The Media in the Press 27.10.09

The dust has almost settled surrounding BNP leader, Nick Griffin’s controversial appearance on Question Time last week, leaving the BBC optimistic that they may well get back to providing the news rather than making it. Not so fast….

Second year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

The spotlight has once again turned on the BBC after proposals were revealed to remove radio stations from Freeview television in Scotland to make space for Gaelic channel BBC ALBA.

According to The Herald, the move would see 13 mainstream radio services make way during the hours of 5pm to 11pm to free up the necessary bandwith to broadcast the digital channel. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance is quoted saying there is “absolutely no justification” for the proposal and that it shows “skewed priorities” at the BBC (page 5).

However, BBC national trustee for Scotland, Jeremy Peat, is quoted in the Daily Record as saying: “It is critical to find out how many listen that way during those hours, how important it is to them and whether they can or would access that radio through other means.” (page 2).

Both The Scottish Sun (page 17) and The Times (page 4) carry the story, while The Scotsman reports that the switch would affect 60,000 to 90,000 listeners but would provide a much needed boost of up to 180,000 to the Gaelic channel’s declining viewing figures (page 12).

The BBC has also come under fire for its gender policy, reports the Scottish Daily Express. “The BBC was branded sexist last night – by one of its own women broadcasters, Sandi Toksvig,” says the Express (page 16). The Radio 4 presenter is also quoted in The Daily Telegraph, saying: “There isn’t a single woman broadcasting a major show on Radio 2 apart from Sarah Kennedy and she’s on at six o’clock in the morning” (page 5).

Meanwhile, the Scottish Daily Mail use its editorial to slate BBC director general, Mark Thompson, after it was revealed he attended a War Reporting course during the week of the BNP’s appearance on Question Time (page 14).

In other media news, social networking sites are costing British businesses an estimated £1.38 billion a year in lost productivity, both The Herald (page 5) and The Scotsman (page 3) report. Research commissioned by IT Services and technology company, Morse, found 57 per cent used the websites during the day for personal use.

The Herald & Times Group has launched a journalism training scheme in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and Cardonald College in Glasgow. The programme will offer paid placements to journalism students and has been hailed by editor-in-chief, Donald Martin, as “the gold standard of journalism training” (The Herald, page 8).

And finally, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is holding a meeting this week that could see the approval of international domain names not based on Latin letters. It is thought the move could increase the number of web users around the world (The Guardian, page 18-19; The Daily Telegraph, page 14).

Other media stories:

* TV debates are bad for democracy, according to Research Scholar Azeem Ibrahim – The Scotsman (page 33).

* Guardian reporters Ian Cobain and Paul Lewis have been shortlisted for this year’s Paul Foot award for campaigning journalism – The Guardian (page 10).

* Mediaset, the broadcaster controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has been ordered to air rival, Sky Italia’s advertising campaigns – The Times (page 47).

* TV presenter and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Michael Ingrams. has died at the age of 83 – The Times (page 59).