Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 2 hours 7 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From smiling Sun to why Jeremy Clarkson 'adores' the tabloid press

26 March 2015 - 3:53pm

David Dinsmore ‏@davedins on Twitter: "Tomorrow's p1. Put together by a great team in tribute to a great team."

Cleared Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan, interviewed by Press Gazette: “It’s been a very barren, painful and miserable existence.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Journalists are citizens. When they break the law they should be prosecuted. But when successive juries in long, complex and colossally expensive cases refuse to convict them, those pressing charges should pay attention."

The Daily Mail:  "For its part, the Metropolitan Police has taken the default position of treating suspects like gangsters. And certainly no sign of retreat by the zealots at Hacked Off, who want State-backed Press regulation. The result? It was rather eloquently put by defence barrister Trevor Burke QC. He said: '(The) very worrying trend is that journalists that only report the news accurately, honestly and fearlessly now face being prosecuted in our criminal courts. 'You might be aware of events in Moscow . . .where free Press has long ceased to exist. It never did in China.' He said a public interest approach was paramount: 'It is the very basic function of a journalist in a free society to report the news without fear or failure. To expose hypocrisy and to reveal the truth.' The jury agreed. Operation Elveden has become a national shame. The runaway train has to be stopped."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader: "Our significant, if not total, libel victory [over Peter Cruddas] was followed by the acquittal of four journalists from The Sun on Friday on charges of encouraging misconduct in public office by paying civil servants. Our experience in the libel courts was that victory came after a long and costly battle. The wave of prosecutions of recent years is affecting the way journalists do their jobs. Freedom to report what is in the public interest and to expose wrongdoing is vital. We need to ensure that it is preserved."

The Guardian in a leader: "The relationship between source and reporter is complicated enough without adding the element of moral compromise which is introduced by handing over money. If payment is involved, it is strongly arguable that this should be declared at the time of publication. This may be an area on which the new press regulator Ipso might wish to issue guidelines. Meanwhile there needs to be a clear and consistent public interest defence to the entire battery of laws aimed at journalism, including official secrecy."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "This was part of the concerted campaign to control the flow of information and bring the Press to heel. The Gestapo tactics have been a monstrous abuse of police powers. Journalists have been dragged from their beds at dawn, their homes ransacked, their families intimidated."

Alan Rusbridger on the Guardian: "We are delighted the Supreme Court has overwhelmingly backed the brilliant 10-year campaign by Guardian reporter Rob Evans to shine daylight on the letters Princes Charles has been writing to ministers. The government wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to cover up these letters, admitting their publication would ‘seriously damage’ perceptions of the Prince’s political neutrality. Now they must publish them so that the public can make their own judgment. This is a good day for transparency in government and shows how essential it is to have a fully independent judiciary and free press."

Martin Rosenbaum on BBC News politics: "Forty police forces across the country have dismissed as 'vexatious'a BBC freedom of information (FOI) application about police monitoring of journalists' communications. It appears the police have adopted a virtually blanket policy of now rejecting all FOI requests about the use of their surveillance powers to collect communications data on journalists - irrespective of the questions actually asked or how often, if at all, that requester has raised the issue before."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Guardian: "During my 12 years as Sun editor I am sure minorities – and even majorities – were maligned. Editors think they know everything, that they have an umbilical cord to the thought processes of readers. They simply don’t."

John Plunkett ‏@johnplunkett on Twitter: "New BBC News website has 'find local news' button. Much more of this, may need 'find local newspaper' option."

Kath Viner on being appointed editor-in-chief of the Guardian: "I intend to lead a media organisation that is bold, challenging, open and engaging. It will be a home for the most ambitious journalism, ideas and events, setting the agenda and reaching out to readers all around the world.”

Mike Lowe ‏@cotslifeeditor on Twitter: "Rather relieved that the Clarkson Rule wasn't in place back in the days when I was editing newspapers."

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan on Twitter: "If he'd stuck to just punching me, he'd have been fine." #Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times [£]: "I adore tabloid newspapers. Anyone can say, 'Mr Paddy Ashdown, leader of the Liberal Democratic party, today admitted to an extramarital affair.' But it takes a special type of wit and brilliance to come up with 'It’s Paddy Pantsdown' and cover the whole damn thing in three words."

Or in five words, like this...


The chill in relations between press and police - and when journalists went to jail to protect sources

24 March 2015 - 11:24am

I've done an article for InPublishing on the chill in relations between the press and police following Leveson, the arrests over allegations of hacking and paying public servants, plus the use of RIPA to access journalists' communications with their sources.

I also look back to a time when journalists went to prison rather than reveal their sources and were regarded as heroes by their peers. You can read it here.

Media Quotes of the Week: From Chancellor offers tax break hope for local press to Van Morrison says lazy rock journalists need a sense of humour

19 March 2015 - 4:26pm

Pic: Jon SlatteryGeorge Osborne in his Budget speech: “Local newspapers are a vital part of community life – but they’ve had a tough time in recent years – so today we announce a consultation on how we can provide them with tax support.”

Johnston Press chief ashley highfield on Twitter: "Osborne's local newspaper tax relief consultation great news for JP, and indicate strong Govt. desire to help us thrive."

The NUJ in a statement: "The NUJ has launched the Local News Matters campaign to reclaim a vital, vigorous press that is at the heart of the community it serves and is owned and operated in the public interest. As part of this, we have called for:
  • a short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news.
  • local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for a paper.
  • action to stem the job cuts and attack on quality journalism.
  • research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community media."

Guardian readers' editor Chris Eliott after the paper received 300 complaints over a Steve Bell strip cartoon about the SNP: "He is a cartoonist who makes Marmite seem like skimmed milk and he is unrepentant about the cartoon."

Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun [£]: “I think it’s fair to say that nature made a mistake when it invented the dinosaur. It was too big, too violent. So one day, all the dinosaurs died and now, many years later, no one mourns their passing. These big, imposing creatures have no place in a world which has moved on.”

A.A. Gill in the Sunday Times [£] on Clarkson: "At The Sunday Times, he and I work for a big corporation. But there is a sense that if things get lairy then the editor and management would stand by us.  At the BBC, some of Jeremy’s colleagues have treated him as a liability. Not just failed to appreciate him but briefed against him while taking the hundreds of millions his talent earns them and using his image and Top Gear to promote themselves around the world."

Award winner: Andrew NorfolkPeter Preston on Andrew Norfolk in the Observer: "Andrew Norfolk, the Times reporter in Rotherham, is the hero of most press awards these days and was again at the press awards. Warm applause, but also a warm lesson as Norfolk thanked his editors, going back years, for giving him time, especially time listening quietly in court, to nail a great, sickening story. Time is the essence of investigation. Courts are the underreported casualty of staff cuts. We no longer sit through trials. We don’t register detail after an opening statement or two. We believe in open justice: but we’re shutting the door on it."

Gideon Spanier in The Times [£]: "The owner of the Daily Mirror is in talks with Richard Desmond about buying the Daily Express and has been given access to his newspaper group’s confidential accounts, The Times has learnt."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "Overall, no deal involving any of the Express titles makes sense for Trinity Mirror. It would appear that both [Richard] Desmond and [Simon] Fox are engaged in fishing expeditions. But neither looks likely to make a catch."

Roger Mosey ‏@rogermosey on Twitter: "My initial sense is if Cameron agrees to 1 election debate on terms acceptable to the broadcasters it's harder to empty chair him in others."

The Sunday Times in a statement after the Appeal Court ruling on its long running libel case with ex-Consdervative Party treasurer Peter Cruddas: "The Sunday Times and two of its journalists, Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake, are today completely vindicated for reporting that Peter Cruddas corruptly offered access to David Cameron and other leading members of the Government in exchange for donations to the Conservative party. As party treasurer, he told the undercover reporters that if they made substantial donations to the party they would have an opportunity to influence Government policy and to gain unfair commercial advantage through confidential meetings. The Court of Appeal has found that proposing this was unacceptable, inappropriate and wrong. This was an important public interest story. Our journalists acted with professionalism and integrity and with the full support of the newspaper’s editors and lawyers. They and the newspaper have fought this case for three years. Today’s judgment confirms that journalism, and in particular undercover journalism, plays a key role in exposing the conversations behind closed doors which public mistrust. In so doing, it serves a vital purpose in a democracy.”

Van Morrison in The Times [£] insists he enjoys a laugh: “They never write about this stuff in the rock magazines. They never write anything like that. They keep the mythology going — I am grumpy and never have a laugh — because they are so lazy. They might have to get a sense of humour.”