Guardian Nick Davies: Death of a Reporter – Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

Here is an excerpt from a very insightful and moving piece by Guardian Nick Davies, “Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be – The courageous whistleblower who claimed Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking had a powerful motive for speaking out

“At a time when the reputation of News of the World journalists is at rock bottom, it needs to be said that the paper’s former showbusiness correspondent Sean Hoare, who died on Monday, was a lovely man.

In the saga of the phone-hacking scandal, he distinguished himself by being the first former NoW journalist to come out on the record, telling the New York Times last year that his former friend and editor, Andy Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemail.

That took courage. But he had a particularly powerful motive for speaking. He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines. Read the rest of this entry »


The Beginning of The End of Rupert Murdoch? – Rebekah Brooks resigns over phone-hacking scandal

Friday, 15 July, 2011

Rupert and James Murdoch make Commons U-turn - PR problem or Moral problem

Given the business smart of Rupert Murdoch and the firepower one can buy from hiring Edelman, the largest global PR firm, it may still be too early to say this is the “Beginning of The End of” of Murdoch. But at least it is easier to say this may be the beginning of the end of Rebekah Brooks.

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks resigns over phone-hacking scandal – News International chief stops short of full apology, saying she no longer wants to be ‘focal point of the debate’

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks resignation: the key quotes – We look at today’s key quotes on phone hacking and Brooks’ resignation as chief executive of News International

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks: where it all went wrong – News International chief executive resigns after criticism from second largest shareholder and Rupert Murdoch’s daughter

BBC, “Phone hacking: News International chief Brooks quits

BBC, “Profile: News International chief Rebekah Brooks


Rupert Murdoch hires PR firm Edelman – PR problem or Moral problem?

Thursday, 14 July, 2011

Rupert and James Murdoch make Commons U-turn - PR problem or Moral problem

July 16th update: “Richard Sambrook, Global Leader of Edelman Crisis and Issues Management, former BBC’s Director of Global News confirms zero involvement in Rupert Murdoch PR file

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From Guardian, “Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman – PR company will report directly to general manager of News International

Jeff Jarvis has a point in saying, “Murdoch hires Edelman PR. This ain’t a PR problem, folks. It’s a moral problem.

In case you care, Edelman’s Global CEO and President Richard Edelman blogs here.

On a personal note, I started paying attention to global PR firm Edelman probably around the time Richard Sambrook (former BBC’s Director of Global News & member of the BBC’s Management Board) joined Edelman in Feb 2010.

As you can see in my 2010 Feb comment left in Richard Sambrook’s blog entry, while I congratulated Richard on his move, I expressed my serious concerns and reservations of seeing a respected newsman joining a PR company. While we don’t know if Mr. Sambrook is involved in this engagement personally according to Guardian,

Edelman last year hired the BBC’s former director of news, Richard Sambrook, to head up its “crisis and issues practice”. It is unclear whether he will be part of the firm’s News Corp team.

I will not be surprised if his insights have a very strong influence in the Murdoch file. This is why big bucks are paid to hire Edelman to have access to people like Mr. Sambrook.

More excerpt from “Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman” (emphasis added), Read the rest of this entry »


Network (1976) – Highly recommended

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

I borrowed the DVD of Network from Calgary Public Library a few months ago and was amazed that this classic still works great and it was timeless in its storytelling. Highly recommended. Borrow or rent it if you haven’t seen it yet.

Network (1976) movie trailer


Zooey Deschanel’s Open Letter to Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrisson

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Have a read of Zooey Deschanel @therealzooeyd‘s An Open Letter to Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrisson It seems like a case of @latimes #fail #factcheck #journalism!

After reading the two articles, I felt like listening to Zooey‘s song In the Sun to cheer myself up. Enjoy.


Damage Control: Are Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron too late? – News of the World shutdown this Sunday

Thursday, 7 July, 2011

Breaking news:

BBC, “News of the World to close amid hacking scandal

Guardian, “News of the World to close on Sunday – live coverage

UK Telegraph, “News of the World phone hacking: live

CNN, “News of the World shutting down after Sunday edition

CBC, “BreakingMurdoch closes News of the World

Damage Control: Are Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron too late? I hope so. But I don’t want to underestimate Murdoch as it is a dangerous thing to do.

UK Telegraph Oborne: David Cameron is ‘too close’ to News International

[HT Calgary Herald]

Update: Andy Coulson, Ex-communications director or Prime Minister David Cameron and ex-News of the World Editor has been arrested.

* Bloomberg, “Cameron Tainted by Arrest of Former Aide Coulson in Phone-Hacking Scandal


Australian Scott Jones & Canadian Alexandra Thomas – Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

Friday, 17 June, 2011

June 19th update: In our somewhat twisted world, this is absolutely amazing: “Canadian riot kiss couple turn down offer of millions by celebrity agents“.

To me, Alex and Scott are so level-headed that their actions are worth thinking about and possibly learning from. Would you or should you let “money” (even if it is millions) change your life out of the blue? Or will you strive to live the best life you can after working hard and applying the skills/talent/knowledge you have?

June 20th update: Oh well, it was nice to think Scott and Alex won’t try to cash in for a day. “Vancouver riot couple hire PR agency Markson Sparks in Australia“. I remember watching Ricky Gervais at Banff reminding us/warning us, the danger of making money off just “being famous” (having talent or skills are different, I am talking about simply “being famous” or “being a celebrity”).

***

"Kissing Couple" at Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot identified as Australian man Scott Jones and Canadian woman Alex Thomas

If all the facts check out, which I expect they will, then Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas‘ “kissing photo” in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot (shot by Rich Lam/Getty Images) will totally have my “vote” for photo of the year.

What a wonderful job Rich Lam has done in giving us all a tiny bit of hope out of this totally disgraceful mess. To me, Rich has definitely captured a perfect example of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s “decisive moment“, good job Rich!

Have a watch of CBC News report (with video news report and Skype video interview of the father of Scott Jones) and CTV News report (with phone interview).

Have a read of TorStar for its excellent reporting and research, (emphasis added)

“How’s that for making love, not war,” astonished dad Brett Jones declared on his Facebook page, telling the world that the famous Romeo in a Vancouver riot picture is his son.

If you haven’t seen it, Scott Jones, 29, is lying on a street locked in an embrace with girlfriend Alexandra Thomas as they’re flanked by riot police Wednesday night.

“She had actually been injured,” Brett Jones told the Star Friday morning from his home in Perth, Australia. “She had been knocked down by a shield” from the riot police.

“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down.” [Kempton’s note: What a lovely moment.]

Even as a young boy, said Brett Jones, Scott demonstrated his “gentle side for other people. I’m not surprised he would comfort Alex.”

An update from TorStar “‘I can’t believe that’s us,’ says woman in kissing photo“, (emphasis added)

“At first Alexandra Thomas couldn’t believe that was she and her boyfriend on the ground sandwiched in between riot police on a calamitous Vancouver street.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not … I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” said Thomas in an interview with the Toronto Star this morning. “Then I looked some more and realized, that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

[…] Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around.

“I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen,” said Thomas.

The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.

“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful.”

[…] Jones senior can see that the couple’s now-iconic photograph may follow them for the rest of their lives, for good or ill.

“Relationships do buckle under that pressure unless you have the ability to be very centred. Even if it wasn’t Scott, the guy who took the picture captured a moment in time that is iconic.”

Brett Jones has also counselled Scott not to buckle to the doubters, rampant on the skeptical, know-it-all Internet, who say the photograph was staged.

“Tell your story as it happened and there’s nothing you can do about them,” he told his son. “I think it’s amazing.” [Kempton: Wise counsel from a great dad!]

Jun 17, 8:40pm update: CBC has snapped up the Canadian exclusive video interview with Scott & Alex, “EXCLUSIVE: Vancouver riot’s ‘kissing couple’ tell their story“. Enjoy this 13+ minutes interview. What a lovely couple.

Jun 18, 12:02am update: CBC, “‘Kissing couple’ witness rushed to help – Canadian woman hit by rioter, then knocked down by riot police

Finally, I think we humans are an optimistic species. We gravitates towards hope and love even when (may be especially) the world around us seems to be falling apart and failing us. The photo reminds me of the dialogues and images in the opening of the movie “Love Actually”.

Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas - Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

P.S. I am still waiting for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other national political leaders to come out (not just a press release) and deliver an address/speech to try to turn this mess into a teachable moment and share some lessons learned.


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