New viewing figures published in Press Gazette today show the Reach PLC hacks’ strike, held for 24 hours on 31st August, made almost no difference to visitor traffic across the 14 affected sites. According to data provided by Similarweb, traffic stayed at around 17.3 million on the day of the strike, compared to 16.6 million the previous week, and 17 million the week before that. Although admittedly most of the Mirror hacks stayed put; their union, the British Association of Journalists, accepted the pay deal…
Reach offered staff a pay rise of either 3% or £750 minimum, which the National Union of Journalists said wasn’t enough after last year’s 1% increase. The sites analysed in Similarweb’s data were: mirror.co.uk, express.co.uk, dailystar.co.uk, liverpoolecho.co.uk, dailyrecord.co.uk, manchestereveningnews.co.uk, birminghammail.co.uk , walesonline.co.uk, chroniclelive.co.uk, mylondon.news, nottinghampost.com, examinerlive.co.uk, lancs.live and bristolpost.co.uk. In total, 1,150 hacks left their desks… only to see traffic at the Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Live and the Daily Record actually rise compared to previous weeks.
A second three-day strike had been scheduled for 14th-16th September, although that was suspended last night as the NUJ ballots its members on a new pay deal. The ballot ends on 23rd September. Given the last strike didn’t exactly deal a hammer blow, maybe members would be wise to take what they’re offered…
Guardian, Mirror and Financial Times hacks are complaining in Press Gazette that they were “blocked” from attending Priti’s Rwanda trip this month, with the Guardian going as far as to accuse the Home Office of trying to “avoid public scrutiny“:
“We are concerned that Home Office officials are deliberately excluding specific journalists from key briefings and engagements. [This] sends a worrying signal about the state of press freedom in the UK.”
Strangely, however, Guardian hacks were actually invited on the trip… their reporter just happened to fall ill right before leaving.
Even so, the Guardian is now donning tinfoil hats and claiming the Home Office rejected replacement hack, home affairs editor Rajeev Sal, because he might ask tough questions. They also claim the Home Office have deliberately rejected Sal from briefings before, something the Home Office tells Guido is “rubbish“. If Sal is such a tough interviewer, it does beg the question of why they didn’t submit him for the trip in the first place…
Guido’s departmental co-conspirator says the whole row is “silly“, as they can’t offer tickets to everyone, everywhere, at all times. They also point out how both the BBC and PA were on-hand throughout the entire trip – so those that couldn’t attend could get straight wire copy. In fact, even the picture used in the Press Gazette report came from PA…
Emily Maitlis says the BBC was wrong to find her in breach of impartiality rules (twice) and accuses the BBC’s management of caving into political pressure from Downing Street. The Newsnight presenter added that she would not let the current affairs show become a “public announcement tannoy” for ministers.* No doubt Jess Brammar, whom Emily showers with sugary praise, will agree with Maitlis…
She defends her Newsnight monologue in which she delivered an American TV style personal rant: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.” She claims “it hasn’t ever been explained to me what was journalistically inaccurate about that.”
Maitlis also defends her retweeting of Piers Morgan’s anti-government tirade. At the time the BBC said it was “clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the Government”. Maitlis once again disagrees with her employers, saying “the tweet said nothing I haven’t actually asked on air”.
It seems Emily’s showboating for Press Gazette has seen her called into the headmaster’s office, with a BBC spokesman saying:
“Nothing is more important than our impartiality. All BBC journalists must abide by the BBC’s editorial guidelines and social media rules. There are no exceptions. We will be taking this up with Emily.”
If Emily is completely unwilling to abide by the BBC’s impartiality rules she should look for a job elsewhere. There are lots of media organisations where delivering opinionated news is fine, just they’re not funded by a universal tax to pay her recently pared back £329,999 salary…
*When was the last time you can remember seeing a minister on Newsnight? Nowadays that happens as frequently as there is a blue moon.
Buzzfeed has gone to court in the US to attempt to force the editor of British media trade website Press Gazette to reveal his journalistic sources. A motion filed by Buzzfeed in a New York court seeks to compel Press Gazette’s editor, Dominic Ponsford, to provide material in relation to this article he published in April 2015, a report about a Buzzfeed investigation doing in one of its rivals. Buzzfeed’s court application seeks to force Ponsford to reveal:
“Why is Buzzfeed interested in my emails and any other documents I may hold? As a journalistic organisation does it not understand the dangerous ethical territory it is entering here?”
Remarkable behaviour for a news organisation employing journalists. What are Buzzfeed thinking?
Press regulator IPSO has slammed claims made by Peter Jukes, Twitter’s self-appointed upholder of press accuracy, finding they breached Clause 1 of the Code of Practice: Accuracy. An extract from his book “Beyond Contempt” published in the Press Gazette alleged that in June 2014, journalist Dennis Rice had “threatened to investigate” Jukes over a donation from Hacked Off. Jukes claimed Rice tweeted: “I’m now going to blog about [Jukes] & his family”. In fact, Rice’s tweet had been sent on 31 January 2014, six months earlier, in response to comments posted by Jukes which had referred to the Rice’s family. As today’s IPSO statement says: “The article therefore contained the misleading impression that the complainant had mounted an unprovoked attack on the journalist and his family.”
IPSO’s findings are highly critical:
Press Gazette has now apologised for publishing the Jukes extract. Rice tells MediaGuido in a statement:
“This is a judgement which underlines the importance of journalists checking facts – even ones who are sponsored by Hacked Off. Peter Jukes deserves credit for his crowd funding initiative, but no credit for his inability to check the date of a simple tweet.”
“the letter from IPSO I have says it specifically doesn’t refer to my journalism by PG editorial process [sic]”
Perhaps it is worth re-reading this tweet of his from last June:
I admire Fleet St journalists for holding power to account: but not so much today on their own accuracy, or accountability
— Peter Jukes (@peterjukes) June 26, 2014