Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 56 min 6 sec ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hugh Grant and John Cleese to ethics, courage, integrity and shame

26 February 2015 - 4:12pm


Graeme Demianyk ‏@GraemeDemianyk on Twitter: "Hugh Grant given chance to have a nice long moan about newspapers on #r4today as scoops by Guardian, Sun and Telegraph dominate bulletins."

Peter Wright, editor emeritus, Associated Newspapers, in a letter to the Guardian: "[Hugh] Grant’s damascene conversion to the cause of freedom of expression is of course welcome. But perhaps his next campaign could be against the appalling royal charter, which politicians are trying to impose on all journalists, and the oppressive, discriminatory exemplary damages which will enforce it – both measures backed by statute. Ironically, where Hugh and his chums can justly claim credit is that they really did write the royal charter. Indeed it is as a result of their actions that the police and other bodies which should know better think it’s open season to undermine Britain’s free press. That is one of the Leveson’s most depressing legacies."

John Cleese pictured in the IndependentJohn Cleese on the press at a Hacked Off rally, as reported by PA and Press Gazette: "Of course they want to regulate themselves, we'd all like to regulate ourselves wouldn't we? Builders, accountants, murderers, they'd all like to regulate themselves. The murderers would make a very good case - they'd say we murdered a lot of people, we know people who have murdered people. We really are best qualified to regulate ..."
Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman at the same rally"We are absolutely committed to what Leveson proposed and we do not think that business as usual is acceptable."


The NUJ in a statement:  "The union wants to see any new ethical guidelines introduced at the Telegraph newspaper in relation to advertising and journalistic ethics to be meaningful and include a conscience clause for journalists. Journalists need to be protected and enabled to do the job they came into the industry to do without fear or favour, regardless of ownership."

Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council: “We welcome proposed changes to stop using RIPA to spy on journalists – we are very pleased everyone now agrees on this principle but as always the devil will be in the detail and so we urge the government to provide that detail now and then allow for a full and proper democratic debate amongst politicians, industry and civil society about the changes they intend to propose.”

Roy Mincoff, NUJ legal officer: "Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act journalists must be notified by the authorities of an application to access their material and sources and have the ability to object, a right of hearing before a judge and the possibility of an appeal. The protections for journalists’ data under RIPA must be no less than that provided by PACE. To continue to allow the authorities to access journalists’ data and therefore sources will have a serious chilling effect on those who would otherwise reveal corruption, crime, abuse and wrongdoing by public and private bodies. Journalists are the public watchdog, with a duty to inform the public. The public has a right to be informed."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Financial Times: “Rupert would rather cut his right leg off than support Ukip at the next election.”


Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the Telegraph/Dispatches sting on MPs: "Leaving aside whether or not the MPs breached parliamentary rules, the way they spoke about themselves while being covertly filmed was justification enough for its undercover sting. They were shown to be using their positions in order to grasp money, so the public interest was obvious."



alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "Struggling to think of any paper in recent times running something as desperate as this."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "Fleet Street is now into the machine-gun phase of its Reservoir Dogs cycle. This won't end well...."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell on Twitter: "Just seen that the Telegraph put their despicable story on the front page. A paper being run by the woefully inadequate."

Janine Gibson ‏@janinegibson on Twitter: "Silly revenge pieces about the Guardian are one thing, but that hit on the Times has come from a very dark place indeed."

The Observer:  "In every business there’s pressure and scope for tragedy. But to equate these deaths with the decision – the commercial decision – to go easy on a big bank in trouble is gross far beyond any Fleet Street club. It demeans those who wrote it and those who ordered it. It will not be forgotten, or easily forgiven."

Peter Preston in The Observer: "The simplest question at the heart of the Telegraph’s HSBC shambles – and subsequent vileness – is also the one that matters most. Why on Earth was Peter Oborne, doughty political columnist, trooping back and forth to the chief executive’s office complaining about black holes and white flags? What had  Murdoch MacLennan got to do with soft-pedalled coverage and cowardly retreats? Where was the stalwart soul who’s supposed to stand on the frontline defending journalism’s values? Where was the editor?"


Owen Jones in the Guardian"Peter Oborne, a man of integrity and courage, has done us a huge service. With the disappearance of secure journalism jobs, most journalists can simply not speak out about journalistic practices without permanently banishing themselves from the industry."

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley remembers being forced by a publisher to drop a negative restaurant review: "I was understandably furious, seeing such interference as a breach of a sacred code. I argued the toss for several days, right up until the point that the review should have gone to print. I was then informed that if I didn’t drop it, he’d have the page replaced by our production department. I was outranked and outflanked. There was only one thing left to do – resign on principle. Ten years earlier I would have done it. But I still had a big mortgage to pay off and there weren’t many other jobs going out there. To my eternal shame, I swallowed my pride and looked the other way as the dirty deed was done. I regretted it then and I regret it now."

Financial Times  news report on the Barclay brothers: "Forbes estimates their joint wealth at $5.3bn. 'It’s hard to work out why they’re so desperate to extract value from the newspaper,' said one former employee."


Nick Cohen on Twitter: "Best line in Guardian editor hustings from @janinegibson on the Telegraph "You can only sell your integrity once". (Think I'll steal it)

Media Quotes of the Week: Oborne lashes Telegraph, Grey Cardigan bashes bloggers and the real journalistic fantasy in Fifty Shades of Grey

19 February 2015 - 10:58am


Peter Oborne on Open Democracy on why he's quit the Telegraph: "The Telegraph’s recent coverage of HSBC amounts to a form of fraud on its readers. It has been placing what it perceives to be the interests of a major international bank above its duty to bring the news to Telegraph readers. There is only one word to describe this situation: terrible."

Lionel Barber ‏@lionelbarber  on Twitter: "Peter Oborne's 'j'accuse' against Daily Telegraph - a moment in British journalism."

James Ball ‏@jamesrbuk on Twitter: "HSBC 'paused' Guardian advertising just before #HSBCfiles publication. We published anyway."

Daniel Finkelstein @Dannythefink on Twitter: "The problem with Tele saying that @OborneTweets is full of inaccuracies and innuendo is that he has been their chief commentator for 5 years."

Robert Peston ‏@Peston on Twitter: "All journalists, especially young journalists, should read Oborne's farewell to the Telegraph."

Sam McBride ‏@SJAMcBride on Twitter: "Whoever wrote the Daily Telegraph's response to Peter Oborne demonstrates the decline he alleges by misusing 'refute'."

@Bynickdavies on Twitter: "Telegraph have a formidable opponent in Peter Oborne - dead straight and brave."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "There is no question that the private sector is an insecure way of financing a free press that does not make money. But all other ways are worse. There are still as many daily newspapers published in Britain (nine) as there were 50 years ago, a continuous diversity available to no other western country. Online has not wiped out print. It has enhanced the penetration and prominence of both. In which case, we can only thank goodness for expediency. The only champion of a free press is not some regulator or commission or charter board. It is the free press itself. Plurality, rivalry, disclosure, exposure and sometimes fury are the best guardians. That is what we saw this week. One Oborne is worth 10 Levesons."

The Times [£]: "A coroner has demanded that a Sky News reporter [Martin Brunt] divulge his source for a story about a woman who was found dead after the broadcaster revealed that she had “trolled” the parents of Madeleine McCann.  The demand has raised fresh concerns about the state encroaching on journalists’ rights to keep their sources confidential, in the wake of revelations that police forces looked into their phone records on hundreds of occasions."


Publicity blurb for new book Tabloid Secrets by ex-News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck published by Biteback Publishing: "Thurlbeck’s undercover, investigative work is revealed in great detail, with the methods and subterfuge explained. It also describes how the reporter was recruited to MI5, the characters he met and the type of work he carried out there. Ultimately, Tabloid Secrets is a journey through a world which has vanished for good, by the best-known reporter of recent times. It is a vivid, surprising and wildly entertaining insider account of a Fleet Street which is suddenly no more."



Being a journalist is the sixth most desired job in Britain, according to a YouGov poll published this week.

Getty ImagesEd Amoury on MediaGuardian:"As we enter the general election campaign, the part of the media that political parties fear as opposed to plan how to exploit is the print media. It’s the passion and beliefs and ruthless investigative journalism of papers like the Mail, the Times and the Guardian that will decide on which battlegrounds the campaign is fought, and therefore play a key role in deciding who will win. The same is true in the corporate world. Chief executives care infinitely more about a downpage story in a national print newspaper than 100m impressions on social media. Partly, it’s because many of them are not yet digital natives, but there is also a sense that social media interactions, perhaps because they are so easy, are also cheap and not so very meaningful."



Ex-Sun journalist John Troup interviewed in Press Gazette: "We were made to feel like we were terrorists – for doing nothing more than writing stories that were true and in the public interest. If a story about someone killing themselves in a maximum security prison isn’t in the public interest, what is?"
David carr: New York TimesDavid Carr, the New York Times media columnist, who died last week: “Right now, being a reporter is a golden age. There may be a lack of business models to back it up, but having AKTOCA on – All Known Thought One Click Away – on my desktop, tablet or phone makes it immensely deeper, richer exercise than it used to be.”


Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, apologises to all its victims of phone hacking: "Some years ago voice-mails left on certain people’s phones were unlawfully accessed. And in many cases the information obtained was used in stories in our national newspapers. Such behaviour represented an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people’s private lives.It was unlawful and should never have happened, and fell far below the standards our readers expect and deserve. We are taking this opportunity to give every victim a sincere and unreserved apology for what happened.We recognise that our actions will have caused them distress for which we are truly sorry.Our newspapers have a long and proud history of holding those in power to account. As such, it is only right we are held to account ourselves.Such behaviour has long since been banished from Trinity Mirror’s business and we are committed to ensuring it will not happen again."


Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "Any officer who thinks the public have a right to know is treated like a criminal. Talking to a reporter is a career-ending offence and may result in prosecution.
...If coppers are supposed to be citizens in uniform, then journalists are citizens with notebooks. It’s our job to bring you the news those in power don’t want you to find out. The current assault on our Free Press is an assault on a free society."


Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "Since the arrival of blogs everyone is a fucking journalist, and the sheer number of knobheads out there who are happy to churn out their boring, bland opinions just for the supposed glory of seeing their name in lights means that the notion of actually paying for well-written, thought-provoking words is now almost redundant. Why does this matter? Well it means that true creativity is stifled as writers and photographers give up the daily battle to put food on the table and the level of national debate continues to be dumbed down. Mark my words, it won’t be long before someone called @billyblogger24 is writing the leader column in The Times."


Periwinkle Jones ‏@peachesanscream on Twitter: "The sexiest fantasy in 50 Shades Of Grey is the bit where she gets a job in journalism without having to do years of unpaid work experience."