The staff of the PCC are unsurpassed in terms of the effort and intelligence they bring to their work.
"And third, the importance of a free press has never been greater. It was thanks to investigative journalism that the phone hacking scandal was brought to public attention. Newspapers and magazines must have the proper freedom to represent their readers' interests, and also to expose wrongdoing wherever it may be found.
"In this world of shifting media provision, I am convinced the answer to ethical concerns about the press is not statutory intervention. What is needed is a greater sense of accountability among editors and proprietors. A PCC with increased powers and reach remains the best way of achieving that."
Media Standards Trust reaction:
"The Media Standards Trust believes the decision of Baroness Buscombe not to continue beyond her current term as chair of the Press Complaints Commission is the right one. As we have previously argued, the fundamental problems of the PCC are structural – in terms of its lack of independence from the industry, the opacity of its funding arrangements, and its lack of adequate formal powers.
"But there has clearly been a failure of leadership at a time when the PCC needed firm direction. Not only did the outgoing chair preside over a wholly inadequate investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World (which the PCC finally withdrew on 6th July 2011), but she criticised The Guardian for its investigation and had to pay damages following a libel action by the lawyer, Mark Lewis."It is important that the good work of the Commission’s staff is allowed to continue, and this decision is in no way allowed to hamper their valuable mediation. At the same time, however, Baroness Buscombe’s departure should not deflect the need for, and serious discussion about, the comprehensive reform of the self-regulatory system."
Chris Jefferies, the landlord of Joanna Yeates, today accepted "substantial" undisclosed libel damages from eight newspapers in the High Court for allegations made following her murder.
Press Gazette reports via PA : "The retired schoolmaster was not at London's High Court for the settlement of his actions against the publishers of the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Scotsman."
His solicitor, Louis Charalambous, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that "in recognition of the immense distress and damage" caused, they had all agreed to apologise for the "seriously defamatory" allegations made in the wake of the landscape architect's December 2010 death and pay substantial damages.
Charalambous, of Simons Muirhead & Burton, said the newspapers had acknowledged the falsity of the allegations in question which were contained in over 40 articles published in late December 2010 and early January 2011.
Speaking outside court, he added: "Christopher Jefferies is the latest victim of the regular witch hunts and character assassination conducted by the worst elements of the British tabloid media.
"Many of the stories published in these newspapers are designed to 'monster' the individual, in flagrant disregard for his reputation, privacy and rights to a fair trial.
"These newspapers have now apologised to him and paid substantial damages but they do so knowing that once the conditional fee agreement rules are changed next year victims of tabloid witch hunts will no longer have the same access to justice."
- Mirror Group Newspapers and News Group found guilty of contempt over Jefferies' coverage Publishers of the Daily Mirror fined £50k and The Sun £18k for contempt and ordered to pay costs.
I was wondering how on earth the Guardian's own Nick Davies was so overwhelmingly beaten by Michael Acton Smith, creator of Moshi Monsters, in the MediaGuardian 101 poll (top) until I read the plea for votes on the Moshi Monsters site (bottom).
Michael Wolff (pictured) at the LSE on how he reacted to an angry Rupert Murdoch who had just read Wolff's biography of him: "Wooh Rupert, be nice because when the end comes I will be the first person they call."
Michael Wolff at the LSE asked 'What's next for Rupert Murdoch?': "He needs to be helped into retirement."
Peter Preston in the Observer: "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."
Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "It has surprised me to read fellow defenders of the free press saying how sad they are that the News of the World closed. In its stupidity, narrowness and cruelty, and in its methods, the paper was a disgrace to the free press. No one should ever have banned it, of course, but nor should anyone mourn its passing. It is rather as if supporters of parliamentary democracy were to lament the collapse of the BNP."
Piers Morgan in a statement: "As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone."
Lord Leveson on his inquiry into media ethics:"It may be tempting for a number of people to close ranks and suggest that the problem is or was local to a group of journalists then operating at the News of the World but I would encourage all to take a wider picture of the public good and help grapple with the width and depth of the problem."
Editorial consultant Peter Sands on regional dailies going weekly: "The key to any change to weekly is that the new paper has to be substantial and of real quality. Filling a fatter paper with rewritten press releases and overblown what's on entries will just accelerate its decline. Think of the Sunday model, rather than the local shopper."
AA Gill in the Sunday Times on the grilling of the Murdochs by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: "Tom Watson begins the questioning. His anger is barely contained by his bulk. The porcine eyes flash. During the expenses scandal it was revealed that he claimed the maximum £4,800 as a food allowance in a single year. No one could accuse him of wasting it."
Pic: Jon Slattery
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Rupert Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff has come with a strategy which he claims would restore the Murdochs' damaged reputation over the phone hacking scandal - and help preserve British journalism.
Speaking at the London School of Economics, Wolff said the Murdochs would be able to "hold their heads high" if they sold the Sun and used the cash to put The Times and Sunday Times in a trust, similar to the Guardian's Scott Trust.
He said such an arrangement would "save British journalism for another generation or two. People would say 'O.K. let bygones be bygones'."
Wolff claimed that within News Corp everything flowed down from Rupert Murdoch and there was a "lack of independent life, especially for the newspapers."
Pic: Jon Slattery
Pro Dono, a new not-for-profit organisation, is offering "conversations" with leading journalists in aid of charity.
The journalists will give their time to meet a member of the public in exchange for the member of public donating to the journalist's charity of choice.
Among those who have agreed to take part are the Financial Times' Martin Wolf and Gideon Rachman, author and journalist Toby Young, Prospect founder David Goodhart, the Economist's John Micklethwait, the Telegraph's Dominic Lawson, BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders, and The Times' Daniel Finkelstein and Simon Barnes.
For more info see Pro Dono website.
The London Evening Standard today began the distribution of more than £1 million to charities from its Dispossessed Fund to fight poverty and inequality.
The paper said: "It will be dispersed among more than 90 organisations which work in local communities with people in particular need: the disabled, the homeless, the marginalised. The biggest share of this funding comes from the Government's Office of Civil Society, the balance is part of a £1 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. These are exceptionally generous grants, yet at the core of our fund are the donations made by our readers, by individuals and businesses."
The Evening Standard Dispossesd Fund to tackle inequality has raised £7.2 million in the past year and £1.9 million has already been distributed.
Some of the groups supported by the Fund help keep young people from knife crime and gangs; others provide grants for training for the low-paid; yet another is a music group for the disabled.
The Standard added: "The Dispossessed Fund is an initiative that changes lives: we thank our readers and supporters - individuals, state and business - for what they have achieved."
Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, tells the Standard: "What I see in the Dispossessed Fund is a fantastically good example of press power being used at its best at a time when the headlines are full of press power at its worst".
- The Dispossessed Campaign, won the Standard both the Cudlipp Award and Campaign of the Year in the 2011 Press Awards.
Lord Justice Leveson outlining his inquiry into media ethics urged the press today not to "close ranks" and suggest that the problems highlighted by the phone hacking affair were only down to a group of News of the World journalists.
In a prepared statement he said: "It may be tempting for a number of people to close ranks and suggest that the problem is or was local to a group of journalists then operating at the News of the World but I would encourage all to take a wider picture of the public good and help grapple with the width and depth of the problem."
He said the "focus of the inquiry is the culture practices and ethics of the press in the context of the latter's relationship with the public, the police and politicians."
Lord Justice Leveson added that in September he would be holding "a series of seminars on the ethics of journalism and the practices and pressures of investigative journalism".
He added he would later hold seminars on press relationships with the police, politicians and the political process.
Lord Justice Leveson said he would "strive" to complete his inquiry after 12 months but said this would not happen "at all cost". The scope of the inquiry has been extended to include broadcasting and social media as well as the press.
The South Wales Argus had an exclusive on how phone messages could be hacked in 1999.
It was alerted by Steven Nott, a Cwmbran sales manager, who told the paper he was horrified to discover that "anyone can access his answer phone service and listen to his private messages."
He explained: "The Vodafone network went down because of a technical fault. I had some important messages coming in, so I rang Vodafone to access them. I was asked by an operator if I had programmed a PIN number into my answer service. When I said I hadn't, I was told it didn't matter, that I all I had to do was key in the default number.
"I followed the instructions and was able to hear my messages. It was easy and had taken just seconds. Afterwards I thought that anyone with my phone number could get into my messages just as easily as I had."
The Argus added: "The angry marketing man even contacted the British Intelligence Service MI5. He said: 'Vodafone has millions of users, and many of them will be MPs and High ranking government officials, people with highly sensitive information at their fingertips'."
The Argus said it put Nott's claims to the test and by following his instructions was able to access a Vodafone user's personal message service. It added: "It proved the point. Anyone can do it."
Nott has kept the article and posted it on his website: Hackergate. He says "the article was run 10 months after I was aware of the problem and was my last resort. Thankfully, the Argus, helped."
- Nott also says that he took the story to both the Daily Mirror and Sun in 1999 but after showing initial enthusiasm neither ran with it. He writes on Hackergate: " It didn't take me long to realise 'What had I done ?' I couldn't believe I was so stupid to tell a National newspaper how to get hot news for free just by hacking into someones phone".
Via Steven Nott on Twitter
Johnston Press has announced that Ashley Highfield, whose background is in digital media rather than print, will be its new chief executive, succeeding John Fry who will stand down at the end of October.
Highfield is a vice president of Microsoft, responsible for the UK consumer and online business, including the UK's largest content portal MSN.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Highfield was director of new media and technology at the BBC, where he was responsible for the launch of the BBC's iPlayer and editor -in-chief of BBC Online, following which he was CEO of Project Kangaroo, the video-on-demand BBC/ITV/C4 joint venture.
He started his career with Coopers and Lybrand Management Consultancy from where he became managing director of Flextech (now Virgin Media) Interactive. Highfield is a graduate of the City University Business School, a Chartered Information Engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Ian Russell, chairman of Johnston Press said "I am delighted to announce Ashley's appointment. His combined online and media sector pedigree will be a major strength in enabling us to grow our business again. On behalf of the board I would also like to thank John for his major contribution to the Company and wish him well for the future".
- Highfield will be awarded £500,000 of shares under the Company's PSP (LTIP) scheme on his commencement of the chief executive role on 1 November 2011.
- In 2003 Highfield was awarded the Digital Innovator internet award by the Sunday Times (UK) who said his vision of a 100% digital Britain was a "tour de force".
- In 2004 he was named ‘most influential individual in technology’ by online technology news site Silicon.Com
- In May 2006, Broadcast Magazine said Highfield is "increasingly coming to be recognised as one of the most influential figures in world media".
- The Times in a 2008 profile said analysts described Highfield as a man with “the vision thing”.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
The cuts have been proposed at the South Yorkshire Times, Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells, Selby Times and Goole Courier.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "We are calling on Johnston Press to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute. We want to make sure local news reflects the communities it serves and this battle is about quality and resources. The impact of the cuts is a stark threat not simply to our members’ livelihoods but to local news and the future of the industry.”
The NUJ chapel has agreed a motion stating: “The senior management of South Yorkshire Newspapers (SYN) and indeed Johnston Press (JP) has shown that it is absolutely incapable of producing or expediting any kind of fair or lawful consultation on a redundancy plan which we believe will fatally damage its titles, our jobs and futures, and which will harm a free Press in this country.
"Instead the company has relied on a combination of bullying, harassment and bunker mentality to deliver a no-consultation approach in unlawfully pushing through these proposals. For this reason, the SYN chapel now calls on the auspices of the Government in the form of ACAS to intervene in this dispute.
"If the company yet again fails to engage, this demonstrates the complete moral, managerial and strategic redundancy of SYN and JP itself. The SYN NUJ chapel re-iterates its willingness to meaningfully negotiate a settlement of this dispute which does not harm our titles, our members or the future of the Press.”
Roy Greenslade, who has not spared the Press Complaints Commission from criticism in the past, has in his Evening Standard column refused to join those calling for the PCC to be abolished in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
At a time when the commission is being portrayed as a toothless poodle controlled by the newspaper industry, Greenslade writes: "I refuse to follow the herd. Though I have been a persistent critic of the PCC down the years, I think it vital, amid the hysteria, to step back and bring a sense of proportion to the debate.
"I have no doubt the commission needs reform, and radical reform at that.
"But terminating it altogether would be utterly foolish. Call it by another name. Replace its chair. Alter the composition of its membership. Give it new powers - such as the right to investigate and an improved range of sanctions - but don't think there is a significantly better alternative to the model of self-regulation than that which currently exists.
"We should build on its foundations rather than start all over again. Let's dispense first with the other major option - statutory regulation. This would be unacceptable for so many reasons, most obviously because it would take us back to the mid-19th century and the state licensing (then through stamp duty) of newspapers.
"I fear that the call for an 'independent' regulator is a cloak for a statutory regulator. But it would be a negation of both the concept and practice of press freedom. We would find ourselves in the company of some of the world's most repressive regimes."
He concludes: "This is a seminal moment in the history the British press. We must clean up our act, of course, but we must ensure the brush stays in our hands."
- Peter Preston in the Observer on Sunday wrote: "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."
The move comes after the company shared financial information with the union on a confidential basis.
NUJ Media Wales FoC Martin Shipton (pictured) said: "The Welsh economy is heavily dependent on the public sector, and there is no doubt that spending cuts imposed by the UK government have resulted in an unprecedented drop in revenue from recruitment and retail advertisers.
"We are seriously concerned about the future of the company and as part of the redundancy consultation process have called on the management to develop a rescue plan for the future in conjunction with the NUJ.
"The company has provided us with financial information on a confidential basis that has led us to reject industrial action as a realistic option at this time. Instead we are working to achieve the best possible outcome in the circumstances, both for those who will be leaving the company and those who will remain."
Under the proposed job cuts, some production jobs would go part-time, with work concentrated at peak hours towards the end of the day. There would be a reduction of eight full-time equivalent posts in production. Ten district jobs would go plus four from the sports department.
- The Welsh Assembly is to launch an investigation later this year in response to widespread cuts to the country’s press and broadcasting industries. A task group will be established in September to look at “emerging and future issues” faced by the media.
John Meehan, editor of the Hull Daily Mail editor, is the latest daily regional newspaper editor to announce his resignation.
HoldtheFrontPage reports that Meehan is leaving in the wake of the decision by Hull Daily Mail-owner Northcliffe to scrap the roles of regional editorial directors and introduce new publisher roles at the group’s four biggest centres.
Meehan, who was regional editorial director for the group’s North-East titles, is to be replaced in Hull by Neil Hodgkinson, currently editorial director of the CN Group and editor of the News and Star, Carlisle.
Hodgkinson is a previous editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds.
Meehan is Northcliffe's longest-serving daily newspaper editor, with 14 years’ service as editor of the Express and Echo in Exeter and then the Hull Daily Mail.
It was announced this week that Paul Robertson has resigned as editor of Trinity Mirror's Evening Chronicle in Newcastle to "seek a new challenge". He is also Trinity Mirror's editorial director for the North East.
Earlier this month the editor of the Lincolnshire Echo Jon Grubb stepped down amid speculation that the Northcliffe daily is about to go weekly.
In June, it was announced that Dave King had resigned as editor of Newsquest's daily Swindon Advertiser.
Phone hacking with the appearance of Murdoch father and son before a Commons select committee continued to dominate in what journalisted describes as an exceptionally busy news week, ending 24 July.
The week encompassed the Eurozone crisis, the suspicious deaths at Stepping Hill Hospital, the famine in Somalia and ended with the terror attacks in Norway and Amy Winehouse being found dead at her London home.
Journalisted says the phone hacking scandal generated 1,258 articles, including the Murdochs undergoing a select committee grilling, 346 articles, and David Cameron setting out the terms of the Leveson Inquiry, 89 articles; the Eurozone crisis, 455 articles; terror attacks in Norway by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, claim over seventy lives, 168 articles; famine in Somalia worsens despite increased foreign aid, with Britain giving £90m, 137 articles; the suspicious deaths of patients at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, with a nurse charged with causing damage with intent to endanger life, 115 articles; the Space Shuttle Atlantis returns home to the Kennedy Space Centre for the last time, 79 articles; Amy Winehouse, found dead at her Camden home on Saturday afternoon aged 27, 107 articles; artist Lucian Freud dies aged 88, 69 articles. Covered little, according to journalisted, were General Petraeus hands over command in Afghanistan to General John R. Allen, 3 article; four Kenyans, who claim they were tortured during Mau Mau uprisings, win the right to sue the UK government, 18 articles; the Princess Diana Memorial Fund to close after fourteen years, 3 articles.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Among the more polite comments are: "This article displays astonishing amorality: a complete lack of human feeling. Is the author a psychopath?"
Another asks: "Does anyone think this article came about as the result of a drunken bet?"
Also: "My gob is smacked. This is a shocking piece Guardian. Shame on you!"
And: "I feel in need a shower after reading this muck."
Another posts: "This sort of article is why the public regard "journalists" as scum"
For the record, McCrystal claims: "Regarding the most shocking revelation of them all, that Milly Dowler's voicemail was allegedly hacked into on behalf of the News of the World, there is a valid, albeit arguable, journalistic justification for it.
"If it is true, as alleged, that private detectives deleted some messages in order to allow new ones in, then any new message might have carried a clue as to the child's whereabouts and indeed our increasingly beleaguered police might have thought of this for themselves. The NoW showed some initiative here – it is only a pity they did so in such an insensitive and self-interested fashion, failing entirely to acknowledge the distress this could (and did) cause the Dowler family."
He also accuses the rest of the press of abandoning the News of the World. "Instead of defending their wayward sibling, Britain's journalists handed it to the wolves. It looked to an outsider like an act of cowardice and treachery. I know for certain that other newspapers in other media groups have, directly or indirectly, used the same investigative tactics. If or when that emerges, giving ammunition to the growing censorship lobby, journalists will bitterly regret their disloyalty."
Roger Graef, the award winning filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and criminologist, has been appointed as the new acting chair of the Media Standards Trust.
It follows the decision by Sir David Bell to suspended his chairmanship of the Trust following his appointment to the Leveson Inquiry on media behaviour and ethics.
Graef said: "I look forward to building on the great work of David and the Trust's Board and team. The Trust has achieved a remarkable amount in the last five years, culminating in some of the achievements of the last 5 weeks."
Graef has made films for both Granada and the BBC as a freelance, he founded his independent production company, Films of Record, in 1979, and has won many awards for films on difficult social issues and criminal justice.
He was given the BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to television. He is the author of, Talking Blues - The Police in their own words, Living Dangerously- Young Offenders in their own words and Why Restorative Justice?.
Graef appears regularly on Radio 4, and writes for the Mail, the Mail on Sunday, the Guardian, the Independent, the Sunday Times, and the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. He was The Times media columnist from 1992-94.
He lectures frequently on media ethics. He was Visiting Professor of Media and Communications at Oxford University, and is now Visiting Professor at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology at the LSE and Visiting Professor at the Media School at Bournemouth University.
Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, said: "The Media Standards Trust has benefited hugely from Sir David Bell's wisdom and experience. Roger Graef's understanding of the media, the police and current affairs is unparalleled and his insights will be critical in informing the Trust's work over the period of the inquiry."
Trinity Mirror, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, has launched a review of its editorial controls and procedures amid investor anxiety that phone-hacking allegations could spread beyond the now-defunct News of the World, the Financial Times reports today.
“We have to check whether any regulations and controls are dysfunctional and whether bad practice has set in,” said a senior Trinity employee, who declined to be named. “We also need ... to ensure that the provenance of stories is understood at senior editorial levels.”
Trinity saw its shares fall 9.8 per cent on Monday over deepening concern among investors that the phone-hacking scandal that has ripped through Rupert Murdoch’s News International was not isolated to one newspaper group.
According to the Financial Times, "Paul Vickers, Trinity’s group legal director, will lead a six-week review encompassing all of the group’s national and regional papers, including the Daily Record, the Sunday Mirror and the People, and will report back to Trinity’s board in mid-September."
A PR firm in Australia has come up with a whacky idea to attract the attention of journalists - send them fake redundancy notices.
According to the Mumbrella website, which covers media and marketing, more than 60 journalists received a document in the post from “The Australian Interior Authority” headed "Notice of Your Redeployment" informing them that their services would no longer be required.
Mumbrella founder Tim Burrowes, who edited Media Week in the UK, notes the letter went out to journalists working for Fairfax Media where real redundancies are taking place.
The stunt has been dreamed up by Draft FCB which has a record of hoaxing the press. The company previously put out a fake press release saying two of its creatives were leaving for a start-up. It turned out to be a way of promoting the new series of Mad Men.
Draft FCB? More like Daft FCB.
Following the phone hacking scandal, the public's view of tabloid journalists must be at an all time low.
Well, not according to a ComRes poll in the Independent today that shows 46% per cent of those polled agree that "most tabloid journalists are basically decent, honest people" while 45% disagree and 9% don't know.
The results might be a bit confusing for Independent readers because after all they are reading a tabloid.
Monday, 25 July 2011
Editor Paul Robertson has resigned from the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle to "seek a new challenge". He is also Trinity Mirror's editorial director for the North East.
Robertson, who has overseen the Chronicle's switch to early morning publication, said: "Having project managed the recent change in the Chronicle publishing schedule, I think it's now the right time for me to seek a fresh challenge. The team in the North East is outstanding and I would like to thank them all for their support. I will miss the place but most of all the people I have worked with, many of whom are friends as well as colleagues. I wish everyone at ncjMedia and GMC the best of luck and success for the future."
He will leave the company on July 29.
Bob Cuffe, regional managing director, said, "Paul has been a passionate ambassador for our business - he's been a positive influence across the region, and proud of the newspapers he's worked on. Alongside his editorial skills, Paul's always been very commercially aware, always eager to support his commercial colleagues. We wish him all the best in the future. Paul will be a tough act to follow, and I'll be working on the future editorial structure in the weeks ahead."
Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian accused of killing more than 70 people, had a chilling note about targeting journalists in his manifesto posted on the web, reports Galleycat.
It read: “In Norway, there is an annual gathering for critical and investigative press where the most notable journalists/editors from all the nations media/news companies attend … The conference lasts for 2 days and is usually organized at a larger hotel/conference center. Security is light or non-existent making the conference a perfect target.”
Among UK journalists who have attended the conference in Norway are the Guardian's investigative reporters David Leigh and Nick Davies.
Leigh has tweeted: "Nick Davies and me were both speaking at the #Norway conference of journalists whom Breivik thought to exterminate. Blimey"
A statement today said: "The Council of the Orwell Prize met on Thursday 21st July to consider Johann Hari’s 2008 submission for the journalism prize. After extensive deliberation, the Council arrived at a clear and unanimous decision, which drew from the combined journalistic and academic expertise of its members.
"It also considered a representation by Johann Hari in its deliberation, and appropriate weight was placed upon it. The Council of the Orwell Prize is fully satisfied that it has adopted the appropriate procedure for an exercise of this kind.
"The Independent has now requested that the Council consider further representations by Johann Hari before announcing the decision. However, it would appear that Johann Hari is not permitted to make any further representations whilst The Independent’s investigation is conducted.
"In these circumstances, the Council of the Orwell Prize has reluctantly consented to delay any formal announcement as to the status of the 2008 Orwell Prize for Journalism until The Independent has completed its own investigation. We will take no further action and make no further statements until that time."
The NUJ is calling for the BBC licence fee deal to be re-examined following claims in the Telegraph that the Tories scrapped a policy to top-slice the licence and share money with other broadcasters after being asked to by James Murdoch.
“David Cameron and his colleagues have been shamelessly prioritising the commercial interests of the Murdochs over those of the British public. The shabby deal on the BBC licence fee settlement was done behind closed doors last autumn, with no democratic scrutiny or transparent discussion. It marked a watershed in the BBC's 89-year history.
“The decision to freeze the licence fee for the next six years has led to the axing of vital language services at the BBC World Service and the imposition of 20 per cent spending cuts across the BBC. Quality public service journalism and the BBC audiences are suffering the consequences of this deal, clearly taken at a time when huge pressure was being exerted by News Corporation.
“The dodgy licence fee deal must now be re-examined as a matter of urgency in light of the latest revelations."
A senior source told the Telegraph: "The last thing Sky wanted was other broadcasters getting a slice of the licence fee. The policy was amended accordingly."In 2009, the "Digital Britain" white paper by the then Labour government proposed a top-slicing deal which would have seen £130 million taken from the BBC's licence fee and used to fund independent regional news as well as children's programmes.
Peter has been helping with the design, marketing and strategy of Northcliffe's Torquay Herald Express which has just gone from daily to weekly publication.
He is impressed with the new 190 page weekly and states: "The key to any change to weekly is that the new paper has to be substantial and of real quality. Filling a fatter paper with rewritten press releases and overblown what's on entries will just accelerate its decline. Think of the Sunday model, rather than the local shopper."
Peter also says: "The halcyon days when each medium-sized community in the UK might have justified its own daily newspaper, days when advertisers and readers had nowhere else to go, are gone. The change to weekly is really about longevity. It's about turning evening newspapers that are losing sale and revenue at alarming rates into viable long-term businesses before they crash to earth. It is inevitable that in some smaller communities, six-day-a-week publications will become increasingly less viable. "
He adds: "But it's also important to stress that this isn't a one size fits all solution. In some places the daily model still has legs. But I would be surprised if the managements at all daily papers selling under 25,000 aren't seriously considering the weekly option."
The MediaGuardian's always entertaining annual list of the 100 most powerful people in the media is out today.
But there is one glaring omission.
Why isn't the Guardian's own Nick Davies, the man whose phone hacking investigation led to the closure of the News of the World, Andy Coulson leaving Downing Street, humbled Rupert Murdoch, exposed the influence of News International on our politicians, sparked resignations at the top of the Murdoch empire and the Met Police and has prompted separate Government inquiries into the police and media behaviour, on the list... at number one?
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Saturday, 23 July 2011
Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph today has no time for those regretting the passing of the News of the World.
He writes: "It has surprised me to read fellow defenders of the free press saying how sad they are that the News of the World closed. In its stupidity, narrowness and cruelty, and in its methods, the paper was a disgrace to the free press. No one should ever have banned it, of course, but nor should anyone mourn its passing. It is rather as if supporters of parliamentary democracy were to lament the collapse of the BNP."
Friday, 22 July 2011
In an article which first appeared in The Times and is now on the BBC's The Editors' blog, Thompson argues: "Whatever the ultimate conclusions of the Leveson inquiry, it is important that the ability of serious investigative journalists to do their work is not blunted or unnecessarily constrained.
"Nor I believe should we automatically assume that newspapers should be held to the same level of regulatory supervision and constraint as the broadcasters. Plurality of regulation is itself an important safeguard of media freedom."
He points out: "The BBC is paid for by the public. Because of that, we would never have paid for the stolen information that helped the Daily Telegraph to uncover the MPs' expenses scandal. The privately owned Telegraph took a different view and was able to publish a series of stories that, taken as a whole, were clearly in the public interest. It is not obvious to me that newspapers that people can choose to buy or ignore - and which, should they break the law, can always be prosecuted after the fact - should be held to the same level of continuous supervision and accountability as broadcasters who reach out into every household in the land."
Thompson also crticises those newspapers that ignored the phone hacking story. "But there are still searching questions for British journalism to answer. Many newspapers with strong investigative teams and many notable journalists with an outstanding record of holding other institutions and walks of life to account showed a marked reluctance to explore the phone-hacking story until events and the public furore made it inevitable. In some cases, they not only refused to investigate the story themselves but heaped opprobrium on those that did. According to Stephen Glover, writing some months ago in the Independent, for example, 'the BBC has conspired with the Guardian to heat up an old story and attack Murdoch'.
"Even in recent days, there's been an attempt in papers that have nothing to do with News International to suggest that our coverage of the story is far more extensive than other news providers and motivated by spite or glee rather than proper news priorities.
"The Daily Mail quoted an Ipsos Mori poll misleadingly this week to suggest that public interest in the story is low. On the contrary, our tracking data suggests it is widespread, with more than 54% of adults claiming to follow the story closely."
Thompson concludes:"I believe that what the public want, what this moment demands, is not another round of self-serving hypocrisy or internecine strife from Britain's journalists, but a serious discussion about the difference between good and bad investigative journalism and a complex but necessary debate about where the boundary of acceptable journalistic practice lies and how it should be enforced."
The NUJ says Johnston Press management has ended the work experience placement of a teenager who the union claimed was being used to try and break the indefinite strike by journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers.
The union protested after claiming the 16-year-old had his work experience on the sports desk at the group's Selby Times extended when the strike over job cuts began at the Selby Times, Doncaster Free Press and South Yorkshire Times.
It said the teenager was being asked to write news stories to help fill the strike hit paper.
NUJ negotiator Lawrence Shaw said: "Our strikers have every sympathy with young people who want work experience because they're interested in pursuing a career in journalism . But management at the Selby Times was exploiting that interest so the experience the young man was being offered was in strike breaking. We're glad that exploitation has now stopped."
A stirring defence of British red-top tabloid journalism comes in a feature by former Mirror journalist Ros Wynne-Jones in the Independent today.
She argues: "As pundits push for greater press regulation, don't think the corporate wrongdoers won't be rubbing their hands with glee: the swindlers and the shaggers, the liars and the cheats. Lest we forget, it's not all been about innocent people and hapless celebrity love rats. With the demise of the News of the World there is one less public policeman – however bent – on the block. Unprincipled methods have been frequently employed against unscrupulous people: the News of the World told us about corruption at the heart of Fifa and Pakistani cricket in the same breath it told us about Max Mosley's indiscretions.
"Tightening press regulation will suit the bad guys immeasurably well. The ordinary folks – who are also the tabloid's readership – get to lose out twice over. Last time I looked, the broadsheets weren't campaigning heavily on the mundane issues that deeply affect working class people – the holiday rip-offs, the loan-shark thugs, the tawdry parasitical underclass that prey on the poor and elderly.
"Apart from kiss and tells, campaigning is one of the things that tabloids do best. Some of the world's best journalism has been tabloid, from the days when John Pilger revealed the cold truth of Cambodia's Killing Fields in the Daily Mirror to the stream of revelations that showed the hypocrisy of John Major's "back to basics" cabinet. Award-winning writing in the tabloids is acknowledged every year at the National Press Awards."
Wynne-Jones also argues: "Meanwhile – breaking news – many tabloid journalists welcome the idea of an ethical broom sweeping through the industry. Not just because they know that the deep cuts facing a declining industry could lead to dangerous corner cutting, but because the illegal methods used by some distort story-getting for all.
"A clean-up will put the possibility for scoops back on a level playing field. Old-fashioned legwork is far harder than paying an investigator for information and it will favour those who are willing to work hard and use honest methods. It will also favour those papers that haven't had the cash to pay for lengthy investigations or have an endless cash supply for the bribes allegedly paid by some outlets."
Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, speaking to a parliamentary committtee looking at defamation law, on the News of the World: "I personally would not have it in the house but I would die in a ditch to defend its right to publish."
Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "Pick up the tabloids any day and read behind the prurience the number of people bullied, tricked, bribed, blackmailed, shouted at through letterboxes. Everyone has always known it. Readers are complicit – though not to blame. Once stories are out there, everyone wants to know what others know. But asked in polls, people want less of this polluting cruelty and intrusion. A better press on the horizon? Dream on – and buy good papers to keep them alive."
Stephen Glover in the Independent: "By the way, I should apologise to the Guardian for suggesting in November 2009 that it was exaggerating the phone-hacking affair. It was right and I was wrong."
The Sunday Times in a leader: "We can only hope that out of this frenzy a more responsible press will emerge. Certain things will not change, however: the media and politicians will always have a close relationship of mutual interest and hostility. It’s not perfect but, like democracy, nobody has come up with a better system."
ADWEEK on Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger: "He looks more like Harry Potter's lonely uncle than the kind of man capable of bringing down Rupert Murdoch."
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "It is unsurprising that Murdoch's fiercest critics should also be his fiercest competitors, notably the Guardian and the BBC."
Patrick Wintour, in the Guardian, on the panel for the Leveson inquiry into the conduct of the media: "Cameron did not appoint a tabloid journalist, even though many of the issues apply to the tabloids."
Labour leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband on Twitter about the strike at South Yorkshire Newspapers, publisher of the Doncaster Free Press and South Yorkshire Times: "Hope the issues are resolved soon. I’ve always appreciated what Free Press and SYT do – their campaigns and stories are vital."
Keith Ruddle, of the Chipping Norton News editorial team, offers Rebekah Brooks a job on the community paper via the Guardian's letters page: "If Rebekah joins the News, she will see it is about real communication of news and views for the community and by the community. No hacking, no blagging – only honest amateur sleuthing, as polite and as balanced as possible – we on the editorial team don't want bricks through our windows. Oh and yes, please note the job of supreme editor is not up for grabs."
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Evidence on phone hacking given to MPs by News International chairman James Murdoch has been questioned by former News of the World editor Colin Myler and ex-NI legal manager Tom Crone, BBC News reports.
In April 2008, he authorised the payment of an out-of-court settlement of more than £600,000 to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, over the hacking of his phone.He said at the time he did not know the full extent of hacking that may have been going on at the News of the World.
In their statement, Myler and Crone said: "Just by way of clarification relating to Tuesday's CMS Select Committee hearing, we would like to point out that James Murdoch's recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken.
""In fact, we did inform him of the 'for Neville' email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor's lawyers."
The "for Neville" email is said to have implied the News of the World's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was also implicated in malpractices.
At the committee hearing on Tuesday, Labour's Tom Watson asked James Murdoch: "When you signed off the Taylor payment, did you see or were you made aware of the full email suggesting hacking was more widespread than had been admitted."
Murdoch replied: "No, I was not aware of that at the time."
BBC News adds that in a statement issued by News International's parent firm News Corporation, James Murdoch said: "I stand by my testimony to the select committee."
- BBC News also reports that a former News of the World executive has been sacked by the Sun over serious misconduct allegations. Features editor Matt Nixson was news editor at the News of the World in 2006 while Andy Coulson was the paper's editor. His sacking is said to be connected to his time at the NoW.
Striking NUJ journalists at the Johnston Press-owned South Yorkshire Newspapers are producing 'bootleg versions' of the Doncaster Free Press, South Yorkshire Times and Selby Times for readers as part of their industrial action against management decisions to cut jobs and close offices.
News of the Dearne appeared in Mexborough today with the strapline: "Hacking off Johnston Press since 20o11" and a feature on the issues behind the strike.
The union says the journalists have made the move to publish their own papers because they do not want their readers and communities to miss out on the real news while their indefinite strike continues.
One of the NUJ members said: "We are determined to win our strike, but we feel a real responsibility to our readers and are determined to give them the best service they can get.
"We also want to show management that we are willing and more than able to produce quality journalism under the most difficult of circumstances.We just wish our bosses would give us the opportunity to do that while we were at work."
One of the strikers' ideas was to call their Selby paper the News of the (scr) Ouse.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband tweeted today: "Hope the issues are resolved soon. I’ve always appreciated what Free Press and SYT do – their campaigns and stories are vital." He has come under fire from the NUJ for ignoring the dispute, despite being a local MP (see post below).
MPs John McDonnell (top) and Austin Mitchell are urging Lord Leveson, who is heading the inquiry into media ethics, to recommend legislation for a "conscience clause" for journalists which would stop them being sacked for refusing to break the code of conduct.
In a letter to the Guardian today the MPs, both members of the NUJ parliamentary group, state: "On several occasions over recent years, we have proposed amendments to employment legislation to introduce a conscience clause to protect journalists who refuse to undertake editors or press owners' instructions to do anything against the journalists' code of conduct. This would help protect journalists who refused to stoop to practices which they regard as unethical.
"When the Employment Relations Act was going through parliament in 2004, we sought to introduce a conscience clause amendment which would have ensured that any attempt to dismiss a journalist for obeying the Press Complaints Commission code of practice would have been unlawful and therefore actionable in respect of compensation.
"All the main parties refused to support our amendments. Giving the code of conduct statutory force would help protect journalists against undue pressure from editors, and also prevent the development of a sewer journalism culture. Our hope is that the Leveson inquiry will recommend legislation to introduce a conscience clause."
Speaking in the Commons on the Leveson inquiry, McDonnell pointed out that the NUJ code was first development in 1936.
Asked if the one of the most important results of the Levenson inquiry would be "a media that tells the truth", McDonnell replied: “I think that we will arrive at that situation only if we enforce the code of conduct and if journalists and employers know where they stand and that, if they breach the code, journalists can stand up and be protected in law if they refuse to practise the sort of journalism we have seen recently.
"I urge the Leveson inquiry to examine the introduction of a conscience clause backed by statute to protect journalists who refuse to go into the sewer and use the methods that we have all condemned in these recent debates.
"The Leveson inquiry should consider anti-trade union legislation, which has been used to undermine employees’ rights at places such as News International when unions have tried to protect members who have simply stood up for quality and ethical journalism.”
Local press and Leveson Inquiry:
The Prime Minister referred to the “strong case for recognising the importance of a strong regional and local newspaper industry”, avoiding “punishing the innocent.. providing good local newspapers” and the work of the local press with the police to help beat crime, in the course of Wednesday’s debate on Public Confidence in the Media and Police.
David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con) asked : “Like many other Members, I am sure, I have been contacted by local newspapers which are concerned about the prospect of new regulation at a time of increasing pressure on their circulation. Can my right hon. Friend assure them that new regulations will not be overly heavy-handed on local press?”
The Prime Minister replied: “My hon. Friend makes a good point. We do not want a new regulatory system to punish the innocent, as it were, who are just providing good local newspapers, but there are problems with ethics and issues that need to be looked at. We need to make sure that it is proportionate….”
Nigel Mills (Amber Valley) (Con) asked: “After a decade of spin, I welcome the Prime Minister’s attempt to sort out the relationship between politicians and the media for the long term, not just to manage the news cycle. Will he recommend that Government Departments, local councils and quangos start dispensing with all their own spin doctors so that we can be truly rid of that spin culture?”
The Prime Minister replied: “My hon. Friend makes a good point. An enormous amount of money is still spent by local authorities on their own free local newspapers. That is injurious to the newspaper industry. There is a strong case for recognising the importance of a strong regional and local newspaper industry….”
- Pic: Jon Slattery