links for 2009-05-12

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 12 May 2009
  • "I have news for Stephen Fry. The expenses culture for journalists ended a long time ago - at least 10 years ago - when the accountants moved in and put an end to it. Freelances cannot claim any expenses from a publication at all, unless approved in advance by the commissioning editor. If I go to a meeting with an editor in a café, I can’t claim even the cost of two cups of coffee - under Inland Revenue rules, that counts as 'entertainment' and I’m not permitted to put it through my books as a tax-deductible expense. I can’t even claim for a solo sandwich unless I’m away overnight, and only then is it permissible as subsistence".
  • You can tell that the MPs expenses scandal is being taken seriously by Fleet Street - nobody has yet dubbed it "Expensesgate" or "Expensegate"
  • "Why don't MPs get it? Why do they think it is enough to say that it is 'within the rules'. Why do they resist transparency while insisting on their right to invade every aspect of OUR lives? They must have a sense that their profession (like mine) has never been less attractive to the public. So why do they do the one thing that confirms the citizen's prejudices about politics and those who practice it?".
  • "While the enthusiasm and optimism for the future of journalism and the undeniable impact the Internet would continue to have on media was unsurprising – considering the crowd! – what was a little astonishing was the absence of more real life examples of independent publishers and professional journalists alike making a commercial impact regionally."
  • "See, it's not enough to say it's a race attack on an Asian person. The Mail thinks we need to see the word 'P***' really huge in a headline in order to understand what's going on. Although, as is increasingly the case, the headline for the story itself is a very much toned-down version and doesn't include all of that. I hesitate to imagine they're attempting search engine optimisation through the use of the word, but that could be it; whatever it is, it's pretty miserable for a national newspaper to be doing". Unlikely they'd use the 'N' word in the same instance I suspect. My main issue, of course, is that whatever the details of the incident with the bouncer, this is the player whose knees are so fragile that he can't play for England, in a club til 4am on the night after a match...
  • I don't think you can plan to retire on those rates, but it is an alternative to AdSense
  • "On a more positive note, the Standard’s sports journalists have always been very keen to pick out comments from various web forums. The cynic would argue that this was just a means of getting easy, free copy. The cynic would also argue that the ramblings of a football fan on a forum are no substitute for good original journalism — but it’s a nice, fun diversion."
  • "I thought, hold on: blogs are just books but for free. Why not charge people for what they can get for free?!? It's working for newspapers! Plus, I've been pretty disappointed in the reach of the internet recently. I know it's been called the 'information superhighway,' but recently, it's felt more like the 'information cul-de-sac' (please give me credit when you quote that line at parties). Who really goes on the internet anymore anyway? Books, on the other hand, are creeping up the charts like 'whoa.' OK, I'm just going to say it: books are going to be for the 21st century what books were for the 20th century. Believe that!"
    (tags: humour)

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