Second-year Journalism student, Alex McConnell, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers…
The BBC has published details of its executive gifts and hospitality register for the first time and revealed that senior management expenses rose by eight per cent over the summer. The Corporation has said that it is due to a ‘seasonal rise’ in conferences and overseas events. Although the claims were markedly less embarrassing than a recent other set of disclosures, which included gifts of cashmere socks and luxury toiletries, Director-General, Mark Thompson, socialised at Ascot, Glyndebourne, Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show all at the license fee payer’s expense. Says The Times – page 13: Despite calls for the BBC to name staff that were paid more than £150,000 of public money, the Corporation have refused Freedom of Information Act requests for the information.
The expenses have also made the front page of the Guardian (pages 1 and 2), focussing on Eric Huggers' taxis costs, in which £639 pounds was spent in one day to transport the BBC technology chief to and from meetings. The newspaper also focuses on the £54 million paid to a group of top presenters, suggesting that this massive sum is shared by less than 100 individuals. The Daily Telegraph (page 13) and Scottish Daily Mail (page 17) have also commented on the expenses ‘gravy train’ and the secrecy over salaries.
The Guardian Media Group has sold the Manchester Evening News as part of a £45 million pound deal, ending an 85-year link with the region. The 23 newspapers and associated websites that once belonged to the regional division of the Guardian's owners will now be controlled by Trinity Mirror. The move makes Trinity Mirror the most dominant media group in the north-west of England.
The Manchester Evening News, like may other regional newspapers, has suffered from a long-term decline in sales and the migration of classified advertising to the internet. However, analysts have said that 800 jobs across the division are at risk and that hundreds of jobs have already been cut in a bid to make savings – The Guardian, page 2, The Times, page 43.
In other media news, The Scotsman reports that new legislation announced by the UK Government has paved the way for product placement to be allowed on all British TV programmes. The Government has said that continuing to ban it would ultimately damage the finances of the British TV industry. However, limitations will include no tobacco, alcohol and fatty food advertising and product placement will be banned from current affairs, consumer and religious programming – page 15.
And finally, a report by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has found that viewers are watching an annual average of 3.75 hours of TV a day, the highest figure since 1992. The recession has been cited as a factor in the rise as families deciding to stay at home in the evenings, with people watching a daily average of 3.94 hours between October and December last year in comparison to 3.54 hours in the previous quarter – the Daily Record, page 7, and the Scottish Daily Mail, page 9.