The Media in the Press 28.1.10

Second-year journalism student, Aleksandra Jurczak, at Edinburgh Napier University, takes a look at the media stories making it into today’s newspapers….

The breaking media news in today’s press is the Apple iPad tablet, unveiled yesterday in San Francisco, after months of speculation.

The Herald (page 3) reports that, speaking at the launch, Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive, described the iPad as a third category between smartphones and laptops, promising it would be better for reading books, playing games and watching videos. “It is much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone”, he is quoted saying.

The priority for the iPad are ebooks, suggests The Guardian (pages 2-3) claiming that Apple have already signed deals with five major publishers, including Penguin, Macmillan and Hachette. The report says Apple is understood to be offering electronic content publishers 70 per cent share of any revenues from sales through iBook, a program designed to let people “discover and purchase and download” ebooks directly to the device from iTunes.

The Herald also quotes Luke Peters, deputy editor of technology magazine, T3, who predicts the tablet could transform the newspaper industry: “If rumours are correct and Apple is working with the Wall Street Journal and other written media outlets, then this device could do to publishing what iPod did for music.”

The Scotsman (page 10) reports on the business advisory firm, Deloitte, saying (prior to the iPad launch) that the tablet would be joining a market worth more than £600 million a year globally, predicting tens of millions of units would be sold in 2010. The first versions without mobile connectivity, says The Guardian, will go on sale worldwide at the end of March, priced from $499 in the US. UK prices are still unknown.

Closer to home, Scotland's major cities would be encouraged to produce their own television channels to deliver local news under a Conservative government, claims shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as reported in The Scotsman (page 24). 

On a visit to Edinburgh, Hunt criticised the current government’s regulations preventing any single media group from owning newspapers, radio stations and television channels in the same geographical area, claiming they were restricting the development of local television. 

In the meantime, 80,000 Scots were caught watching television without a licence last year, with Glasgow topping the list with 23,000 households alone, reports The Scottish Sun (page 33). Around 417,00 license fee evaders caught last year by television inspectors nationwide faced a £1000 fine. Fergus Reid, a spokesman for TV Licensing, is quoted saying: “We work hard to catch those who attempt to cheat the system. These figures demonstrate that there really is no hiding place for evaders.”

And Sky is to broadcast a first ever TV football match in 3D this Sunday in nine pubs across the UK, including one in Edinburgh. The locations are being kept secret to avoid overcrowding. Sky 3D, the Europe’s first dedicated 3D TV channel is said to be available at hundreds of pubs in April – The Herald (page 3), The Scottish Sun (page 29).

Radio presenter Jon Gaunt won his battle with Ofcom yesterday to take the broadcasting regulator to a judicial review after he was censured and consequently fired last year. Ofcom ruled that Gaunt “went too far with offensive language and a bullying style” when he called his SportsTalk interviewee, the head of children services at Redbridge Council, a “health Nazi” and an “ignorant pig” over plans to restrict smokers from fostering children. Gaunt criticised Ofcom as an unnecessary regulator for limiting freedom of expression: “We don’t need Ofcom, we have got an off switch” – The Guardian (page 9).

A study by a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer suggests sections of the media encourage hate crimes against Muslims in London. “The constant assault on Muslims from certain politicians, and above all in the mainstream media, has created an atmosphere where hate crimes, ranging from casual abuse to arson and even murder, are bound to occur and are even in a sense encouraged by mainstream society,” says the report – The Guardian (page 11).

STV's Scotland Today presenter, John MacKay has been recently off air after ending up with 'black eye' during a staff football match last Thursday. MacKay explained his absence from the news room on his STV online blog. He said he hoped to return to the screen soon, adding: “There is a lesson here. News presenters shouldn’t play contact sports.” – The Scotsman (page 23).