The Media in the Press 5.3.10

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

The SNP is focal point of much of today's media news in the press, this time having a pop at the BBC. The Scottish Daily Mail's Scottish political reporter, Alan Roden, explains on page 1: “The SNP is threatening to scrap funding for the BBC in a row over televised election debates. First Minister Alex Salmond has been prevented from appearing alongside Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron during the campaign.” 

David Maddox of The Scotsman writes on page 2: “The SNP has become the latest party to question the role of the BBC and its continued position as the national state broadcaster as part of the fallout over the exclusion of Nationalists in the General Election leaders' debates.” Also, on page 1 of the Daily Telegraph, Scottish political editor, Simon Johnson, writes: “The row over Alex Salmond's exclusion from a series of televised general election debates escalated dramatically last night when it emerged that SNP supporters had threatened to boycott the BBC licence fee.”

But the SNP's own difficulties, media-wise, haven't gone away. Two days after broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, announced its was investigating claims the Scottish Government had influenced programming on STV, through various sponsorship, The Scotsman's Clare Baillie (page 2) writes: “First Minister Alex Salmond has been challenged to reveal how much tax-payers' money has been spent sponsoring programmes on STV. Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom this week launched an investigation into whether the channel breached the code of practice on editorial independence.”

In other news, The Independent has a new owner, writes Alexi Mostrous, The Times' media editor – on page 8: “Alexander Lebedev, the former KGB spy, is the new owner of The Independent, industry sources told The Times. The purchase of the loss-making title and The Independent on Sunday comes after the Russian billionaire's surprise take-over of the London Evening Standard for £1 in January 2009.” It looks like his new titles will also cost a token £1.

Also today:

* “The commercial arm of the BBC has agreed a deal to buy out the 40 per cent of the DVD business, 2entertain, it did not previously own – in a deal worth £17 million” – page 49, The Independent.

* Penny Smith is quitting GMTV after 17 years on the sofa, the show has confirmed. Smith will now host a new BBC Radio 2 opera show in June. She is also said to be in talks with ITV about other projects – page 12, The Scotsman.