Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From revengeful right-wing press out to get Cameron on EU to MPs urge government to save local press from destruction

4 February 2016 - 11:47am

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"The press has never forgiven Cameron for the Leveson Inquiry  into the phone-hacking scandal, after Nick Davies’ Guardian expose. Leveson’s unenacted press regulation hangs over their head: some further scandal could oblige it to be enforced. Murdoch’s humblest day didn’t last long, with Rebekah Brooks back in the saddle, James Murdoch back in charge of Sky and angling to take over the whole company. What better leverage or revenge does the press have, than to humiliate Cameron over the EU referendum? A natural thuggish instinct urges these papers to prove their bully-power over governments. Tasting blood with that 'It’s the Sun Wot Won It' boast over Kinnock’s 1992 defeat, sheer delight in brute power fires up Murdoch, Paul Dacre and their imitators."

Peter Sands in InPublishing: "Sir Martin Sorrell, whose agency WPP spends an annual £76 billion in advertising, told the Society of Editors’ conference in October that paywalls were the way to go. 'If you have content that has value, consumers will pay for it,' he said. He knows better than anyone of course. But the issue for some might just be the ‘value’ bit. I go through newspapers and websites searching for content which readers will put their hands in their pockets for. It can be a fruitless task. And if The Sun couldn’t make a paywall work, what chance for the Posts and Chronicles?"

Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists, on its 25th annual report showing 2,297 journalists and media workers have been killed since 1990, including 112 killed in 2015: "This milestone publication charts the trajectory of safety crisis in journalism and bears witness to the IFJ’s long running campaign to end impunity for violence against media professionals. These annual reports were more than just about recording the killings of colleagues. They also represented our tribute for their courage and the ultimate sacrifice paid by journalists in their thousands who lost their lives fulfilling the role to inform and empower the public."

Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Beyond the Guardian’s own business clumsiness or bad luck, its losses point out a broader digital news reality: There is yet no foreseeable way to cover the costs of digital growth, and digital 'success' is wholly measured by growth. Therefore, success is in some way a suicide pill." 

Mary Hamilton, executive editor for audience at the Guardian, on the paper's decision to cut down the number of places where it opens comments on stories relating to some contentious subjects – particularly migration and race: "At their best – when they are respectful, thoughtful, interesting, or constructive – comments make our journalism better. At their worst, they can diminish its impact, reduce its credibility, and harm our writers and their subjects, while making those constructive comments impossible to find or recognise."

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "Of course, you can block users who are abusive, but that’s like standing in a Bangladeshi sewer after Ramadan finishes. You can flail about as much as you like and wail loudly about the importance of free speech. But ultimately you’re going to get covered in excrement. This is Twitter’s big problem. It’s being policed by the Stasi. And of course, when they react angrily to what you’ve said, the Mirror and the BBC and The Guardian see this as evidence that you’ve done something wrong. So they run a story saying, 'Twitter has reacted with fury . . .', which then causes the whole site to become angrier still. Really, they should drop that bird logo and replace it with an endlessly spinning red flag."

Regional journalist, quoted in Press Gazette survey: "I fear for my job, the young people coming into the industry and the public who will soon live off nothing but attention-seeking, fact-free, gossipy clickbait."

liz gerard ‏@gameoldgirl on Twitter: "Hands up all who spotted CS Lewis in @TheSun splash head. And hands up anyone who thinks it relevant. Thought not."

Man United manager Louis van Gaal meets the press, as reported by BBC Sport: “You make your own stories and I am concerned that people believe what you write. This is the third time I am sacked and I am still sitting here. You write all these stories and then I have to answer questions about them. I am not doing that, it is awful and horrible.”

Early Day Motion tabled by Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland: "This House is concerned by the announcement that Johnston Press, which publishes titles including the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Lancashire Evening Post, The Scotsman and Derry Journal, is to cull almost 100 editorial posts; notes that this announcement comes just days after Newsquest announced that up to 25 journalist posts are to be axed across its Scottish titles; further notes that year-on-year cuts in jobs and closure of newspaper titles have resulted in the loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press, and the closure of more than 150 newspapers since March 2011; believes that local and regional news coverage is an essential feature of civic life and a healthy democracy; and therefore calls for active government intervention to prevent the destruction of these vital community assets and to establish a short, sharp inquiry to produce a coherent strategy for defending local journalism.”

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Guardian's 'fragile foundations' to is this the best local headline of the year so far?

28 January 2016 - 12:13pm

David Pemsel, chief executive of the Guardian News & Media, announcing plans to cut costs by 20 per cent“We need to create a confident and secure footing to then be able to be as innovative and progressive as we’ve always been. I don’t want to just pile on the ‘let’s be innovative and bravely go into this new world’ when the foundation is that fragile.”
Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: "The Guardian’s abiding problem, however, is that the people who run it seem unable to add up, or at least read a balance sheet. Company revenues are up 10 per cent over the past five years, which isn’t bad in these straitened times. Alas, costs rose by 23 per cent, with 479 new editorial and commercial staff hired to work on a paper that already has many more journalists than its rivals."
Michael Wolff ‏@MichaelWolffNYC on Twitter: "Guardian defenders said it could live off the interest on its almost billion pounds trust. But in a year it's spent 10% of its principal."

Tony Gallagher ‏@tonygallagher on Twitter: "Can anyone tell me where in the paper is The Guardian story on its horrendous losses?"

The Daily Telegraph reports: "Jack Straw, a member of the five-strong panel reviewing the Freedom of Information Act, advised a paying client how to avoid the release of information relating to the parliamentary scandal in which he was engulfed.  Mr Straw told his client, a commodities firm, that it could argue that emails he exchanged with the Foreign Office on its behalf contained “commercially sensitive” information that should not be made public under the legislation."

BuzzFeed News reports: "The watchdog set up by the government to oversee a new system of press regulation has spent at least £589,000 of public money in its first year of existence, despite having no one yet to regulate, BuzzFeed News has learned. The Press Recognition Panel was founded to oversee a new system of press regulation following the Leveson inquiry into media ethics following phone hacking at the News of the World. However, a lack of support from the media industry means the panel, which has been promised up to £3 million of public funds over three years, currently exists in isolation, with a staff of six and no press regulator to oversee."

Peter Preston in the Observer on reporting opinion polls: "Papers and broadcasters must test the information they display. They have a duty not merely to mention sample size or methods used, but comparative costs of various surveys (more expense should mean more skilled resource) and the record of individual pollsters. They need someone to hand like Professor John Curtice who can crunch his own numbers. They need the utmost caution when they blithely turn data into a shock headline. And if that entails much less zippy certainty at too high a cost so we don’t get another 1,942 polls by 2020? Well, into every media life, a little chastened scepticism must eventually fall."

Andy Coulson in PRWeek on his new PR company Coulson Chappell: "I’ve always wanted to establish and grow my own company and in Henry I have the perfect business partner. From our combined experience Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice."

John Prescott ‏@johnprescott on Twitter: "I see Andy Coulson has got a new job in PR. I left him a good luck message on my mobile."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on a 38 degrees petition calling for Andrew Neil and Laura Kuenssberg to be sacked for inviting Stephen Doughty, the shadow foreign affairs minister, to announce his resignation on the Daily Politics show: "Calling for journalists to be sacked for doing their job is farcical. This was a legitimate story any journalist would have wanted to run on their show. You cannot run witch hunts against journalists just because you don't like the news they report. In the same way we supported journalists – at the BBC and elsewhere - who were attacked on social media by people from both sides of the argument on independence during the Scottish Referendum, we will not tolerate people who try to suppress legitimate news coverage."

Home Secretary, Theresa May, in a speech at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Irish Embassy, said it was not right that people had been put on pre-trial bail: “Not just for months, but sometimes years without being charged, and their life put on hold”.

Charlie Ashcroft ‏@charlieashcroft on Twitter: "The Central Somerset Gazette with an early contender for headline of the year so far."