The Media in the Press 1.3.10

Second-year Journalism student, Sian Lower, takes a look at the media in the press…..

There’s a lot of attention surrounding the BBC today, and not all of it good. Page 7 of The Herald reads: “Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, has questioned the future of the BBC licence fee and raised the possibility that it could be scrapped if Labour remain in power,” while The Daily Telegraph’s Chris Irvine (page 9) writes: “The BBC licence fee could be scrapped if Labour wins the General Election, under plans being considered by the Culture Secretary. Ben Bradshaw said there was ‘good reason’ to debate whether the £3.6billion settlement was the ‘best funding mechanism’ for the BBC. His comments followed a growing row about proposed cuts, which include closing BBC 6 Music and the Asian Network digital radio stations.”

The Times’ media correspondent, Patrick Foster, echoes this outrage on page 5: “The BBC has failed British musicians and their fans by deciding to shut the digital radio station 6 Music, record industry chiefs said at the weekend.”

These closures come as the BBC tries to stop the Government cutting their services. James Robinson and Maggie Brown report on page 1 of The Guardian’s media supplement: “The BBC, well accustomed to being used as a political football, is about to unveil its own election manifesto; a strategic review that, if enacted, will result in a smaller organisation. The hope is that it will prove enough to persuade a future cash-strapped government that there is no need to take a knife to the BBC, which has already agreed to implement a programme of self-inflicted cuts.”

The BBC is also under fire for its alleged excessive spending again, as David Scott of The Scottish Daily Express writes on page 6: “BBC bosses have spent £30 million of public money on their Gaelic language channel, without knowing exactly how many people are watching.” It follows reports yesterday, which had the arithmetic at £150 per viewer.

Also today: more bad news for newspapers in the UK. The Herald’s Chris Tryhorn explains on page 6: “Newspaper groups were given another reminder – as if they would need it – of the plight of the regional press last week with the publication of six-monthly circulation figures that showed a near-universal decline in sales. Across the UK, local papers recorded heavy sales falls as the long-term trend away from print readership continued. All of this, of course, has a further deflationary effect on advertising revenues, already under severe pressure as classified advertising migrates to the internet.”

In other news:

* “Alex Salmond was embroiled in fresh controversy last night over allegations that he used taxpayers’ money to pay for favourable coverage on STV.” – The Daily Telegraph, page 2.

* “ITV will give an indication about whether advertising markets are recovering when it releases its annual results this week, however there is likely to be little indication about new strategic goals.” – The Scotsman, page 37.