Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Monday, 19 November 2012


This central debate is reflected in many posts on this blog + links lists; I'll look to bring those together here at a later date. For now, this useful argument between a victim of phone hacking and a crime writer opposed to statutory regulation of the press:

Are legal curbs the answer for Britain's errant newspapers?

Lord Justice Leveson is set to deliver his verdict on phone hacking. As politicians and journalists prepare for a battle over possible state regulation of the press, Jacqui Hames, the former Crimewatch presenter and hacking victim, debates the issues with Observer writer Nick Cohen
Jacqui Hames and Nick Cohen
Jacqui Hames, former police officer and Crimewatch presenter, and the Observer's Nick Cohen. Photographs: Antonio Olmos and Graham Turner
Dear Nick
I'll start with a bit of background. I'm best known for my stint on Crimewatch, between 1990 and 2006, but my police career started in 1977. I joined the Met at 18 and worked my way up through the ranks, serving as a detective constable until I took early retirement in 2008.
I gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry because in 2002 I was placed under surveillance by the News of the World. Up to that point my experience of the press was generally positive. On Crimewatch I experienced first hand the enormous benefits of working with the media to solve crime. That's not to say there weren't times when the different agendas conflicted, but that has to be expected.
That was all about to change. My then husband, a detective chief superintendent, appeared on Crimewatch to appeal for information in an unsolved murder. It was a gruesome case: a man killed with an axe outside a south London pub.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Press anti-Leveson FLAK (Chomsky concept)

There are many articles you could find which will demonstrate the typically partisan, subjective approach of the bulk of the UK press to Leveson, in the key period between the end of the public hearings and his report, which will recommend how the regulation of UK media should be reformed.
I've copied in just one below, an unusually belicose missive from Grauniad media blogger Roy Greenslade, but it provides specific detail of the flak strategy with specific examples, plus further links.
Flak is one of Chomsky + Herman's five filters within their propaganda model of how the media operate, and to what end (not to inform a citizenry but to reinforce support for elites). You'll find multiple links to Chomsky here and on the prodeval blog.

Laughable Daily Mail 'investigation' smears Leveson inquiry assessor

I have been worried about the Daily Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, for some time. After seeing today's issue of his paper, I really think it's time for the men in white coats to visit its Kensington offices as soon as possible.
The Mail devotes 11 full pages, including the whole of the front page, to a "special investigation" into one of the Leveson inquiry assessors, Sir David Bell.
maiIt seeks to present Bell, the former Financial Times chairman, as the spider at the centre of a web of intrigue. In a classic example of conspiracist innuendo, it implies that the "elitist liberal" Bell is covertly exercising influence that somehow threatens the freedom of the press.
He is presented across many thousands of words as some kind of shadowy figure who, through his chairmanships and trusteeships of various charitable bodies, is exerting undue and unaccountable power.
Through a series of leaps of logic and phoney "revelations" of Bell's publicly acknowledged positions, the articles persistently insinuate that he has been up to no good.
He is even accused of being somehow responsible for the Newsnight report which falsely suggested that Lord McAlpine had been guilty of child abuse and, by extension, that he is also part of the reason for the BBC's current crisis, including the resignation of its director-general.
In a leading article, the Mail says its "investigation paints a picture of how a small, intertwined nexus of Left-of-centre individuals – some with links to Ofcom, the media regulator, and virtually all with links to Bell – have sought to exert huge influence on the inquiry."
Clearly, this is a sensitive time to attack a member of Lord Justice Leveson's team, as the editorial admits:
"The Mail is acutely aware of the seriousness of publishing this investigation. We know all too well that our enemies will accuse us of being aggressively defensive in a bid to pre-empt the outcome of the Leveson report, which is due any week now.
But in the light of the scandal engulfing the BBC, we passionately believe in the public's right to know about a senior Leveson assessor's role in it."
So, in order to lend some sensible perspective to this astonishing accusation about Bell's supposed complicity in the BBC's "scandal", let me try to disentangle what amounts to a farrago of distortion with added vilification.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

BBC: editor-in-chief function examined

I'll maybe add notes to this later, but for now here's a short but very useful analysis of the role thats been much cited in news stories over the Newsnight/Lord MacAlpine scandal: whilst usually referred to the Director General, the BBC's top man on the operating side (and it is a very male-skewed team) is also editor-in-chief. The article below sets out clear arguments why this is important; is typical of large media organisations; looks at the devolved responsibility involved - spot on for exam prep + simply for general understanding!

BBC director general should not be stripped of editor-in-chief role

George Entwistle was not the first BBC chief to fall on his sword for mistakes he had nothing to do with. But the royal charter should not be rewritten in haste during a crisis
BBC headquaters
A TV crew set up outside BBC headquarters in London following the resignation of George Entwistle as director general. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP
It is one of the curiosities of the BBC that its director general is also its editor-in-chief. The secondary job title, only ever remembered in moments of crisis, does foster the unhelpful image of the DG spending half their time wandering around the newsroom wearing a green eyeshade, as well as being chief executive of one of the world's biggest broadcasters.
On that basis, it would be an impossible task. The BBC last week said it produced 425,320 hours of TV and radio output last year – or 1,165 hours a day. And then there's the BBC's considerable online output. No director general, however adept or floundering, can manage to watch more than a tiny fraction; Greg Dyke never heard Andrew Gilligan's report at a few minutes past 6am on the Today programme that sparked the "sexed-up" dossier row with Tony Blair's government in 2003. And apparently George Entwistle paid little attention to last Friday's Newsnight.
The BBC Trust chairman, Lord Patten, told Andrew Marr on Sunday morning there might be a case for looking at the editor-in-chief role and the "relationship between director general [and] editorial and creative". But as the dual job title is written into the BBC's royal charter – not due for renewal until 2017 – it is hard to see how it can be changed. Nor should it be.
The corporation's constitution is not to be rewritten by politicians in haste in the aftermath of a crisis; that would amount to interference. Those who want to argue that the BBC is ungovernable may say shedding the job title is only the beginning of a debate on cutting the size of the national broadcaster.
Those familiar with Patten's thinking are saying he does not want to strip out the secondary job title – his BBC Trust has already looked at that – but perhaps move the BBC closer to the model used at ITV, where there is a chief executive, former Royal Mail Group boss Adam Crozier, and a senior editorial figure, director of television, Peter Fincham.
Anyway, editorial responsibility at the BBC is devolved, not least to Helen Boaden, the BBC News director, and then to the editors of individual news programmes, the Six and Ten O'Clock News, Newsnight and Panorama.
It is those editors who have to take day-to-day responsibility for errors as well as running orders – although, as Dyke and Entwistle have found, when a piece of BBC journalism is as flawed as the Newsnight report, it then does become a problem for the person at the top. The devolution is realistic and necessary; no media organisation would function without it.
Rupert Murdoch likes to read and influence the newspapers at the company he part owns and runs. Some describe him, informally, as the editor-in-chief of newspapers such as the Sun. No doubt he too should have known what was going on at the News of the World. Yet even Murdoch would not describe himself as chief executive and editor-in-chief on his business cards, even though his day-to-day input is far greater than a BBC chief's.
But although the editor-in-chief title for the BBC's leader is flawed, it should not be tossed aside because of editorial failings across BBC News. Newsnight's mistakes were not the product of a job title; in the case of the McAlpine misidentification at least, they were the product of basic errors of journalism. Training and common sense are needed to deal with that.

More links?
Odds on who's going to succeed Entwistle - my money is on Ed Richards (if the Tory gov can stomach an ex-Labour man that is)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

+/- Press Reg: gr8 summary:Michael White

His opinion pieces are often ill-fitting these days for Guardian readers, but this is a fantastic resource for the student of media regulation: a summary, packed with further hyperlinked articles, of the press case against strengthened press regulation, and some of the counter-arguments. What he also does here is unpick the extremely anti-democratic nature of billionaire owners who don't even pay UK tax seeking to shape public opinion through 'their' newspapers. I highly recommend reading the full article.

A free press is all very well, but free for whom?

The press lords are lashing out against external regulation, but they ignore several obvious problems
Lord Justice Leveson
Lord Justice Leveson, who is poised to issue his report on regulatory reform of the press. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
In today's moment of election excitement from the United States, words like freedom and liberty get thrown around like confetti at a wedding, often by people who seem to think it only applies to those like themselves. The Daily Mail's Richard Littlejohn is furious that the Obama victory was achieved by "fear and loathing", not tactics he would ever use himself.
But away from wall-to-wall election coverage, the Daily Telegraph's "Keep the press free" editorial – it appeared on Tuesday – illustrates the narrow view of liberty too.
What was it about? Lord Justice Leveson is poised to issue his report on regulatory reform of the press in the wake of the disturbing disclosures arising from the phone-hacking affair which led to the closure by Rupert Murdoch – an action cynical and disturbing in itself — of the News of the World in a doomed attempt to save the Dirty Digger's bid for BSkyB.
What provoked the Telegraph's disdain were statements made by the National Union of Journalists in defence of a statutory underpinning – here's a recent exposition of the union's case – for whatever revised form of press regulation emerges from the haggling which will follow Leveson's report, due out later this month. Speaking only for a few working journalists, the NUJ threatens "to sacrifice hard-won freedoms on the altar of leftwing orthodoxy", so the Telegraph assures its readers before urging the union's members to stop sending in their subs.
Well, I stoutly defend the Telegraph's right to write rubbish. But this is poor stuff and would be even if it did not flow from a union-bashing newspaper (does it recognise the NUJ for negotiating purposes? I think not) owned by a pair of elderly property moguls, not locally resident for tax purposes, who have laid waste to the paper's formerly sturdy character.