The Media in the Press 9.12.09

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

It is a quiet day for media news, but another chance for newspapers to cover the exploits at the BBC. Following yesterday’s reports that the Government is urging the BBC Trust to publish the salaries of its leading on-screen talent, it has now emerged that BBC Worldwide is to be included in the portfolio of assets that may be sold. The Guardian (page 5) reports that this new revelation will put the Government on a “collision course” with the BBC, who announced yesterday that BBC Worldwide was not for sale but was considering partial privatisation.

The commercial arm of the BBC had annual revenues of £1 billion last year and although the Corporation would expect to keep such proceeds if a sale took place, it faces mounting political pressure following Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s promise to 'name and shame' publicly-funded organisations that pay excessive salaries.

In other BBC-related headlines, Strictly Come Dancing is to axe the infamous dance-off for Saturday’s semi-final and hand the decision over to the public vote. The Herald (page 7) reports that, instead of the judges deciding the fate of actors Ricky Whittle, Ali Bastian and BBC sports newsreader, Chris Hollins, their scores will be added to the results of the phone lines. Daily Mail columnist, Allison Pearson, also discusses how the BBC's determination to “play catch up” with ITV has spelt disaster for this year's series. “Strictly can’t spin their way out of this disaster.” (page 15)

And finally, Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, UK-wide, has received a pay rise, despite the loss of 2500 employees and a 23 per cent fall in pre-tax profits, the Guardian reports (page 13).

Dacre, who sits on the board of the Daily Mail & General Trust, had his salary increased to £1.64 million, up from the £1.62 million received last year and is long regarded as the best paid editor on 'Fleet Street'. Although Dacre’s pay and £23,000 benefits package included a company car, fuel and medical insurance payments he did not participate in the company’s annual bonus scheme. Despite the financial crisis and the paper having to reduce its cost base, DGMT chair, Viscount Rothermere, chief executive, Martin Morgan, and chief financial officer, Peter Williams, are reported to have all received profit-related bonuses this year.