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The Sun launches ‘multimedia studio’ with video webchat

January 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Multimedia

Sun webchat

The Sun has launched a new “multimedia studio”, which it used this week to host a video webchat with actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The studio will not be in full-time use until February, but Schwarzenegger helped open the studio on Tuesday (22 January).

The 30 minute webchat used the Showcaster platform to provide live video from their new studio, alongside a chatbox in which users could post questions. The questions were moderated and put to Schwarzenegger by showbiz editor Gordon Smart.

A video of the interview was then posted on the Sun’s online ‘showbiz’ section, accompanied by a write-up of the interview focusing on the show-business related aspects of his answers.

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BBC Radio 4 Today: The Drum explains decision to publish Prince Harry images online

August 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Following the Sun newspaper’s decision to print the nude images of Prince Harry today, despite a request from St James’s Palace lawyers earlier this week that they not be published, there has been widespread discussion in the media about the move.

Explaining its decision today, the Sun said “there is a clear public interest in publishing the Harry pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed”.

The Sun adds that “it is absurd that in the internet age newspapers like the Sun could be stopped from publishing stories and pictures already seen by millions on the free-for-all that is the web”.

At the time of writing, the Guardian was reporting that more than 150 complaints have been made to the Press Complaints Commission, but not from the Palace’s lawyers.

A survey of 1000 UK adults today by Usurv who were asked about the Sun’s decision to publish the images, found 21 per cent agreed the photos were in the public interest, while 63 per cent did not agree with the decision.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, editor of marketing and media news site The Drum Gordon Young spoke about their decision to publish the images online alongside a column discussing the fact that British newspapers had not done so, at the time. The Today programme said The Drum had “claimed to be the first UK website” to publish the photos.

What’s very interesting is this was a very logical and easy decision for The Drum. We were surprised at the controversy relative to what an easy decision it was for us.

… It was such an obvious thing to do in the context of the column and the piece, the writer was basically criticising press for not having the backbone to release the pictures in the UK so we couldn’t run that and not had the backbone ourselves to do it.

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Guardian: Ryan Giggs named in court as injunction footballer

Copyright: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ryan Giggs has been named in court for the first time as the footballer behind an injunction taken out against the Sun, the Guardian reports.

According to the news site, the footballer “agreed to lift the anonymity injunction” in a hearing at the high court in London earlier today.

Giggs took out the injunction in order to prevent the tabloid revealing an affair.

Thousands ignored the court ruling and named him as the footballer in question on Twitter, leaving journalists in a “strange situation” concerning the reporting of his name.

The Guardian states:

Hugh Tomlinson QC, counsel for Giggs, told the court that the footballer had been subject to “large scale breaches of the order by malign individuals”.

“The claimant’s name is in the public domain contrary to court orders,” he added. “The claimant has consented to the removal of the anonymity order completely.”

Mr Justice Tugendhat said: “Anonymity no longer applies and has not applied since 1 February.”

According to the Guardian, Mr Justice Tugendhat is considering “a claim by Giggs for damages for alleged misuse of private information by the Sun”.

Giggs is also seeking an injunction “to restrain future publication of private information”, according to the report.

The court heard that the anonymity order that prevented the media from naming Giggs was lifted on 1 February. However, an “administrative error” by Giggs’s solicitors meant the Sun was not informed.

The counsel for News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun, reportedly told the court the injunction claim should be thrown out.

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Note to staff from News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch in full

February 17th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Journalism, Newspapers

The note from News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch to staff, which announces the due launch of the Sun on Sunday and the lifting of suspensions, in full:

Dear colleagues:

I’ve worked alongside you for 43 years to build The Sun into one of the world’s finest papers. It is a part of me and is one of our proudest achievements.  The Sun occupies a unique and important position within News Corporation.

I have immense respect for our heritage, your exceptional journalism and, above all, you, the talented women and men who work tirelessly every day to ensure our readers have access to such a trusted news source. I believe this newsroom is full of great journalists and I remain grateful for your superb work and for the stories you uncover to inform and protect the public. None more so than over the last three weeks.

My continuing respect makes this situation a source of great pain for me, as I know it is for each of you.

We will obey the law.  Illegal activities simply cannot and will not be tolerated – at any of our publications. Our Board of Directors, our management team and I take these issues very seriously.

Our independently chaired Management & Standards Committee, which operates outside of News International, has been instructed to cooperate with the police. We will turn over every piece of evidence we find — not just because we are obligated to but because it is the right thing to do.

We are doing everything we can to assist those who were arrested — all suspensions are hereby lifted until or whether charged and they are welcome to return to work. News Corporation will cover their legal expenses.  Everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise.

I made a commitment last summer that I would do everything I could to get to the bottom of our problems and make this Company an example to Fleet Street of ethical journalism. We will continue to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect legitimate journalistic privilege and sources, which I know are essential for all of you to do your jobs. But we cannot protect people who have paid public officials.

I am confident we can live by these commitments and still produce great journalism.

We will build on The Sun’s proud heritage by launching The Sun on Sunday very soon. Our duty is to expand one of the world’s most widely read newspapers and reach even more people than ever before.

Having a winning paper is the best answer to our critics.

I am even more determined to see The Sun continue to fight for its readers and its beliefs. I am staying with you all, in London, for the next several weeks to give you my unwavering support.

I am confident we will get through this together and emerge stronger.

Thank you,

Rupert Murdoch

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BBC 5 Live: Kavanagh says Sun police investigation is ‘wildly disproportionate’ to potential offences

February 13th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers, Press freedom and ethics

In a series of interviews to UK broadcast media today, Trevor Kavanagh, associate editor at the Sun, criticised what he sees as police heavy-handedness during the dawn arrests of key Sun staff over the weekend.

In the above clip, Kavanagh gives his most controversial interview of the day to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Richard Bacon, criticising both the police operation and News Corporation’s own investigation by its Management Standards Committee. “There’s never been a bigger crisis than this [at the Sun]“, Kavanagh tells Bacon.

Here’s the full transcript:

RB: “Trevor Kavanagh told me earlier about the atmosphere in the Sun news room.”

TK: “Well despondent I would say and a feeling of being under siege I suppose.”

RB: [paraphrase] Re: Rupert Murdoch planning to fly in later this week – will he face a hostile newsroom?

TK: “Well I think the newsroom is full of people who feel deeply unhappy about the way that their colleagues, who they worked alongside for sometimes decades and who they respect and admire as supremely professional operators, have ended up being arrested, searched, put on police bail and suspended from their duties and so there is a huge amount of anger at the fact that this has happened. And, as I would point out, not a single one of them has been charged, let alone tried or convicted.”

RB: “Do some people at the Sun feel as though their parent company has hung them out to dry a bit?”

TK: “Well there’s certainly a mood of unhappiness that the company’s proudly, certain parts of the company, not News International I hasten to add, not the newspaper side of the operation, are actually boasting that they’re sending information to the police which would put these people I’ve just described into police cells.”

RB: “Forgive me, I know the structure of the company is quite complex, when you refer to another bit of the company, what does that mean, what are you talking about?”

TK: “Well there is a parent company, News Corporation, and that has set up this management committee to look into the evidence, the documentary evidence and so on, if there is any, against any members of staff. Now I think it’s fair to say that we are not opposed to the fact, that we are co-operating with the police, that’s what we should be doing and I think that if we are to get through this we need to provide them with all the co-operation we can. I think that perhaps what we best do is if we left them go through the evidence and found out what they can.”

RB: “That word ‘boasting’, what do you mean by that?”

TK: “Well I meant that when the arrests were made it was made clear that they had been arrested on the basis of evidence provided by this management committee.”

RB: “Are you saying that they shouldn’t have provided that evidence, they should have let the police come for that evidence?”

TK: “Well I think that, I don’t know how it works frankly but it does make us feel, make people in the company feel, that evidence which as of far as we know, I have to point this out, that on the basis of the evidence that’s been suggested to those who have been arrested so far, is pretty flimsy stuff. I can’t describe it in any further detail than that but it doesn’t really stand close scrutiny and people are wondering what on earth is happening.”

RB: “A lot of the evidence has come from the parent company now. It gets complex because I know that a lot of emails have been handed over. These are emails that were thought to be missing and now have been recovered and there’s something like I think 11 million of them. When you say the evidence is flimsy are you saying you more or less know exactly what evidence the police have at the moment?”

TK: “No I don’t and I’m not going to go any further into what evidence may or may not be available.”

RB: “Why do you say it’s flimsy then if you don’t know?”

TK: “Well because I have been told what the police have been asking about and those, you see the people that have been arrested have been told why they have been arrested and on the basis of that I would say that the evidence is flimsy. What other evidence is about I simply don’t know but my point today is that this police operation is wildly disproportionate with what might be the potential offences that may or may not have been committed.”

RB: “How many police are involved in this investigation?”

TK: “You have 171 officers who are involved in three separate investigations and this is the biggest single police operation in the history of British policing. It is bigger than the operation on the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing, it’s far, far bigger, totally dwarfs the operation on Milly Dowler and nobody’s died, nobody’s committed any hideous offences that I’m aware of or even been suggested as having committed such offences. It does seem to me wildly disproportionate that these police officers are raiding people’s homes with up to 20 officers at a time, ransacking their homes, going through their personal possessions, carting off sacks of paper after a dawn raid. It’s completely out of proportion.”

RB: “Why do you think it’s got here, why do you think that the operation is on such a scale, is it partly about the police trying to recover their own reputation do you think?”

TK: “I suspect that’s the case, they feel that they’ve lost a police commissioner and a deputy police commissioner and they now want to make it abundantly clear that they aren’t going to leave a single stone, floorboard, drawer, cupboard, Kellogg’s cornflake packet or any other part of a household untouched in their hunt for evidence that may or may not exist.”

RB: “Do you think the investigation would be smaller if News International had been more co-operative with the initial phone-hacking allegations?”

TK: “Well that may or may not be the case but this is not the point, the point is that as we speak 30 journalists have been suspended from their jobs, their careers may have been ruined by this and their families have been shocked and appalled by dawn raids by people acting I think in a disproportionate way when I think a polite knock on the door, perhaps after a phone call, would have unearthed precisely the same so-called evidence. I don’t know whether it’s evidence or simply other pieces of paper that’s in every household.”

RB: “But when I say co-operative in the first place I think that’s an important point because initially the company said it was all down to one individual and that turned out not to be true and they misled parliament, they misled the public, then they said these 11 million emails had gone missing whilst being transferred to the Middle East and now 11 million have been recovered. But News International may have played its own part in the police investigation being of this scale.”

TK: “Well that’s for you to suggest and it’s…”

RB: “I don’t know that Trevor…”

TK: “Let me finish my sentence…”

RB: “OK”.

TK: “It may well be the case I don’t know, I’m not involved in any of that side of things and what you have to remember is that if indeed we were misjudging things or getting them wrong completely even, we have already paid a pretty heavy price for that have we not? We have had to close one of the biggest newspapers and the oldest and one of the best newspapers in the country and 300 excellent journalists have paid the price. Now, I think that we were talking earlier about the witch-hunt and I think that the view of those who are out to get us in this witch-hunt is that nothing will satisfy them until News International has gone altogether.”

RB: “Who are those people Trevor, who do you think really is out to get the company?”

TK: “Well I think one person quite clearly is Tom Watson, I don’t think he would deny it but I don’t want to go into any further detail about who… I mean you and others can easily decide who you think might fit the bill but when you have an operation as disproportionate as this you have to wonder what they’re up to, and why.”

RB: “And I guess just finally Trevor with the story about Rupert Murdoch flying back in this week to face his hostile newsroom do you think there is any chance at all that the Sun itself could go the way of the News of the World and get closed down?”

TK: “No. I think that the Sun is a paper that if it hadn’t been invented you would have to re-invent it then. I think that the fact is this is a great newspaper, it’s loved by millions, it’s even loved occasionally by the BBC. I think the idea of losing a paper of this sort would surely be the ultimate disproportionate act would it not?”

RB: “Mmm. It’s very successful as well isn’t it? It’s one of the few newspapers left that makes a lot of money I think as well.”

TK: “It is, it’s successful for a very good reason, it’s successful because it breaks great stories, it’s successful because it represents its readers’ interests. It’s successful because it has a vigour and a lifestyle and a life force which resonates through this country. It is the greatest newspaper in this country.”

RB: “By the way the journalists that were arrested, are they back at work?”

TK: “They’ve been suspended.”

RB: “Yeah, OK. Trevor, thank you…”

TK: “Indefinitely I have to say without any prospect of knowing when any further action is going to be taken, if any.”

RB: “Is that the right call by the Sun to suspend them or do you think that’s a bit harsh?”

TK: “Well I think that, I don’t think there’s much choice once this has happened but you know it’s hard for people like me who have worked alongside people we admire and respect for, in my case, nearly 40 years with the Sun, to see them languishing at home, frustrated and unable to do anything to defend themselves and I feel very sorry for them and I know it’s causing them and their families a great deal of anguish.”

RB: “I’m sure that’s right. I didn’t realise you’d been with the paper for 40 years, did you ever see the newspaper at a lower ebb than this, have you ever been through a bigger crisis than this at the Sun?”

TK: “There’s never been a bigger crisis than this.”

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Sun associate editor: ‘There are people who will stop at nothing to destroy News International’

February 13th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

The Sun’s associate editor, Trevor Kavanagh, has spoken further about the “unease” at the Sun following the arrest of five senior journalists at the weekend – and he said he would be “delighted” to talk to Rupert Murdoch about the issue when he visits this week.

Speaking on Radio 4’s The World at One, Kavanagh said there was “no justification” for calling for the paper to be closed – and he reiterated that no one had been charged. He said:

There are people who will stop at nothing to destroy News International. The News of the World has already closed and they will not be satisfied until the Sun is closed too. That is not going to happen.

There is no justification on the base of what you and I know so far. I think it would be a catastrophe for the British media, the newspaper world and even possibly the BBC if action which at this stage suggests no actual guilt should be regarded as grounds for closing newspapers.

Asked if there was unease at the Sun with the way News International’s independent committee had handled the affair, Kavanagh replied:

I think it’s fair to say that there is unease about the way that some of the best journalists in Fleet Street have ended up being arrested on evidence that the MSC has handed to the police. I think there is unease on that.

And asked if he would discuss the issue with Rupert Murdoch when he visits later this week, Kavanagh replied:

If he wants me to talk to him about it, I would be delighted.

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News International to launch Sunday version of the Sun on 29 April, sources say

January 27th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Sean Dempsey/PA

News International is planning to launch a Sunday version of its popular UK tabloid newspaper the Sun on 29 April, sources have told Journalism.co.uk.

Staff have been secretly working on the new publication since January and it is believed some former News of the World employees (casual and/or full-time) are involved.

News International has declined to comment. After Journalism.co.uk tweeted about the planned launch date last night, the Telegraph’s home news reporter Matthew Holehouse also tweeted that News International would neither “confirm or deny”.

On Monday MP Tom Watson tweeted that a source had told him a “Sunday Sun” was due for launch in April:

Update: Journalism.co.uk heard late on Friday (27 January) that the launch date is to be brought forward.

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News International: ‘no decision made on Sun paywall’

October 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Online Journalism

News International has responded to reports that it has decided not to introduce a paywall at the Sun, as it has for the Times, Sunday Times, and did for the now-defunct News of the World site, denying that a decision has been made over charges.

A report today by paidContent suggests that new chief executive Tom Mockridge has decided against a paywall.

News International has finally decided against introducing usage fees for The Sun’s website and is performing a restructure to place more emphasis on advertising sales, paidContent understands.

The Sun will introduce a paid mobile content app imminently; it is currently consulting with readers on the appropriate fee. But it will not be following Rupert Murdoch’s edict in which he appeared to say that all his news titles’ websites should charge.

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Brian Cathcart: Sun and Mirror contempt case may make editors think twice

There is good piece by Brian Cathcart on the Index on Censorship site, in which he predicts that Dominic Grieve’s prosecution of the Sun and the Mirror over their coverage of the arrest of Chris Jefferies may make editors think twice about casually flouting contempt of court laws.

The Contempt of Court Act of 1981 prohibits all but the most straightforward reporting in a crime case from the moment “proceedings are active”, in other words once someone is arrested. The idea is to ensure that coverage does not interfere with the course of justice, for instance by prejudicing the eventual jury. But for years, when a big, competitive story came along, many editors and reporters in national media simply ignored the Act and continued to publish often grotesque allegations about a suspect after arrest and even sometimes after they were charged. Think Colin Stagg, Barry George,Karen Matthews and others — and Stagg and George were later shown to be innocent.

That may be about to change thanks to the actions of the attorney-general, Dominic Grieve. Not normally a man to cut the figure of a hero — a lean, bookish type, he was last seen filibustering awkwardly in the Commons when the government was under pressure over its links with the Murdochs — Grieve has done something genuinely brave. He has prosecuted the Daily Mirror and the Sun for contempt of court in the Chris Jefferies case, and he has won.

Read the full article at this link.

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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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