Quotes of the Week: From who wants rid of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers to Johnston's margins
Rupert Murdoch at Leveson:"I love newspapers... my shareholders would like me to get rid of them all."
Simon Carr in the Independent on Leveson and Jeremy Hunt: "A hundred and sixty three pages of emails between your private office and News Corp written during the most sensitive stages of a takeover... and volunteered to the tribunal without a struggle. What a betrayal of such tender intimacy. For Jeremy Hunt, it must have been like having his sex-tape released on the internet. The minister had seemed such a respectable young man and here he was, upside down and inside out as News Corp had its rough and complicated way with him. 'Oh Mummy, it was horrible'."
Evgeny Lebedev at Leveson on the free press in the U.K. compared to Russia: "Something that needs to be treasured and valued because I’ve seen the other side."
Irish Post and former local paper editor Murray Morse in Press Gazette on the exodus of editors from the regional press: “It’s already a tough job but when you’ve got no staff, a lot of the joy can go out of editing a newspaper. I think that some editors have decided that the job has changed so much that they wanted to get out before they were driven insane by constantly having to battle with the beancounters,”
Peter Preston in the Observer: "Journalism, via web or app, can still be fine and probing, spurred on by great section heads, but it cannot be edited in any strict sense, any more than TV cable news churning day and night while controllers sleep. Leveson and his supplementary silks have often looked askance these past few months when an editor in their witness box hasn't kept proper audit trails, doesn't remember the decision in question or, just flat-out, was doing something else at the time. But that's the nature of the job – a job in the throes of profound, sometimes barely realised change."
Louise Mensch MP: "The local press performs a unique function in our democracy, as often only a local paper will hold a council or MP to account. Government has to look at ways of preserving Britain’s most popular print media – read by an estimated 33 million people per month. When we think of so many things that are subsidised that have only limited appeal, surely there is a case for tax advantages for local papers. And if a pure profit model doesn’t work, government should look at ways to facilitate local communities and businesses owning their own papers – like the supporters trust model for football clubs."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on the idea of a media tax to subsidise the local press: "An industry levy – a tax or charge on the revenues or profits of media organisations – common in many European countries is one option to provide subsidies elsewhere in the industry. A levy of one per cent on pay TV operators, such as Sky and Virgin Media, could bring in around £70 million a year."
Johnston Press financial results: "In a challenging trading environment, the Group has maintained market leading operating margins in 2011 and cash generation from operations has remained strong. The underlying operating profit fell by 10.3% to £64.6m, the underlying operating margin for the year was 17.3% ."