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BSkyB CEO confirms he pulled Sky News story on F1

March 21st, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Jeremy Darroch, the chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting, has confirmed that he asked Sky News to pull a story on Formula 1, ahead of the launch of a Sky F1 HD channel.

The Financial Times yesterday reported that Darroch “ordered a news story to be removed from the Sky News website after an executive producer complained that it had upset Formula 1 racing teams”.

“I asked the team to review the story,” Darroch told the Guardian Changing Media Summit, where he was delivering a keynote speech in which he announced the launch of a no contract, pay-as-you-go internet TV service from Sky called NowTV.

He said Sky News “has absolute independence and integrity” but added that “there are times as CEO … when you have to challenge parts of the business”.

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Digital news editor @fieldproducer leaving Sky News

Sky News’s digital news editor Neal Mann, known to 43,000 people on Twitter as @fieldproducer, has announced he has decided to leave the broadcaster.

Mann announced on Twitter on Friday night:

Another Sky colleague, former social media correspondent Ruth Barnett, is also leaving to become head of communications for Android app producer SwiftKey. She wrote on Friday:

Sky News introduced new guidelines for journalists about the use of Twitter last month, including the line: “Do not retweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter. Such information could be wrong and has not been through the Sky News editorial process.”

Reuters’ Anthony de Rosa commented at the time:

These new rules will hamstring Neal and make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to continue to do what he did to garner so much appreciation from people like me. I suspect Sky will come to their senses and realize the error of their ways. If not, they’re going to lose one of their best ambassadors in Neal, and I would suspect many people working at Sky may wonder if they’re working for an organization that is writing policies that will drive them into obsolescence.

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Sky News Twitter restrictions – where do you stand?

February 8th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

It started with a tweet from BBC News channel controller Kevin Bakhurst

The guidelines, seen by the Guardian, state:

Guardian reporter Josh Halliday said last night:

Sky News battening down hatches on this one. Told new guidelines are non-negotiable – how long will they last??

A hashtag campaign soon got under way to #savefieldproducer – Sky’s popular digital news editor Neal Mann, who has more than 40,000 followers on Twitter.

He replied:

Been a busy day, for those asking me questions about social media policy,I can’t really answer because I didn’t take part in the discussions

In a Reuters piece headlined “Sky News longs for Victorian internet, applies dark age social policy”, Anthony de Rosa writes:

These new rules will hamstring Neal and make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to continue to do what he did to garner so much appreciation from people like me. I suspect Sky will come to their senses and realize the error of their ways. If not, they’re going to lose one of their best ambassadors in Neal, and I would suspect many people working at Sky may wonder if they’re working for an organization that is writing policies that will drive them into obsolescence.

The FT’s Ben Fenton says competitors are likely to benefit:

Just as you never get good search-engine optimisation if you don’t link to outside sites, so anyone who steadfastly refuses to be anything but a puff factory for their own brand will gradually loses friends.

This step will also be likely to offer a competitive advantage to other news sources, such as ITV News or the BBC, enlightened enough to see beyond the blinkers of brand identity.

The move, does, however have some supporters. Sunny Hundal, on the Liberal Conspiracy blog, writes:

The ban on RTs makes sense if you acknowledge their worry that disputed links or info by their journalists could reflect on Sky News itself.

Is it any surprise editors at Sky News feel that a RT not meant as an endorsement could be interpreted in that way anyway? After all, people still attack me for publishing editorials on LC even if I disagree with those views. Once a Twitter mob gets going it’s very difficult to calm it down.

Of course this also implies Sky News editors don’t want to give their own journalists too much leeway in using their judgement. But all the broadcasters have hefty rule books for journalists (I expect the BBC will follow Sky), so this isn’t that surprising.

And Fleet Street Blues says the new policy has some logic to it:

It makes no sense for Sky News to pay journalists to break stories through another medium. It makes no sense for them to pay journalists to amass personal social media followings by promoting rival news outlets. And it makes no sense for them to pay journalists to report through a medium outside its own editorial controls.

Sky News said in a statement last night:

Sky News has the same editorial procedures across all their platforms including social media to ensure the news we report is accurate.

Rupert Murdoch replied this morning:

I have nothing to do with Sky NewsWhat do you make of the new policy? Is it enforceable? What effect might it have on Sky’s reputation?

Gabrielle Laine Peters has put together an excellent Storify of tweets and opinion around the Sky directive. Here is her collated selection called Sky News new social media guidelines get Twitter buzzing.

Elana Zak has also used Storify to collage reactions.

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#jpod: Broadcasters reflect on the challenges of 2011

December 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Podcast

This year has been an extraordinary year for news. 2011 has seen the deaths of dictators and despots, revolutions across the Arab world, natural disasters in Australia, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, New Zealand, Turkey and Japan and a global financial crisis.

This podcast hears from four broadcasters on the greatest challenges of this year and the news agenda for 2012.

Journalism.co.uk technology correspondent Sarah Marshall speaks to Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director, CNN International; Jon Williams, world news editor, BBC; Sarah Whitehead, head of international news, Sky News; and Tim Singleton, head of foreign newsgathering and assistant editor, ITV News.

For more reflections on 2011 read our interview with Sarah Whitehead, Sky News and with Tony Maddox, CNN International.

You can hear all our podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

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#jpod: Why the Guardian is taking a laid-back approach to news on the iPad

October 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast

The Guardian’s long-awaited iPad app was launched yesterday (Thursday, 13 October).

The news app is closer in reading experience to the print edition than to the constantly updated Guardian.co.uk.

This week’s #jpod hears from the Guardian’s digital marketing manager, Steve Wing; media blogger Daniel Bentley and James Weeks, who leads Sky News’ mobile strategy.

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

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Milly Dowler phone hacking settlement reaches more than £1m, say reports

September 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers

It is being reported this afternoon (19 September) that the family of Milly Dowler has been offered a settlement of more than £1 million by News International in ongoing negotiations.

The Guardian is reporting that it understands News International has made an offer which has been “estimated by sources” at being more than £2 million, which includes a charity donation.

Sky News is reporting that the settlement is “likely to top £1 million”. The BBC has tweeted that News International is “close to agreeing seven-figure financial settlement”.

The company closed the News of the World following allegations that the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked while she was missing in 2002.

The lawyer Mark Lewis, who is acting for the family, had no comment. News International had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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Financial Times: Clearance on BSkyB bid delayed by at least two weeks

May 10th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Clearance on News Corporation‘s bid for the remainder of BSkyB will be delayed by at least two weeks, the Financial Times reported this week, “after a hitch in negotiations between Rupert Murdoch’s media group and UK regulators”.

People familiar with the talks between the two sides said on Monday, that the delay had been caused by the level of detail that Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport required in a merger remedy offered by News Corp.

The remedy was for Sky News to be spun off into a separate company called Newco to address concerns for media plurality.

See the full FT report here (FT.com does operate a registration model).

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Sky News: Express and Mail owners discuss merger

April 4th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Newspapers

Sky News is reporting that Richard Desmond has discussed selling the Express to the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Writing on the Sky’s blog, City editor Mark Kleinman claims talks have taken place between the chairman of Northern and Shell and Lord Rothermere, chairman of DMGT.

The two men are now said to get on reasonably well, and I understand both believe that a deal could be in their interests. A merger of the titles would create a newspaper powerhouse commanding weekday sales of more than 3m copies, according to the ABCs (which measure newspaper circulation) for February.

It’s not clear what DMGT would plan to do with the Express if it did buy it. I’m told that it has considered launching a red-top tabloid to compete with the Sun at various points during the last decade, a consideration that would be fulfilled if it acquired the Daily Star and its Sunday sister title, which Desmond also owns.

Kleinman’s blog is not the first to report on the potential sale of the Express. Last month the Evening Standard mentioned a possible offloading of the title when reporting Desmond’s readiness to sell three magazines, including OK!

Roy Greenslade ponders what form a DGMT Express could take.

To reduce national press ownership would be a mighty step at a time when there are increasing concerns about pluralism and diversity of voice.

Of course, the nature of the merger need not result in the disappearance of the Express title. I guess it would be possible for DMGT to publish both papers.

Given their current similarity, there would be no point in producing the Express in its current form. Perhaps it could be transformed into a cheap Mail (on the lines of The Independent‘s kid sister, i).

Then again, maybe Desmond and Rothermere are just having a laugh. I say again: are they really being serious?

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Video: Journalists listening to woman’s rape claim attacked in Libya

A gun was allegedly pulled on journalists in a Tripoli hotel as they tried to listen to a woman claiming she had been raped and tortured.

The distressed woman burst into the breakfast room of a hotel where journalists were staying on Saturday, Sky News reported. The broadcaster claimed its crew had a gun pulled on them, and government minders tried to seize footage and smash a camera belonging to another crew.

“Hers is not the voice they want heard in this country,” said Sky News correspondent Lisa Holland.

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Channel 4 News: BSkyB deal explained, Jeremy Hunt grilled

March 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Business

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt today cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to purchase the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own, for around £8 billion. As part of the deal, Sky News will be spun off to an ‘independent’ company.

Here, Channel 4 News picks over the details of the deal and grills the culture secretary over the issue of media plurality, which many believe to be under threat.

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