The Media in the Press 17.12.09

Pre-tax profit at Aberdeen Journals – publishers of the Press and Journal newspaper – fell 24.5 per cent last year, to £5.9 million – reports both The Herald (page 24) and The Scotsman (Business, page 3), the victim of a slump in advertising revenue.

It's actually a pretty busy ol' day for media stories in the press, with two Scottish newspaper editors actually making the news themselves: David Dinsmore, of the Scottish Sun, being given a picture byline for a report from Afghanistan and The Herald again announcing its new look (page 2),  this time in the context of thanking readers for their favourable comments plus singling out Sunday Herald editor, Richard Walker, as the design 'mastermind' behind the redesign.

Dinsmore is accompanying International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP, and he's afforded two pages to report from Kabul. His copy begins: “A massive bang splits the air, rocking the Portakabin where International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander is being briefed by senior officials.

“Within seconds, the minister is bundled out of the door and into a low-lying concrete bunker.

“It is quickly clear that some sort of bomb has exploded 50 yards away, just outside the perimeter wall of the Provincial Reconstruction Team HQ compound in Lashkar Gah, deep in war-torn Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.”

Staying with the Sun, page 3 reports broadcaster, Jonathan Ross, agreeing to a 50 per cent cut in his BBC salary – to £3 million  a year. Page 7, meanwhile, has Sky Sports presenter, Ali Douglas, apparently being dropped from anchoring a forthcoming Old Firm match, between Celtic and Rangers, allegedly because she's been recently prone to making gaffes. And on the same page, there's a brief tale that STV is going to up its sports news reporting, from Easter, though a spokesperson is quoted saying nothing more than the company is exploring a range of options.

Tomorrow sees Sir Terry Wogan bowing out of BBC Radio 2 after 37 years presenting the station's breakfast show. There are lots of tributes across the press, including in the Scottish Daily Mail (pages 22 and 23) by columnist, Quentin Letts.

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 9) also asserts that half of all TV programmes being shown in the UK are either repeats or imports. And on page 19, there is hope for UK TV viewers irritated by the increase in volume that occurs when programmes break for adverts: it's been legislated against in the US. The Daily Telegraph also reports the story.

Other media stories:

* Barry George, the man cleared of murdering TV presenter, Jill Dando, has accepted 'substantial, undisclosed' damages following stories in the Sun and the News of the World – The Herald, page 9 and The Scotsman, page 24.

* An industrial tribunal is underway, involving VisitScotland and following the dismissal of Richard Saville-Smith as head of PR for the Year of Homecoming – The Scotsman, page 6.

* Police step up their investigations into the death of a presenter on Glasgow community radio station, Awaz FM, who appears to have been the victim of a brutal attack last week – The Scotsman, page 22.

* The BBC has been criticised for hosting a web discussion: Should Uganda Debate Gay Execution? – The Herald, page 2 and the Scottish Daily Mail, page 25.