Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From don't give up on print to the real steps the digital giants can take to combat fake news, hate speech and propaganda

21 September 2017 - 8:42am


Newspaper and magazine designer Mario Garcia on his blog: "Don’t give up on print, simply place it where it belongs: not as protagonist but as a strong secondary player. Don’t come to work in the newsroom each day anticipating the death of print, because chances are that you will die first."
David Higgerson on his blog: "Digital is not replacing all of the money being lost in print. But it does contribute many many millions, and publishers which focus on driving audiences, and understanding those audiences, will be the ones who secure more revenue now and in the future...Regularly, the strong online audience performances regional publishers report are mocked by commenters on sites such as Holdthefrontpage and Press Gazette. But those publishers are in a far better place in terms of revenue – and therefore cash to support journalism – than if they persisted with early 2000s strategies of trying to strangle digital presence to force readers into print. For all we want to believe it, there is no evidence anywhere that investment in newspapers, or holding back digital, drives up revenue or newspaper sales."

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock in a speech at the UK Internet Governance Forum: "The impact of the digital disruption is far reaching. Our world beating music industry has, over a long and painful time, discovered in streaming a new business model that appears to be sustainable and bearing fruit. Yet the news media, and the high quality journalism that provides such a vital public service, has yet to find such a sustainable business model, and we must work together to get there."


Woman in Journalism in a new report revealing male bylines still dominate national press front pages: "At Women in Journalism, we believe that democracy can only flourish when the mirror the media holds up to society provides a true reflection; we argue today that because of the lack of diversity in British newspapers the lens we hold up to society is a distorted one. Society sees itself not as it is, but through the prism of a predominantly old, white, male gaze. This puts half the population at a disadvantage – and, at its worst, can put women off entering public life."


Robert Shrimsley ‏on Twitter: "So Boris resorting to the classic 'I don't write the headlines' defence. Well fair play to him, I don't suppose he painted the bus either."


Sydney Ember in the New York Times: "The potential sale of Rolling Stone — on the eve of its 50th anniversary, no less — underscores how inhospitable the media landscape has become as print advertising and circulation have dried up."


Polly Toynbee in the Guardian"Mounting abuse of the BBC could in the end destroy it: it only survives on the trust and affection of most citizens. Those on the left joining in the attack, dismissing the BBC as part of an “MSM” plot, fuel the right’s aim to dismantle and privatise it."


David Aaronovitch in The Times [£]: "A lot of the stories on sites like The Canary and Skwawkbox are “isn’t life crap under the Tories” offerings, frequently picking up mainstream media items. You also get the occasional straightforward conspiracy theory. But one of the biggest attractions is calling out the BBC for being rigged against the left. That always gets attention, for in the demonology of these sites the BBC or The Times are in on the plot. Never mind the Daily Mail, the Laura Kuenssbergs of this world are the true villains. If you want a revolution and you don’t want too many awkward questions asked about it, you don’t just ignore what you call the conventional media. You try to destroy its reputation. In fact you must make your battle against it one of the centrepieces of your struggle."


Birmingham Mail NUJ chapel statement on plans to cut 10 more editorial jobs: "Our editor Marc Reeves likes to refer to the Birmingham Mail as a ‘house that’s on fire’. There is no doubt he has poured petrol on that house this week...This operation has been run on the fumes of goodwill for too long. That goodwill has been extinguished. In light of this the Chapel has taken a vote of no confidence in the editor or the vague proposals being made. If compulsory redundancies are threatened by management on Monday, we will immediately ballot for industrial action over these forced job losses, low staffing levels and high workloads."


Christopher Williams in the Sunday Telegraph: "The owner of the Evening Standard has made an approach to buy the Metro newspaper from the publisher of the Daily Mail, as media barons jockey for position in an industry merger melee. Evgeny Lebedev, the 37-year-old owner of the London freesheet edited by former chancellor George Osborne, is understood to be keen to add the Metro to his stable to drive cost savings and expansion outside the capital. Industry sources said Mr Lebedev aimed to use the Metro’s nationwide distribution network to launch regional versions of the Evening Standard."

Financial Times reports: "Lord Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, has told staff at the UK media group that it is 'not actively considering any change to the ownership' of its free daily title Metro."


Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, in a lecture on fake news to Oxford Alumni Festival: "So what is to be done about the fake news phenomenon and the collateral damage to quality journalism? First, the dominant technology sites must recognise they need to take more responsibility for the content which appears on their sites, not just fake news but also hate speech and extremist propaganda. Second, they must drop the pretence that they are simply platforms and channels for publishers’ rather than media companies themselves. They have fast become the main source of news for significant portions of society. The reality is that they are influencing or even deciding via algorithms what information is consumed."
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Media Quotes of the Week: From the digital hurricanes destroying journalism to it is not just the internet to blame for killing the local press

14 September 2017 - 8:58am


Sir Harold Evans on Press Gazette: "Facebook and Google are the Harvey and Irma of journalism – and democracy. Whatever else they do, the electronic duopoly deprive millions of information and argument as surely as the series of super storms deprive millions of light, power, home and hearth. And more to come.  Fret as much as Trumpian skeptics still do about the precise link between hurricanes and greenhouse gases – I don’t! – no one can deny the devastating effect of Facebook and Google on the viability of news organisations to investigate complexity and resist suppression." 

Graydon Carter, who is stepping down as editor of Vanity Fair, on Donald Trump, in the New York Times: “He’s tweeted about me 42 times, all in the negative. So I blew up all the tweets and I framed them all. They’re all on a wall — this is the only wall Trump’s built — outside my office."


Katherine Forster, a 48-year-old mother of three on how she became The Spectator's new intern:"The Spectator’s internship scheme has a no-CV policy, so they don’t care (or ask) if you’re 16 or 60. They select on the simple basis of what you can actually do. Completely sensible, utterly egalitarian and yet highly unusual. I sent off a 200-word blog, three suggestions for articles, fact-checked an article (by Polly Toynbee on inequality) and made a three-minute audio file analysing a Prime Minister’s Questions (this last one nearly scuppered my entire effort and I almost abandoned the whole thing). Out of 150 applications, only a dozen get through. So like all of the interns, I ended up here on merit."

Brian Reade in the Mirror says some ex-football stars turned broadcasters: "Sound like they are lazily living off their playing ­reputations...in other sports, you have to earn your legendary status as a broadcaster just as you did as a player. But, in football, the rule is clearly 'once a ledge, always a ledge'."

Matt Tee on the Independent Press Standards Organisation blog on its third anniversary: "Over the years some of our opponents have decided it’s more constructive to work with us than shout from a distance. Others continue their opposition, but it’s become increasingly clear that there’s nothing we could do that would satisfy them....Nearly 50,000 people have complained to us about an article in a newspaper or magazine or about the behaviour of a journalist and many thousands of other complaints have been resolved by publishers directly with the public. Over the same period we have issued nearly 200 Private Advisory Notices to editors – telling them that someone does not wish to speak to journalists or be photographed. These are confidential, so it’s not possible to give real examples, but, although they’re not binding on the press, they work. "


Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, in a statement after reports that up to 40 local journalists' posts are under threat at Trinity Mirror: "Jargon about a ‘more synchronised approach’ and ‘aligning design structures’ can’t hide the fact that these are bad old fashioned job cuts affecting several Trinity Mirror centres around the country. More generic content across the titles and an increase in user generated content if it is at the expense of other coverage such as courts and councils, means short-changing local readers. Our members will be asking what evidence the company has that these further cuts will lead to success."


Gloucestershire Media managing director Sarah Pullen on turning the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo weekly, in a statement: “This change to our print titles is being dictated by the behaviour of our readers and the amazing growth success of our website Gloucestershire Live. We still have a loyal print audience but the majority of the people who read the Echo or the Citizen do so just once a week."


Birmingham Mail editor Marc Reeves on Medium on why his newsroom is being split between print and digital"Lots of titles are going digital only, that’s true — but only after shutting their print incarnations. What’s different in Birmingham is we’re building a sustainable digital business structure now to sit alongside our print business, so we’re ready for the challenge when it comes, rather than respond in the middle of a real crisis. I believe there remains several years’ profitable life in the Birmingham Mail in print, but that doesn’t mean we should put off the creation of a digital-only model until the last minute."

Former Taunton Times reporter Matt Chorley in The Times [£]: "Every time a paper closes, lazy MPs, corrupt councillors, dodgy police chiefs, rip-off businesses and anyone in the dock can relax a little. This isn’t just nostalgia: the great and good didn’t stop behaving badly because we all got Snapchat and iPlayer...People ranting about parking charges and dog mess on Facebook groups are no substitute for local papers that might get something changed; doing the hard, boring yards to expose wrongdoing. I fear that unless some of the tech giants who’ve hollowed them out start paying something back, the demise of these papers may be inevitable."

Peter Preston in the Observer on the local press: "Is this another business wrecked by the internet? Up to a point. But it is also a business crippled by the debts of big chains that bought family newspapers when the going was good and then found the foundations of that highly profitable game crumbling – a business in hock to its share price. And, like many other businesses, the gloom is not universal. Some areas, some papers, some digital expansions, are doing well enough."
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