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Journalisted Weekly: Armistice, Berlusconi and James Murdoch

November 16th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

Journalisted is an independent, not-for-profit website built to make it easier for you, the public, to find out more about journalists and what they write about. It is run by the Media Standards Trust, a registered charity set up to foster high standards in news on behalf of the public, and funded by donations from charitable foundations. Each week Journalisted produces a summary of the most covered news stories, most active journalists and those topics falling off the news agenda, using its database of UK journalists and news sources.

Armistice, Berlusconi and James Murdoch

for the week ending Sunday 13 November

  • Coverage of the Armistice commemorations led the week’s news agenda
  • Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation and James Murdoch’s Select Committee appearance covered lots
  • EDL arrests, Tendulkar run record, second Northampton nightclub death and Welsh Assembly deadlock covered little

Covered lots

Covered little

Political ups and downs (top ten by number of articles)

Celebrity vs. serious

Arab spring (countries & current leaders)

Who wrote a lot about… the IAEA’s report exposing Iran’s nuclear ambitions

Long form journalism

Journalists who have updated their profile

  • David Newbury is music editor at Londonist and also works as music critic for The Line Of Best Fit, and as a freelance music, arts and fashion writer at Quietus. He has experience at The Scotsman, Northern Echo, Leicester Mercury, The Guardian and Scotland On Sunday. He has an NCTJ Preliminary Certificate in Newspaper Journalism from Lambeth College and a BA in Geography from the University of Leicester. You can follow David on Twitter @HiDavidNewbury
  • Rob Langston is associate editor at Fundweb.co.uk. He has previously worked as deputy editor at What Investment, senior reporter at Investment Adviser and FTAdviser.com and reporter for Investment Adviser, Insurance Insider and Niche Personal Loans. He has a BA in English with Italian from the University of Sussex at Brighton and won the Headlinemoney Trade Journalist of the Year award in 2010. Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_langston

The Media Standards Trust, which runs journalisted, won the ‘One to Watch’ category at this year’s Prospect Think Tank Awards

Read about our campaign for the full exposure of phone hacking and other illegal forms of intrusion at the Hacked Off website

Visit the Media Standards Trust’s Churnalism.com – a public service for distinguishing journalism from churnalism

Read the MST’s submission to parliament’s Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions and the House of Lords Communications Select Committee on investigative journalism

The Orwell Prize 2012 is now open for entries following a launch debate on ‘Writing the Riots’

For the latest instalment of Tobias Grubbe, journalisted’s 18th century jobbing journalist, go to journalisted.com/tobias-grubbe

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Financial Times: James Murdoch’s spokesperson resigned amid phone-hacking scandal

September 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, PR

The Financial Times has reported that “one of James Murdoch’s closest advisers” has resigned. Alice Macandrew was Murdoch’s spokesperson but reportedly handed her notice in back in July.

She becomes one of the first senior executives to quit News Corp voluntarily over disagreements with the company’s approach, which saw the publisher contest phone-hacking lawsuits brought by celebrities and other public figures in 2010 and early 2011 and close the News of the World in July.

News Corporation has declined to comment.

Read the full report here (requires registration).

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Telegraph: James and Rupert Murdoch to be questioned under oath

August 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Telegraph reported yesterday that both James and Rupert Murdoch are to be questioned under oath in the High Court as part of the Lord Leveson inquiry into phone hacking.

According to the paper’s report Lord Leveson is also “keen” for the inquiry to be broadcast live. A Cabinet Office spokesman declined to comment on whether the Murdochs will be questioned, but told Journalism.co.uk live coverage of the inquiry is being looked into.  The closing date for submissions to the inquiry is tomorrow, with reportedly “dozens of letters” already having been sent to potential witnesses to ask for their input.

The Murdochs, as well as Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, both former editors of the News of the World, are likely to be called.

David Cameron and other senior politicians are also likely to be questioned over their links to News International, the parent company of the News of the World.

Today Reuters also reported that lawyers for News International are carrying out “a broad inquiry into reporting practices at all of the company’s UK newspapers”.

Citing sources who have been briefed about the inquiry Reuters reports that lawyers for law firm Linklaters will be “looking for anything that US government investigators might be able to construe as evidence the company violated American law”.

In addition to conducting personal interviews with selected journalists, lawyers will also be looking at email and financial records, said this source.

A News International spokesman confirmed that a review of journalistic standards is underway at News International, which Linklaters is assisting with.

“This is part of a process that started a number of weeks ago and is under the ultimate control of the News Corp board through the independent director Viet Dinh, Joel Klein and the Management and Standards Committee”.

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Phone hacking update: Ex-employees ‘clarify’ Murdoch evidence

Chairman of News International, James Murdoch, was yesterday (21 July) seemingly forced to defend evidence he gave to the culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, after it was called into question by two former employees – ex-News of the World editor Colin Myler and lawyer Tom Crone.

According to reports, last night Crone and Myler released a statement seeking to “clarify” a significant piece of Murdoch’s evidence.

In the committee session, MP Tom Watson had asked James Murdoch if, when he signed off a settlement payment to Gordon Taylor, he had seen or was made aware of an email “suggesting hacking was more widespread than had been admitted”. And James Murdoch replied no, “I was not aware of that at the time”.

But in their statement, Myler and Crone claim his recollection of what he was told “was mistaken”.

In fact, we did inform him of the ‘for Neville’ email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor’s lawyers.

Following Myler and Crone’s statement, Murdoch issues a single line statement: “I stand behind my testimony to the select committee.”

According to a BBC report, Watson has said he will now ask police to investigate this evidence, while committee chair John Whittingdale, was quoted as saying that it will be asking Murdoch to respond and clarify this.

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Phone hacking: Harbottle & Lewis authorised to respond to MPs and police questions

News Corporation has confirmed that law firm Harbottle & Lewis has been authorised to respond to questions from the Metropolitan police and select committees on the phone-hacking case.

The firm was featured in a number of questions from MPs during the culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, when News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, his son James and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were asked about a file of emails, said to form part of the Harbottle & Lewis review, and the contents of which were said by Brooks to “put a new light” on information in the case later on.

Giving evidence, James Murdoch, chairman of News International, said the company engaged a law firm to review a number of emails and that it offered its opinion on those.

What I do know is that the company rested on that, rested on the fact that the police told us that there was no new evidence and no reason for a new investigation, and rested on the opinion of the PCC that there was no new information and no reason to carry it further.

It was not until new evidence emerged from the civil litigations that were going on that the company immediately went to the police, restarted this, and the company has done the right thing in that respect.

Yesterday (20 July) the law firm said it was restricted from responding to some of the comments because of client confidentiality, but News Corporation’s management and standards committee (MSC) has since announced that News International has decided to authorise the law firm to answer questions from the Metropolitan police and select committees.

The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International, as well as conducting its own inquiries where appropriate

According to a report by the Financial Times the firm is now reviewing what can be said.

While lawmakers questioned why the e-mails Harbottle reviewed were not handed to police, the solicitors’ regulatory code says that a duty to report criminality can be overridden by client confidentiality, except where lawyers suspect that clients may go on to cause violent crime.

The law firm has not responded to a request for comment by Journalism.co.uk.

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Select committees: Reaction to appearances by police, the Murdochs and Brooks

July 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Politics

The focus on Twitter seemed to be entirely on the appearance of Murdoch and son, Rebekah Brooks and two senior Metropolitan police officers at two parliament select committees yesterday (19 July).

Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates appeared before the home affairs select committee, before Rupert and James Murdoch – and then Rebekah Brooks – came before the culture, media and sport committee.

Below is a Storify to show some of the reaction on Twitter to MPs’ questions and the responses MPs received.

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Peston: BSkyB board to decide on Murdoch stand-down by end of week

According to a blog post by the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston, the board of BSkyB is due to decide whether James Murdoch, chairman of News International, should stand down from his position.

According to a well-placed source, there is a growing view among the company’s non-executives that the burden for James Murdoch of “fighting the fires” at News Corporation – where he is in charge of European operations and is deputy chief operating officer – means that he will find it hard to devote enough time to chairing BSkyB, the largest media and entertainment company in the UK.

According to Peston, it is likely he will be asked to stand down temporarily, until News International “has been stabilised”.

But the Guardian seems to dispute this in its live blog on the phone hacking scandal. Reporter Lisa O’Carroll is quoted as saying that BSkyB had said “it did not expect James Murdoch to be pushed”.

It said it had “no specific comment” to make about claims by the BBC’s Robert Peston that the non-executives felt Murdoch was “fighting the fires” at News Corporation – where he is deputy chief operating officer.

A spokesman said there were no moves afoot on the make-up of the boardroom: “The company has a strong governance framework and there are no changes to the existing plans.”

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Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks’ lawyer’s statement

Rebekah Brooks’ laywer has apparently released a statement this afternoon claiming she is ‘not guilty of any criminal offence’.

The statement follows Brooks’ arrest yesterday, as part of the Metropolitan Police investigations into phone hacking and corruption.

The position of Rebekah Brooks can be simply stated. She is not guilty of any criminal offence. The position of the Metropolitan Police is less easy to understand. Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her, and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.

They will in due course have to give an account of their actions, and in particular their decision to arrest her, with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved.

In the meantime,  Mrs Brooks has an appointment with the culture, media and sport select committee tomorrow. She remains willing to attend and to answer questions. It is a matter for Parliament to decide what issues to put to her and whether her appointment should place at a later date.

(Hat-tip to Channel 4 News’ home affairs producer Marcus Edward.)

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Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper ad apology

July 15th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Press freedom and ethics

News International chairman James Murdoch announced this morning that the company would be placing a full-page apology in all of the national newspapers this weekend following two weeks of damning revelations about phone-hacking and corruption at the News of the World.

The apology is signed by James’ father Rupert, chairman of News Corporation. Here is an image text of the ad, via @TimGatt. Full text below.

 

Text:

We are sorry.

The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself.

We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.

We regret not acting faster to sort things out,

I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

Our business was founded on the idea that free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.

Sincerely,

Rupert Murdoch.

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Letters in full from News International bosses to select committee

Here are the responses given by Rebekah Brooks, James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch to chairman of the culture, media and sport committee John Whittingdale, who invited them to give evidence next week on phone hacking.

Brooks has accepted an invitation to appear before the committee on Tuesday.

Rebekah Brooks:

Dear John,

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

I am writing to confirm that I am available to appear before the committee on that date and welcome the opportunity to do so.

As you will be aware, the Metropolitan police investigation into illegal voicemail interception continues and we are fully cooperating with that. Aspects of the work to which your committee may wish to refer are likely to be relevant to that investigation. Indeed, the police have already asked us specifically to provide information about those matters.

I understand that various select committees have approached the police over time in relation to this and other cases. The police’s position has been to co-operate where this did not directly impact on the investigation in question. In those cases where it did potentially impact, the police have historically declined to comment at that stage. Our understanding is that this approach has not been challenged. Given that we are in the midst of an investigation, and we do not want to prejudice it, I hope you will understand why we feel it would not be appropriate to respond to such questions at present in order to be consistent with [the] police’s approach, and that as a result this may prevent me from discussing these matters in detail.

I hope this is of help, and look forward to hearing from you to discuss exact timings and other details.

Yours sincerely,
Rebekah Brooks

Rupert Murdoch:

Dear John,

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

Unfortunately, I am not available to attend the session you have planned next Tuesday. However, I am fully prepared to give evidence to the forthcoming judge-led public inquiry and I will be taking steps to notify those conducting the inquiry of my willingness to do so. Having done this, I would be happy to discuss with you how best to give evidence to your committee.

I hope this is of help.

Yours sincerely,
Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch:

Dear John

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

Unfortunately I am not available to attend the session you have planned next Tuesday.

However, I would be pleased to give evidence to your committee on either the 10 or 11 August. Naturally, if neither of these proves suitable I would be willing to consider any alternative dates you suggest.

I hope this is of help to the committee.

Yours sincerely,
James Murdoch

Given the responses from Rupert and James Murdoch the committee decided it will issue summons for them to appear on Tuesday. It is currently unclear what steps could and would be taken if they are declined.

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