Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: Don't use pay to bash the BBC, embargo buster Piers Morgan and what Theresa May told Donald Trump about UK press

20 July 2017 - 8:43am



Simon Kelner in the i: "I simply don’t understand where the publication of the BBC’s top earners gets anyone. It’s an exercise in embarrassment, instituted by a supine government in response to pressure from Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail. It is intrusive, grubby and, in fact, pretty meaningless, and plays only to the baser, voyeuristic instincts of the general public, while providing ammunition for the commercial and political enemies of the BBC."


Séamus Dooley, acting NUJ general secretary in a statement: "The NUJ represents a vast number of talented, underpaid and badly resourced members within the BBC. Use of the word 'talent' to describe just the top layer of workers is misleading in that every programme depends on a dedicated and talented staff, many of whom earn a fraction of that paid to the top stars...I would warn against allowing understandable anger at the level of top pay to be used as a weapon against the BBC or the principle of public service broadcasting by those with a political or commercial agenda."

Les Hinton‏ on Twitter: "#BBC salaries huge but everyone in private media knows they're not outrageous. Gender pay gap is only shocker."

David Yelland‏ on Twitter: "Anti-BBC front pages no surprise. Triples all round for John Whittingdale! I bet he'll even get dinner!.....I earned more than all the news and current affairs BBC staff on that list - other than Presenters- as Editor of The Sun. In 2003."
20 hours ago
MoreI earned more than all the news and current affairs BBC staff on that list - other than Presenters- as Editor of The Sun. In 2003.20 hours ago
MoreI earned more than all the news and current affairs BBC staff on that list - other than Presenters- as Editor of The Sun. In 2003. 
Piers Morgan‏ on Twitter: "I'd like to apologise to all fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can't help being this good at my job, unfortunately."

Piers Morgan‏ on Twitter: "I'm also truly shocked at the size of these BBC salaries. They get out of bed for THAT?"


HuffPost reports: "Piers Morgan has been branded a 'bellend' after tweeting the pay of the BBC’s highest-paid stars before a pre-arranged embargo. The list of 109 names of those earning above £150,000 was given to journalists earlier this morning with the understanding it would not be published until 11am. Morgan ignored the embargo and began tweeting the list at 10:08 am."

Alastair Stewart on Twitter: "#BBCpay Breaking an embargo, with stuff we've all been sitting on for hours, is not a 'scoop', it is naff, delusional & unprofessional."Beth 

Beth Rigby‏ on Twitter: "@piersmorgan is utterly disgraceful to break embargo when hacks gathered at BBC for press conference & respected lock-in. Shame on him."



Ex-Number 10 communications director Katie Perrior in The Times [£] on Theresa May's former joint chief of stahff Fiona Hill: "I once stopped her going to join a bunch of political journalists at the back of the plane on the way home from a foreign trip, dressed head to toe in flannelette pyjamas and two bottles of red wine down. In hindsight, I should have bloody well let her go."

Ross Barkan in the Guardian on the closure of local newspapers in the US: "Decades ago, when small cities and towns had viable newspapers, even the most conservative readers could rail against the liberal monoliths on TV and in New York while consuming their local dailies. Reporters weren’t villains: they were neighbors, and the editor-in-chief a town fixture. We can hate most what we don’t know. If a newspaper doesn’t operate near you for a hundred miles and you only see a live journalist if one swoops in during a presidential election – or one never shows up at all – you only know what you read about on Facebook or watch on Fox News. There is no lived reality to draw from. There are only the images and the hate, symbols and distortion."

Royal Charter backed press regulator IMPRESS reports: "An arbitrator [Clive Thorne] has made an award of damages in the first legal dispute to be resolved under the IMPRESS arbitration scheme. Dennis Rice [ former investigations editor of the Mail on Sunday], the claimant, contacted IMPRESS to make a request for arbitration to settle a legal claim of defamation, harassment and malicious falsehood, arising from two tweets sent out from the Byline Media Twitter account on 6th March 2017...An award was finalised on 6th July and published on 13th July. In the award, Mr Thorne upheld the claim in part. He found one of the two tweets to be defamatory and ordered that damages of £2,500 be awarded to Mr Rice."


MediaGuido comments: "Try not to laugh too hard. The Leveson-compliant press regulator Impress has made its first adjudication, ruling against Byline Media, one of its most vocal defenders. Byline, the conspiracy theory site with tinfoil mad-hatter Peter Jukes as CEO, was found guilty of defaming tabloid journalist Dennis Rice and ordered to pay him £2,500 in damages. The irony is just too delicious. Byline signed up to Impress as part of its campaign against the tabloid press."


Peter Preston in The Observer: "The huge majority of papers backing Ipso may calculate that, as before, the sheer vehemence of their case against state-endorsed regulation will be enough to see off any renewed challenge. But no one should bank on it...There’s nothing more stupid and dangerous than sitting back and defining press freedom by whoever happens to win, or not win, an election."

John Harris who runs the Cavendish Press news agency in Manchester, quoted by Press Gazette “Journalists are of course entitled to follow up news stories filed by others but as long as they do their own work on it such as getting extra background, extra quotes and extra pictures. Bashing the original version around a bit doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Lifting court copy wholesale is not only irresponsible journalism but unethical and should have no place in today’s post-Leveson newsgathering operations."


The Society of Editors in a statement following concerns the House of Lords may once again attempt to force through Section 40 in the provisions in the Crime and Courts Act 2013 by tagging it on to other legislation: “Any further attempt during the next Parliament to force through costs provisions would rightly be judged as an appalling misuse of powers. It is absurd that while our elected, and unelected, officials are quick to condemn attacks on press freedom in Turkey and elsewhere, some remain steadfastly determined to push through legislation on their doorstep that seeks to punish those who are innocent and fine them for telling the truth. It has now been more than three years since Section 40 has been wielded over the newspaper industry like the sword of Damocles and it is time that parliament united in recognising the genuine threat that the legislation poses and takes steps to repeal it with immediate effect.”


Sir Ray Tindle handing over control of his Tindle Newspapers group to his son, Owen, quoted by Press Gazette: "I see a greater need for our local press now than I have ever seen in my 80 or so years connected with this business. Yes, local papers will survive. Local news in depth is what people need. Names, faces and places. There is no doubt about it – sufficient demand is still there. Local detailed news is in a category of its own. It has survived many years. It will live forever."


Theresa May, according to the Sun, after Donald Trump claimed he hadn't been getting great coverage over his proposed visit to the UK: “Well, you know what the British press are like.”

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Media Quotes of the Week: From defending Laura Kuenssberg and the BBC from Trump-style attacks to media must acknowledge it has a trust problem

13 July 2017 - 8:51am


Yvette Cooper in a speech to the Fabian Society: "I am sick to death of the vitriol poured out from all sides towards Laura Kuenssberg. It is her job to ask difficult questions. It is her job to be sceptical about everything we say. Nothing justifies the personal vitriol, or the misogyny. It’s straight out of the Trump playbook. And as with Trump, it is part of a wider attack on the very institutions we need to sustain our democracy. Institutions like the BBC which save us from the demagoguery of tyrants or the megaphones of media moguls."

Liam Fox, speaking in the House of Commons, quoted in the London Evening Standard“It does appear that some elements of our media would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed. I cannot recall a single time in recent times when I have seen good economic news that the BBC didn’t describe as ‘despite Brexit’.”


The New European editor Matt Kelly interviewed in Press Gazette a year after the paper launched: “All these old, cynical, bitter losers, were saying online that it’s going to be full of wire copy and that they [Archant] are hopeless, what could they possibly do that would be interesting?...I think it’s essential that our core proposition is that we are a pro European Union newspaper and, until it’s decided, we are the only newspaper that argues that there is no such thing as a good Brexit, hard or soft, and we are unique in the market place in that regard."


John Whittingdale giving the annual  Independent Press Standard Organisation Lecture: "IPSO was promoted as being more independent than the PCC, as having real penalties available to it which the PCC had not had, and also with an ability to initiative investigations...Now I’m not saying that you should start fining newspapers just for the sake of it, or indeed that you should initiate investigations unless they are merited. But I think in the public mind, the public find it difficult to believe that in the over two years since IPSO has been in existence, no newspaper has done anything that merits independent investigation, or the imposition of a fine. "
Whittingdale on hopes of reforming Section 40: "We have a government without a majority in parliament, and that obviously makes the government much less able to be sure of carrying through its legislation, and actually makes it vulnerable to defeat. So even though the Conservative manifesto pledge still holds, I suspect that the “Crime and Courts Act s.40 Repeal Bill” won’t be seen for, certainly, the immediate future."


A spokesman for the Independent after it was accused of lifting freelance court copy sold to Wales Online, quoted by Press Gazette: “We based our report – written in our own words – on material previously published on the Wales Online website, as our piece made clear (with a link back to the Wales Online piece). There is no copyright in news and we have not acted improperly."
Press Gazette also reports: "A local news website [Rochdale Online] has won a legal payout from the Manchester Evening News over using one of its stories [based on a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Parliamentary Standards Authority about former Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk] without payment or attribution...Manchester County Court ordered MEN Media to pay Rochdale Online £200 plus £170 court fees."

Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, interviewed by the Drum on the time last year when the paper called for Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader: “That was based on the fact that 95% of conversations we were having with MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party were telling us that Jeremy would be really bad for Labour fortunes at the general election. That has turned out to be completely wrong, so of course I would like to turn back the clock on that front.”

Ian Katz in the Spectator: "During the election, it was Corbyn supporters convinced the mainstream media was bent on doing down their man. At Grenfell, it was an alarmingly widespread suspicion that the media — and especially the BBC — were part of an establishment conspiracy to play down the scale of the disaster. For the Finsbury Park attack, the charge was that the sensationalist coverage of previous attacks had whipped up Islamophobia. Saying that trust has been declining in most institutions is a bit like noting that fewer people go to church these days. But confidence in the media has been ebbing quicker than a spring tide...Possibly the most important thing we can do, however, is to acknowledge we have a problem. Right now the media’s attitude to trust brings to mind the proverbial frog in the pan of boiling water. Each increase in the temperature seems just about tolerable, but before we know it we are cooked. And it is starting to feel quite hot in here."