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BBC: Ken Livingstone calls for ‘arms-length relationship’ between media and police

July 12th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal, Politics

There has been “far too close a relationship” between the media and police involved in investigating the phone hacking scandal, former mayor of London Ken Livingstone said today.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme Livingstone, who was mayor of London at the time of the previous Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking, called for an “arms length relationship” between the press and politicians.

He also insisted that meetings between senior figures on both sides should never be held in private.

How on earth can the prime minister of Britain or mayor of London have a private meal with someone at the centre of a criminal investigation? … It’s just not credible.

Reflecting on the circumstances of the previous inquiry Livingstone said the argument that police had other more serious issues to focus resources on was a “completely spurious defence”.

The police had more police than at any time in their history. The idea they had much more pressing things to do is nonsense. This is a scandal that goes right to the heart of the establishment.

Five senior past and present Metropolitan police officers are to appear before a parliamentary select committee beginning today to be questioned about the force’s investigation into phone hacking.

Assistant commissioner John Yates will appear first before the home affairs select committee. He reviewed the initial investigation into phone hacking in 2009 and ruled there was not sufficient new evidence to reopen a police inquiry.

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Metro: World media gear up for the wedding

April 26th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

The Metro this morning reported that “an international army” of 8,000 broadcast journalists and technicians, covering the Royal Wedding on Friday, will be operating from a temporary multimedia village in Green Park.

According to the Metro major networks have spent around £50,000 to set up temporary studios offering Buckingham Palace as a backdrop. Interest “has been strongest” in the US, the Metro report adds.

CNN alone is dispatching at least 400 staffers, including 50 journalists and producers to cover the spectacle and plans several news special this week. Even the Weather Channel has caught royal wedding fever with its Wake Up With Al programme based in London.

CNN announced last month that it would also be sending one of its iReporters to London to cover the wedding.

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Econsultancy: Criticism of Chilean miners coverage misses the point

October 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles responds to criticism of coverage of the Chilean miners’ rescue this week. Some journalism academics called it “a story about journalism’s failure”, but is this negativity part of journalism’s problem, he asks.

While nobody is suggesting that the news media blind itself to the world’s ills and injustices, one should consider that part of the news media’s dilemma is how you sell a product that is often filled to the brim with negative stories – crime, tragedy, political squabbling … The irony, of course, is that you can only sell so much bad news. At some point, people get tired of opening up the newspaper to read about a politician who cheated on his wife and didn’t pay his taxes, or turning on the television and seeing images of “suffering at home.” And let’s not forget about Lindsey Lohan. So what do people do? They cancel their newspaper subscriptions, and they skip past CNN when channel surfing.

Full post on Econsultancy at this link…

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‘The journalists had become cameras, not human beings anymore’: reflections on the Chile miners story

The rescue of Chile’s trapped miners captured the attention of the world. Live blogs, 24-hour TV stations, newspapers – the story was embraced by all platforms. Scotland’s Daily Record even featured a picture of the first emerged miner on its 4am front page. The media spotlight was well and truly focused on events at ‘Camp Hope’, enabling people all over the world to witness the remarkable rescue.

But some of the media coverage and in particular the volume of journalists who descended on the mine area has come under fire as questions arise over the necessity of hundreds of reporters being at the location to cover the story.

In an interview with euronews, local journalist Claudia La Torre said the behaviour of journalists desperate to cover the story was “too much”.

Before the media arrived there was a lot of crying, and then the feeling spread and the media got hold of it and put it to the fore. The media has been very important as it has informed everyone. But there are still limits. Yesterday I saw some miner’s families telling the media to go away. They wanted some privacy, the cameras and lights were harassing them. I regretted that, and I felt it was too much. The mother of the first miner rescued shouted at the journalists to stop, she was trying to hold her son in her arms and she couldn’t. I had to walk away, I felt that the journalists had just become cameras and not human beings any more.

Steve Safran from Lost Remote also commented on the amount of coverage and number of journalists at the scene, which he felt was “way out of proportion”.

Not to be cranky here – it’s great that these men are being rescued. But the coverage is way out of proportion to the importance of the event. And there is little perspective here. Suppose these men had died in the collapse back in August. Would it have received a mention at all in the news? This has as much to do with the fact that the coverage could be planned as anything.

Blogger Jeremy Littau from Lehigh University added that he felt Chile is a ‘story about journalism’s failure’.

I see a story about journalism. To know that 1300 journalists have descended on this mining town to cover a worldwide story is a little disconcerting in an era of closed foreign bureaus and budget cutbacks. Many might question that thought given the intense interest in the story; my Twitter and Facebook feeds were lit up last night as the first miner descended up the 2000-foot shaft. But the public doesn’t think in terms of resources when it consumes journalism; it only has what it has in front of it.

These concerns continued today as reports that the BBC spent more than £100,000 on covering the rescue operation emerged via a leaked memo from BBC world news editor Jon Williams, which suggested the broadcaster will have to reduce its coverage of other major events as a result.

“The financial situation is serious”, Mr Williams wrote. “We are currently £67k beyond our agreed overspend of £500k; newsgathering’s costs for Chile will exceed £100,000.”

Coverage of the forthcoming Nato summit in Lisbon, the Cancun climate summit and the Davos World Economic Forum will all suffer as a result of the black hole in the corporation’s finances.

But while the rescue operation of the 33 men may be over, the media interest in the miners is likely to continue for some time. In fact, according to a report from the Guardian, freelance journalist Jonathan Franklin, who reported on the story for the newspaper from the start, is already signed up to write a book about the events.

“This is one of the great rescue stories of all time,” he said, admitting he himself had wept as the first miners were released on Tuesday night. “It’s the reason we all want to be reporters: a remarkable story of the world coming together for a good reason. It taps into human altruism, the desire to work together, perseverance, faith that good things happen, never giving up.” The early chapters of the book, he said, were already written.

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Distrust in US media at record high, according to Gallup poll

September 30th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Politics

Distrust in mass media in the US has reached a record high, having risen for the fourth year running. In a recent Gallup poll, 57 per cent of respondents said they had little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.

The 43 per cent who answered that they had a great deal or fair amount of trust in mass media make up a joint record-low. An earlier poll, conducted by Gallup last month, suggested that trust in newspaper and television news is particularly low, with just 22 per cent saying they had quite a lot or a great deal of trust in newspapers and 25 per cent saying the same for television.

The suvey suggests a sharp decline in trust in the branches of government, with Gallup recording a record low for the legislative branch, worse than the media rating.  The executive and judicial branches of government fared better but also suffered declines.

Other findings suggest that nearly half of Americans (48 per cent) think the media is too liberal, compared with just 15 per cent who think it is too conservative. Sixty-three per cent of respondents perceived bias in one direction or the other.

A recent YouGov poll of the UK found that trust in media outlets is in steep decline. The survey suggests that ‘upmarket’ newspapers (Times, Telegraph Guardian) had an approval rating of 41 per cent, ‘mid-markets’ (Mail, Express) 21 per cent, and red-tops  just 10 per cent.

Full Gallup findings at this link…

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#iq2privacy: Privacy, the press, and Max Mosley

September 7th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Journalism.co.uk will be at tonight’s ‘Sex, bugs and videotape’ debate organised by Intelligence Squared. Given this week’s renewed focus on phone hacking at the News of the World and debates on the privacy of footballers and public interest, tonight’s proceedings are pretty timely.

Proposing the motion that the private lives of public figures deserve more protection from the press will be Rachel Atkins, a partner at Schillings law firm; and Max Mosley, no stranger to the News of the World and secret videotaping himself.

Speaking against the motion are Tom Bower, journalist and author of books on Robert Maxwell and Richard Desmond; and Ken MacDonald QC, defence lawyer and former director of public prosecutions.

You can follow tweets from the event with the hashtag #iq2privacy or in the liveblog below:

Sex, bugs and videotape – privacy and the media debate

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Former Birmingham Post editor to launch West Midlands business site

January 27th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

It is thought that Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Post, is to launch a West Midlands franchise of TheBusinessdesk.com.

First publicly reported on Jon Slattery’s blog and on the Drum (in a story with a dead link), the news follows industry speculation and hints of pastures new on Reeves’ blog.

Journalism.co.uk has learned the site will be run by Reeves – who left the Post at the end of 2009 when the the Trinity Mirror title went weekly – and two other journalists. One of the journalists involved is believed to be the former Birmingham Post deputy business editor, Duncan Tift.

It is understood that Reeves has begun offering banner advertising for the new site.

Reeves, who we were unable to contact today, was recently appointed to the panel to decide the Independently Funded News Consortia pilots.

The Business Desk, who could not be contacted for comment today either, was launched in 2007 as business online-only news site for Yorkshire, by former Yorkshire Post business editor, David Parkin. Former Yorkshire Post journalists Ian Briggs and Anastasia Weiner also joined the site.

In 2008, the Business Desk also launched in the north west. At the time Parkin told Journalism.co.uk:

“We think it can work in every region in the country. We’ve got to see how it goes in the north west, but we don’t want to stop here.”

“We are purely online, that’s all we do. All the other players in the area have a print product to support,” he added.

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Columbia Journalism Review: Error prevention tools

January 26th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Regret The Error’s Craig Silverman summarises three online services that journalists could use to help prevent errors: gooseGrade, Bite-Size Edit and Artificial Proofreader.

Full post at this link…

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Alan Rusbridger: ‘I worry about how a universal pay wall would change the way we do our journalism’

January 26th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events, Journalism

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger strongly believes journalists should link to the specialist source. We’re rather fond of that approach here, so here’s his Hugh Cudlipp lecture in full. There’s a video interview at this link.

There is lots to pull out here, but key were his comments on pay walls – he doesn’t believe it makes commercial or professional sense:

[C]harging might be right for some bits of the Murdoch stable of media properties, but is it right for all bits of his empire, or for everyone else? Isn’t there, in any case, more to be learned at this stage of the revolution, by different people trying different models – maybe different models within their own businesses – than all stampeding to one model?

(…)

As an editor, I worry about how a universal pay wall would change the way we do our journalism. We have taken 10 or more years to learn how to tell stories in different media – ie not simply text and still pictures. Some stories are told most effectively by a combination of print and web. That’s how we now plan our journalism. As my colleague Emily Bell is fond of saying we want it to be linked in with the web – be “of the web”, not simply be on the web.

You can also hear Rusbridger talking about pay walls in Coventry two weeks ago: http://podcasting.services.coventry.ac.uk/podcasting/index.php?id=298

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Seeking Alpha: Why you should invest in newspaper stocks

September 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

‘Newspapers: Not as Bad as Advertised’ proclaims the headline of Glenn Rogers’ Seeking Alpha post.

Succinctly summarising the problems facing the news industry, Rogers then goes on to recommend buying newspaper stocks.

If you believe that some of these companies can adapt and survive, there are reasons to invest, he says:

  • The New York Times and Gannett (for example) ‘have both been cutting costs dramatically for the past several months and they are well-positioned digitally to benefit from the online consumption of news’;
  • “[E]ven if they are not successful in attracting subscriber income they are well-positioned to benefit from what I believe will be a gradual recovery in the advertising market in general over the next several months.”
  • Gannett in particular offers a number of spin-off technology solutions to large companies; while the Times has a number of businesses outside of the newspaper.

Sound investment advice or newspaperman sentimentality? Either way, Rogers’ post does look at some of the non-traditional revenue streams and business elements that could help existing media companies weather the economic and structural storms.

Full post at this link…

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