The Media in the Press 26.1.10

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….

Legendary TV commentator and the 'Voice of Rugby', Bill McLaren, was laid to rest yesterday, with rugby greats, including Gavin Hastings and John Jeffrey, joining friends and family inside a packed Hawick’s Teviot Parish Church, while 5000 locals lined the streets of his home town to pay their respects.

McLaren spent almost 50 years commentating on his beloved game and received an MBE, OBE and CBE for services to the sport.

And as one would expect, the fond farewell to McLaren is widely reported across all of today’s papers.

‘The Voice is an Angel’, reads The Scottish Sun (pages 8-9). “'Voice of Rugby', Bill McLaren, was yesterday given a hero’s send-off – as 5000 mourners packed the streets of his home town in sombre salute,” writes Annabelle Love. 

Under the headline. ‘Bill’s Hawick Bawl’, the Daily Record (pages 18-19) devotes a double-page spread to the rugby legend, while the Scottish Daily Mail (page 11) says simply: ‘Farewell to the Voice of Rugby’.

The Scottish Daily Express (page 7) is one of several papers to quote McLaren’s grandson, Gregor Lawson, who said: “We are here to lay to rest a great man – a great Hawick man, a great rugby man and a great family man.”

Today’s Herald (page 1) displays a picture of a tearful mourner on its front-page while, inside, Alasdair Reid reflects on the “thoroughly local hero” and his incredible contribution to Borders rugby (page 5).

The Scotsman’s front-page, meanwhile, contains a picture of Bette McLaren – the widow of the broadcaster – and a handwritten message to her husband, which reads: “My Darling Husband, I have loved you for 60 years, I love you still and I will love you forever – Bette x.”

The Times (page 4) reports McLaren’s funeral also, while The Daily Telegraph (page 8) likewise pays tribute to the ‘ambassador of the sport’ who first appeared on BBC radio in 1953.

In other media news, the debate over newspaper website paywalls has resurfaced once again with Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridge,r casting further doubt on Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for content online. Delivering the 2010 Hugh Cudlipp Lecture yesterday, Rusbridger warned the move could be the equivalent of “sleepwalking into oblivion” (The Guardian, page 9).

And in The Independent (page 22), chief executive of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, casts criticism on parts of the media for their reporting of the Haitian earthquake and the pace of the subsequent relief effort. “In their pursuit of the 'story', some commentators have not paid sufficient attention to the facts,” she writes.

Other media stories:

* Viewers are growing increasingly tired of unkempt TV presenters and newsreaders, according to a survey conducted by online search engine, Ask Jeeves – Scottish Daily Express (page 3), Scottish Daily Mail (page 25).

* Daily Telegraph columnist Cassandra Jardine reflects on the decline of children’s programming due to a reduction in spending of 48 per cent since 2003 – The Daily Telegraph (page 17).

* The Daily Mail (page 3) hones in on the BBC and its alleged failure to eradicate ridiculous jobs following an advertisement for a Change Lead – Scottish Daily Mail (page 3).

* The X Factor has been criticised by broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, for its failure to carry a warning when using flashing laser effects that could trigger epileptic fits – The Scotsman (page 10), The Daily Telegraph (page 8).

* Veteran broadcaster, David Dimbleby, has identified a lack of trust as the key characteristic of modern Britain – The Daily Telegraph (page 4).