This week in Press Gazette - Journalism Weekly: Mid Staff NHS report notes press role in exposing scandal

Mid Staff NHS report notes press role in exposing scandal. The reporter who helped expose the Mid Staffs NHS scandal has welcomed proposals that authorities pay more heed to local media’s watchdog role.

 “I’m really pleased to see he’s made a recommendation that NHS organisations should monitor local media reporting – that’s a vote of confidence in local newspaper reporting on hospital issues.”

Broadsheets back ST stance on Syria freelance pictures. Broadsheet newspapers have backed The Sunday Times’ decision not to accept freelance submissions from Syria.

“As a general rule we do not take uncommissioned freelance copy from people in Syria. We do occasionally use freelance photographers, but only once we have checked their experience and credentials, and we give them any protections we can in terms of insurance and risk assessment.”

Hencke: Leveson would have damaged cash-for-questions. Former Guardian political correspondent David Hencke believes his cash-for-questions investigation would have been “seriously damaged” if Leveson’s recommendations were in place in the 1990s.

“When I did the cash-for-questions investigation I held a lot of material on Ian Greer Associates for a long time – in fact, when I think about it, it took about three years to get that story cracked. And if Leveson had existed, or the recommendations journalism existed, I think it would have seriously damaged the holding of this information and would have possibly allowed Ian Greer Associates to get away with it.”

Express & Star’s role in exposing NHS scandal. The story that former Express & Star reporter Shaun Lintern admits has changed his life – and those of the families involved – began with a simple ring-in.

In 2007 Lintern was a “bog-standard” reporter based in the Express & Star’s Staffordshire office – six years on he has been praised for his pivotal role in exposing the neglect that took place Stafford Hospital.

“I’d just like to say that I’m very proud to have been involved in this story and even more proud that the families involved who suffered terribly let me in and that I’ve kept that link with them going for five years.”

Agencies fear over impact of copyright law proposals. Press agencies, freelances and campaigners fear a Government shake-up of copyright law will make newsgathering “less viable”.

“A number of very challenging questions will be put to the Government during the course of the Enterprise Bill and I hope that we can amend the Bill through the Lords process so that it reaches a proper consensus on the value of intellectual property rights.”

Labour rejects Conservative Royal Charter. Current Conservative proposals for a Royal Charter that would oversee a new press watchdog “do not implement the Leveson report”, Labour has warned.

“We are all committed to the Leveson principles. This is about taking the Leveson Report forward and making sure that it will work in practice and the challenge before all of us is to find an agreement, I think the victims deserve nothing less.”

10 Russia Today biased? ‘Facts are my religion’, says London reporter. Kremlin-funded television station Russia Today (RT) has been getting a bad press recently. In the second half of 2012 Ofcom judged that the station, which broadcasts on Sky in the UK, breached the broadcasting code on impartiality for coverage in Egypt and then Syria.

“One of the guys said: ‘We’re going to hang them! We’re going to hang them!’ And he was running up the street to get more people. Luckily they couldn’t work out who among us was Russian and we had to go with the UN to the next government check-point and then they drove us to a road that was a safe area where we could drive back to Damascus.”

12 PR chief says press should not fear a Royal Charter. Public relations currently regulates itself. There is a mosaic of codes and charters that form a structure of self-regulation ensuring that across the industry and profession there are means through which people and organisations can be held to account.

“The press have nothing to fear from a strong, innovative and robust regime of regulation, independent of both the press, and importantly independent of government.”

13 PCC and court likely to consider Duchess pics a privacy breach, says top media lawyer Niri Shan. Whilst the circumstances in which the photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday were taken remain somewhat unclear, in the past, the Press Complaints Commission has upheld a complaint under its privacy clause in relation to photographs taken of a celebrity and her children holidaying in Mustique.

“According to the PCC Mustique is a private holiday location – there are no public beaches – which is what attracts celebrities to holiday there. It seems likely that the PCC and the English court will consider that it was a place in which they had a reasonable expectation of privacy and it seems unlikely there is any public interest argument which could justify the publication of the photos.”

14 The huge and hidden story of a Government private property grab. This is the huge but hidden story of the greatest attempted private property grab and transfer of value from the weak to the strong since the Enclosures.

It’s a truism that no one cares about copyright until their copyright is involved, and this is borne out by the huge public reaction against Instagram’s recent property grab – which cost Instagram more than half of its subscribers.

16 How Times defied legal threats on tax cheat scoop. It has been six months since David Cameron publicly denounced Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance and public fury erupted at the news that celebrities such as Gary Barlow were apparently defrauding the exchequer to the tune of millions.

Revelation after revelation has since been splashed across the front page of The Times, the newspaper that spearheaded the assault. The journalists responsible, Alexi Mostrous and Fay Schlesinger, have since steered the public through a groundbreaking series of stories.

“Tax is in general quite a boring issue to write about, and it’s quite hard to capture the public’s imagination, even when you’re talking about incredibly large sums of money. So the addition of the celebrity element helped make this issue into something that everyone was talking about.”

18 Rock stars get anti paparazzi statute passed in Hawaii. Rock legends Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood have convinced a Hawaii Senate committee to approve a bill to protect celebrities from intrusive paparazzi.

“As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn’t be ignored.”

19 If you ask me,,, with Tesco magazine editor Maureen Rice: Magazines will be with us forever because of content. Maureen Rice was launch editor of upmarket women’s monthly Psychologies in 2005. In 2010 she was named editorial director in charge of Tesco Magazine at Cedar, which is now the biggest circulation magazine in the UK. She talks about branded content and quality writing.

“At Cedar we don’t employ any copywriters we only employ journalists, because those skills of storytelling and the tricks of reader engagement are core journalistic skills and if you don’t have those, then you don’t have proper content.”

24 Axegrinder: Financial problems? No, FT has money floating around; MPs do their best to hack off Hacked Off; Cloak and Dacre; Me? I’m not Colin; Prehistoric humility for local reporter

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