Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From death of Washington Post's legendary Watergate editor Ben Bradlee to Charlie Brooks whips his prosecutor

23 October 2014 - 4:30pm

Ben Bradlee: Pic Washington Post
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, who died this week aged 93, in a joint statement published by the Guardian“Ben was a true friend and genius leader in journalism. He had the courage of an army. Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. But he was utterly liberated from that. He was an original who charted his own course. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives.”

The Washington Post: "Mr. Bradlee’s patrician good looks, gravelly voice, profane vocabulary and zest for journalism and for life all contributed to the charismatic personality that dominated and shaped The Post. Modern American newspaper editors rarely achieve much fame, but Mr. Bradlee became a celebrity and loved the status."

Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian: "Few reporters look like Robert Redford, or even Dustin Hoffman. Most journalistic careers don’t offer the opportunity to bring down a president. Most stories are fuelled more by coffee than adrenaline. But Ben Bradlee will remain for all time everyone’s idea of what an editor should be."

Ben Bradlee giving a spin doctor the brush off in a letter, revealed by the Washington Post: "I don't see any  purpose in meeting with you and Mr. Bloom. I would like to be sure that you understand we trust our editors' news judgement and that we distrust yours."


The Sun in a statement: "The Sun is proud of our record standing up for children and we believe we make a real difference. We have listened to the concerns about a story we ran on 29th July headlined 'Boy, 4, has mark of devil' and we accept that, on this occasion, we didn't get it right. As a result, we have tightened our procedures on all stories involving children, including the issue of paying parents."


Playwright David Williamson to the BBC on the difficulty of casting Rupert Murdoch in his new play: "All commercial productions rely on getting a cast that will attract an audience and we've found that some actors are actually scared of playing Rupert on stage. The man has so much power and quite understandably, people - and that includes actors - don't want to offend him. He owns Fox Studios, for heavens' sake!"



Ryan Chittum on the Columbia Journalism Review on the ethics of the Guardian's Whisper scoop: "What The Guardian did was entirely ethical. Whisper told its reporters highly newsworthy facts about its own service. The information was all on the record. The Guardian reported it. It would have been a journalistic lapse for the paper not to have told readers what it had learned."


Bob Geldof in the Guardian: "You know, the children were never, ever, ever given a break, particularly by the Daily Mail, who engaged in a lifelong exercise in bullying. These tiny little girls – never once did they write anything about their courage, their strength, their beauty, their abilities. If they went to a teenage party, then they were out of control, they were exactly following in their mother’s footsteps – and look at her, guess what she was – and this would be posted on the school noticeboards… When I tried to occasionally stop it, inevitably it would be a freedom of the press issue."

Matthew Parris in The Times [£]: "Down below this column — if you read me online — there’s a dark and rather scary world we call Readers’ Posts. I go there often to do battle with the Ukip and ConHome astroturfers — the rabble who migrate between the online comment sections of papers like ours, the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian (places you often sense are not their natural pastures) giving the impression of a huge, angry, grassroots surge of support for Ukip."

Tim Walker @ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "I can't think of any newspaper that would dream of running the blandly obvious pieces written for #thoughtfortheday. Why does @BBCRadio4?"


Early Day Motion 352 : "That this House is gravely concerned about recent reports that police forces have used powers contained in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to access journalists' sources and materials; notes that unlike requests made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 there is no public record of these requests or their frequency, extent or even the existence of these applications, and there is no judicial oversight or independent process to grant permission to use these powers; further notes and welcomes the Interception of Communications Commissioner's new inquiry that will be asking all chief constables how many applications under RIPA have been granted since 2000 to access journalists' communications, and calls on these findings to be made public."

Met Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and reported by the Telegraph: "I think Ripa has been sometimes poorly presented in the media .. I think everyone would accept nobody should be above the law. Whether it's any member of the public, whether it's a police officer, whether it's a journalist, we should be able to investigate and pursue any one of those... Now, if Parliament wants to decide that there are special issues around journalistic privilege which means there needs to be more safeguards around that - well, that's something for Parliament to debate."


Mark Pritchard @MPritchardMP on Twitter: "Glad to have reached 'amicable settlement' with Sunday Mirror and have now withdrawn my complaint from IPSO. The settlement is confidential."


Charlie Brooks in his Telegraph column about being found not guilty in his Old Bailey trial:  "After the winning distance was announced, you have never heard wingeing like it. The prosecutor shook like a tramp on a park bench and wailed to The Guardian that they’d been under resourced.  'Only 180 coppers to help us,’ he bleated. It would be akin to Sheikh Mohammed weeping in the paddock at Ascot if Rod Millman had put one over on Godolphin."

[£]=paywall

Media Quotes of the Week: From Home Sec to act over police spying on journalists to sex text MP says media is not to blame for his downfall

16 October 2014 - 4:00pm

The Mail on Sunday: "Police are to be stripped of the power to secretly spy on journalists’ phones, striking a major blow for press freedom. The move – expected within weeks – marks a victory for The Mail on Sunday after we exposed how police had used anti-terrorism powers to hack our phones. Officers bypassed legal protections designed to protect whistleblowers to find out who was behind a series of devastating stories that led to the downfall of shamed Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne. Now Home Secretary Theresa May will drive through a new law to stop officers snooping on reporters unless they are investigating serious crimes. And she will ensure that they need approval from judges or watchdogs for the intrusive surveillance – which at the moment can be approved simply ‘on the nod’ from colleagues."

Theresa May in a speech at the College of Policing conference: "I am already aware that there have been concerns over the use of RIPA to access journalists’ phone records and that is why we are revising the relevant code to make clear that specific consideration must be given to communications data requests involving those in sensitive professions, such as journalists. This code will be published in draft this autumn and will be subject to a full public consultation so that anyone with concerns can feed in their views."


Mail on Sunday comment on plans to stop Ripa being used to obtain journalists' phone records: "What a straightforward victory for strong and independent journalism this episode has been. In a few short weeks, The Mail on Sunday, followed by many other publications, has successfully exposed, highlighted and now ended some serious state wrongdoing. It is hard to think of any other force that could have achieved this apart from unregulated, fearless and vigilant newspapers."

Press Gazette: "Suffolk Police has become the third force to admit using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to obtain a journalist's phone records. Former Ipswich Star reporter Mark Bulstrode was targeted after he questioned the force about the re-opening of a rape investigation. After being warned that reporting the case could jeopardise the investigation, the Star chose not to publish the story - but officers still used RIPA to trawl through Bulstrode's mobile phone records and find his source."

Press Gazette: "A police force used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to bug a journalist's car - but has denied using it to obtain a news agency's phone records. Thames Valley Police bugged part-time Milton Keynes Citizen journalist Sally Murrer's car in December 2006 to find the source of leaked stories about the force."


Daily Telegraph obit on former Daily Express Newspapers' managing director Sir Jocelyn Stevens: "Such was his reputation for belligerent cost-cutting that when he was appointed chairman of English Heritage in 1992, one commentator described it as 'like putting Herod in charge of childcare'. It was an image in which, in public at least, Stevens revelled.""

6 hours ago
Mick Hume on Press Gazette: "The debate about IPSO to date encapsulates the problem with the entire issue of press regulation in the UK. By far the loudest complaints are that the new regulator is not independent enough of the industry, echoing the wider pro-Leveson prejudice that the British press has somehow been too free to run wild and cause trouble. The reality is that the UK press is nowhere near free enough, and the very last thing we need is the dead hand of another regulator."


Ex-local press sub-editor John Richards whose campaign to save the apostrophe has landed him a place in the 2015 Dull Men’s Club calendar, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “I walk around town and see so many misplaced or omitted apostrophes it beggars belief. The local fruiterer sells pounds of banana’s, the public library, of all places, had a sign saying CD’s."


MP Brooks Newmark in the Mail on Sunday: "When a newspaper exposed one of these episodes – involving a male freelance reporter using stolen pictures to impersonate a young female Conservative Party activist – I stood down as a Minister. Now, in response to what seems to be a new text-and-tell story, I am standing down as an MP at the next Election...I do not blame the media for my downfall. It is for others to judge their behaviour and their ethics. The fault is mine alone. If I had sought help earlier, none of this would have happened."

Alex Wickham @WikiGuido on Twitter: "As we always said, we knew Newmark was a cheat and that social media was his MO. It was a narrow, justified, successful investigation."