Your Noon Briefing: Joe Watson, Channel 4 investigative journalism places, etc

TRIBUTES have been paid to The Press and Journal farming editor, Joe Watson, who has died suddenly, at the age of 43.

Reports the P&J sister title, the Evening Express: “He had been in ill-health for some weeks, although it had not stopped Joe working, but his premature death has come as a shock to us all, not least his widowed mother and two brothers, by whom he is survived, and his colleagues at The Press and Journal.”

The BBC quotes the P&J editor, Damian Bates, saying: “Joe was a beautiful human being, a gentle giant and a skilled reporter who knew his subject inside and out.

“I can’t believe he’s been taken from us – we’re all heartbroken.”

The Evening Express adds: “His coverage of farming in The Press and Journal was widely recognised throughout the country and earned the paper the accolade of the Stuart Seaton Award for the best regional newspaper coverage of agricultural news in Britain.

“His strong work ethic, knowledge of the industry, accurate reporting, ability to explain complex matters in understandable terms and, above all, his professionalism in everything he did, won him the respect of readers from government ministers to grassroots farmers anxious to catch up with the latest news in the industry.”

It’s understood Watson joined the P&J as a young reporter after first working at his home town’s weekly paper, the Turriff Advertiser, in Aberdeenshire.

The Scotsman says he was appointed farming editor in 1996.

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THE Glasgow-based independent TV production company, Firecrest Films, has been chosen to host an investigative journalism training scheme being run by Channel 4.

This is the third year of the scheme – which involves six month-long paid internships – and the third time that Firecrest has been involved.

Four internships are up for grabs, with the remaining three to be based in London (two) and Manchester.

Firecrest Films has a strong track record in investigative journalism, including for Channel 4 News.

The deadline for applications is the 31st of this month.

For more details, click here.

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THE BBC is putting its TV channel, BBC Three, online, to save on costs (read all about it, here). And Scotland on Sunday columnist, Euan McColm, almost surprises himself by being saddened by the news. As he writes, here.

Meanwhile, Ian Bell, in the Sunday Herald, is none too chuffed, either, by the announcement – as he comments, here. He concludes: “For whom does the BBC exist? Young Britain just got pushed unceremoniously to the back of the queue.”

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A SHOWCASE of women succeeding in digital media has been made available for free by the Glasgow-based media and marketing magazine, The Drum – to celebrate International Women’s Day, which took place on Saturday.

The magazine also changed its online logo, for the day, to The Drumettes.

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THE latest circulation sales for national newspapers in Scotland has been published – see here, for details.

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THE Court of Session has reportedly heard how three million pounds was pumped into Scots newspapers publisher, the Dunfermline Press Group, just days before its owner, Deirdre Romanes, died of cancer.

Says the BBC, The Herald and The Scotsman, Romanes’ ex-husband denies influencing her to change her will on her death-bed.

The case is being heard because Deirdre Romanes sister is claiming the change in the will robbed her of half of what she would have received from an earlier one.

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A POSSIBLE £1.5 million a year? The Edinburgh Evening News reports how the capital’s new tram system might attract substantial advertising revenue.

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IT is called ‘Tough Mudder’, the 12-mile obstacle course that is going to be tackled by PR account executive, Melissa Clark – as reported today, in The Scotsman.

The newspaper quotes the Holyrood Partnership member of staff, as saying: “I’m pretty terrified though about some of the obstacles, like having to crawl through tunnels filled with water and run through rows of electric cables, but I think once the adrenaline hits, and the thought of a pint waiting at the end, I’ll be grand.”

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HOW poverty is portrayed on TV? Columnist and feature writer, Dani Garavelli, considers, in Scotland on Sunday – here.

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BBC Radio Scotland has reportedly apologised for broadcasting swearing during a live football cup tie – then replaying the foul language at half-time.

Says The Herald, it involved yesterday’s match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Dundee United.

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A BREAST cancer awareness campaign launched on Tuesday by The Sun newspaper has been ‘accused of cynicism’, writes Vicky Allan, in the Sunday Herald, who considers the verdicts from various commentators.

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