The Media in the Press 29.3.10

Broadcast Journalist, Mark Wilson, from Radio Borders, reviews the media stories making it into today’s newspapers…

No one media topic dominates today’s press – but there are still a few articles that catch the eye.

In the Guardian (Media Guardian, page 3), James Robinson and Roy Greenslade discuss the sale of the Independent to new owner, Alexander Lebedev. 

In the article, ‘It was. Is he?’, the writers are unclear about what will happen next for the paper: “There are more questions than answers about the Indy’s future – not least what direction it will take under its new owner.” 

The possibility of making Independent titles free publications is examined: “Lebedev surprised the newspaper industry by turning his other UK newspaper, the London Evening Standard, free.” But doing so for his new purchase is unlikely according to people close to the paper, who allude to a possible hidden gem within: “It’s like buying a house. You have to have a good look around as you may find a sports car in the garage.” Robinson and Greenslade ponder life with the Russian at the helm and, in particular, the make-up of the managerial team. It concludes with a thought for INM, the group Lebedev bought the Independent from for £1: “INM and its investors may be glad to get rid of the title – unless, of course, the new owners really do find that sports car in the garage.”

The Scottish Sun’s TV Biz section (pages 2 and 3) reports on claims of “blatant advertising” on the new BBC1 show, Over the Rainbow. The programme, which sees Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a rising star to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, is accused of breaching the Corporation’s rules by teaming up with the West End guru to promote his musicals. The paper says seventeen complaints have already been received by the BBC on the back of promotions for the show.

Mark Jefferies writes about budget restraints at ITV in the Mirror (page 7). The report quotes Sir David Jason, or Detective Inspector Jack Frost in long-running cop show Touch of Frost, over cash savings at the network: “We ended up with two guys from the lighting department doubling as police officers in costumes that didn’t fit.” Jefferies reveals Jason is urging bosses not to “give up on drama” in favour of reality shows like the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The writer refers to ITV’s very recent decision to axe The Bill and re-affirms the message that it is pledging to “re-invest any savings in new programmes”.

Finally, the eventual switchover from FM to digital radio is covered briefly by The Scotsman (page 9). It reports: “The government could face a major backlash unless it strongly makes a case for the switchover.” The House of Lords' communications committee is said to be warning ministers that people are unsure of the benefits it would bring: “The public is happy with the current analogue system and so far unconvinced of the need for change.” The switch is due by 2015 and the article, which does not carry a by-line, suggests we are yet to be convinced by the proposed move – which is apparently “not as compelling” as the change to digital TV.