Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 36 min 58 sec ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From press fury at jail threat to journalists over leaks to where to stick the barcode on a Donald Trump front page

16 February 2017 - 8:52am

The Telegraph reports: "Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents. The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material."

alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "The leakers & journos who exposed Gen Flynn wd face 14 yrs in jail in the UK with new Espionage Act."

The Times [£] in a leader: "There is no shortage of laws on the statute book with which to punish those who steal or misuse official secrets. But official Britain is already far too fond of secrets and public interest journalism is already under grave legal and commercial threat. The Cabinet Office should thank the Law Commission for its ideas, and reject them."

The Sun in a leader: "BRITAIN’S Press freedom has never been in greater peril than it is today. A state-approved regulator, run by tabloid-haters and bankrolled by an odious tycoon, continues its campaign to muzzle the printed Press. Investigative journalism is threatened by a perverse law that would force newspapers to pay the costs of anyone who takes them to court, win or lose...Now the Law Commission proposes that any journalist or whistleblower caught handling secret information should face up to 14 years in jail...Number 10 must show it values a free Press and throw out the Law Commission proposals immediately."

The Guardian in a leader: "News organisations, in an intensely hostile business climate, operate in an ever harsher environment. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 may yet be brought into force, exposing any news organisation that refused to sign up to the recognised regulator to the full costs of both parties in a libel action, regardless of whether it won or lost. The Investigatory Powers Act, which became law last autumn, has in the words of one lawyer, “ripped the heart out” of any ability to protect journalistic sources. In this angry digital age of fake news, where hard fact grows ever more precious, accurate and fair reporting has never been more important. Without it, democracy itself is weakened."

Steve Dyson on HoldTheFrontPage: "Despite shrinking resources, local papers still have space to be filled, and websites to be updated, and there are, of course, some great stories to be found on social media. But reporters need to learn that not everything masquerading as news on Twitter, Facebook et al is worth covering, and much of it is, to be kind, trivial. And whether they’re reading online or in print, readers expect their local titles to know this, and not to feed them non-stories just because they were posted on social media by some over-excited volunteer. Remember the days when reporters all had physical spikes on their desks for poor press releases that weren’t worth a story? Well, in the modern world, a digital ‘spike’ is sometimes badly needed."

Apple chief executive Tim Cook interviewed by the Telegraph: “All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news. We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the complain category right now and haven’t figured out what to do.”

A Sun spokesperson, quoted by Press Gazette, on the paper's ban by Liverpool Football Club: “The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football. The Sun can reassure readers this won’t affect our full football coverage. A new generation of journalists on the paper congratulate the families on the hard fought victory they have achieved through the inquest. It is to their credit that the truth has emerged and, whilst we can’t undo the damage done, we would like to further a dialogue with the city and to show that the paper has respect for the people of Liverpool.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Editors of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia whose entries are of notoriously variable reliability, have chosen to cease recognising the Daily Mail as a secondary source for information, and Jeremy Corbyn has condemned as “fake news” a clutch of reports suggesting that he is close to stepping down as Labour leader. Newspapers make errors and have the responsibility to correct them. Wikipedia editors’ fastidiousness, however, appears to reflect less a concern for accuracy than dislike of the Daily Mail’s opinions. And Mr Corbyn is in a state of undignified denial that his leadership is a liability for his party and that his colleagues are appalled by his ineptitude. That is a genuine story, not a manufactured one. And it is the duty of legitimate news organisations to reveal real news."

Ian Hislop on Private Eye hitting record sales of 287,334 copies, as reported by Press Gazette: “Our sales are real, we are not making these figures up. This is a record. It’s obviously to do with Brexit and Trump and people thinking where can I find something that might be true and something that might be funny. People say you can’t do satire any more because of Trump. I think people are saying: ‘Can we have some?' "

Private Eye reports: "WHEN Wiltshire Police officers turned up at the Eye offices last month to talk about Hello, Sailor-type cartoons and photo bubbles that once ribbed Sir Edward Heath in the magazine more than 40 years ago, the visit would have been faintly comical had it not been such a waste of yet more police time and public money. It was a sign of the lengths those involved in Operation Conifer (cost so far: roughly £900,000) are prepared to go to find something – anything – that might stand up wild allegations of historical child sex abuse, and worse, levelled at the former Conservative prime minister."

Jeremy Corbyn asked on BBC Breakfast if he has set a date to stand down as Labour Party leader: " “I’m really surprised the BBC is reporting fake news."

Peter Barron ‏@PeteBarronMedia on Twitter: "Barcodes can be irritating and get in the way of creative newspaper design - but not at @TheNewEuropean;"

[£] = paywall

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trump era boosts quality journalism to Hockney takes a shine to Sun

9 February 2017 - 9:05am

New York Times chief executive Mark Thompson on a tenfold increase in digital subscriptions to the paper frequently attacked by Donald Trump, quoted by BBC News:  "It's not a political point, it's purely a commercial point: the Trump era seems to be a very good era for quality journalism."

Donald Trump on the media and terrorist attacks, as reported by CBS News: “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”

Der Spiegel editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer defending the magazine's Trump cover, quoted by the Guardian: “We want to show what this is about, it’s about democracy, it’s about freedom, it’s about freedom of the press, freedom of justice and all that is seriously endangered. So we are defending democracy … Are these serious times? Yes they are.”

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "Every one of the many financial and political scandals Trump will surely generate will emerge in the media. Every media organisation must therefore be branded as lying and fake before they publish. Journalists need to learn, if they have not learned already, that no accommodation is possible with the alt-right because its ideology and tactics preclude it from wanting an accommodation. You cannot 'balance' or appease such people – you can only expose them."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "Far from being an extraordinary throwback to fascism, Trump’s contempt for free speech might make him seem a representative president for his time. As my book Trigger Warning argues, we live in the age of the ‘reverse-Voltaires’. The classic statement of support for free speech credited to the French revolutionary Voltaire – ‘I may despise what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ – has now been twisted into its opposite: ‘I know I will hate what you say, and I will fight to the end of free speech for my right to stop you saying it.’ The reverse-Voltaire in the White House and the ones protesting outside just disagree about which ideas they find too offensive to tolerate."

Martin Kettle in the Guardian: "Today more than ever the Mail has a self-interest in the denigration of parliament, and an equally profound self-interest in the promotion of referendums it can shape and destabilise by its journalism. Though it speaks incessantly about the will of the people and the freedom of the press, it is in the end only interested in the will and freedom of the Daily Mail. Neither of these have anything to do with democracy or with good government – as the debacle of post-referendum politics is making clear each day. Cameron might have been a fool to try to oust Dacre, but one can easily understand precisely why he tried."

Matt Kelly, editor of The New European and chief content officer at Archant, interviewed in InPublishing: “The print format [of The New European] was very important for the start. There’s no way we’d have done it if we were ‘digital-first’ – it’d have been a website, and that would’ve been a mistake. No-one would’ve wanted to write for it or read it. It’s why ‘audience-first’ is a better approach. Could it now migrate to digital? Perhaps, and we’re looking at that. But it could never have established that audience in digital.”

The Sunday Times reports [£]: The Sunday Times has been gagged by an injunction preventing it from reporting details about a celebrity’s personal and professional life. The judge anonymised the individual using initials. The newspaper is in legal proceedings."

David Hockney on being asked to design a special Sun logo: “I was delighted to be asked. Once I thought about the idea it didn’t take me long. The sun and The Sun. I love it.”

Jonathan Jones in the Guardian reviews Hockney's work: "What he has done here is to beautifully turn the Sun into a hymn to the sun, by adding a childlike drawing of the orb spreading its white rays through the red masthead."