The Media in the Press 9.3.10

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…

A straight two-horse race is underway between the Scottish News Consortium and the Scottish News Network after both groups submitted their bids for the Government’s pilot channel 3 Scottish news contract.

The SNC – comprising the Herald & Times Group, DC Thomson, Johnston Press and television producer Tinopolis’s Mentorn Scotland subsidiary – will take on SNN's STV in partnership with ITN and Bauer Radio for millions of pounds of government funding over a two-year period. An announcement of the winner is expected on the 25th of this month.

Says SNC chairman Mark Wood, in today’s Herald (page 2): “The four consortium members have worked together very effectively to create a compelling and exciting bid. This would transform the way Scottish news is covered on television.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Daily Express (page 13) takes a closer look at STV’s bid to “get hold of even more public cash”. Under the headline, ‘Now STV Wants £10m to Make a 'Scottish Six'’, the Express discusses the commercial broadcaster’s plans for a 60-minute Scottish news programme against the backdrop of an investigation into the company’s relationship with the Scottish Government, following allegations the latter has influenced the former's programming, via sponsorship.

Elsewhere, the media has faced fierce criticism from MPs over coverage of the child killer, Jon Venables. Says the Independent (page 9) of the murderer of James Bulger: “MPs from all parties yesterday damned media speculation over the reasons that Jon Venables has been returned to prison.”

Today’s Scotsman (page 6) covers the SNP’s attempts to have the BBC release details of talks held with the three main political parties participating in upcoming presidential-style TV debates.

The Nationalists have lodged an appeal with the UK Information Commission after the broadcaster is said to have refused a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to make public the details of the negotiations. Says Stewart Hosie, the SNP’s Westminster campaign co-ordinator: “Not content with cutting Scottish viewers out of the election, the BBC are now refusing to justify themselves to the fee-paying public. The BBC and the three London parties have carved out a deal for themselves that leaves Scotland’s viewers and voters short-changed.”

Meanwhile, The Herald (page 4) reports party bosses are set to meet BBC executives in Edinburgh this Friday to discuss the issue.

In other media news, broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, has upheld a complaint against the BBC after a guest chef swore on Saturday Kitchen Live – The Herald (page 10), Daily Record (page 9) and the Daily Telegraph (page 10) all report. “Top chef Tom Kine said 'f***ing hell' under his breath when his omelette started to stick to his pan in the weekly challenge in December,” the Record reads.

Staying with the regulator and The Indy (page 19) reports a decision not to reprimand Channel 4 after 25 viewers complained about comedian Jimmy Carr’s reference to the Pope as the “king of the paedophiles”.

And the Record’s Brian McIver voices his vexation with new high-tech mobile phones. Writes McIver: “While it used to be a great wee tool for phoning, texting and doing pictures, the success of the iPhone and Blackberry means the mobile has become more like a nosy little robot assistant in our back pockets, capable of doing just any random or trivial task, reception and battery power permitting, of course.”

Other media stories:

* Digital television channels BBC Three and BBC Four could face closure under a Conservative government – The Daily Telegraph (page 2).

* BBC presenter David Dimbleby has hailed history TV documentaries for filling in the gaps left by the school curriculum – The Daily Telegraph (page 9).

* Obituary of television director, David Giles, who died aged 83 – The Guardian (page 33).