The Media in the Press 12.2.10

Second-year Journalism student, Sian Lower, of Edinburgh Napier University, takes a look at the media news in the press today…..

The main talking point in the news today is that of BT’s pension deficit. Philip Inman and Richard Wray of the Guardian (page 29) write: “BT was yesterday braced for a battle over its final salary pension scheme after the industry watchdog expressed ‘substantial concerns’ about the company’s plans to plug a £9bn hole in the fund. Announcing third-quarter results, the company said the trustees of the scheme had approved its plan, outlined last May, to pump an extra £525m a year into the fund over three years.”

The Scottish Sun’s business editor, Steve Hawkes, echoes this on page 74: “A million shareholders took a pounding yesterday as BT revealed the biggest pension deficit ever reported by a UK firm. Bosses said the shortfall in the savings pot of 340,000 former and current staff was £9bn.” On page 82 of The Daily Telegraph, Rupert Neate also writes: “The Pension Regulator has raised ‘substantial concerns’ over BT’s 17-year plan to cut its £9bn pension fund deficit.”

Private Eye magazine is also in the news today as it has been doing well despite the financial downturn. Chris Tryhorn of The Guardian (page 9) reports: “It’s fortnightly formula of satire, gossip, cartoons and investigative journalism has remained relatively unchanged for almost 50 years, but Private Eye has rarely been in such good health. The current affairs magazine yesterday recorded its best sale figures since 1992, a result it has attributed to its uncompromising stance and sense of humour.”

The Times’ Jack Malvern (page 29) reports a possible cinema boycott: “Britain’s cinema chains are threatening to boycott Alice in Wonderland because of a dispute with Disney over its appearance on DVD. Odeon, Vue and Cineworld have said that they will refuse to show the film if Disney insists on reducing the interval between Cinema and DVD release from the usual 17 weeks to 12.”

On page 5 of the Guardian, technology editor, Charles Arthur, writes about Google’s latest brainchild: “Attached to Google’s Gmail webmail service, Buzz allows you to have short, or very long, text chats with people who are also owners of Google accounts. The company’s executives describe it as a ‘poster child’ for Google’s future: a social networking structure that automatically finds people to connect with you.”

Other media stories today:

* “Alex Salmond believes he is inching towards a deal with Sky that will allow him to participate in a televised debate during the General Election campaign.” – The Daily Telegraph, page 8. 

* “Owen Van Natta has stepped down as chief executive of MySpace less than a year after joining the company, which was acquired by News Corporation for $580m (£370m) in 2005.” – The Daily Telegraph, page 82.