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Riots and phone hacking coverage shortlisted for RTS awards

February 8th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Journalism

Al Jazeera English, the BBC News Channel and Sky News will do battle for the title of news channel of the year at this year’s RTS journalism awards later this month.

BBC News at Ten, Newsnight and Channel 4 News are shortlisted for news programme of the year at the awards, which celebrate excellence in UK television news and current affairs.

Two rival channels’ coverage of last summer’s riots are nominated for home news story of the year – Sky and Channel 4 – alongside Newsnight’s reporting of the phone hacking story.

The nominees for TV journalist of the year are Sky’s Alex Crawford, Channel 4′s Alex Thomson and Newsnight’s Richard Watson.

The full shortlist is not yet on the RTS website, but can be found below. The awards ceremony will be hosted by ITV newsreader Mark Austin, in London on 22 February. More »

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Met to apologise for failing to warn phone-hack victims

February 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

The Metropolitan police is to apologise to some of the victims of phone hacking for failing to inform them during its initial investigation in 2006 and 2007.

The high court ruled today that the force had “breached a legal obligation” to the claimants, including John Prescott and MP Chris Bryant.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement today that it “accepts more should have been done by police in relation to those identified as victims and potential victims of phone hacking several years ago”.

The force said it would be apologising personally to each claimant.

The statement reads:

It is a matter of public record that the unprecedented increase in anti-terrorist investigations resulted in the parameters of the original inquiry being tightly drawn, and officers considered the prosecution and conviction of Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire as a successful outcome of their investigation.

There are now more than 130 officers involved in the current phone-hacking inquiry (Weeting) and the two operations being run in conjunction with it and this in part reflects the lessons that have been learned about how police should deal with the victims of such crimes.

Today’s settlement does not entail damages being paid by the MPS and as the court has made clear, sets no precedent for the future. How the MPS treats victims goes to the very heart of what we do. It was important that this case did not result in such a wide duty being placed on police officers that it could direct them away from their core purpose of preventing and detecting crime.

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Financial Times: Sunday version of the Sun on hold due to arrests

January 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Newspapers

Sean Dempsey/PA

The Financial Times is reporting that the launch of a Sunday newspaper “to replace the News of the World” has been delayed due to the arrests of News International journalists at the weekend.

On Saturday (28 January), four current and former Sun journalists were arrested by officers working on Operation Elveden, the Met team looking into illegal payments to police.

The FT reports that a launch date of 29 April had “been set in stone”. Journalism.co.uk heard late on Friday, the day before the arrests, that the launch date had been brought forward.

The insiders said that managers of News International had decided that the adverse publicity surrounding the arrests and the suspension of the four journalists while police inquiries were going on would hamper any possible launch of a new title, which earlier reports said would be called the Sun on Sunday.

The article includes a comment from anonymous insiders, plus an interview with former chief reporter at the News of the World Neville Thurlbeck.

Mr Thurlbeck said that an internal group, the management and standards committee, set up at the direction of Rupert Murdoch to co-operate with a police investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, had handed over so much material that it had lost control of the situation.

“The staff [of the Sun] have lost trust in their own management because they [the MSC] don’t believe that they know what is contained in the material that the police now have.”

The FT adds that News International declined to comment.

The full Financial Times article is at this link [part-paywall].

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Press Gazette: Neville Thurlbeck tells his part in ‘Jacobean revenge drama’ of hacking

Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter at the News of the World, has penned a first person account of his part in the phone-hacking saga.

The eloquent Thurlbeck certainly doesn’t hold back in the dramatic stakes:

After years of sitting silently in the wings while a bloody Jacobean revenge tragedy played out on the stage, you probably wonder why I have finally decided to cast myself in a speaking role and stroll briefly onto the stage that bears the corpse of my former newspaper.

As he did in his short statement to the cameras last week, Thurlbeck backs the assertion by News International executives that the evidence was kept from them, claiming there was a “pattern of withholding information”.

Well worth a read, do so on Press Gazette here.

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#soe11: Editors of the Mirror and Times on phone-hacking coverage

November 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Editors of the Mirror and the Times were today questioned at the Society of Editors conference about their coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

Editor of the Times James Harding said earlier on in the scandal that the newspaper’s decisions were informed by “a combination of the company denying it, police saying there was nothing to see and an issue of rivalry”.

I look back and think why didn’t we jump on it? There’s often the sense that there’s an agenda there so I think when that story broke in the Guardian there was a tendency to see that and when news broke the police came out and said there’s nothing to see here. That did inform the thinking.

It was only as a few more pieces fell into place … I remember thinking there is something that is seriously wrong here.

He said following more allegations of wrongdoing the “engines fired up a bit” at the Times and there was “a real attempt to ensure we were reporting on it as any other story.”

Editor of the Mirror Richard Wallace added that when it first started “it was very much a meeja story”.

We didn’t think our readers were interested in it and frankly they weren’t.

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Guardian: Number of possible phone hacking victims close to 5,800, say police

The number of possible phone hacking victims is now close to 5,800, the Met police have confirmed.

This is 2,000 more than previously stated by the force.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said:

It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked but we can confirm that as of today’s date, 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795. This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.

See the full story on Guardian.co.uk at this link.

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#aopsummit catch-up: Journalism ethics and the BBC’s Olympics coverage

October 25th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

We were not able to make it along to the AOP’s digital publishing summit earlier this month, but the Association has helpfully uploaded some coverage from the event.

This includes a video published today from a session that looked at a range of topical issues at the moment: “hack gate, public interest, privacy vs openness, the PCC and press regulation”. Speakers from Heat, Digital Spy, Lewis Silkin and Mumsnet joined the panel which was chaired by BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Particularly interesting parts of the discussion include a need to address the issue of press regulation across different platforms by news publishers and the issue of online anonymity, especially topical given the Joint Committee’s recent report on the Draft Defamation Bill.

Last week AOP also posted an article by Cait O’Riordan, Head of Product, BBC Sport and London 2012, in a follow up to her keynote presentation on how the BBC Online is preparing to cover the Olympics next year.

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Phone hacking: Follow Les Hinton’s evidence to MPs

Former News International and Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton is giving evidence to MPs on the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee this afternoon.

You can follow his appearance, which he is making via video link from New York, here on Parliament TV.

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#wef11: ‘News industry is in the vortex of a fast changing world’

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Newspapers are “in a vortex of a fast changing world”, the new president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers Jacob Mathew, who was elected in April, said today (Thursday, 13 October) as he opened the World Editors Forum in Vienna.

His speech focused on calling for greater press freedom and new business ideas. “Soaring costs are a challenge that we should meet with innovation”, he said.

He also touched on the issue of ethics in relation to the UK phone-hacking scandal, calling for self-regulation of the press to be maintained. The print media enjoys the highest credibility, he said, and while there have been calls for new legislation it was important to note that “increased government regulation is not the answer”.

The media would be better governed by a self regulatory mechanism which holds its journalists to account, he added.

Mathew also called on print publishers to join together in the battle to protect intellectual property rights.

It is time that the print publishers get together to strategize to prevent others from freeloading on their content. We need to monetise and not lose out.

Our industry is in the vortex of a fast changing world. The challenges and the opportunities are greater than ever before.

Follow the #wef11 hashtag on Twitter and @journalism_live for updates from the World Editors Forum in Vienna over the next few days.

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Leveson inquiry: Seminar dates announced as publishers express concern over panel

September 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Investigative journalism, Legal

The make-up of the panel of the Leveson inquiry, the public inquiry which will examine press standards, media regulations and the phone-hacking scandal, has come under criticism for lacking in tabloid and regional press representation.

In July prime minister David Cameron announced the line-up for the panel of experts who would assist with the public inquiry:

  • civil liberties campaigner and director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti;
  • former chief constable of the West Midlands, Sir Paul Scott-Lee;
  • former chairman of Ofcom, Lord David Currie;
  • former political editor of Channel 4 news, Elinor Goodman;
  • former political editor of the Daily Telegraph, and former special correspondent of the press association, George Jones;
  • former chairman of the Financial Times, Sir David Bell.

The Guardian reports that Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, as well as Trinity Mirror, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association and Guardian News & Media, raised some concerns about the panel during a hearing today (Wednesday, 28 September).

Leveson indicated that he would consider whether to appoint extra advisers in response to Associated’s complaint. The judge said that he would reserve his decision, noting that the “pressures on the Liverpool Echo will be different to the pressures affecting the Mirror and the Sun; different to the pressures affecting the Observer”.

Today the inquiry also announced the dates for two seminars in connection with the inquiry, to be held on 6 and 12 October, which will explore some of the key public policy issues raised by its terms of reference and to hear expert and public opinion on those. More details on content and participants will be announced on the inquiry website shortly.

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