Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 34 min 2 sec ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From police snooped on more Sun journalists to 5,000 UK local and national newspaper editorial jobs axed in a decade

29 January 2015 - 3:00pm

Sean O’Neill in The Times [£]: "Scotland Yard deliberately concealed the full extent of its snooping on journalists during the investigation into the so-called Plebgate affair. An official report revealed last year that the Metropolitan police had gathered call and text logs from the mobile phone of Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun, to discover the source of his story about the infamous clash between Downing Street police officers and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip. The police report, The Times can reveal, kept secret the fact that detectives used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to trawl for data from the phones of two other Sun journalists, Anthony France, the crime reporter and Craig Woodhouse, the political correspondent."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The figures for all investigations into suspected journalistic wrongdoing, including inquiries into phone and computer hacking, have reached a giddying £40 million. In 1967, a Times editorial challenged the senseless prosecution of the singer Mick Jagger and posed the question: 'Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?' The present campaign, rightly described as a vendetta by the Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, suggests we should again frame that question."

Telegraph editorial on the jury failing to agree at the end of the trial of Sun journalists: "This should have been the end of the men’s ordeal. But the Crown Prosecution Service is to seek a retrial, despite the already monumental costs of this whole affair – estimated at close to £200 million. Can the CPS really argue that this is either fair or in the public interest? The judge in the case that collapsed yesterday said any new trial had to be held as soon as possible because the defendants had been waiting for the matter to be resolved for some considerable time. In our view they have been in limbo long enough. A trial has been held and there has been no conviction. The CPS should leave it there."

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "Honourable reporters go to prison to protect their sources. Murdoch and his team sent their sources to prison to protect themselves and have tried to do the same to their journalists."

Pic Lewis BushEmily Bell, giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture at the London College of Communications: "Hugh Cudlipp’s book bore the battle cry title for journalists: Publish And Be Damned! But that came from a time when we knew who the publishers were and what damnation meant. This too is altered by the Internet. When terror organisations, psychopaths, corrupt corporations are the publishers damnation looks rather different to an angry phone call from Number 10. Publish and be damned sounds daring, appealing almost. Publish and be murdered at your desk, publish and be overwhelmed with foul mouthed threatening messages, publish and be imprisoned without due process, publish and be beheaded for a publicity stunt, publish and be blown up in a basement in Homs, publish and have your office smashed up and your family intimidated, publish and put a stranger’s life in danger. These sound less swashbuckling, much more threatening, and yet that is what is happening, not just in Paris, but in Egypt, in Mexico, in Iran, in Syria, in Saudi Arabia, in Britain, in America, everywhere in fact."

Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch on Twitter: "Much fuss and publicity in UK as horrible elites yak on about Page 3. Worry not, The Sun will always have great looking women - and men!"

David Blair in the Daily Telegraph: "It was under the headline 'Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland', that this newspaper reported the 'greatest massacre in the world’s history' on June 25, 1942. The story was remarkably detailed and accurate, yet the credit belongs neither to this newspaper nor the anonymous 'Daily Telegraph reporter' who was the author. All the facts were supplied by Szmul Zygielbojm, a member of the Polish government in exile who made it his mission to inform the world about the Holocaust."

Pic: BBCPeter Oborne in the Telegraph: "One of the most telling manifestations of the pathetic self-indulgence of modern journalism is the phenomenon of the 'media commentator.' This is a lofty figure who does not write about events in the real world, but prefers to comment on the journalists who do."

BBC report on the Future of News"The internet has ripped a hole in the business model of many great news organisations.  And, as a result, vast swathes of modern life are increasingly unreported or under-reported.  Take the local press. As classified and local advertising has moved online, the regional press has suffered.  From the Rocky Mountain News in the US to the Reading Post in the UK, local newspapers have closed. More than 5,000 editorial jobs were cut across the regional and national press in the UK in a decade."

Media Quotes of the Week: From editors unite to fight RIPA to did media boob over page 3 cover up?

22 January 2015 - 2:52pm

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford: “It is unprecedented in my experience for every national newspaper editor to agree on anything. So it is highly significant that here [in a joint letter to the PM] they have said with once voice that RIPA needs tougher controls to protect journalists' sources. Giving police the ability to secretly view the phone records of law-abiding journalists is not compatible with an open democratic society.”

Edward SnowdenJames Ball in the Guardian: "GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency....New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed 'investigative journalists' as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers."

Statement by Professionals for Information Privacy Coalition, which includes the NUJ, Law Society, Bar Council and The British Association of Social Workers: "Privacy and trust is crucially important to the British public and our professions. We need to be assured that certain data will always remain confidential in all but exceptional and extreme circumstances. Insufficient regard for professional confidentiality undermines the public’s trust in our individual members, organisations and our public institutions. We are united in our belief that the current system needs to be changed. We have seen a growing number of instances where data and surveillance powers have been seriously and repeatedly overused. This has included police using secret methods to expose journalistic sources and to monitor journalists' activities and it has also been revealed that the intelligence agencies have been spying on conversations between lawyers and their clients."

Guardian readers' editor Chis Elliott on the paper publishing the front cover of Charlie Hebdo:"I am aware that many Muslims, some of them friends and colleagues, will have been offended by the Guardian’s use of that image, and I am sorry for that. However, I believe the countervailing argument is that on this occasion the image of the cover had an important and legitimate news value. Showing the magazine’s response in the wake of the deaths was an important part of telling the story, and the Guardian did so in a measured, restrained fashion. It has to feel free to tell it in its own way."

Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday"Using the excuse of terrorism – whose main victim is considered thought – Theresa May’s Home Office is making a law which attacks free expression in this country as it has never been attacked before. We already have some dangerous laws on the books. The Civil Contingencies Act can be used to turn Britain into a dictatorship overnight, if politicians can find an excuse to activate it. But the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, now slipping quietly and quickly through Parliament, is in a way even worse. It tells us what opinions we should have, or should not have."

George Monbiot in the Guardian: "The BBC’s business reporting breaks its editorial guidelines every day by failing to provide alternative viewpoints. Every weekday morning, the Today programme grovels to business leaders for 10 minutes. It might occasionally challenge them on the value or viability of their companies, but hardly ever on their ethics. Corporate critics are shut out of its business coverage – and almost all the rest."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "AT LAST, a confession – and confirmation – of what I have been banging on about for what seems years. A senior suit – in this case Tom Thomson of the Herald & Times group in Glasgow – finally comes clean on the financial reality of the modern media business by admitting that 90% of his company’s revenue still comes from its flagship print title. In that case, I’m bound to ask once again why newspaper managers have butchered their titles by binning editions, closing district offices and massacring staff numbers while pumping out yesterday’s news tomorrow, just to piss millions of pounds up a profitless paywall. I await an answer with interest."

The Times  [£]: "The Sun will no longer feature topless models on page 3 after quietly dropping one of the most controversial traditions in British journalism. The Times understands that Friday’s edition of the paper was the last that will carry an image of a glamour model with bare breasts on that page, ending a convention that began in 1970, shortly after Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper."

The Sun on Thursday: "Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us."

Janice Turner in The Times: "The truth is that The Sun hung on to page 3 long after its sell-by date out of a cussed bunker mentality, a determination not to capitulate to leftie campaigners. Rebekah Brooks told me she didn’t abolish it just to defy those who assumed that, as the paper’s first woman editor, she would."
David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter: "Alleged 'dropping of P3 at The Sun' must not divert us from fact many fine Sun staff were 'dropped in it' by past leadership at company...."