Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 4 hours 30 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From papers slammed over Robin Williams suicide coverage to is there a course on regional press management claptrap?

14 August 2014 - 5:30pm


James Ball ‏@jamesrbuk on Twitter: "Samaritans circulated an email via PCC to all papers today. The papers were warned, and ran those front pages anyway. I don't have words."
Sarah Boseley in the Guardian: "The Samaritans produced a set of guidelines for the media reporting suicides some years ago, in conjunction with journalists, in the understanding that there is a genuine public interest in exploring why people kill themselves. Nobody has ever suggested a news blackout. But the Samaritans and other mental health groups such as Mind say that, above all else, reporting details of the manner in which somebody killed themselves may give the depressed individual information they lacked or an idea they had not thought of and spur them to try it. But in the rush to understand and report the death of Robin Williams, even that basic rule has been flouted."

David Banks on the Robin Williams coverage on his Media Law blog"This is a very complex issue. People sometimes criticise the tabloid press for reporting an issue, while still reading every word of the content. Conversely, sometimes criticism is levelled at the papers for a ‘sensational’ (ie attention-grabbing) front page – and the nuances of coverage inside might be overlooked. Some people feel that any examination of the lives of the dead while their families are still grieving is an unjustifiable intrusion. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some believe that after a life lived in the limelight, the death of a celebrity is public property too. A reasonable path lies somewhere between those two extremes...It is interesting to note that the one media that seems to have caused greatest distress in the immediate aftermath of Robin Williams’ death is social media, in particular Twitter, where trolls attacked his daughter, Zelda, causing her to close her account."


Neville Thurlbeck on his blog after being released from Bellmarsh Prison: "Despite being left in a 'Category A' prison, Andy Coulson is in good spirits and is getting on well with his fellow inmates. Reports that he has been attacked are totally untrue. We have been in each others' company for between 22 to 24 hours per day and I have witnessed nothing other than the hand of friendship to both of us. We would like to put the record straight on this."


The Daily Telegraph in a leader headlined 'Move the NoW One': "Six weeks ago, Andy Coulson, once the Prime Minister’s chief spokesman, was jailed for conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications, more popularly known as phone hacking. Notwithstanding some of the hysteria surrounding the nature of this offence, it is, in the scheme of things, pretty low on the list of heinous crimes. Yet Coulson, who was sentenced to 18 months’ custody, remains in a cell in Belmarsh Prison, east London, a Category A jail more usually associated with murderers, terrorists and bank robbers."


Ex-Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright in a letter to the Guardian: "Roy Greenslade is wrong to say I deliberately 'withheld' from the Press Complaints Commission and the Leveson inquiry 'vital information' about how some Mail on Sunday journalists’ phones were hacked by the News of the World. We were contacted by police in October 2006 and told some of our journalists’ phones had been hacked. The police recommended our journalists improve their phone security, but did not want them to make statements, nor suggest the hacking had involved anyone other than Goodman and Mulcaire."

Roy Greenslade responds on his MediaGuardian blog: "Wright, as emeritus editor of the Mail group, has been the leading light in the foundation of the PCC's replacement, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). So a man who spent years withholding significant information from one regulatory body is now the architect of another (much disputed) regulatory body. Does his record really suggest a willingness to shed light into the dark corners of Fleet Street?"


YouGov poll: "Around two thirds of British people trust the authors of Wikipedia entries to tell the truth, many more than trust newspaper journalists."


Celia Walden [aka Mrs Piers Morgan] in the Telegraph: "Now, my loathing of social media runs so deep that my husband – a Twitterholic who prides himself on having 4.2 million followers – has been banned from mentioning the ghastly life-sapping force or employing any of its cultish, playground lingo in my presence."



David Hepworth in the Guardian on advertorials: "Back in the 80s on Smash Hits we once told an advertiser to re-do an entire creative execution because it contained a word we didn’t like. They did it. But that won’t happen again. Nowadays only one person will get their own way and it’s the one with the chequebook."



Fleet Street Fox on the Mirror: "A lot of what people say on Twitter would make Hitler happy."


The Grey Cardigan on TheSpinalley: "ANOTHER chief exec off to spend more time with his money is Archant’s Adrian Jeakings, who departed the group rather suddenly this month. Like his boardoom peers, Adrian also appears to have adopted the weird vocabulary common in the marbled halls. While Monty thinks he’s running a ‘digitised transaction business’, Mr Jeakings thinks he’s transformed the company from ‘a primarily print and product-focussed group to a customer and community-focussed media solutions business’. Where do they get this claptrap from? Is there a special course they go on? I wonder if back in 1845, Jeremiah Colman, one of the founders of the group, ever thought that his fortune wasn’t based on making world-famous mustard, but was instead ‘delivering a food-focused condiment application’. Somehow I doubt it."

Media Quotes of the Week: From Davies blames MacKenzie for 'flushing journalistic rules down the toilet' to Alex Salmond's sobering headline

7 August 2014 - 5:00pm



Nick Davies in Hack Attack: "For Anybody who wants to understand why things went so wrong in British newspapers, there is a very simple answer which consists of only two words - 'Kelvin' and 'MacKenzie'. When Rupert Murdoch made him editor of the Sun in 1981, MacKenzie effectively took the book of journalistic rules and flushed it down one of the office's famously horrible toilets."

Nick Davies, interviewed by Press Gazette: "I think that the bad guys hate me. Is it reasonable to cite this, that [Press Gazette editor] Dominic Ponsford once said to me: ‘I can’t follow up your stories because all our advertising comes from these newspapers'."

Dominic Ponsford in an editor's note to the above: "I can only think that I must have been being largely flippant, or flattering, when I said that, because there was a long time (between July 2009 and July 2011) when Press Gazette was among the very few titles following up The Guardian hacking scandal coverage. As a trade title for all journalists it is true that we are more positive in general about tabloid journalism than The Guardian."

Peter Oborne reviewing Hack Attack in the Telegraph: "There are very few British journalists and politicians who are entitled to reflect on the lessons of the phone-hacking scandal without feeling a sense of profound personal shame."

Will Gore reviewing Hack Attack in the Independent: "Davies may be on the side of the just. But he is as ideologically driven as those he despises. In the end, his real target is neo-liberalism, which 'has reversed hundreds of years of struggle' and undermined the protection offered by democratic governments to ordinary working people. The consequence is that, while it is a great read, Hack Attack’s outlook sometimes feels a little too black and white: you are either with us or against us."



Catherine Bennett in the Observer: "Not for the first time, the public willingness to forget all about Max Mosley is frustrated by Max Mosley's determination to be forgotten about. His latest legal action against Google, for not having suppressed pictures of what the News of the World falsely alleged to be a 'Nazi themed' sex party, has duly renewed interest in records of that historic event and in its host, Mr Mosley, who may now be less well known as the son of the fascist demagogue, Sir Oswald Mosley."


Max Mosley in the Observer: "Your privacy or your private life belongs to you. Some of it you may choose to make available, some of it should be made available, because it's in the public interest to make it known. The rest should be yours alone. And if anyone takes it from you, that's theft and it's the same as the theft of property."


Rodney Edwards ‏@rodneyedwards  on Twitter: "John Simpson tells Enniskillen audience that BBC 'grotesquely over-managed', adding: 'All these rough women we have running the place now'."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands organiser: "Local World is a new company born without the twin millstones of historic debt and pension fund deficit to drag it down so its future should look bright. Indeed, the £18.5m operating profits show newspapers do continue to make big money as digital revenues were still less than a tenth of the total revenue. Yet the company’s declared strategy does not earmark any place for newspapers and instead David Montgomery merely seeks to transform Local World into a ‘digitised transaction business’."


Media law expert David Banks in the Telegraph on the decision by an Old Bailey judge not to name two councillors who didn't pay their council tax: “This is an example of the way that data protection laws create privacy rights which many ordinary people would say are barmy.”


Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in a personal minute to his minister of defence about Chapman Pincher, who died this week aged 100, according to the Daily Telegraph: “I do not understand how the Express alone of all the newspapers has got the exact decision that we reached at the cabinet last Thursday on space. Can nothing be done to suppress or get rid of Mr Chapman Pincher? I am getting very concerned about how well informed he always seems to be on defence matters.”


Martin Bright in the Mail on Sunday on working for Tony Blair's Faith Foundation: "Blair’s Religion And Geopolitics site was launched last month, and I’m proud of it, despite its omissions. But there was no chance of autonomy for its editor – me. Blair’s increasingly strident position on the world stage clearly is affecting the ability of his charities to work independently. I always found Tony himself engaging, committed and utterly genuine in his belief that we need a better understanding of the role religion plays in global conflict. But something always jarred about the grandness of it all. He doesn’t do humility and nor do his organisations. Perhaps that’s his tragedy. In that strange first interview, I had been asked what I would do if I disagreed with the future direction of the charity.  I said that there was only one course of action possible: I would have to resign. So, a few weeks ago, I did."

David Loyn in the Guardian:"Emotion is the stuff of propaganda, and news is against propaganda. Reporting should privilege the emotional responses of audiences, not indulge journalists."


From the Guardian: "This article was amended on Monday 4 August 2014 to change the headline, removing the word 'sober'."