1 Q: Why does BBC need 147 PR staff? A: No comment. Figures uncovered by Press Gazette revealing the BBC employs almost 150 PR staff have been greeted with astonishment.
The revelation comes after the Pollard Review into the corporation revealed how its press office outsourced work to PR firm Brunswick during the Jimmy Savile scandal after it became “overwhelmed” by enquiries.
“The question is, do they feel that among those 147 communications employees there are deficiencies, or do they think that they had to hire a private firm in this context because their own press office was somehow contaminated by the way it had dealt with the Savile issue?”
3 Guardian editorial hopeful sackings may be avoided. Guardian journalists are hopeful that sackings could be avoided as more than 50 editorial staff have now volunteered for redundancy.
Management want to cut 100 editorial jobs at The Guardian and Observer titles in order to achieve annual savings of around £7m.
4 Trinity Mirror confirms People takeover talks. Trinity Mirror has confirmed that it is in talks with a consortium to take over the Sunday People.
“Sue Douglas believes there is room for a humorous and hard-hitting Sunday tabloid to take on the current crop of red-tops. The Sun Sunday is not as good as the old News of the World and there is clearly a gap in the market left by its demise."
6 Mirror tops list of tablet and smartphone apps. With more than half Britons now owning smartphones, and tablet computer sales rocketing, Press Gazette has carried out an audit of the UK’s leading national news providers to find out how ‘multi-platform’ they are.
8 Government spent £1.8m on tracking press coverage. Nine government departments paid just under £1.8m during the last financial year on checking newspaper, broadcast and online journalism coverage, it has emerged.
“This is a staggering sum of taxpayers’ money to spend just to monitor the headlines.”
9 Surprise over Sun Facebook pic ban. Media law specialists have questioned a judge’s decision to ban The Sun from publishing “embarrassing” photographs of Kate Winslet’s husband – with one saying it “gives us a preview of the post-Leveson world of free speech”.
“This ruling gives us a preview of the post-Leveson world of free speech. I imagine the court accepted that Pope’s original photos were uploaded for his friends to see – not for the benefit of the entire readership of The Sun. So broader circulation could only justified by public interest. And here, there wasn’t any.”
10 City AM editor Allister Heath’s secrets: Discipline and prudence. Two words come up time and again when City AM editor Allister Heath is asked to talk about the newspaper’s strategy over the past four years: ‘discipline’ and ‘prudence’.
While they might not be the two sexiest words in the English language, they are the qualities that helped the London-based title grow revenue and profit at a time when a lot of other regional papers have floundered.
“This idea that all the news is old, everyone knows everything because they’ve been online all day and therefore you should only do analysis, it doesn’t work for us. When we ask our readers, what’s the thing you value about our paper, they say, ‘I can very quickly get a great overview of all the top stories as I go to work’. There’s also a key role for good, concise and original analysis, but first and foremost it’s about news.”
13 Tony Hall is exactly what the BBC needs, writes Kevin Marsh. So what now for the journalists and journalism at the BBC? By now, we’re all supposed to know the new Director General, Tony Hall, better than he knows himself.
"I wouldn’t claim that, but I’ve worked with him on and off for 20 years. He supported me in many battles with New Labour, Mandelson and Campbell. For those spurious reasons if no other, he’s exactly what he BBC needs right now. Especially, BBC News."
14 Mick Hume: Leveson dangers don’t end at underpinning. Many observers have now come out against statutory underpinning of a new press regulator, having largely kept quiet on the subject during the Leveson Inquiry (which was itself a form of state intervention in the press). Yet most of them insist they support the rest of the “Leveson principles”.
"Forget about making any such concessions. The dangers Leveson’s report poses to press freedom do not end with statutory underpinning. His “principles” amount to demand for the effective licensing, sanitising and further restricting of a free press."
16 How to get a trainee job at… the BBC: The most important thing is to get work experience. The BBC takes on 12 people a year from up to 3,000 applicants for its Journalism Trainee Scheme. The application process usually begins in September, and trainees will be expected to start a year later. Here, Claire Prosser, head of the journalism trainee scheme and talent pool, shares her tips for getting onto the scheme and succeeding in journalism.
“You need a lot of energy. You need to be resilient and flexible because it can be a very difficult job with hard hours.”
18Censors ‘think twice’ after journalist strike. You need to be quite analytical when writing stories, and you need to be a team-player in a huge organisation like the BBC.
A strike by journalists in China this week will see propaganda offices around the country “think twice” before attempting to interfere with editorial policy, according to The Times Beijing Bureau chief Leo Lewis.
“What happened to the Southern Weekly was a pretty striking attack on the paper’s editorial,” Lewis told Press Gazette. “It is not just that this editorial had been hijacked, it is that this happens all the time. That is the problem.”
19 From features writer to Photojournalist of the Year. As one of the UK’s most celebrated news photographers, it will come as a surprise to many that Getty Images’ Matt Cardy has never had any formal training as a photographer.
“Everyone wants to see action and we are all consumers of media. I find it frustrating when complete strangers make derogatory comments just because you happen to be there covering a story.”
24 Axegrinder: News? Everything is fairly quiet here; What a baaad intro; Haymarket grossly underestimates staff’s maths skills; A story from the Western USA, Japan; Journalists reach out to PR company