Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From pride and shame of Hillsborough press coverage to 80 per cent of local journalists' jobs have gone in a decade

28 April 2016 - 9:43am


The Liverpool Echo on the Hillsborough inquests' verdicts: The Liverpool Echo has covered these inquests from outset to conclusion. In that two-year period we have had a reporter in court for every single day of evidence or process. We have been privileged over 27 years to witness the strength and perseverance of The Families and it was our duty to respond in this way. There have been many villains in this story and many heroes. Above all heroes, sit the Families themselves. The inquest verdicts, we hope, will help bring to an end a 27-year story of institutionalised cover-up and shameful disregard, both for truth and for the ‘ordinary person’. What the institutions failed to recognise is that they were not dealing with ordinary people and that Liverpool is not an ordinary city."


Isabella Stone in a letter to the Guardian: "I was living in Sheffield in 1989, and bought a copy of the Sheffield Star’s special edition on the tragedy, published the following day, on Sunday 16 April, which I still have. Reading it again, in the context of the inquest verdicts, it is striking to note that the paper’s account of the disaster, written by local reporters in the hours following it, and based on eyewitness accounts, is virtually identical in its conclusions to that of the jury’s verdicts 27 years later. The front page explicitly states that 'Liverpool fans were not to blame, but the victims'.”


Andy Burnham in the House of Commons, as reported by the Mirror: "Let me turn to collusion between police and the media. The malicious briefings given in the immediate aftermath were devastatingly efficient. They created a false version of events which lingered until yesterday. No-one in the police or media has ever been held to account for the incalculable harm they caused in smearing a whole city in its moment of greatest grief."


The Sun in a leader: "The supporters were not to blame. But the police smeared them with a pack of lies which in 1989 The Sun and others in the media swallowed whole. We apologised prominently 12 years ago, again four years ago on the front page, and do so unreservedly again now. Further, we pay tribute to the admirable tenacity of the friends and relatives over so many years on behalf of the 96 who died."

Kelvin MacKenzie in a statement, reported by the Independent“As I have said before, the headline I published was wrong and I am profoundly sorry for the hurt caused. Clearly, I was wrong to take the police’s version of events at face value and it is a mistake I deeply regret.”


The Times in a statement via Twitter:The Times led with Hillsborough coverage on all our digital editions throughout the day,” the newspaper’s editors said in a statement. This morning we have covered it extensively in the paper with two spreads, the back page, a top leader and an interactive on the victims. We made a mistake with the front page of our third edition, and we fixed it for the second edition.”


Freelance journalist Martin Fletcher in a letter to MailOnline journalist Euan McLelland, as reported by the SubScribe blog: "Good morning, Euan. I'd like to know whether you are intending to pay me for the use/theft of my exclusive story on British cemeteries in Iraq by Mail online yesterday? I am a freelance journalist. I paid my way to Iraq. I did the research. I put in the time and energy. I took the risks of visiting that unstable country. How dare you steal my work and pass it off as your own? How can you possibly describe yourself on your website as a 'driven, proactive and reliable young media reporter'. Are you completely without shame or pride?"


Guardian editor Kath Viner on  abusive online comments: "As editor, I think we need to act more decisively on what kind of material appears on the Guardian. Those who argue that this is an affront to freedom of speech miss the point. That freedom counts for little if it is used to silence others. When women and minorities don’t feel able to speak their mind for fear of insult, threat or humiliation, no such freedom exists."

Nick Cohen on the Spectator blog blasts Boris Johnson for his attack on President Obama: "Boris Johnson is a former editor of this newspaper, and as such has the right to be treated with a courtesy Spectator journalists do not normally extend to politicians who do not enjoy his advantages. I am therefore writing with the caution of a lawyer and the deference of a palace flunkey when I say that Johnson showed this morning that he is a man without principle or shame. He is a braying charlatan, who lacks the courage even to be an honest bastard, for there is a kind of bastardly integrity in showing the world who you really are, but instead uses the tactics of the coward and the tricks of the fraudster to advance his worthless career."


Society of Editors' executive director Bob Satchwell after the 2016 World Press Freedom Index shows the UK ranked 38th - down four places since 2014: “The UK’s position on the world press freedom list is a disgrace. This is the country that is supposed to be the mother of democracy and claims to have a free, unfettered media. No wonder journalists across the Commonwealth and the wider world express their dismay. Their governments cite the British example as an excuse for introducing and enhancing their own draconian restrictions on the media. This should be a worry for our politicians who so often proclaim their belief in a free press and the public who need it.”


Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "To read The Guardian last week, you’d have thought the undoubtedly talented Prince was a hybrid of Mozart and Martin Luther King. He was not. And David Bowie was a very good writer of pop songs, not a political icon who ushered in a new era of freedom for the world’s LGBT communities. None of this stuff used to happen, but the baby-boomers — who have not really grown up and yet run the media — revere their pop stars. And the pop stars are dying, either because they are quite old or because they have not lived lives of which the late Jesus Christ would have approved."

The Mirror's Peter Willis on jamming with Prince: "'Stop! Stop! Stop!' he shouted and slammed his hand down on the piano. Laughing, he added: 'Have you ever seen The Apprentice on TV? Cos You're fired!' I protested. Let's take it from the top again, I suggested. But it was too late. I'd blown it. Still, there can't be many people who've been hired and fired by Prince, all in the space of two minutes."


Keith Perch speaking at a meeting in the  House of Lords about the rapid decline in the number of regional journalists in the last decade, as reported by Press Gazette"The scale of the problem is always under stated. I think as much as 80 per cent of the jobs have disappeared. People look at newspaper closures, but the biggest change is that daily newspapers used to have loads of editions which were geographically based. They were effectively producing lots of daily newspapers for smaller towns. The Derby Telegraph used to have six editions all with journalists based in their own offices."
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Media Quotes of the Week: From Corbyn tells NUJ he wants a Leveson-style press regulator to being a newspaper reporter is ranked the worst job in 2016

21 April 2016 - 11:06am


Jeremy Corbyn in a message to the NUJ annual conference: "The government claims to support a free press. But the growing concentration of media ownership is a real threat to our democracy. Even after the phone-hacking scandal we still lack a properly independent press regulator as proposed by Lord Justice Leveson.”


Lord Black, speaking at the Commonwealth Journalists' Association conference: “The newspaper industry in my country is vigorously and robustly opposed to this system of state-backed regulation, which we believe is an unacceptable incursion into press freedom. And not one newspaper has agreed to sign up to it. For us, it has brought shame on a country that many journalists elsewhere in the world struggling against censorship and intimidation had been accustomed to regarding as a beacon of free speech."


The Daily Mail investigation into would be press regulator Impress: "This is the story of how a well-connected Left-wing activist financed by a vengeful millionaire tycoon came to be on the verge of triggering the most punitive anti-Press laws enforced outside a dictatorship."


John Whittingdale in the House of Commons, as reported by the BBC: "Having had my faith perhaps tested to the utmost I still believe that press freedom is a vitally important component of a free society and we should tread very carefully."

Bob Satchel, executive director of the Society of Editors,  in a letter to the Guardian: "If the press is to be truly free it should be free with neither carrot nor stick, to join or not join the royal charter system, join or not join the new Independent Press Standards Organisation or not to join any system at all – as the Guardian so chooses."


Lord Justice Jackson during the Court of Appeal judgment in favour of the Sun on Sunday in the celebrity threesome privacy case: "Whether or not the court grants the injunction, it is inevitable that the two children will in due course learn about these matters. Much of the harm which the injunction was intended to prevent has already occurred."

Desmond Browne, QC for the star, quoted in the Daily Mail: "The judgment may be treated as the death of the celebrity privacy".

Patrick Cockburn in The Independent: "Reporting wars has become much more dangerous now than it was half a century ago. The first armed conflict I wrote about was in Belfast in the early 1970s, when I used to joke that newly formed paramilitary groups appointed a press officer even before they bought a gun. In the first years of the Lebanese Civil War after 1975, the different militias used to hand journalists formal letters telling their checkpoints to allow free passage. There were so many militias that I was afraid of mixing up the letters, which looked rather alike, and used to keep those from left-wing groups tucked into my left sock and those from right-wing groups into the right one."


Kevin Rawlinson in the Guardian: "Those working in newsrooms talk of dubious stories being tolerated because, in the words of one, some senior editors think 'a click is a click, regardless of the merit of a story'. And, if the story does turn out to be false, it’s simply a chance for another bite at the cherry."



Letter to the Guardian from reader Andrew Anderson protesting at the paper's cover price rise: "Why am I being asked to increase my subsidy for your free online version?"

Independent local newspaper publisher Chris Bullivant in a letter criticising the Government for inaction over the Trinity Mirror-Local World takeover, published by Press Gazette: "For an example of the stultifying effect of daily newspaper monopoly in England one needs look no further than Rotherham. If true newspaper competition were operational there the attacks on 1500 young women would not have gone unreported for so long. I believe, by accident or design, an opportunity to break into the regional monopolies existent in all of the cities of England has been thwarted by Government inaction either directly or via the quangos that sometimes 'front' Government decisions."

From the Independent: "Being a newspaper reporter has been ranked the worst job for the third year in a row. Jobs in the media were seen as precarious because the loss of media organisations as a result of the decline in advertising revenue."