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Reactions to John Yates’ resignation

July 18th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Legal, Newspapers

As the world of journalism waited with bated breath for Boris Johnson to get his 2pm press conference underway the rumours of a John Yates departure were confirmed.

The assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police resigned after the Metropolitan Police Authority decided to suspend him pending a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Yates’ resignation comes after questions were raised about his relationship with Neil Wallis, the former executive editor of the News of the World.

Wallis was arrested last week by officers investigating allegations of phone hacking.

London’s mayor was questioned by a number of journalists at the press conference at City Hall, London, and some of his responses are below.

Did you demand Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation?

In an ideal world Paul Stephenson would still be commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service… The trouble was that he had been caught up in a series of decisions relating to the Met’s handing of the News of the World which were going to be extremely distracting.

What Paul really couldn’t face was the idea of this protracted inquiry… at a time when he wanted to concentrate on policing in London.

Of course I was reluctant … but I accept the force of that argument.

Do you regret praising Rupert Murdoch around the time the Milly Dowler relevations first broke?

Well, clearly what the News of the World did was absolutely loathsome and I condemn it – I’m very glad that this gives everybody the opp to get to the bottom of practices across Fleet Street.

Should David Cameron walk over the hiring of Andy Coulson?

I’m not here to discuss government appointments. Those questions you must address to government. I don’t think there’s a very clear read across” [from Sir Paul Stephenson hiring Neil Wallis to Mr Cameron hiring Andy Coulson]. This is a matter you must address to No 10 Downing Street.

Twitter was in a frenzy before Yates’ resignation was announced. Below is a Storify of the immediate reaction.

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Audio: Jeremy Bowen on the BBC; Boris Johnson on Paxman’s salary

June 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

From last night’s ceremony at the University of Westminster, at which BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was presented with the British Journalism Review’s Charles Wheeler Award for achievements in broadcast journalism.

Bowen said the BBC’s loss of self-confidence and introspection was not justified, and the corporation should be proud of its global and national status. Referring to the BBC Trust’s ruling that he was inaccurate in his reports on Israel, he said he believed he was accused “wrongly”.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, then spoke (or boomed) on the shifting power game between politics and media; and managed a quick jibe on the BBC’s lack of accountability when it comes to its journalists’ own salaries. Johnson asked Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman how much he earns 14 times, but he didn’t get an answer. The short speech in full is an entertaining listen.

Most of Bowen’s and all of Johnson’s speech is recorded in the clip below:

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Paperhouse: The Telegraph’s ‘financially contrary’ newsroom

July 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Following Boris Johnson’s flippant comment about his ‘chicken feed’ column payment (a deal earning him £250,000 a year) Sarah Ditum takes a look at the Telegraph’s financial strategy:

“The Telegraph is in the perplexing position of having both made rather a lot of money last year, and then lost even more of it buying itself out of joint ventures. And from the outside, the newsroom looks similarly financially contrary: the Telegraph appears to have invented seven sports hacks to cover up a reliance on agency copy, and yet still have the money hanging around to spend a quarter of a million hiring Boris Johnson as a columnist.”

Maybe, she ponders, for the Telegraph to agree to that kind of money, he does add ‘galactic levels of value to a masthead’.

Full post at this link…

The Mayor of London on the BBC’s HardTalk programme, in which he describes the ease of bashing out a column on a Sunday morning:

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How Westminster students covered last week’s Journalism in Crisis conference

I got a peek behind the stage curtain last week, at the University of Westminster / British Journalism Review Journalism in Crisis conference (May 19/20). Geoffrey Davies, head of the Journalism and Mass Communications department, gave me a mini-guided tour of the equipment borrowed for the event – it allowed the live-streaming of the conference throughout; a real bonus for those at home or in the office.

Jump to video list here (includes: Mark Thompson / Nick Davies / Paul Lashmar / Boris Johnson and a host of academics and journalists from around the world)

The Journalism.co.uk beat means that we cover a fair few industry and academic conferences, and so we get to compare the technology efforts of the hosts themselves. While Twitter conversation didn’t flow as much as at some events (not necessarily a negative thing – see some discussion on that point at this link) the students’ own coverage certainly made use of their multimedia skills. I contacted a few of the students and lecturers afterwards to find out a few more specifics, and how they felt it went.

“We streamed to the web via a system we borrowed from NewTek Europe, but might purchase, called Tricaster. It’s a useful piece of equipment that is a television studio in a box,” explained Rob Benfield, a senior lecturer at the University, who produced the students’ coverage.

“In this case it allowed us to add graphics and captions downstream of a vision-mixer. It also stores all the material we shot in its copious memory and allowed us to store and stream student work, messages and advertising material of various sorts without resorting to other sources.

“Some of our third year undergraduates quickly mastered the technology which proved to be largely intuitive. We streamed for two solid days without interruption.”

Conference participants might also have seen students extremely diligently grabbing each speaker to ask them some questions on camera  (making Journalism.co.uk’s cornering of people a little bit more competitive). The videos are linked at the end of this post.

Marianne Bouchart, a second year at the University, blogged and tweeted (via @WestminComment) along with postgraduate student, Alberto Furlan.

“We all were delighted to get involved in such an important event,” Bourchart told Journalism.co.uk afterwards. “It was an incredible opportunity for us to practice our journalistic skills and gave to most of us a first taste of working in journalism. I couldn’t dream of anything better than to interview BBC director general Mark Thompson.

“We worked very hard on this project and we are all very happy it went on that well. My experience as an editor managing a team of journalists to cover the event was fantastic. We encountered a few scary moments, some panic attacks, but handled the whole thing quite brilliantly in the end – for inexperienced journalists. I can’t wait to be working with this team again.”

A sample of the Westminster students’ coverage:

If you missed the Journalism.co.uk own coverage, here’s a round-up:

Videos from the Westminster University students at this link. Interviewees included:

  • Paul Lashmar, Is investigative journalism in the UK dying or can a ‘Fifth Estate’ model revitalise it? An examination of whether the American subscription and donation models such as Pro Publica, Spot.US and Truthout are the way
  • Haiyan Wang, Investigative journalism and political power in China —A case study of three major newspapers’ investigative reporting over Chenzhou corruption between April 2006 and November 2008
  • Maria Edström, The workplace and education of journalists – myths and facts
  • Shan Wu, Can East Asia produce its own “Al-Jazeera”? Unravelling the challenges that face channel NewsAsia as a global media contra-flow
  • Yael .M. de Haan, Media under Fire: criticism and response in The Netherlands, 1987-2007
  • Esra Arsan, Hopelessly devoted? Turkish journalism students’ perception of the profession
  • Professor James Curran, ‘Journalism in Crisis,’ Goldsmiths College
  • Marina Ghersetti, Swedish journalists’ views on news values
  • Igor Vobic, Multimedia news of Slovenian print media organisations: Multimedia on news Websites of delo and žurnal media
  • Anya Luscombe, The future of radio journalism: the continued optimism in BBC Radio News
  • Tamara Witschge,The tyranny of technology? Examining the role of new media in news journalism
  • Juliette De Maeyer, Journalism practices in an online environment
  • Colette Brin, Journalism’s paradigm shifts: a model for understanding long-term change
  • Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Crisis equals crisis: How did the panic spread by the Greek media accelerate the economy crisis in the country?
  • Matthew Fraser, Why business journalism failed to see the coming economic crisis
  • Michael Bromley, Citizen journalism: ‘citizen’ or ‘journalism’ – or both?
  • Vincent Campbell, ‘Citizen Journalism’: A crisis in journalism studies?
  • Martin Nkosi Ndlela, The impact of technology on Norwegian print journalism
  • James S McLean, The future of journalism: Rethinking the basics
  • Mathieu Simonson, The Belgian governmental crisis through the eye of political blogging
  • Nick Davies, freelance journalist and author of Flat Earth News
  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
  • Jonathan Coad, partner at Swan Turton solicitors
  • Mark Thompson, BBC director-general
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    What was that Boris? Carve up the licence fee?

    May 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

    Last of the blog posts from last night’s Charles Wheeler award speeches, but just to share with you a question from London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to BBC director-general, Mark Thompson. Over to you, Boris:

    “I really wish I hadn’t decided to ask this question.

    “I love the BBC and I’m a big beneficiary from the BBC, but I have to say listening to your [Thompson’s] critique, I thought you were showing some sort of guilt about what the BBC website is doing to other commercially operated websites, you know, run by newspapers and you were trying to say the BBC might paddle it, that guilt, by sharing resources online (…) I understand it would be a very good way forward.

    “I don’t quite know how it’s going to work. I wonder if the simple solution might well be to carve up the licence fee and give a slice of it to the Sun, some to the Daily Mail…”

    Thompson answered, to paraphrase, that it probably wouldn’t work very well.

    A little more fully: there are countries where they’ve tried that, said Thompson. And the problem is, he said, that if you’re not careful, the ‘subsidy you need’ gets a bit bigger every year; and secondly, as a public service broadcaster one would ‘begin losing the critical mass’ in terms of the organisation’s culture, calibre of the output and public accountability.

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    Channel 4 Dispatches: Boris Johnson audio on plans to assault journalist to be aired

    March 30th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism

    Channel 4’s Dispatches will tonight air extracts from a conversation between current London mayor Boris Johnson and Old Etonian friend Darius Guppy from 1990 in which the pair discuss beating up a journalist – then News of the World reporter Stuart Collier.

    In an Independent.co.uk interview in January 2007, Johnson said he had offered Guppy his help in finding the journalist because Guppy had told him ‘that some tabloid scuzzbags had reduced his family to tears’.

    Listen to excerpts from the conversation at this link.

    According to a statement on the Dispatches website, a spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “This was a colourful story from almost two decades ago. It was of little or no consequence back then – and has no relevance whatsoever now.”

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    Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’: John Mair’s memories of Charles Wheeler

    January 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Journalism

    John Mair, television producer and associate senior lecturer in journalism at Coventry University, shares his thoughts on Charles Wheeler, the legendary BBC journalist who died in July 2008. A memorial service was held in London yesterday.

    Yesterday the great and the good of British broadcasting and journalism gathered at Westminster Abbey to honour Sir Charles Wheeler ‘the reporters’ reporter’ who died, aged 85, last year.

    Wheeler devoted 60 plus years to great journalism; we all have our personal and professional memories of him. Mine date back to 2004, when I was asked to produce the Media Society dinner at the Savoy Hotel to give him its award and honour him. How do you salute a God?

    I’d grown up with his work from America and elsewhere, been a producer in the BBC where he was treated with huge respect, and seen and heard his work.

    I can especially remember a ‘so-so’ story on Newsnight in the 1980s about cops beating up a black man in Notting Hill, which was everyday stuff then, unfortunately. It was transformed to a different plane by Wheeler reporting on it: all of a sudden it had ‘bottom’. Charles sprinkled journalistic experience and gold dust on all he touched. That ‘so-so’ became a significant story. Charles Wheeler was like that.

    Back to the Savoy Dinner: Charles was modesty itself and happy to go along with whoever came along. Everybody but everybody I approached to speak readily agreed to do so: Helen Boaden, then controller of BBC Radio 4, said no problem; Steve Anderson, then controller for news and current affairs at ITV and a former Wheeler producer at Newsnight, was gagging to be on the cast list; so too the great Peter Taylor, who said he would be ‘honoured’ to be part of such an event. Charles and his work had that sort of influence with even the very best of our trade.

    But the icing on the Savoy cake proved to be one Boris Johnson, then a barely known Tory MP, Spectator columnist and part-time clown. Boris is also Wheeler’s son-in-law, and his speech on the night was a tour de force. Scribbled on the back of a Savoy napkin, it had scores of hardened hacks in stitches.

    Wheeler was much more measured and contrite when it was his turn: apologising to his many producers for giving them a hard time (the sign of a good reporter – one who in involved enough to get angry); radiating modesty and sheer professionalism at one and the same time. Charles Wheeler was like that – he cared about every single word and every single picture to the bitter end of the film that he was working on – and his life.

    Never mind Westminster Abbey, Sir Charles Wheeler’s (Charlie Wheeler to all) work on tape and on screen is his epitaph. That will be with us all for a long, long time to come. Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’. You probably have your notebook out, finding the great stories and telling them.

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    FT.com: Problems with London Mayor Boris Johnson’s crime map plan

    May 29th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

    Plans proposed by London’s new mayor Boris Johnson to create a detailed crime map of the city have stalled because of legal concerns.

    The Conservative party’s agenda to make data more widely available has raised concerns with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which says releasing such information could breach data protection laws.

    The Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors has also expressed fears that publishing a crime map could affect house prices.

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    BBC London uses YouTube for mayoral questions

    April 22nd, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting

    Another news organisation getting in on the online act for next month’s London mayoral elections is the BBC with their BBC London election channel on YouTube.

    London residents were asked to post video questions to candidates Boris Johnson, Brian Paddick and Ken Livingstone (not sure why the other parties aren’t included). A selection of these will be put to the runners as part of BBC London’s broadcast coverage this week – the first interview with Ken Livingstone airing tonight at 6:30pm on BBC1.

    Here’s a video introduction to the project from BBC London:

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    Round-up: London Mayor candidates get web-savvy

    April 17th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Multimedia

    So Brian Paddick started twittering and then the candidates lined up for an online grilling on Yoosk – but it hasn’t stopped there.

    The Sun hosted an hour-long web chat with Boris Johnson yesterday, who answered questions from MySun readers. The answers to his questions are now on the Sun’s forums and have been edited into a couple of short video clips for the site. Brian Paddick will take part in a web chat on the site on April 25 at 1pm.

    Elsewhere, Johnson fared less well with new media coverage: a mobile citizen journalist on the Evening Standard’s website captured the Conservative candidate admitting his plans to replace bendy buses in the capital would cost £100 million.

    The Standard is running an interactive section covering the campaigns. The YouVote channel has been set up for users to submit images, video clips and comments and given today’s scoop, seems to be doing a good job.

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