The Media in the Press 3.11.09

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

Hitting the headlines today is the release of the viral video directed at family and friends of the person who abducted Madeleine McCann. The majority of dailies focus their sights on the message that aims to ‘infiltrate the internet' (page 26, The Times) by being produced in seven different languages, ensuring that it is the first thing to appear when ‘Madeline McCann’ is typed in a search engine. The internet campaign has been put together by Jim Gamble, head of the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. Speaking to the Sun (page 7), Gamble urges people to spread the message via ‘blogs, Twitter or social network sites’.

The Herald (page 11) and The Times (page 18) both report on how the internet is helping to give out public messages, as HM Revenue and Customs post their first-ever YouTube video, giving tax dodgers the opportunity to declare hidden offshore accounts. The video warns people that they have until the 30th of this month, and will be offered a reduced penalty of 10 per cent on outstanding tax, if they make a full disclosure.

In other news, a study has found that three year-olds who watch more television than average are more likely to become bullies, reports The Scotsman (page 15).The Daily Record (page 4) also comments on the findings by the American Academy of Pediatrics, who conducted a study of over 30000 mothers and found a link between childhood aggression and the amount of child TV exposure.

In other news, the blogger, Richard Plum, who called Stephen Fry’s Twitter messages “boring”, has received almost 2000 hate messages, and claims that comedian, Alan Davies, has also sent him “an offensive rant” (The Sun, page 7). Fry also (briefly) threatened close his Twitter page on account of the row. Tim Walker of the Daily Telegraph also commented on the story saying that Plum is a brave man to dare say a word against Stephen Fry, “with his band of one million Twitterers” (page 6).

Other media stories:

* The former BBC director-general Greg Dyke is expected to propose the scrapping of the TV licence fee, allowing for the BBC to be controlled by central government in a new report to be published next month – The Daily Mail (page 25).

* Producers of the BBC show, Strictly Come Dancing, have been criticised after contestants did not wear poppies on the Saturday night show. A spokesperson said they were “not practical” and “it could be dangerous to pin them” – The Sun (page 3).

* Jonathan Ross has received a Music Industry Trusts award for being “the UK’s most important broadcasting star-maker” and giving hugely influential exposure to new artists – The Herald (page 8).