The Media in the Press 12.1.10

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 body of Sunday Mirror defence correspondent, Rupert Hamer, the first British journalist to be killed in Afghanistan during the current military conflict, was returned to the UK yesterday.

The war reporter lost his life in an explosion on Saturday while travelling with US marines. He was repatriated on a flight with the first soldier to die this year in the country, Private Robert Hayes, aged 19.

‘Low-key Return as War Correspondent’s Body Flown Home Without Ceremony’, reads The Scotsman (page 10). Being non-military, Hamer did not return to the same ceremony given to members of the armed forces at Lyneham. Tributes have continued to flood in though, with Chris Hughes, the Daily Mirror’s security correspondent describing the father of three as “dedicated and really, really valued”.

Today’s Scotsman also runs a feature, ‘When the Journalist Becomes the Story’ (page 18-19), written by Emma Cowing, who was saved by soldiers after collapsing with acute heatstroke on a patrol in Afghanistan in July two years ago. “That I did survive, and that I am alive today, is not only a miracle, but a testament to the true professionalism and dedication of the British soldiers who brought me back to life in the world’s most inhospitable warzone,” says Cowing.

“Hamer’s death is a tragedy, but this incident should not stop men and women like him from doing their jobs. If anything, it makes their role in this complex and difficult war even more vital,” she adds.

The Independent (page 16), The Times (page 16) and the Daily Record (page 2) also report Hamer’s return.

In other media news, the Equalities Minister, Harriet Harman, has criticised broadcasters and advertisers for allegedly ageist discrimination. Harman is quoted in The Daily Telegraph (page 12), saying: “The broadcast media is able to value the older man for his experience and wisdom but does not find it possible to value the older woman in the same way.”

Meanwhile, Chris Evans received a mixed reaction to his new breakfast show on Radio 2 yesterday after taking the reigns from old-time favourite, Sir Terry Wogan.

‘Good Evans: DJ Plays it Safe with Cheesy Tunes for Breakfast’, reads The Herald (page 3), while Daily Express (page 9) commentator, David Robson, says Evans’ debut was “a pretty good start… but whether we all want him every morning remains to be seen”. 

Under the headline ‘’Raucous’ Evans Fails to Win over the Togs’, The Daily Telegraph (page 5) reports “many were clearly missing Sir Terry’s calm and genteel approach”. The Sun (page 9), the Daily Record (page 11), The Times (page 9) and The Independent (page 3) all carry news of Evans’ first appearance in the breakfast-time slot.

And finally, The Independent (page 28-29) runs a story on “every American liberal’s bogeyman”: Fox News boss, Roger Ailes. “It has always been Ailes who has driven the channel’s agenda, which is perhaps why Mr Murdoch reportedly paid him $23m (£14.3m) last year (more than he paid himself),” writes David Usborne. The story coincides with news that former vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, has been lined up as a political commentator for the channel (The Guardian, page 1).

Other media stories:

* Telegraph.co.uk was the top UK newspaper website in December, clocking up 6.1 million Britons – The Daily Telegraph, page 2.

* BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World will abandon a new trendy format that has seen the show suffer dwindling ratings and widespread criticism from former presenters and fans – The Daily Telegraph (page 5), The Herald (page 3), Daily Mail (page 21), Daily Express (page 16), The Times (page 16).

* A Sri Lankan journalist, sentenced to 20 years in jail for supporting terrorism after he criticised the government, is to be released on bail until an appeal is heard – The Independent, page 26.

* X Factor host, Dermot O’Leary, could become the face of a new BBC political programme leading up to the General Election – The Independent (page 14), The Sun (page 3).