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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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Adam Westbrook: 6×6 video for freelance journalists

August 20th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Multimedia, Training

This is the second in a series of six blog posts by Adam Westbrook, each with six tips for the next generation of freelance multimedia journalists, republished here with permission.

Follow the series at this link or visit Adam’s blog.

Video
Video has by far and away become the most popular medium for the multimedia journalist – to the extent it almost seems many won’t consider it a truly multimedia project unless it’s got a bit of video in it. The thing is, video is a tricky medium and must be treated differently in the world of online journalism.

1) Video doesn’t need to be expensive
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t do video just because you haven’t got any cash. Sure, if you want to go right to the top range, say a Sony EX3, Final Cut Pro and After Effects, yes, it’s going to set you back about £3,000 ($5,000). But high quality can be achieved on lower budgets.

Check out my article on how I put together an entire film making kit for £500 ($800).

2) Shoot for the edit
If there’s one piece of advice for multimedia journalists making films – it comes from Harris Watts, in a book he published 20 years ago. In ‘Directing on Camera’ he describes exactly what shooting footage is:

“Shooting is collecting pictures and sound for editing (…) so when you shoot, shoot for editing. Take your shots in a way that keeps your options open.”

Filming with the final piece firmly in mind will keep your shooting focused and short. So when you start filming, start looking for close ups and sequences. The latter is the hardest: an action which tells your story, told over two or more shots.

Sequences are vital to storytelling and must be thought through.

A simple sequence: shot 1, soldiers feet walking from behind
A simple sequence: shot 1, soldiers feet walking from behind
Then to a wide shot of the same action...
Then to a wide shot of the same action…
...and then to a wide reverse showing more detail
…and then to a wide reverse showing more detail

3) Master depth of field
In online video, close-ups matter. The most effective way to hold close-ups – especially of a person – is to master depth of field. Put simply the depth of field how much of your shot in front of and behind your subject is kept in focus. It is controlled by the aperture on your camera – so you’ll need a camera with a manual iris setting.

Your aim – especially with close-ups – is to have your subject in clear focus, and everything behind them blurred: Alexandra Garcia does it very well in her Washington Post In-Scene series. (HT: Innovative Interactivity)

Screenshot: Innovative InteractivityScreenshot: Innovative Interactivity

Here’s a quick guide to getting to grips with depth of field:

  1. you need a good distance between the camera and subject
  2. a good distance between the subject and the background
  3. and a low f-stop on your iris – around f2.8, depending on how much light there is in your scene. A short focal length does this too.
  4. You may need to zoom in on your subject from a distance

4) Never wallpaper
If there was ever an example of the phrase ‘easier said than done’ this would be it. It’s a simple tip on first read: make sure every shot in your film is there for a reason. But with pressures of time or bad planning you can often find yourself ‘wallpapering’ shots just to fill a gap.

In his excellent book The Television News Handbook Vin Ray says following this rule will help you out no end:

“One simple rule will dramatically improve your television packaging: never use a shot – any shot – as wallpaper’. Never just write across pictures as though they weren’t there, leaving the viewer wondering what they’re looking at. Never ever.”

5) Look for the detail and the telling shot
Broadcast journalists are taught to look for the ‘telling shot’, and more often than not make it the first image. If your story is about a fire at a school, the first thing the audience need to see is the school on fire. If it’s about a woman with cancer, we must see her in shot immediately.

But the telling shot extends further: you can enhance your storytelling by looking for little details which really bring your story to life.

Vin Ray says looking for the little details are what set great camera operators apart from the rest:

“Small details make a big difference. Nervous hands; pictures on a mantelpiece; someone whispering into an ear; a hand clutching a toy; details of a life.”

I’m midway through shooting a short documentary about a former prisoner turned lawyer. One of the first things I noticed when I met him was a copy of the Shawshank Redemption on his coffee table – a great little vignette to help understand the character.

6) Break the rules
The worst thing a multimedia journalist can do when producing video for the web is to replicate television – unless that’s your commission of course. TV is full of rules and formulas, all designed to hide edits, look good to the eye, and sometimes deceive. Fact is, online video journalism provides the chance to escape all that.

Sure it must look good, but be prepared to experiment – you’ll be amazed what people will put up with online:

  • Cutaways are often used to cover over edits in interviews; why not be honest and use a simple flash-dissolve instead. Your audience deserves to know where you’ve edited, right?
  • TV packages can’t operate without being leaden with voice over, but your online films don’t need to be.
  • Piece to cameras don’t need to be woodenly delivered with the camera on a tripod.

The final word…
Here’s VJ pioneer David Dunkley-Gyimah speaking at this year’s SxSW event in the US:

When it comes to the net, there is no code yet as I believe that is set in stone (…) we’ve all been taking TV’s language and applying that and it hasn’t quite worked. Video journalism needs a more cinematic, heightened visual base.”

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‘Hostage in Qatar': jailed for three years with hard labour unless raises appeal money

A report from The National.

“A Belgian national who claims he has been ‘held hostage’ in Qatar by his sponsor since the company he worked for fell into financial difficulty last year, has been sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour.”

On June 22 the former managing director of Dialogic Qatar, Philippe Bogaert, discovered he had been sentenced to three years imprisonment. Bogaert, who has been publicising his case via Twitter, said: “I can pay 500 Riyals to freeze the judgment and appeal. Then I will have to be represented by a Qatari lawyer during the next hearings.”

Bogaert told Journalism.co.uk: “If I raise the money, I can appeal so won’t go to jail (yet). But unfortunately, I’ll still be far from free…”

If you have further information to add to this story please contact judith at journalism.co.uk.

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Google Blog: Citizentube tracking ‘way people using video to change the world’

Google plugs Citizentube, a Youtube blog ‘devoted to chronicling the way that people are using video to change the world.’ Google’s post uses these as examples of the type of material the blog will showcase:

“[D]id you know that a nine-year-old recently used YouTube to successfully campaign to save his local kickball lot? Have you seen the video of a Guatemalan lawyer who predicted his own assassination on YouTube moments before it happened? Or did you know that YouTube and Google have launched a new technology platform for political debates, which allows you to submit and vote on the most important issues you want to discuss with political candidates?”

Full post at this link…

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It’s old-fashioned journalism from the bunker and there’s more to come, says Telegraph

June 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

So who wants the films rights to MPs’ expenses? It’s on a far less grave subject, but maybe it will be like the 9/11 films; the aftermath still permeating society, when the scripts are sold and production started. The next general election may not even have happened. Gordon Brown could still be Prime Minister. Just.

Or perhaps (Sir? ‘Lord’ is less likely given the target) Will Lewis’ memoirs will have been on sale for a while first, before the 21st century’s equivalent of ‘All the President’s Men’ is released, to allow the dust to settle.

Whichever way, this archetypal British plot is the stuff of a (Working Title, maybe) director’s dream; even if the journalism itself is markedly not Watergate, as most hardened investigative hacks and other journalists at rival titles are quick to point out. The gate of significance in this story is the one at the end of the second home’s garden path. No Deep Throat, just Deep Pockets.

A small group of privileged Telegraph journalists has been embedded from early till late in what’s apparently known as ‘the bunker’ – a room separate from the main newsroom, away from the ‘hub and spokes’, away from the Twitterfall graphic projected on the wall – sifting through the details of thousands upon thousands of supermarket, DIY store and restaurant receipts and other documents.

It’s got all the ingredients for the heroic hack flick: the furtive deal with the middle man and the original whistleblower, for an undisclosed sum (no doubt to be revealed in Lewis’ or possibly Ben Brogan’s memoirs), at one point rumoured to be £300,000.

While this whole expose – the ‘Expenses Files’ as the Telegraph first called it – is most definitely built on a film-like fantasy, it is grounded in career-breaking political change, and last night’s audience at the Frontline Club for a debate on the paper’s handling of the stories, got a little insight into the process; a rare chance, as the paper has mainly been very quiet on just how it’s done it.

The ‘consequences were massively in the public interest,’ argued the Telegraph’s assistant editor, Andrew Pierce, who popped up on BBC Breakfast news this morning as well. “It was brilliant, brilliant old fashioned journalism (…) at its finest.

“It’s so exciting – you were aware you had stuff, it was going to change things, and boy it has…

“Of course it’s been terrific for the circulation – we’re a newspaper and we’re there to make sales.”

According to Pierce, 240 broadsheet pages covering the story have been published so far.

“So far we’ve published one correction: we got a house mixed up. I’d say in terms of journalism that ain’t a bad ratio.”

That was disputed by one member of last night’s panel, Stephen Tall, editor-at-large for the Liberal Democrat Voice website; he’s unlikely to get a cameo as it would rather spoil the plot.

Tall’s complaint was that three stories on Liberal Democrats have been misrepresented in separate stories and received insufficient apology; something Journalism.co.uk will follow up on elsewhere, once we’ve moved on from this romanticised big screen analogy.

Back to the glory: Pierce described how journalists from around the world had been to peek at the unfolding scene of action – they’ve had camera crews from Turkey, Thailand and China, in for visits, he said.

There’s a ‘sense of astonishment’, he added. ‘They thought quaint old Britain’, the mother of all democracies, ‘was squeaky clean.’

The story, Pierce claimed, ‘has reverberated all the way around the world’. “We actually are going to get this sorted out. Were MPs really able to set their own pay levels? Their own expenses levels? And it was all tax free.”

‘Old-fashioned journalism lives on’ has become the war cry of the Telegraph and its champions, in defence of the manner in which it acquired and dealt with the data.

For raw blogging it is not. Any CAR is kept secret in-house. Sharing the process? Pah! This is as far away from a Jarvian vision of journalism built-in-beta as you can imagine. While other news operations – the Telegraph’s own included – increasingly open up the inner workings (former Telegraph editor Martin Newland’s team at The National in Abu Dhabi tweeted live from a significant meeting yesterday morning) not a social media peep comes from the bunker till the paper arrives back from the printers.

There might be little teasers on the site with which to taunt their rivals, but for the full meaty, pictorial evidence it’s paper first, online second. Rivals, Pierce said, have to ‘wait for the second edition before they rip it off’.

Nobody has it confirmed how much they officially coughed up for the story – ‘we don’t use the words bought or paid,’ said Pierce. Though last night’s host, Guardian blogger and journalism professor Roy Greenslade, twice slipped in a speculative reference to £75,000, Pierce refused to be drawn.

“Fleet Street has existed for years on leaks,” said Pierce, as justification. “We will stick to our guns (…) and not discuss whether money changed hands.”

Enter the hard done by heroine of the piece: Heather Brooke. Much lauded and widely respected freedom of information campaigner, she and other journalists – one from the Sunday Telegraph (Ben Leapman); one from the Times (Jonathan Ungoed-Thomas) – did the mind-numbingly boring hours of Freedom of Information requests and tedious legal battles over several years, only to lose the scoop to a chequebook.

Will she get a part in the government-destroyed-by-dodgy-expenses film? If Independent editor, Roger Alton, was casting she certainly would. In fact, she deserves a damehood, he declared last night.

A member of the audience asked whether Alton would have paid for the information himself if he had had the chance. Unlike his last foray to the Frontline, the Independent editor knew he was being filmed this time. A pause for ethical reflection before he answered, then:

“We’ve barely got enough money to cover a football match for Queens Park Rangers. Take a wild guess! Any journalist would cut off their left arm and pickle it in balsamic vinegar!”

That’s a yes then, we presume.

Apparently, Sun editor Rebekah Wade turned it down after being told there wasn’t much chance of a Jacqui Smith style porn revelation or a cabinet resignation. “She asked ‘would this bring down a cabinet minster?’ And she was told it wouldn’t,” claimed Pierce. How wrong the data tout(s) were about their own stuff.

More embarrassing for the Telegraph, though Pierce said he knew nothing of it, was Brooke’s revelation that the Sunday Telegraph had refused to back their man financially, a case which Brooke, Leapman and Ungoed-Thomas finally won in the High Court – the judge ordered disclosure of all receipts and claims of the 14 MPs in original requests, along with the addresses of their second homes.

Update: Ben Leapman responds on Jon Slattery’s blog here: “I never asked my employer to pay for a lawyer because I took the view that journalists ought, in principle, be able to go to FoI tribunals themselves without the barrier of having to pay. I also took the view, probably rather arrogantly, that in this emerging field of law I was perfectly capable of putting the arguments directly without a lawyer.” Leapman was represented by solicitor advocate Simon McKay ‘very ably for no fee’ in the High Court, he writes.

Publication of all MPs’ expense claims are now forthcoming, after redaction (‘a posh word for tippexing out,’ said Pierce.) In July 2008, ‘parliament went against the court by exempting some information – MPs’ addresses – from disclosure,’ the Guardian reported.

Now, for a name for our blockbuster. ‘The Month Before Redaction‘? ‘Bunker on Buckingham Palace Road‘? ‘646 Expense Forms and a Re-shuffle‘? I can predict a more likely tag line at least, the now all too familiar: ‘They said they acted within the rules’.

The ending to this expenses epic is not yet known, but there won’t be many happy endings in Parliament. Pierce promises more stories, with no firm end date, but unsurprisingly, didn’t give any hint of what lies ahead. Could an even bigger scoop be on its way? Who’s left?

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Libel, privacy, the ‘chilling effect’ and NGOs

June 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Press freedom and ethics

In its last evidence session for its inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee today heard from not-for-profit campaign organisation Global Witness’ co-founder Charmian Gooch and Mark Stephens, a lawyer from Finers Stephens Innocent, who has represented non-profit organisations previously.

Most significant were Gooch’s comments on the impact of UK libel and privacy laws, high legal costs and conditional fee arrangements (CFAs) on media organisations compared with not-for-profit organisations.

As journalistic resources, in particular the investigative units of news organisations, are cut back, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are increasingly filling that reporting space, said Gooch.

They must work under the same legislation as for-profit organisations, but have very different interests at heart, she added.

“This is long-term work, often years of work, attacking and trying to change vested interest. It’s not just the publication of a damning and very good article; it’s about trying to change behaviour. That can cause the loss of millions of pounds for a company or individual. That means these individuals might respond in a very different way to non-media organsiations than they would do to media organisations,” explained Gooch.

She said all researchers/reporters at Global Witness were trained in defamation and libel, and a Reynolds defence is considered at all stages of research and every point of publication.

Yet Stephens said he was yet to see an NGO that, despite having a good Reynolds defence, would win at trial with it.

“The problem is the cost of fighting it,” he said – around £100-200,000 or the equivalent of two researchers for an NGO.

High level public interest stories are denuded by high costs, added Stephens, who said his firm had NGOs coming through its doors concerned that they would be sued.

The cost of fighting on a Reynolds defence in the UK is ‘out of kilter’ with the rest of Europe, added Gooch.

However, Stephens said, it is not necessary to put Reynolds into statute:

“What wil happen is that the claimant’s lawyers at the libel bar will attempt to erode that defence by chopping at it and eroding it slowly but surely. That’s what I’m concerned about. If it is left in the common law, as it is at the moment, the judiciary have the option to resist that erosion,” he said.

Libel tourism was also described by the representatives as a threat to the press freedom of NGOs.

“Claimants who have an overseas domicile should be required to put a significant cash deposit down or the chances of doing justice are very slim,” added Gooch.

“For governments, that are serious about and claim they want to make poverty history, not to tackle this massive abuse and facilitate corruption is a long-term problem.”

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Jimmy Carr mocks VJ’s camera: ‘That’s from home!’

A great video from the East Anglian Daily Times at this link. Its video journalist’s equipment just wasn’t big enough for Jimmy Carr’s approval last week. Photographers tried to grab shots of the comedian outside the court hearing in Suffolk on May 13 that saw Jimmy Carr’s speeding trial adjourned.

Carr told the VJ: “It’s not a proper camera. You’re not a proper journalist: look at that! That’s from home.”

Transcript:

Jimmy Carr:

“Do you want to grab a shot and then leave it?”

Photographer, off-camera:

“Can I get you both together?”

Carr, walking off:

“No, you definitely can’t now!”

Lawyer, to camera:

“No, we can’t make any comment at all at the moment. The case has been adjourned so it would be inappropriate to make any comment, ok.”

(…)

Carr, walking past cameras:

“(…)Thanks for coming, I feel very important. Very nice of you.

“If you’ve got shots… ‘cos I’m going to drive away – I don’t want people taking shots when I’m driving. It’s very dangerous.

“It’s not a proper camera. You’re not a proper journalist: look at that! That’s from home.”

Muffled muttering off-camera, not clear who says it:

“… Mickey Mouse camera”

Full story at this link…

(via the Guardian’s Media Monkey)

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Last night’s Question Time: should Will Lewis get a knighthood?

Last night’s BBC Question Time got a lot of people talking, not least in regards to the heckling of MP Margaret Beckett. The Twitter comments were interesting to follow too, some of which Paul Canning has reproduced here on his blog

But here was the other story, as reported on the main Journalism.co.uk site: The Telegraph’s assistant editor, Benedict Brogan, on his newspaper’s handling of MPs’ expenses case. It started with a question from the audience: should the Daily Telegraph’s editor, Will Lewis, get a knighthood?

Is it surprising that 25 journalists have been working on the story? Was it a courageous act by the Telegraph to publish? Should they be forced to disclose details about how they obtained information?

Here is a transcript with a few of the repetitions removed for clarity:

George Park, member of audience:

“Should the editor of the Daily Telegraph be knighted for services to journalism and the British electorate?”

[Presenter David Dimbleby asks Beckett if she approves of Telegraph's publication of the information]

Margaret Beckett, MP:

“I think I’m going to find myself on dodgy territory, again. Because one of the things that is not quite clear about this riveting story is exactly what the Telegraph has done.

“And one of the things that I think is causing considerable anxiety. Well, I know, because every member of Parliament, yesterday, was sent a formal letter from the fees office to tell us that the information which is now circulating, which it would appear the Telegraph has perhaps bought, I don’t know, contains not only details of the personal financial circumstances, account numbers, credit card numbers of every MP but also of all of our staff (…) Our staff, who are merely employees of members, whose details were all on file, of course, because they are paid through the fees office; they’re paid on their contract and all of that has been stolen, and that, I think, is not a good thing.

“I’m not suggesting the editor of the Telegraph stole it, but what I am saying is it would appear he is profiting from someone else’s theft.”

David Dimbleby, presenter:

“If he didn’t steal it, he might be accused by you of being a receiver of stolen goods, which is almost as bad, isn’t it?”

Margaret Beckett:

“Well, I’m no lawyer, ask the lawyer.”

David Dimbleby:

“Well ask Ben Brogan: is it theft to have all this information that was going to be published by the House of Commons, on a disc? In your offices? Is it theft?”

Benedict Brogan, assistant editor, the Telegraph:

“You can speculate as much as you like…”

David Dimbleby:

“Well, it doesn’t just land… It doesn’t fly through the sky and land. Someone comes along to you with a little disc and says ‘here you are do you want this?’ and you say yes. and presumably you pay for it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“David, you’ve been a journalist for even longer than I have and the fact is the first rule of journalism – you don’t discuss your sources, or how you got things.

“The fact is that the Telegraph has been working on this story for weeks: we’ve got 25 journalists working on it, lawyers, all sorts of experts looking at it, and I can assure you that a newspaper like the Telegraph, which is a serious newspaper, has not entered into this exercise lightly.

“The things we satisfied ourselves about, were one, that the information is genuine; and two, that it is in the public interest that we publish it.

“The fact is that if the Telegraph hadn’t published, it hadn’t taken what I would describe as fairly courageous action to put this out into the public domain (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“Why’s it courageous? Your circulation has gone up. You’ve had a story a day for seven days and from what one gathers another one tomorrow. And more the days after. What’s courageous about it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“You only have to look at the reaction of the political classes, and the hostility expressed towards the Telegraph to suggest that (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“Are you scared of the political class? What’s so brave about it? I don’t understand.”

Benedict Brogan:

“Not at all. When you heard that people were prepared to contemplate the possibility of legal action to prevent the Telegraph from publishing – this is something we had to consider. The fact is we considered it and we pressed ahead, and as a result the electorate, the British public,  are aware of something the MP’s did not want released and now people can see it for themselves and draw their own conclusions about their MPs.”

David Dimbleby:

“Ming Campbell, you’re a lawyer…”

Ming Campbell, MP:

“It used to be that the editor of the Daily Telegraph did get a knighthood because in those days it was essentially the house magazine of the Conservative party (…) Those days have long gone.

“I’m rather more sympathetic to Ben Brogan than you might expect, for this reason: just a little while ago in the House of Commons we had an incident involving Mr Damian Green. And what was Mr Damian Green doing? He was leaking information which had been supplied to him… And what seems to me to be very difficult is to take a high and mighty moral attitude about the leak of this information.

“What I do think though, and I understand why Ben Brogan might like to protect his sources, is that perhaps to demonstrate the commercial ability of the Daily Telegraph, and its auditor! Its editor! Freudian slip there you may have noticed (…) tell us precisely how much they paid.”

Benedict Brogan:

“As I said earlier, the key thing earlier is to not discuss sources, so I’m not going to get into that. You may try but I’m not going to get into that.”

Ming Campbell:

“Transparency, transparency, transparency!”

David Dimbleby:

“Do you know the answer for the question I’m asking you, even if you won’t give it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“I probably shouldn’t even tell you if I know the answer (…)  the politicians can try to distract us from the matter at hand by talking about the processes as to how the Telegraph got hold of it (…) what is important is what we now know about our MPs (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“The lady [up there] made a point that the newspapers had some responsibility to report positive things as well as negative things (…) What do you make of that?”

Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s UK:

“I don’t hand out many knighthoods… To me there are aspects of cheque book journalism, if that’s what it is, which are pretty unsavoury and pretty sordid, particularly when they’re invasive and they disrupt people people’s lives and I certainly don’t approve of that. But on this case I am pretty comfortable that this is in the public’s best interest. Or in the tax payers’ best interest, to be honest with you.

“But it does require balance: I think we’d all like to see some good news, some balance put to this  (…)  How many MPs out there do play the game straight, give us hope and can give us some positive belief?

“(…) Perhaps we [the panel] haven’t gauged the mood of the country. I spend a lot of time in restaurants, that’s my job, chatting to staff, chatting to customers.

“Not one of them has ever made the comment ‘wasn’t the newspaper wrong to print it’. All the conversations is about the actual detail of course, and we shouldn’t fly against the mood of the country on this one.”

Member of the audience:

“I think the Daily Telegraph have actually done a very good job; they’ve made something transparent that should have already been transparent, and that’s what our money’s been spent on.”

George Park, member of the audience:

“Surely the main reason why the Telegraph had to do this, was because the Speaker, and people like him, were trying to suppress this information. And it gave the Telegraph so much credibility because of all of these people were dragged screaming and kicking to make all this information known…”

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Myler on Mosley: ‘I make no apologies for publishing that story as editor’

May 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Legal

Colin Myler, News of the World, was up in front of a House of Commons select committee today, as part of an inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel.

Unsurprisingly Myler and News Group Newspapers’ lawyer Tom Crone were questioned about the Max Mosley case – though, as a new writ has been issued against the paper by Mosley, some responses had to be curtailed.

Nevertheless, some good nuggets from Myler and Crone on the consequences of publishing the story and why the NOTW broke it:

  • The costs of the Mosley trial came to around £900,000 with £100,000 damages, according to Crone.
  • Myler:

“Mr Mosley made quite a case that he’d never sought publicity, that he was a private person. I disagree with that fundamentally.

“For a man in his position (…) who so wrecklessly put himself in the hands of five prostitutes (…) you have to say you played some part in your own downfall.”

  • Myler: “Rarely in these situations are there any commercial benefits despite what people might think.”
  • A family newspaper: “I don’t agree that it was an unsuitable story for a family newspaper. Some people might sneer and say that we are scurrilous and scaberous but we are who we are. I make no apologies for publishing that story as editor.
  • Chilling effect of Mosley case? “I don’t think it’s had a chilling effect. It’s had a very practical effect on me as an editor and how you conduct yourself (…) I spend as much time talking to lawyers as I do journalists.

    “It doesn’t mean to say that you shy away, it means that you have to be equally diligent, efficient and careful and get very good legal advice.”

Myler also went on to discuss the issue of ‘celebrity stings’ by the NOTW, saying that while journalist Mazher Mahmood was widely known as the ‘fake sheikh’, he is also ‘one of the most professional newspaper journalists in the world’.

“He has been responsible for convicting and jailing 232 criminals. This is a man that puts himself in great danger and does so with such a professional aplomb that any media organisation would be proud to be associated with it,” he said.

Mahmood’s talents, said Myler, as increasingly being used for stories on immigration and religious radicalism: “There is some serious journalism within the News of the World.”

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Bill Grueskin: A tale of two journalism start-ups

April 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Former WSJ.com managing editor Bill Grueskin looks at ‘link journalism’ venture Publish2 and the recently launched Journalism Online, whose founders include an ex-WSJ publisher and the founder of American Lawyer.

Can Journalism Online’s founder translate their wealth of ‘traditional media’ experience online?

“One new firm seeks to generate much-needed revenue by building a platform for subscription services, another seeks to generate new forms of journalism with a platform to share and distribute content. It’s hard to reconcile those two visions of journalism’s future,” writes Grueskin.

Full post at this link…

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