The Media in the Press 15.2.10

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….

It’s the beginning of a new week, but not much has changed for the BBC as controversy over the Corporation’s spending refuses to go away.

Figures released yesterday revealed 382 members of the broadcaster’s staff took home more than £100,000 last year while 58 earned more than the Prime Minister’s £194,250 salary.

“The Corporation’s highest earners in 2009 were MarkThompson [Director General of the BBC], on £664,000, and Mark Byford, the deputy director general, on £471,000,” reports The Scotsman (page 10).

Says a BBC spokesman: “The BBC is extremely conscious about the public’s feeling about top salaries in the current climate and that the salaries we pay are met by the public, but we have to balance that with the need to attract the best professional talent in order to produce the high-quality programmes and services license fee payers expect.”

Meanwhile, Philip Hensher, columnist for The Independent (page 33) labels the six-figure sums “fantasy money” and calls for complete transparency when it come to costs. “The ways in which it spends our money are ways we are entitled to be told about,” he says.

Condemnation of the Corporation crops up in today’s Scottish Daily Mail (page 19) also following revelations over taxi expenses incurred by Match of the Day pundits. Under the headline, ‘Waste of the Day’, Paul Revoir and Paul Sims describe “yet another example of the Corporation’s extravagant spending”, saying the BBC spends more than £2000 a week on taxis transporting studio guests such as Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer between the London studio and their homes in northern England. The Mail’s editorial adds further fury, slamming the expenses as “shocking” (page 14).

Staying with the BBC and old favourite, Terry Wogan, returned to our radio sets yesterday as he launched his new Sunday morning show.

“Wogan’s back, with a new show that’s radically old-fashioned,” reads The Times (page 11), while The Herald (page 9) and the Daily Record (page 3) both focus on a possible TV return for Terry – see also Scottish Daily Express (page 11), Scottish Daily Mail (page 25), The Daily Telegraph (page 13), and the Guardian (page 5).

Elsewhere, it’s media supplement day and the Guardian discusses the debate over legal reform, following a spate of legal proceedings pursued against the media (MediaGuardian, page 1). “Attempts by the former England [football team] captain, John Terry, and the oil trading firm, Trafigura, to obtain superinjunctions have increased concerns that English law is in need of reform and hampering freedom of speech,” writes Afua Hirsch.

And in The Independent (page 45), media pundit, Stephen Glover, takes a closer look at the magazine market, which recent ABC figures show is in a “much happier state” than national and regional newspaper titles.

Other media stories:

* A British journalist was arrested in Gaza yesterday – The Herald (page 2).

* Adverts for massage parlours and escort agencies are to be banned from newspapers as the government tries to crack down on the sex industry – The Daily Telegraph (page 14).

* TV hospital dramas have faced fierce criticism for misleading viewers over how to treat epilepsy – The Daily Telegraph (page 15).

* Daily Record columnist, George Galloway, brands BBC broadcaster Andrew Marr “a pet poodle of the Establishment against which he once barked as a Scots terrier” – Daily Record (page 13).

* Spain’s intelligence service is investigating the role of British and American media amid the country’s financial floundering – The Guardian (page 17).