Jon Slattery

Subscribe to Jon Slattery feed
A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 1 hour 3 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: Andrew Norfolk and Rotherham, freelances on the frontline and old Times as clattering typewriters make comeback

28 August 2014 - 2:18pm

How The Times broke the Rotherham scandal
Andrew Norfolk, who exposed the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal,  in The Times [£]:  "There have been many days during the past four years when I secretly longed for it all to come to an end. It was just too bleak, the details of the crimes too grotesque, too calculated to make one utterly despair of human nature. In those dark days, it was always the girls and their families who kept me going. Some victims understandably broke and sank without trace. Others, remarkably, survived. They went through months and years of self-hating misery but — sometimes with admirable support from specialist projects — have shown extraordinary resilience to build a future for themselves. They decided to trust The Times with their stories and they are the closest this tale will ever come to having heroes or heroines."

The Times [£] in a leader: "When forced by The Times in 2012 to confront its neglect, Rotherham tried to muzzle this newspaper and launch a witch-hunt for whistleblowers."

Peter Oborne ‏@OborneTweets on Twitter: "Andrew Norfolk of the Times, who played such a brave role in uncovering the Rotherham scandal, commands the admiration and gratitude of all."


Hannah Storm of the International News Safety Institute, on the murder of James Foley, quoted in the Observer: "He is not the first freelance journalist to be killed this year, and he will probably not be the last… With a dearth of jobs in newsrooms, and overseas bureaux being cut by major news organisations, many freelances have turned to conflicts to cut their teeth."

Martin Chulov in the Guardian: "Stripped down, pared-back journalism has created opportunities for those who dare, but it has also allowed outlets to hide behind flaky bottom lines as a means of abdicating responsibility. Radio stations, television networks and print outlets continue to outsource their coverage to reporters who often work without basic protection. The price of that dereliction has been paid in the dungeons of north Syria. The meltdown of the Middle East is one of the most important stories of our time, every bit as significant globally as the end of the cold war. Too many outlets have covered it through exploitation."


Michael Wolff on USA Today: "Mail Online, with 180 million unique visitors a month, is not only the world's most-trafficked English-language newspaper website — establishing a powerful mass market connection or, depending on your point of view, a new low in the taste deficit — but quite possibly the first time a traditional print organization has solved the paradox of digital migration."


Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian :"At its inception the world wide web seemed to promise an escape from corporate and governmental powers, an egalitarian free-for-all. Now? It has increasingly become a sophisticated extension of them. The hopes once nurtured by the man who invented the web have been not so much abandoned as betrayed."

John Naughton in the Observer: "'Be careful what you wish for,' runs the adage. 'You might just get it.' In the case of the internet, or, at any rate, the world wide web, this is exactly what happened. We wanted exciting services – email, blogging, social networking, image hosting – that were 'free'. And we got them. What we also got, but hadn't bargained for, was deep, intensive and persistent surveillance of everything we do online."


Michael Cross ‏@michaelcross on Twitter: "I am convinced there is a gap in the market for a newspaper without a bloody picture of Kate Bush on the front page."


The Drum: "Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and her co-defendants are planning legal action to recover up to £25 million in legal costs from the taxpayer."


MailOnline: "Men are more than twice as likely as women to be victims of trolling on Twitter, but are the ones most responsible for the bullying, it has been revealed. According to an analysis of more than 2million messages sent to celebrities, politicians and journalists - one in every 20 sent to prominent male figures was abusive compared to only one in 70 for females. Piers Morgan is hit by the most hate-filled messages, with 8.4 per cent of the tweets he receives including derogatory comments."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "REVEALED: 91.6% of all tweets to me are not offensive."


The Independent: "To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press."

[£]=paywall

Media Quotes of the Week: Murder of James Foley, Cliff Richard and the press, Google wiping stories

21 August 2014 - 5:11pm


President Obama on the beheading of journalist James Foley, as reported by BBC News: "An act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world."

James Foley's mother Diane in a statement: "We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages."

SubScribe: "We mourn not only James Foley, but those others whose deaths we may have overlooked. And as we hope - and possibly pray - for the release of Austin Tice, Peter Greste and the rest, maybe we will remind ourselves that ours is an honourable calling and that we have a duty to follow it honourably. Whether we're writing about Kalashnikovs or Kardashians."

The Met Police in a statement: "The MPS counter-terrorism command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley. We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under terrorism legislation."

David Allen Green ‏@DavidAllenGreen on Twitter: "Some may say viewing video should be an offence; but it isn't, and @metpoliceuk should not publish false alarmist statements about the law."

Tim Walker @ThatTimWalker on Twitter: "In the days when print & TV editors controlled what we sa, a video of a barbaric murder would never be seen. Internet must grow up v quickly."

emily bell ‏@emilybell on Twitter: "I am interested in the semantics which have Twitter 'censoring' content but which would have news organisations making 'editorial decisions'."



The Guardian in a leader on Cliff Richard: "The relationship between the police and the press in this case raises, yet again, wider and troubling issues about the way that due process, and the presumption of anonymity for suspects, including celebrities, lacks the robustness that was called for by Leveson and to which the police – and the press – are supposed to be committed. When the dust settles on this week’s events, there could be a strong case for fresh reflection and a stronger set of rules to prevent prejudicial coverage of such cases."

The Telegraph in a leader: "Of course, it is right that any allegation should be properly investigated and, again, this will likely involve some necessary liaison with the media. However, it is odd that such a degree of advance publicity did not occur in other celebrity cases. Justice should proceed equally and in a demonstrably fair manner – regardless of how well known the person under investigation might be."

Steve Hewlett in the Guardian: "The BBC's real mistake would appear to be that having got its exclusive and the deal with the police it simply went over the top producing too much coverage – including a helicopter with aerial images of the singer's home – exposing itself to the sort of questions usually directed straight at the tabloid press about fairness to suspects in these high-profile historic sex abuse inquiries."

Dominic Ponsford on Press Gazette on the BBC's Cliff Richard scoop: "The BBC deserves praise in my opinion for getting there first and for having the courage to run with it so forcefully, complete with helicopter. As we know from Rolf Harris and others, publicity around a case can lead to more witnesses coming forward.It is tough on Richard to face the taint of this sort of coverage when he has not even been questioned yet himself. But once the police had undertaken such a big raid on his home, what is going on becomes a matter of public record."

BBC director-general Lord Hall in a letter to Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz: "I believe that BBC journalists have acted appropriately in pursuing this story. As you rightly say, the media has a right to report on matters of public interest."

Letter in the Telegraph"SIR – Who’s next? The Duke of Edinburgh? Archbishop Tutu? The Pope?"
Jeremy Burton
Shurlock Row, Berkshire

Geoffrey Robinson QC in the Independent: "The CPS has taken up to 2 years to tell journalists like Patrick Foster that they will not be prosecuted, after unnecessary dawn raids, and publicity every time they are bailed. This lack of care for their liberty is amoral, because it subjects them to drawn-out psychological cruelty. If the CPS cannot decide whether to prosecute 3 months after receiving the police file, it should not prosecute at all."


Paul Lewis @PaulLewis on Twitter: "Hard for the United States to condemn foreign countries for detaining journalists when it is happening, with such frequency, in #Ferguson."

Rory Carroll ‏@rorycarroll72 on Twitter: "In the old days journos ducked when projectiles zinged past. Now we stand around snapping pics and tweeting. I miss the old days. #ferguson"



Journalists quoted by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian on the BBC after the Hutton Report: “The BBC always buckles, always folds. You feel that as a journalist, they will abandon you; if you take a risky story to them it’s as if you are actively trying to get them into trouble. There is an institutionalised anxiety and mistrust.”


The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on Jeremy Paxman's one man show: "Paxman does not do stand-up comedy. It is more the blossoming of a grumpy old man enjoying his dotage and no longer constrained by anyone’s rules but his own. There is talk of a national tour — MPs, minsters and the BBC had better put their tin hats on. It’s good to have him back"


The Guardian's readers' editor Chris Elliott on the paper's decision to run the This World ad accusing Hamas of using children as human shields in Gaza: "I agree with the readers that whatever the intention, the biblical language, the references to child sacrifice, all evoke images of that most ancient of antisemitic tropes: the blood libel. The authors may believe that they have steered a careful course by aiming these matters at an organisation, Hamas, rather than all Palestinians, but the association is there. If an advertisement was couched in similar terms but the organisation named was the IDF rather than Hamas, I can’t imagine the Guardian would run it – I certainly hope it wouldn’t. I think that’s the issue."


Croydon Advertiser Glenn Ebrey on his blog after Crystal Palace sacked its manager messing up the paper's football season preview supplement: "Oh bugger. This was my immediate reaction on Twitter, when news of Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace was confirmed on Thursday night."


Clay Shirky on Medium: "The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic. If that’s you, it’s time to learn something outside the production routine of your current job. It will be difficult and annoying, your employer won’t be much help, and it may not even work, but we’re nearing the next great contraction. If you want to get through it, doing almost anything will be better than doing almost nothing."

Brendan O'Neil in the Telegraph"The Telegraph has received a flurry of G-notices – four this week alone. Among the latest were two concerning stories published in 2001, about the arrest of three men following the discovery of explosives at an apartment in Dublin. These are hardly trivial matters, yet internet users in Europe, notably in Britain and Ireland, will no longer find the stories when they turn to the globe’s principal search engine – Google."

Daily Mail: "A newspaper sales director who 'terrorised' a shopkeeper and ‘viciously’ smashed up an off-licence has managed to get his conviction successfully wiped from Google using the EU’s controversial 'right to be forgotten' ruling."