Thursday, 31 January 2013

Unions welcome conviction of Gongadze's killer

 The NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists have welcomed the decision to convict former police chief General Oleksiy Pukach for the murder of the Ukrainian internet journalist Georgy Gongadze (see post below).

Press freedom campaigners and journalists' unions have been seeking justice for Gongadze following his murder in 2000. The conviction of Pukach comes at a time when many killers of journalists around the world escape prosecution and act with impunity.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “After many years of hard campaigning we are pleased that there will be some justice for Georgy and his family. The Gongadze case has come to epitomise the impunity with which politicians and other powerful people conspire to silence journalists.

“We warned repeatedly that the refusal to pursue the Gongadze case and the way that senior politicians of various parties obstructed and sabotaged the investigation, would encourage other officials to act with impunity against journalists.

“The conviction sends a strong message to those that want to silence journalists – the same justice should now also be extended to those others involved in Georgy’s murder.”
Jim Boumedlha, IFJ president said: "After more than a decade of tireless pursuit of justice for Gongadze, the conviction of his killer is good news indeed. Unfortunately, the decision feels like partial justice as others involved in his murder are still being shielded from responsibility."

Arne König, European Federation of Journalists president said: "We urge the authorities to reconsider their decision not to prosecute other individuals mentioned by Pukach. They should answer for their role in a public and transparent trial. It is the only way to do justice for Gongadze and allow his family to move on."

Gongadze, publisher of the Internet journal Ukrainska Prawda, was kidnapped on 16 September 2000 and his body found later beheaded.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Ex-police chief convicted of murdering Gongadze

A Ukrainian court has convicted a former police chief of murdering internet journalist Georgy Gongadze (top)  in 2000, a case which has been the focus of a campaign by press freedom groups for years.

BBC News reports that the  court in Kiev found that Olexiy Pukach had killed the journalist, then cut off his head. It sentenced Pukach to life imprisonment.

Pukach confessed but said he had acted on the orders of the late Interior Minister, Yuri Kravchenko.

The murder sparked protests against the president at the time, Leonid Kuchma. An attempt to prosecute Kuchma for ordering the killing collapsed in December 2011 when a judge ruled that secret audio recordings which apparently incriminated him could not be used as evidence, as they had been obtained through "illegal means". 

Kuchma has always denied involvement in the journalist's murder.

A few months before his death, Georgy Gongadze founded the news website Ukrainskaya Pravda, which was critical of the Kuchma presidency.

While serving as head of the Ukrainian interior ministry's external surveillance service, Pukach tracked Gongadze, the court found. Pukach testified that he had accidentally strangled the journalist with a belt while interrogating him about possible links to foreign states in September 2000.

Brings closure neither to the Gongadze family, nor to Ukraine. Too many questions remain unanswered. In his final remarks in the courtroom, Gen Pukach claimed Leonid Kuchma should have also been in the dock. Yet his name did not feature in the trial."

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

NUJ: 'Trinity Mirror shake up will cost 70 posts'

The NUJ estimates that more than 70 posts will be cut at Trinity Mirror under plans to share more editorial content across its national and regional titles.

Barry Fitzpatrick (top), NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “We calculate that more than 70 posts will be going in this massive shake up. Others are being created in digital, but many will lose out. This will hugely undermine journalism on these titles.

"It will have a serious impact on newsrooms across the country and the working conditions of staff. It is a short-sighted strategy which will rob communities of good locally-based journalism.

“The NUJ is now studying the proposals and we will be seeking talks at a national level, as this is clearly a national strategy.”

Trinity Mirror plans a shared-content unit based in Liverpool and there will be a number of new roles at the national titles for writers and photographer/videographers, plus a number of new digital roles.

Reacting to Trinity Mirror's announcement that it proposes to cut 16 editorial jobs at Media Wales, Martin Shipton, NUJ FoC, said: "We are gravely concerned about the implications for our titles. One of the proposals is to close down our features department and create a unit based in Liverpool to produce generic features content across Trinity Mirror Regionals. This will result in a loss of Welsh content in our paper and its replacement by standardised British material.

"Trinity Mirror has been making editorial job cuts for the last 10 years, with ever more disastrous consequences for its newspapers. There are many unanswered questions about the workability of these proposals and we expect swift answers."

Trinity Mirror says 92 jobs to go will be on the group’s regional newspapers, while around half of 52 new jobs to be created will be on the national titles.

The company said in a statement: “These changes will result in a net reduction of approximately 40 editorial roles and consultation with affected staff has already begun. The company hopes to achieve any redundancies by voluntary means as well as redeploying staff, where possible, to newly-created roles under the new publishing operation.”

Neil Benson, Trinity Mirror editorial director, said: "Our newsrooms have made great progress in embracing the digital world in recent years but, essentially, our processes have remained print-led.

"This new approach is a bold, imaginative step that will enable us to become a fully-fledged, digitally-focused news operation, and brings together for the first time the best of our regional and national journalism.

"It is never easy to make these decisions when it affects our colleagues in this way but we must re-engineer the way we work if our journalism is to thrive in the future."

David Cameron's EU speech is top story of week

David Cameron's speech pledging an "in or out" referendum on the European Union was the most covered UK news story for the week ending Sunday, January 27, according to journalisted.

The top stories of the week were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online.  

Alan Geere's African university job ends in tears

It looks like Alan Geere's new job as senior tutor in media, communication and journalism at Victoria University in Kampala, Uganda, has come to an abrupt end.

The former award-winning editor of the Essex Chronicle (top) writes on his blog - in a post headlined  The Victoria University dream: How it all ended in tears - "In a dramatic announcement just days before the new term was due to start staff were told that courses validated by the University of Buckingham in the UK had been suspended.

A statement put out on the Victoria University website set out the reasons behind the move:
“Under both UK and Ugandan law discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited; however there are fundamental differences between the two nations’ respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled.

"After seeking legal guidance from both UK and Ugandan lawyers, Victoria University and University of Buckingham have concluded that as the laws of Uganda and UK presently stand, Victoria University cannot comply with both sets of laws.”

Geere adds: "This is all about the so-called ‘Gay Bill’, which was due to be presented to Parliament early this year. It calls for severe penalties for people who engage in homosexual acts and even threatens punishment for anyone who knows about others who know about any such behaviour..."

"So, two years hard work unravelled in a matter of days. The students were told they could have a refund for last term’s fees and would be offered help to continue their studies at Middlesex Dubai or Buckingham in the UK while the academic staff were given three days to clear their desks and were paid off as per their contracts."

Geere left Northcliffe, where he was regional editorial director for Northcliffe South East, last summer to take up the teaching post in Africa. The Essex Chronicle under his editorship won the weekly newspaper of the year title two years in a row at the Society of Editors' Regional Press Awards.

Sir Harry Evans rounds on the critics of Leveson: Accuses the press of being cynical and arrogant

Sir Harry Evans (top), the distinguished former editor of the The Times and Sunday Times, used the annual Hugh Cudlipp Lecture last night to launch a ferocious attack on the critics of the Leveson Report and their opposition to statutory underpinning of press regulation.

He damned much of the British press reaction to Leveson as showing cynicism and arrogance and accused it of misrepresenting the report's main proposal.

Sir Harry, speaking at the London College of Communication, asked: "Is there something about the ownership, tradition, structure and  personnel of the British press that breeds a unique recidivism in  which we seem doomed to experience what the economists call a negative multiplier effect – every reform provoked by some abuse is  followed by still grosser offences and, if we are to believe the defenders of the status quo, by still more extreme reformist assaults on the sacred freedom of the press bequeathed to us from time immemorial etc. Milton! Locke! Wilkes! Mill!

"Have ever those who recruit you to their cause more reminded us of  Queen Gertrude: they doth protest too much, methinks. Twenty years ago  when from my American experience I was arguing here for a Freedom of  Information Act, I was asked, reasonably enough, freedom for what?

"Freedom for exposing the records of a mental health therapist? Freedom for the clandestine taping of calls, the toxic seed of hacking yet to be fertilised by technology? Freedom to trespass in hospital wards?  Freedom to ridicule a Minister because she has put on weight? Freedom to corrupt the police? Freedom to snoop on children at school? Freedom to blackmail and bribe?

He argued: "Freedom of the press – importantly to inquire as well as to utter in the public interest – is too great a cause, too universal a value to a civilised society, to be cheapened as it is in the current debates."

Sir Harry said upwards of 100 journalists are killed each year in the name of the freedom of the press and contrasted their sacrifice with the "sleaze merchants" whose culture was "rotten, corrupt, bullying, mean and cynical, inured to the misery caused by their intrusions, contemptuous of ‘do-gooder’ press codes.

"They betrayed the ideals and principles that have animated generations of journalists – but they felt they were above the law."

He added: "As depressing as exposure of the dark arts has been, it is deepened by the cynicism and arrogance of much of the reaction to Leveson, coming from figures in the press who did nothing to penetrate - indeed whose inertia assisted - the cover-up conducted into oblivion by News International, a cover up which would have  continued, but for the skill of Nick Davies and the courage of his editor."

Sir Harry hit out at the way the Leveson Reort had been covered by the press. "The misrepresentation of Leveson’s main proposal is staggering. To portray his careful construct for statutory underpinning as state control is a gross distortion."

He said he regarded Leveson's proposals on statutory underpinning of press regulation as "an opportunity not a threat."

Sir Harry argued that the Leveson Report shows a way to protect privacy and encourage high standards while enlarging,  not diminishing, the freedom of the press.

He said: "Lord Leveson did not propose that a law should be passed laying down  how the press should behave with civil servants as censors. Did not. Did not.

"He entirely accepted that it should regulate itself through a Trust, though with independent opinion dominant.  He more or less accepted the architecture proposed by the press but wanted a surveyor to check that its foundations were stable.

"Let me emphasise: he sees regulation of the press organised by the press, but with a statutory process to ensure that the required levels of independence and effectiveness are met."

Sir Harry did have some criticisms of Leveson and said he thought it was "soft" on the police.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, responded to the speech by telling Sir Harry: "The problem is we don't have the protection of a written constitution."

He said politicians could amend any proclamation supporting press freedom with a "but" and asked: "Can we trust politicians of the future? That's why we don't like it."


Friday, 25 January 2013

NUJ says it will continue to campaign for the killers of Martin O'Hagan to be brought to justice

The NUJ says it is "gravely disappointed" that the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland has said there will be no prosecution over the murder of Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan (pictured), who was shot dead in Lurgan in 2001.

Irish NUJ secretary Seamus Dooley said: “This union does not accept that the State can walk away from this case. The murder of Martin O'Hagan was an outrageous act of violence which cannot go unpunished.

"We will continue to campaign for a full investigation leading to the conviction of those responsible for the murder of our friend and colleague.

"Martin's family, friends and colleagues remain determined to see justice done in this case".

The DPP, Barra McGrory QC,  was quoted as saying the decision was made after careful consideration of "available evidence".

Sunday World northern editor Jim McDowell told BBC News he was angry and annoyed at the announcement.

"Myself and the staff have worked hard since that black Friday in September 2001 to try to get justice for Martin O'Hagan. It now seems, that old adage, while there there may be law in this country, where is the justice?"
  • Pic: PA

Quotes of the Week: Prince Harry shoots at British press to why not charge readers to comment?

Prince Harry in an ITV News interview slams the British press: “All it does is upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do. My father (Prince Charles) always says don't read it, everyone says don't read it, because it's always rubbish. I'm surprised how many in the UK actually read it.”

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron: "It would have been nice if Prince Harry had resisted getting out his huge tar brush to blacken the entire British press and acknowledged that there are good and bad in every profession - including the armed forces. He might also have acknowledged that on more than one occasion, the British press has been asked in its entirety to keep his deployment to Afghanistan secret - and remained water-tight. Respect has to work both ways."

Leveson lead counsel Robert Jay, speaking at the Singapore Acadmy of Law, as reported by the Guardian:  "My impression is that the press in the UK could well qualify as the most unruly and irreverent in the world, and I have travelled widely; it is fearless, and it speaks its mind. To be described as 'unruly and irreverent' would be regarded by most editors and journalists as a badge of honour, not of aspersion. Many would argue that these qualities make the press in the UK the best in the world, because the dividing line between fearlessness in holding power to account and unruliness in disparaging the rights of private individuals is almost impossible to draw."

David Walsh on Lance Armstrong in the Sunday Times [£]: "I do not expect or want an apology but I would like a third meeting because I have got a lot of questions. Oprah started something three nights ago, a very modest first step on the road to the truth in Armstrong’s story. If he commits himself to the journey, he will be surprised how far he can go."

A sign in Manly Library, Sydney, as quoted by The Australian: "All non-fiction Lance Armstrong titles, including Lance Armstrong: Images of a Champion, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program and Lance Armstrong: World's Greatest Champion, will soon be moved to the fiction section.'' 

Evgeny Lebedev on the Independent in the Sunday Times [£]: “We’ve done a lot of research and worked out that the future of the paper is very upmarket.”

EU report suggests new ways to police the press, as reported by Press Gazette: "Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status."

Local World chairman David Montgomery, interviewed in InPublishing about the future for local journalism: “It’s about getting people to organise themselves sufficiently to manage the amount of content a local publisher exploits. Not a two fold increase but a 20-fold increase in the amount of content a local publisher exploits.” 

Tyler Brûlé in the Financial Times: "What about charging people to comment? It used to cost the price of a stamp to send a letter to the editor. I’m quite sure the media landscape would be a tidier, more polite place if everyone was charged a first-class postal fee before firing off poorly researched, occasionally rude remarks."

[£] = paywall

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Algerian hostage crisis most covered story of week

The terrorist attack on the Algerian gas plant resulting in the killing of hostages was the most covered story for the UK media in the week ending Sunday, January 20, according to journalisted.

British hostages killed after militants seize Algerian gas plant following long standoff, generated 255 articles.

Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: From backing Burchill to why British journalists are tougher than the rest

Julie Burchill (top) in the Observer: "To have your cock cut off and then plead special privileges as women – above natural-born women, who don't know the meaning of suffering, apparently – is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: the boy who killed his parents and then asked the jury for clemency on the grounds he was an orphan."

Lib Dem MP on Twitter: "Julie Birchill rant against transgender community is absolutely disgusting - a bigoted vomit for which the Observer should sack her."

Telegraph editor on Twitter: "Shocking calls for a columnist to be sacked - a liberal! - but no surprise post-Leveson. Trust ignores her"

John Mulholland, editor of The Observer, in a statement: "We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece 'Transsexuals should cut it out'. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece."

Simon Kelner in the Independent: "What kind of country is this? Are we so constrained by vested interests that free speech, which includes the freedom to offend, is now constrained? Does the Twitter mob now set the rules on fair comment? In a statement, the editor of The Observer said his paper 'prides itself on... airing challenging views'. True. He ends by saying: 'On this occasion we got it wrong'. Surely some mistake. That should be: 'On this occasion we got it right'."

Roy Greenslade in the London Evening Standard: "Why do editors hire Julie Burchill to write columns? The obvious answer is that she provokes the audience like no other columnist. She is the iconoclast’s iconoclast. She does controversy without taking breath. It’s in her DNA."

Suzanne Moore in the Guardian: "If Lynne Featherstone can call for a journalist and an editor to be sacked, this does not bode well for having politicians and lawyers running the press, does it? Do you actually want to be governed by humourless, authoritarian morons? Don't answer that, I may be offended. You don't commission someone like Julie Burchill to launch an Exocet missile and then say: 'Oh dear, we only really wanted a sparkler.' You cannot unpublish something any more because of the internet, something that Lord Justice Leveson failed to get his considerable head round."

Richard Littlejohn in the Mail: "If newspapers start firing columnists for making ‘offensive’ remarks, where will it all end?"

Observer readers' editor Stephen Pritchard on Comment Is Free: "Freedom of expression means nothing if gratuitous insults mask the very message that is being conveyed. In publishing those insults, the Observer fell below the standards it expects others to uphold. There was no other option but to withdraw the piece and apologise."

The Guardian's new northern editor Helen Pidd interviewed on Prolific North: “I had a meeting with Alan Rusbridger and asked him whether he honestly cared about the north, especially with the Guardian expanding so much into America. He did admit some responsibility for the London-centricity but said that it was not all his fault as the amount of news coming out of London has also grown. He did admit though that we have neglected the north, and in a happier financial situation the Guardian would start rebuilding its Manchester office, like The Sun has.”

The Earl of Caithness, speaking in the House of Lords about press coverage after the suicide of his wife, as reported by MediaGuardian: "We wanted privacy but some of the press wanted a story, the more salacious the better. When a fact or a truth emerged, that was ignored. But can they be blamed for that? That was an remains their job, to get a story. Some people and their children will continue to get unnecessarily hurt in the future, but that, my lords, is a price we must pay for as free a press as possible."

Brian Reade in the Mirror: "Over the years I’ve seen foreign politicians, ­sportsmen and actors ­visibly stunned at the ­directness and ­perseverance of British journalists. Look at the way FIFA, the IOC, MEPs and US ­Republicans detest us...It’s why, for all our faults, the British media holds those in ­power to account more stringently than in any other country. Why, as we debate the proposals of the Leveson Report, many ­powerful people want our journalists neutered by law. Why the Hugh Grants of this world want ­Parliament to do a Tarantino, and shut our butts down. Because, like those Hollywood publicists, they don’t believe we have any right to go for the jugular and ask the awkward questions."

John Mair quits Coventry for post at Northampton

John Mair (left) has been appointed subject leader for journalism and broadcast at the University of Northampton's School of Arts.

He was previously associate senior lecturer in broadcast journalism at Coventry University.

Mair has had eight books published in the last four years , including his edited collection with Professor Richard Keeble on the phone hacking scandal. His ninth book, After Leveson?, is due to be published in February.

Whilst teaching at Coventry University, Mair created the Coventry Conversations, which brought 350 leading media figures to speak at the university. He has now introduced the Northampton Chronicles to the University of Northampton, with a number of high profile names taking part in the conversational talks this year.

Mair said: “I am delighted to join the University of Northampton as subject leader for journalism at an important point in its development. My aim is to put the course and the University firmly on the national map and to ensure our graduates have the world of media as their oyster.”

Before entering higher education, Mair worked for the BBC as a producer/director, mainly in TV current affairs for two decades.

Kate Williams also joins the University of Northampton as a senior lecturer in broadcast journalism, after more than 20 years working at the BBC, and was part of the management team at BBC Radio 5live.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Jimmy Savile report most covered story of week

The joint report detailing the extent of the sex abuse allegations made against Jimmy Savile was the most covered news story for the week ending Sunday, January 13, according to journalisted.

The most covered stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Quotes of the week: Why Bell puts Osborne in bondage gear to papers go nuts about a squirrel

Cartoonist Steve Bell in a Guardian video on his portrayal of George Osborne: "Why is George in bondage gear? Well, I was having a bit of a problem drawing George. The whole point about George's stance is its about restraint, restraint, restraint, cuts, cuts, whips, whips,  straps, straps, chains, chains... "

Chris Huhne's partner Carina Trimingham, interviewed in the Independent, on the Daily Mail: "In their sights, they have a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister, which they really don't like, and a former lesbian. Good God, all their Christmases have come at once."

Hacked Off's Brian Cathcart in the Guardian: "What is happening is a subversion of Leveson and an insult to the idea of an open society. [The government] can't be trusted, and the more they meddle privately with Leveson's recommendations, the more they are certain to contaminate them. Day by day, they are burning up public trust."

Index on Censorship's Kirsty Hughes in a letter to the Guardian:  "As Index on Censorship has pointed out since the beginning of the Leveson process, any statute, however "light-touch", will inevitably give politicians the ability to meddle with a free press. And the 24 paragraphs that Leveson put forward to describe his desired statutory underpinning anyway belie the idea that this is light-touch at all. The only way to avoid this meddling is to refrain from creating any law specifically drafted for the press."

Toby Young on his Telegraph blog: "The problem is, the Orwell Prize is administered by the Media Standards Trust, the same body that launched the Hacked Off Campaign. It seems pretty clear to me that the present aims of Hacked Off – namely, to see all of Leveson’s recommendations implemented in full, including the statutory underpinning of a new, independent press regulator – would not have found sympathy with Orwell. Indeed, I don’t see how the Media Standards Trust can, in good conscience, support Hacked Off and continue to invoke Orwell’s good name."

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn at Southwark Crown Court, as reported by Press Gazette: "I felt very strongly that we shouldn't be doing hacking. Our function was to prevent terrorist attacks and I was particularly worried that the behaviour of my colleagues was such that they thought it was a bit of a jolly. They thought it was all going to be a bit of fun, getting to travel, getting to see famous people. I felt sufficiently strongly we should not be diverting resources which are to do with saving people's lives. It made me really angry."

Telegraph editor  on Twitter: "Shouldn't journalists feel queasy about the reporter who took a ring in and then gave evidence against the hacking DCI?"

Alex Jones to Piers Morgan on CNN: "Why did you get fired from the Daily Mirror for putting out fake stories? You're a hatchet man of the New World Order. You're a hatchet man! And I'm going to say this here, you think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you'll wear your Jolly Roger."

Andrew Sullivan on his blog The Dish going independent and subscriber based: "Basically, we've gotten a third of a million dollars in 24 hours, with close to 12,000 paid subscribers (at last count). On average, readers paid almost $8 more than we asked for. To say we're thrilled would obscure the depth of our gratitude and relief."

Editor Dominic Ponsford on his blog on why Press Gazette is dropping print and going digital only: "While the production of a quarterly journal made great sense journalistically, the commercial case did not pan out as well as we had hoped. And with the Press Gazette editorial team now producing a weekly digital magazine, daily newsletter, rolling news website and iPhone/tablet app - we now plan to focus editorial resources on developing these growing outlets."

on Twitter on the Press Gazette move: "Well, well. If journalists won't buy print who will?"

on Twitter: "And every paper has the story of a squirrel being rescued from a pond in Watford. Who said Leveson would muzzle the Press?"

Friday, 4 January 2013

Press Gazette quits print format to go digital only

Press Gazette: Some of its different designs

Press Gazette, the UK's magazine for journalists, is to go digital only - and is to scrap its quarterly print edition.

The magazine launched by Colin Valdar in 1965 as UK Press Gazette established itself as a weekly until it switched to monthly publication in August 2008 before trying the quarterly format last year.

Editor Dominic Ponsford has posted: "Despite a strong reception for the first edition of Press Gazette -Journalism Quarterly - we have taken the decision to focus our efforts on digital publishing and a string of new events.

"In common with other B2B titles in particular, we have increasingly found in recent years that readers want to access Press Gazette's news and analysis digitally. And more than ever before are doing so, with now attracting 150,000-plus unique users a month and 35,000 individuals following us on Twitter.

"While the production of a quarterly journal made great sense journalistically, the commercial case did not pan out as well as we had hoped. And with the Press Gazette editorial team now producing a weekly digital magazine, daily newsletter, rolling news website and iPhone/tablet app - we now plan to focus editorial resources on developing these growing outlets."

Press Gazette follows Media Week in going digital only. Media Week made the switch in November, 2009. Broadcast, PR Week and Campaign have weekly print editions as well as websites.
  • I was a reporter, news editor and deputy editor of Press Gazette.

Quotes of the Week: Martin Kelner's good-bye to the Guardian to what stops the Eye being boring

Martin Kelner in his farewell Screen break column after 16 years with the Guardian: "No hard feelings, by the way. This newspaper, like the rest of us, is having to embrace austerity. As even middle-class families find it necessary to forgo fripperies like meals out and weekends away – and those less well-fixed do without luxuries like shoes and food – so this newspaper trims its sails too. Think of me as a spring break in a lovely spa resort we can no longer stump up for."

Michael Buerk on the BBC's Queen's Jubilee coverage, in the Mail on Sunday: "The Dunkirk Little Ships, the most evocative reminders of this country’s bravest hour, were ignored so that a pneumatic bird-brain from Strictly Come Dancing could talk to transvestites in Battersea Park."

Mark Lawson in the Guardian: "If broadcasters and newspapers failed the public over Savile, there is little question that a crucial accomplice to the crime were the British laws of defamation, which, as in earlier cases such as Robert Maxwell's financial frauds, allowed a powerful and well-connected figure to avoid scrutiny through careful use of writs or the threat of them to terrify the accuser with the prospect of financial ruin. In this respect, the most important of Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations may be the suggested framework for swifter and cheaper defamation hearings."

The Times [£] on lobbying: "The group on media reform, whose stated purpose is to 'discuss advantages and disadvantages of different media regulation', is given secretarial services by Hacked Off, the campaign group calling for statutory regulation of the press."

Robert Hardman in the Mail: "The internet has brought untold blessings and advancements to the way we live. But I would not say that Twitter is one of them. At best, it is a succinct method of despatching a brief round-robin. More often, it just encourages us to be self-centred — to waste time and to become crashing bores."

John Gapper in the Financial Times [£]: "A decade ago, I attended a worthy conference on the future of newspapers at which a speaker showed a chart of the low revenues from online advertising. The line rose over the years until – about now, as I recall – it exceeded that for print. At the time, it looked like an awful warning; it now turns out to have been absurdly optimistic."

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph on the death of Christopher Martin-Jenkins: "CMJ would never have had a chance of breaking through today as a cricket commentator in the 21st-century BBC sports department. He stood for everything the corporation’s middle management hates most: his elegant diction, eccentricity, deep religious belief, perfect courtesy, public school education, refusal to sensationalise, dislike of modernity, sense of right and wrong, above all his quiet conservatism."

Tony Rushton, the retiring art editor of Private Eye, in an interview in the Independent: "If you took away the cartoons from Private Eye it would be a very boring magazine, a worthy, boring magazine."

[£] = paywall

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Behold ALL the national paper front pages of 2012

This is brilliant. Front Pages Today has all the UK national newspaper front pages of 2012 in one place. All you have to do is select a paper and you can see all the front pages throughout the year.