Why No Media Plurality Worries Over Mirror-Express Merger?

The usual suspects who raise a hue and cry about media plurality seem strangely silent about the Mirror – Express merger. Print sector media plurality is being dramatically reduced from four major media groups to 3 plus the also rans. The new group will have about a quarter market share of the UK dead tree press. As the print market withers it is turning oligopolistic…

Tom Watson is silent, the usual gobby ‘media plurality’ campaigners are also mute. The Guardian isn’t going on about the hackers at the Mirror not being fit and proper to take over the Express. There are genuine public interest concerns; plurality is being reduced and the distinctive political voice of the Express is being put at risk. Are plurality concerns only applicable to Rupert Murdoch?

Epic Guardian Unpaid Internship Hypocrisy

Today’s Guardian splash backs the government’s crackdown on unpaid internships, exclusively revealing that “HM Revenue & Customs is expected to target sectors such as media” and criticising Vogue and its publisher Conde Nast for offering placements without pay. It is a pretty bold front page given that just last week the paper was embarrassed by a young journalist on Twitter who revealed he had just been on an unpaid internship at… the Guardian. Of course this is the same Guardian which last year offered an internship scheme to ethnic minority candidates, telling them “the scheme is unpaid”. And the same Guardian which offers “editorial work” internships – real work – again telling applicants “these placements at the Guardian and Observer are unpaid”. If the government’s unpaid internship crackdown is targeting the media, they should start with the paper to which they briefed the story… 

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Just one Leaver….

49 Russian Twitter Trolls Sent Just 942 Tweets During Referendum

Over in Washington, Twitter’s Nick Pickles has told grandstanding Damian Collins and his Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the company detected just 49 accounts linked to a Russian “troll factory”, which sent out a mere 942 tweets during the EU referendum. This is 0.005% of the total number of accounts that tweeted about the referendum. Earlier Collins lost it with Facebook’s representative for denying there was any Russian intervention, snapping: “But you haven’t looked! You haven’t looked!”, and even implying Facebook was lucky not to be “closed down” and its executives “face prosecution. Almost as if Collins is an arch-Remainer using his position to push the Russia / Brexit conspiracy theory, even when the tech companies themselves say it’s a load of nonsense…

Corbynista Union Sock Puppet Who Compared May to Hitler Hijacks BBC Taylor Report Coverage

Corbynista trade union activists are still hijacking media coverage of the so-called gig economy months after Guido first highlighted the issue. Deliveroo rider Sergio Ramos appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme yesterday to talk about the Taylor Report and was captioned as a ‘Deliveroo worker’. Ramos was part of the far-left Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) case against Deliveroo, which the union lost. The driver is a member of Corbynista fan groups and has compared Theresa May to Hitler on social media, as well as posting pics of her in a straight-jacket. 

He has also previously been given quotes to BuzzFeed and the Guardianneither of which mentioned his union links. The union approvingly tweeted out his appearance on the show. This isn’t the first time this has happened over the Beeb’s coverage of the Taylor Report…

UPDATE: Victoria Derbyshire gets in touch to point out that a reference was made on air to the individual being a “union member.”

Newsnight Editor Decision Imminent

Guido hears the Newsnight editor decision could come as soon as this week. Two female candidates, one internal, one external, have been hotly tipped as they enter the final stage:

Louisa Compton – Editor of Victoria Derbyshire and executive editor of Newsbeat. Seen as a rising star within the corporation.

Esme WrenSky’s head of politics has been there since 2005. She was a Newsnight producer back in the day…

Good luck…

UPDATE: Am told Newsnight’s current acting editor, Jess Brammar, has applied for Robbie Gibb’s old job overseeing the BBC’s Westminster political programmes.

See previous: Newsnight Editor Runners and Riders

Damian Collins Rejected Tech Firms’ Offer to Save Taxpayers £30,000

Yesterday Guido told you how Damian Collins was spending an estimated £30,000 of taxpayer cash flying his Culture, Media and Sport select committee members on a jolly to New York and Washington to probe “fake news”. It seemed a total extravagance from one of the more grandstanding select committee chairmen. Buzzfeed have now followed up our story with the news that the CMS committee actually turned down an offer from US tech companies to fly their American executives over to London so they could face the committee in parliament. A move which would have saved UK taxpayers all that money. Clearly the temptation of a freebie holiday to the US was too much for members to resist. What a waste of money from Collins’ committee, which has spent the last year talking nonsense to get silly Russia / Brexit headlines in Remain papers…

Sienna Rodgers is New LabourList Editor

LabourList has a new editor, Sienna Rodgers. The 24 year-old parliamentary assistant to Tulip Saddiq has plenty of editorial experience with a year at Conde Nast’s House & Garden as well as her local Ham & High paper. Of late the insurgent Corbyn backing left-wing sites have somewhat overtaken and eclipsed LabourList of late. With a brief to be non-factional LabourList is the noticeboard for the Labour Party, this has sometimes made the site a bit vanilla and lacking in personality. Sienna is promising a refresh and a new redesign. Guido wishes her well reviving the site… 

Osborne’s Crisis of Character

The Evening Standard’s coverage of May’s China trip gleefully reported that on a visit to a school the PM held “fu”, the Chinese character for fortune, “upside down, earning confused looks from people at the Busy Bee center, including the young girl they were chatting to”. The China Daily  suggests otherwise

Fu means luck or happiness in Chinese. However, it is actually a custom to hang the character “fu” in reverse on doors or in windows, as it means good luck will arrive, as “upside down” rhymes with “arrive” in Chinese… This is downright correct, holding fu reversed shows people’s wishes for good luck… It is the newspaper that knows little about Chinese culture…

Guido can’t read Chinese so it is hard to know which newspaper is telling the truth. Whereas one is a source of relentlessly slanted political propaganda against the British government, the China Daily is a professionally produced newspaper edited by a longstanding editor. Am going to go with China Daily being right about Chinese characters…

This error is not necessarily due to George Osborne, senior sources in the building tell Guido he has barely been seen since November. He took several weeks off in December, has been giving giving lucrative speeches in the US and was in Davos all week a fortnight ago. There was no sign of him last week either. Hacks are speculating that problems in George’s private life are taking up a lot of his time…

BBC Sack Zac Threat Presenter

The BBC has sacked a radio presenter who told Tory MP Zac Goldsmith that a death threat sent to an 80 year-old Brexit-supporting constituent “should have been addressed to you”.

St.John Stephen, who had a fortnightly gardening slot on BBC Radio London, claimed he thought the letter telling Zac’s elderly constituent “We are going to kill you” was “some sort of set up”. A BBC spokesman tells Guido “This was clearly unacceptable” and Stephen will not be appearing on the Beeb again. What was he thinking?

Buzzfeed Fails In Legal Bid to Prevent Employees From Unionising

Breaking media news from the Central Arbitration Committee: Buzzfeed has failed in its bid to prevent its employees from forming a union chapel. Buzzfeed management hired pricey lawyers from Matrix Chambers to essentially argue that they had laid off so many staff that the number supporting collective bargaining had fallen below the 50% threshold. Buzzfeed staff reading today’s judgement will be left wondering if bosses fired pro-unionisation employees to prevent them from forming a chapel…

The Employer stated that the restructuring process was completed today and as of the close of business a total of 22 people within the company had left BuzzFeed. The Employer believed that a number of those who left the business after requesting voluntary redundancy, were members of the Union. The Employer further stating that “this fundamental change to the proposed bargaining unit may have a significant impact on the density of union members and support within the proposed bargaining unit for recognition.”

Two Buzzfeed journalists – Kelly Oakes and Francis Whittaker – gave evidence on behalf of the union. Both were then let go…

The committee came to a decision today that the threshold favouring recognition had been met and so the application for collective bargaining to be recognised should proceed. Buzzfeed spent big bucks trying to stop this from happening, and failed…

Mirror Group Admits Editors Condoned & Encouraged Hacking for Years

As part of its settlement with Hugh Grant, the Mirror Group has made an apology and today admitted the following (the quote is from the court statement):

“A number of its senior employees, including executives, editors and journalists, condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information-gathering activities at all three of its newspapers for many years and actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion. its repeated and prolonged intrusions into innocent people’s lives over, in some instances, a decade, could have been prevented or interrupted. Instead, Trinity Mirror failed to properly investigate these disgraceful actions and/or to act sufficiently when the allegations of MGN’s journalists’ unlawful activities were first alleged and publicly emerged in 2006 and when the first inquiries into these wrongdoings were made.”


Awkward…

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Remain central…

Matt Hancock Calls App Britain

They may have the Silicon chip but we have the Silicon chap: Matt Hancock. The Culture Secretary is calling app Britain – he has created a new social network where fans can keep up with his every move. It’s basically Facebook, but just Matt Hancock’s feed. Anyway, the internet is loving it:

It’s trending on Twitter, but who uses that anymore?

Rolling News

Guardian Writer Working For Dent Coad

Barmy MP Emma Dent Coad has hired Guardian writer Liam Young to work in her parliamentary office, not that they mention that anywhere on his columns. Leftie scribe Young is also a columnist for the newspaper – so he has plenty of work on his plate. Would be more than a bit weird for the Mail, Sun or Telegraph to hire a paid-up Tory researcher as a columnist and not disclose their job to readers.

Also worth pointing out that Dent Coad’s daughter is still on the latest register of member’s staff (meaning she has a parliamentary pass). Despite the MP telling Guido the pass had been given up in November…

Guardian Unpaid Internship Request Backfires

What could go wrong with the Guardian asking for readers’ experiences with unpaid internships?

Oh.

That would be the same Guardian which runs articles about how “unpaid internships and a culture of privilege are ruining journalism”…

Rusbridger’s Daughter Complains Toff Too Privileged to Have Newspaper Column

An epic whinge from Vice’s Bella Mackie after reading that I’m a Celeb’s Toff has landed a column with Sunday Times Style. Bella reckons Toff is too privileged to deserve her new platform:

That would be Bella Mackie, who made it in journalism after getting a job at the Guardian, where her father Alan Rusbridger was the editor. In terms of privilege and media careers not sure Bella has a leg to stand on. Toff has probably had to work harder to get a column than Bella did to get a job at the Guardian…

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Chris Williamson should be a laugh…[…] Read the rest

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