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Tag Archives: Newspapers & magazines

The actor and activist has backed up Harrys desire to protect his family, while Stormzy has said there is no credible reason to dislike Meghan

Hugh Grant has defended Prince Harrys decision to step back from formal royal duties and seek a self-financed life based partly in Canada.

Speaking on Andy Cohens Radio Andy show on Sirius XM, Grant said: Im rather on Harrys side. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now theyre tearing his wife to pieces.

Grant was reminding listeners of the circumstances surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was in a vehicle being pursued by paparazzi, which then crashed, killing three of the four passengers, in Paris in August 1997.

Grant added: I think as a man, its his job to protect his family, so Im with him.

Grant was promoting his new film, The Gentleman, alongside co-stars Charlie Hunnam and Matthew McConaughey. In the film, Grant plays a seedy and unscrupulous tabloid reporter.

Grant has been a vociferous campaigner against press intrusion for nearly 10 years. His activism stepped up after the revelation that the voicemail of murdered teenager Milly Dowler had been hacked by the News of the World.

In 2018, Grant donated a payout from Mirror Group Newspapers to the Hacked Off anti-hacking campaign. MGN apologised to Grant and others for its morally wrong actions in hacking their phones.

Speaking to Cohen, Grant described his relationship with the tabloids as very poor.

Grants defence of Harry again pits him against longtime antagonist Piers Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror with whom Grant frequently clashes on Twitter. Morgan has called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex the two most spoiled brats in history.

Grant won considerable acclaim for his portrayal of the disgraced Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in the Stephen Frears miniseries A Very English Scandal, which was broadcast in 2018. The Gentleman has earned more mixed reviews so far.

Speaking on Tuesday, the musician Stormzy also came to the couples defence, saying there was no credible reason for people not to like Meghan.

In the firing line Stormzy. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, he said: Meghan is a sweet woman, she does her thing and they just hate her.

The rapper referred to a clip of Eamonn Holmes on TalkSport, where the presenter says: I look at her and I think: I dont think Id like you.

Stormzy said that if those expressing such sentiments were made to write down the reasons for their negativity, they would find there was nothing credible to it.

He also discussed the backlash to an interview he recently gave in which he was asked whether he believed Britain was racist, to which he replied Yes, 100%.

The quote was taken out of context by numerous outlets to imply he believed the UK was entirely racist. Its the classic media spin, he said.

They know what theyre doing. Theyre weaponising what I said. A lot of people thought I was trying to incite division but thats what [the media] did, really.

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Freelance writers and photographers sue over gig-economy protections that limit the number of stories they can produce

When California legislators passed a landmark workers rights bill in September, many hailed the legislation as a historic victory for workers in the gig economy. But with the law poised to take effect, some journalists are sounding the alarm bells.

On Tuesday, two groups representing freelance writers and photographers filed a legal challenge to the law ahead of its enactment on 1 January, saying it would unconstitutionally affect free speech by limiting how many stories they can produce.

California assembly bill 5, or AB5, changes the way contract workers are classified. It will implement a three-part standard for determining whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors, requiring that 1 they are free from the companys control, 2 they are doing work that isnt central to the companys business and 3 they have an independent business in that industry.

When it comes to writers and photographers, AB5 restricts contractors from producing more than 35 written content submissions a year for a single publication before they would be considered employees. In the lawsuit, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association allege the livelihood of many freelance journalists would be threatened by the bill.

Though the sweeping law affects all industries in California, journalists will be disproportionately affected, said Alisha Grauso, a journalist and member of the California Freelance Writers United. As the journalism industry has crumbled in the past decade, more publications have shifted to a model relying heavily on contract work while more writers have started freelancing.

The nature of our industry is so volatile that even if you are on staff in the media industry, there is no security, Grauso said. We have to be prepared to freelance at any time.

It is common for freelancers to secure what is called an anchor job, a steady gig that provides a regular paycheck, such as a weekly column or work shift, she said. Limiting writers to 35 submissions a year would undermine that model.

On the surface, this bill keeps us from doing our job and takes money out of our pockets, Grauso said. No industry has been impacted as much as freelance writers because of the nature of our work.

Advocates for AB5 argue news outlets exploit freelancers by hiring them to do full-time work without paying benefits. Many news outlets, particularly small ones, say they do not have the resources to employ writers full-time.

The effects are already playing out: the digital sports media company SB Nation, owned by Vox Media, announced on Tuesday it would end its use of more than 200 California freelancers, switching instead to using a much smaller number of new employees. Other publications are laying off longtime freelance contributors who are based in California.

The law gives newspaper companies a one-year delay to figure out how to apply the law to newspaper carriers, who work as independent contractors. The California Newspaper Publishers Association, which sought the extension, did not immediately comment on the new lawsuit.

The bills author, the Democratic assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, nor did the state attorney general, Xavier Becerra, who is named in the lawsuit. She has said on Twitter that she was open to tweaking AB5 after journalists criticized it.

I will continue to work with freelancers, the industry & unions that represent writers to see if there are further changes that should be made, especially for digital quick jobs, she wrote. But this wont get resolved just on Twitter. And it cant happen before January.

The backlash against AB5 shows the bill needs more thought, said Andrew Ambrosino, CEO of the gig economy benefits startup Catch.

The California legislation passed this bill without understanding what they were doing, he said. I dont think its tenable at all and I dont think it is going to solve the problem they were trying to solve.

Other industries have also spoken out against the bill: the California Trucking Association last month filed the first challenge to the law, arguing it would harm independent truckers. Members of the music industry aired their grievances in an open letter by representatives of the Music Artists Coalition, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the American Association of Independent Music.

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said they will spend $90m on a 2020 ballot measure opposing the law if they cant negotiate other rules for their drivers. Uber also said it would keep treating its drivers as independent contractors and defend that decision in court if needed.

This ballot proposition will likely open the door to more ballot propositions, the California-based employment law attorney Eve Wagner said of the efforts from Uber, Lyft, and Doordash. This story is going to be going for quite some time.

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Publisher of music magazine consulting about redundancies, while title will continue online

The NME is to cease publication in print after 66 years, the weekly music title joining a growing list of once mighty magazine brands that now only exist online.

The website will continue, replacing the print editions cover star interview with a new weekly digital franchise, the Big Read.

The NME will continue to keep a sporadic presence in print with special issues such as its paid-for series NME Gold, to cater for music stars appetite for appearing in a printed product.

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In 2015, the magazine stopped being a paid title after a decade of sales declines saw its circulation drop to just 15,000. It relaunched as an ad-funded, free title with a circulation of 300,000 in a last throw of the strategic dice for the print edition.

Our move to free print has helped propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on, said Paul Cheal, the UK group managing director, music, at NME publisher Time Inc UK. We have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.

Time is consulting with the NMEs 23 editorial and commercial staff about possible redundancies.

NME, which has been printed weekly since 1952, managed to make money as a brand overall through spin-off activities such as awards and events.

The first front cover of the magazine featured the Goons, Big Bill Bronzy and Ted Heath and cost sixpence. When the magazine went free in 2015 the cover price had risen to 2.60.

Early readers of the magazine included John Lennon, Malcolm McLaren and T Rex frontman Marc Bolan, while its writers have included Bob Geldof and Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde. The film director, Michael Winner, was NMEs film critic in the 1950s and 60s.

NMEs sales peaked at almost 307,000 in 1964 when the magazine was a must-read for keeping up with the latest exploits of the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

The magazine hit what is regarded as its golden age in the 70s, becoming a cheerleader for punk and then a champion for the the new wave and indie acts that flourished in its wake, including Joy Division and the Smiths.

In the 90s, NME was at the forefront of Britpop, amping up the media-hyped rivalry between Blur and Oasis with its heavyweight championship cover in August 1995 when rival singles Country House and Roll With It were released.

The magazine whose initials stand for New Musical Express began to feel the pressure in the noughties as music listings went online and music discovery started moving to services such as Spotify. This was exacerbated by the wider issue of readers moving to digital media, resulting in the falling sales and ad revenue that have claimed many other magazine titles in the past decade.

NME will also be exploring other opportunities to bring its best-in-class music journalism to market in print, Time said.

The closure of the weekly comes a week after Time, which also publishes titles including Marie Claire and Country Life, was sold to private equity group Epiris in a 130m deal.

Epiris had been expected to sell or restructure a number of titles the company said it wanted to bring clarity and simplicity to the magazine portfolio with the print edition of NME known to have been loss-making for a number of years.

Our global digital audience has almost doubled over the past two years, said Keith Walker, the digital director of NME. By making the digital platforms our core focus we can accelerate the amazing growth weve seen and reach more people than ever before on the devices theyre most naturally using.

In October, Cond Nast, the publisher of Glamour magazine, shocked the market announcing that the UKs 10th biggest magazine would stop printing monthly. Instead, it is focusing on a digital-first strategy with a print edition just twice a year.

Print title closures

2004: The Face

2009: I.D, Arena, Maxim

2011: Sugar

2014: Nuts, Bliss

2015: Loaded, Zoo, Company

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Advert placed by Americas rabbi Shmuley Boteach also accuses singers native New Zealand of prejudice against Israel

A full-page advert has been placed in the Washington Post calling Lorde a bigot, a week after the New Zealand-born singer cancelled a concert in Israel.

The ad, in the 31 December edition of the newspaper, was placed by outspoken rabbi Shmuley Boteachs This World: The Values Network and criticises the 21-year-old for joining a global antisemitic boycott of Israel while still performing in Russia.

It features a large photo of the singer superimposed over a picture of men running through rubble cradling babies, with the headline: Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel.

1 NEWS (@1NewsNZ)

Lorde accused of anti-semitism in full page Washington Post ad as fallout from cancelled Israel concert continues

January 1, 2018

Last month the Grammy award winner cancelled a concert scheduled in Tel Aviv for June after criticism from activists in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

The decision also came after an open letter written by two New Zealanders argued the concert would show support for Israels occupation of Palestine.

I have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show, Lorde wrote at the time. Im not too proud to admit I didnt make the right call on this one.

The ad says Lordes decision showed how a growing prejudice against the Jewish state in New Zealand was trickling down to its youth.

It cites New Zealands choice in December to vote, along with 127 countries, in favour of a UN resolution calling for the US to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It also criticises New Zealands co-sponsorship last year of a UN resolution that condemned Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and caused a six-month diplomatic rift with Israel.

Regarded by his critics as a rightwing self-publicist who styles himself as Americas rabbi, Boteach was widely criticised in 2015 for a similar full-page advert in the New York Times accusing Barack Obamas then national security adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to the Rwandan genocide when she was on President Bill Clintons national security team in the 1990s.

Boteach rowed back amid strong criticism at the time, saying: It was construed by some as a personal attack, that is certainly and absolutely not its intent.

While Boteach whose organisation is funded by the controversial US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has been quick to level suggestions of antisemitism at figures he regards as anti-Israel, he has also had no qualms about defending others on the right from the same accusation, including Steve Bannon and the Breitbart website.

In 2016, Boteach defended Bannon from accusations made by Jonathan Greenblatt of the US Anti-Defamation League, who criticised Bannons appointment as a White House adviser, saying it was a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the alt-right a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed antisemites and racists is slated to be a senior staff member in the peoples house.

In an open letter to Greenblatt, Boteach vouched for Bannon, saying it was unfair to object to his appointment on the basis of Breitbarts content or audience.

Boteach has accused numerous high-profile figures and institutions whose views on Israel and the Israeli occupation he disagrees with being antisemitic, including the former US secretary of state John Kerry who he accused of devalu[ing] Jewish lives, and appear[ing] to justify the spilling of Jewish blood, over his pursuit of an Iranian nuclear deal.

Australian Associated Press contributed to this report

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Sir Paul McCartney says photo of woman breastfeeding inspired him to write song

Sir Paul McCartney has spoken of his inspiration for the Beatles song Lady Madonna: a photograph of a woman breastfeeding her child in National Geographic.

McCartney said he was inspired to write the song, which reached the top of the charts in 1968, after seeing then image in the magazine in the 1960s.

National Geographics January 1965 issue included a photograph entitled Mountain Madonna, of a woman whose way of life was threatened, with one child at her breast and another laughing up at her.

She looked very proud and she had a baby … And I saw that as a kind of Madonna thing, mother and child, McCartney said.

Sometimes you see pictures of mothers and you go: shes a good mother. You could just tell theres a bond and it just affected me, that photo. So I was inspired to write Lady Madonna, my song, from that photo.

Sir Paul McCartney performs in in Tinley Park, Illinois, as part of his latest tour. Photograph: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

The musician also spoke of not getting tired after a long live performance, even at 75.

I think I feel very healthy and I do shows three hours long and I dont feel knackered at the end of it. I still feel strong, he said.

The singer, a vegetarian for decades, was speaking to National Geographics editor in chief, Susan Goldberg, about his Meat Free Monday campaign and new documentary short.

The film features daughters Mary and Stella McCartney, as well as actors Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson.

McCartney, discussing the effect of livestock agriculture on climate change, said: Were on this incredible planet and there doesnt appear to be another one within sight.

One Day A Week is released on Friday on YouTube.

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Les Inrockuptibles apologises for suffering caused, after angry backlash to edition featuring singer who beat Marie Trintignant to death

French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles has been criticised as disgusting for putting Bertrand Cantat, the singer convicted of murdering his girlfriend, on its front cover.

Cantat was found guilty of murdering actor Marie Trintignant in 2003 and served four years of an eight-year jail sentence. The court was told he hit Trintignant repeatedly in the head and waited for several hours before calling emergency services. She died in hospital.

les inrocks (@lesinrocks)

Cantat en son nom: demain dans les Inrocks

October 10, 2017

Cantat was released on parole in 2007 and is currently promoting a new album.

The decision by Inrockuptibles to make Cantat its cover star drew criticism online, with Twitter users quick to condemn the move.

Romain Barrilliot (@skacky)

So nice of Les Inrocks to have wife beater and murderer Bertrand Cantat on their cover as if he’s redeemed somehow.

October 11, 2017

Caspar Salmon (@CasparSalmon)

Appalled and sickened to see the murderer Bertrand Cantat on the cover of @lesinrocks to promote his new album. Beyond disgusting.

October 11, 2017

Frances Elle magazine responded with an editorial titled Au nom de Marie (In the name of Marie).

ELLE (@ELLEfrance)

“Au nom de Marie” : notre dito pour toutes les femmes victimes de la violence des hommes

October 17, 2017

In the editorial, the magazine said, Marie Trintignant died under the blows of Bertrand Cantat. Today she is a symbol her face has become that of all the female victims of the violence of men. The face of the 123 women killed by their spouse last year.

The editorial went on to commend women who have spoken out against their attackers, saying Trintignant represented the women harassed or assaulted 216,000 complaints filed in 2016, as well as those who had come out against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Les Inrockuptibles responded to criticism in a letter to its readers on Tuesday. The magazine acknowledged the timing of the cover, which was released as the Weinstein case was exploding, was inopportune, adding: The suffering that this cover may have caused deeply touched us.

It went on: To put him on the cover was questionable. To those who felt wounded, we express our sincere regrets.

The issue of sexual violence and harassment has been making headlines in France following the Weinstein scandal.

On Sunday, French president Emmanuel Macron said he would be stripping Weinstein of the prestigious Lgion DHonneur award.

On Monday, Frances gender equality minister Marlne Schiappa announced plans for new laws aimed at cracking down on sexual violence and harassment. The proposed laws include on-the-spot fines for catcalling and lecherous behaviour in public.

On Twitter, French speakers have been sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and violence under the hashtag #balancetonporc, meaning expose your pig. The first lady, Brigitte Macron, praised women for breaking the silence.

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Europe editor of the Guardian who covered the Solidarity strikes in Poland, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of Putin and the Greek euro crisis

Ian Traynor, who has died aged 60 of cancer, was the Guardians Europe editor and one of the great journalists of the period following the end of the cold war. An outstanding linguist, Ian was a man of the European continent and a passionate believer in the cause of its union, on the basis of both his professional experience and personal essence. In a recent conversation, he and I wondered how we would have reacted to being told in 1991, in the ruins of Vukovar, the town in eastern Croatia devastated by Serbian forces which Ian covered unforgettably that within 25 years this place would be in the European Union, but Britain would be on its way out.

In 2003, Ian was appointed Europe editor, based in Zagreb and later in Brussels, where, said his colleague Simon Tisdall: His performance was truly outstanding. No other correspondent could surpass his understanding and contacts.

My first proper meeting with Ian came soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when the edifice of communism continued to collapse in Nicolae Ceauescus Romania. It being Christmas, people tended not to want to go, apart from Ian, myself and our Hungarian deputy foreign editor, Nick Dallman. The time came for me to relieve Ian in Bucharest, so he might cover other parts of the country.

Journalists were holed up in the plush Intercontinental hotel in the capital apart from, typically, the Guardian, which Ian had headquartered in the cheaper, peeling Continental hotel, also home to a Securitate secret service snipers nest. I arrived off a night train into the weirdness of slushy Bucharest to find Ian sitting alone in the hotel bar smoking a cigarette.

Hi there, he said in his laconic Scottish timbre, welcome to Romania its fucked, and theres shooting from the hotel, which is returned; the Washington Post guy left when a bullet hit his bedhead. Also, we have to file from a Bulgarian telex machine with several keys missing. The coffees good, would you like one? Ian imparted this information deadpan; the whole place was like a black-and-white newsreel movie from another time anyway, and had he not devoted his life to journalism, he would have made a magnificent actor.

But that was never going to happen. Ian was born in Penilee, south-west Glasgow, the son of Tommy, a toolmaker, and his wife Phemie (Euphemia). When he was 12, the family moved to East Kilbride, south of the city, and Ian went to Holy Cross high school, Hamilton. As a boy, he read George Orwell and mapped out his life in accordance with an acquaintanceship with the writing of James Cameron: he knew exactly what he wanted to be the foreign correspondent he became.

By the age of 16, Ian was proficient enough in Russian and German to win a place at Glasgow University, from which he dropped out, later taking a place at Aberdeen, where he graduated in modern languages. His best friend there was the eventual BBC correspondent Angus Roxburgh, who remembers discovering, on a Russian faculty camp, that Ian played the guitar: I was playing Joni Mitchells California, a very difficult bit, and Ian just joined in. He was better than me, and weve always kept playing together. He had a wonderful style, and loved Dick Gaughan, John Martyn and Bert Jansch.

Ian joined the BBC monitoring unit at Caversham Park, near Reading, translating and analysing media information from the USSR different work before the internet, which involved finding sources as well as understanding them.

He was among the first to foresee the end of the cold war and, in 1987, Ians rare talent was spotted by the Guardians foreign editor, Martin Woollacott, who recruited him to the papers foreign subeditors desk. Woollacott soon dispatched his protege to cover the stories himself: the Solidarity strikes in Poland during 1988, then the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thereafter, as East Europe correspondent and editor, Ian sailed and navigated the currents and rip-tides of events across the continent.

When the euphoria of reunified Europe crashed into the nightmare of post-Yugoslavia, Ian was one of what became the Guardian triangle of reporters (usually two of us on the ground), with Maggie OKane and myself later supplemented by Julian Borger.

By the wars end in 1995, Ian had based himself in Vienna, but now moved first to Bonn and then Berlin when it became Germanys capital once again, with the title of Central Europe correspondent. From there, Ian guided his readers through the way in which the organism of a newly expanded EU evolved around the German powerhouse.

In 1999, Ian moved to Moscow. He charted the rise of Vladimir Putin and, as so often, was first to ring the warning bells. However, writing in 2000 about Putins redrawing of the map of Russia, Ian could not resist observing, in apparently deadly earnest, that: Mr Putins writ does not run in Bashkortostan.

Ian wrote straight, however contorted the story, and lucidly. He was the opposite of a sensationalist, said Roxburgh. He could read a situation with uncanny sagacity; his editor for many years, Paul Webster, recalled him as a rare combination of intellectual and foot-in-the-door hack. He was a very brave man but there was no trace of bravado he felt it was his duty to provide testimony.

Roxburgh remembered: This figure arriving at our compound in Afghanistan, having walked across the Panjshir Valley for three days without food or water, on the verge of collapse I made him a cup of sweet tea. He was tenacious, to put it mildly.

Ians devotion to the story made him the most collegial reporter of all, as eager to help other people including me on many occasions, even the opposition write good narrative as to write it himself, a rare quality. Tisdall recalled him as a slightly self-effacing figure, not given to self-promotion or self-advertisement in a media world where willingness to blow ones own trumpet became, increasingly, the principal measure of individual worth. Perhaps this is one reason why his work was not sufficiently recognised in terms of prizes and gongs. Another was his plain-spoken intolerance of bullshit.

The never-dull press corps when we were in Bosnia had at its kernel an antagonism between Ian and a particular expert who would argue that intervention against the Bosnian Serbs would set the region ablaze. Ian disagreed, and when Nato began its tardy, limited air strikes in 1995, the Serb leader, Radovan Karadi, capitulated immediately. Ian, vindicated, leaned across a table and told his colleague: If youre gonna be a prophet, you got to get it right.

On another occasion, his drollness surfaced when Ian and I were driving through yet another incinerated town, levelled into the dust of its own charred masonry, in horrified silence until Ian leaned back in his seat, staring out, and said quietly: What is it the Serbs have got against roofs?

Ians son, Paul, described his father as a man of many words unless he wanted to be a man of few. If he didnt need to say more than he had to, he wouldnt. Personal back and forths after months of incommunicado would usually consist of Arite, whats up? Nae bad. Not that he didnt want to talk, that was just his style. And he was fundamentally unaware of the sheer admiration that family, friends and most colleagues felt for him.

Towards the end of Ians career came three severe blows to the European dream. First, there was the crisis that pitched radical Greece against a Euro-monolith, which Ian saw as a disaster for Athens and colossal failure for the EU. Then, as his health began to fail, the arrival of what felt like the future of the planet on Europes doorstep in the form of refugees from Syrias carnage and Africas climate crisis. Ian was furious at nation states disguising their own failures as that of the EU. Finally there was Brexit, though Ian was by then too ill for us to feel or read his disdain and disgust.

Ian had met his first wife, Jean Forsyth, while they were both students at Aberdeen. They married in 1982, and had two sons, Paul and Martin. Jean was with Ian during his final days. Their union ended in divorce and in 2003 Ian married Ivanka Anici, whom he met in Croatia. They had a son, Sean. Ivanka died in 2011, and Ian is survived by his three sons.

Ian Traynor, journalist, born 11 November 1955; died 27 August 2016

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