The Media in the Press 16.4.10

It's Clegg, by a clear margin. For all that a couple of newspapers have a particular reason for being pro-Gordon Brown and anti-David Cameron (or the other way around), the majority of today's newspapers are generous enough to accept that Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, emerged as the best performer during last night's historic live, televised debate between the leaders of the UK's main political parties.

And many, many pages across all the papers are devoted to the event, which is being repeated twice before next month's General Election vote. The next one is on Sky, on Thursday, at 8pm.

Among the commentators, Robert Beveridge, a lecturer in media policy at Edinburgh Napier University, remarks: “There will always be good audiences for event TV which brings the nations together. Predictions of the death of TV are premature, as last night showed.”

Football can have that galvanising effect. And staying with The Scotsman, there's a salutory tale for all footballers when asked to do a media interview.

A the best of times, footballers are reluctant to make themselves available for interview by the media, especially the print media. Very often they risk their comments being taken out of context; occasionally, to their own detriment, they are misquoted.

How they must be witnessing the situation facing Hibernian FC footballer, Derek Riordan, and adding a new dimension to their anxiety.

All Riordan did was – says the back page of The Scotsman – turn up to do the honours at a pre-match press conference, previewing a home fixture against Kilmarnock. 

He found himself talking about the state of the home pitch.

He talked how its poor condition affects a footballer, in terms of having to take an extra touch of the ball to allow it to settle. For his efforts, says The Scotsman, his club have imposed a fine, on the ground he has contravened a clause in his contract about the club's reputation.

Meanwhile, Page 3 of the Scottish Daily Mail carries a health warning about 3D.

Writes the paper's consumer affairs editor, Sean Poulter: “The world's biggest electronics company has issued an extraordinary health warning about the dangers of watching 3D television. Pregnant women, the elderly, children and those suffering from serious medical conditions are among a wide range of people said to be at risk.”

And the company is Samsung.

And staying with science, The Guardian (page 5) reports on a “landmark in the libel reform campaign”: a decision by the British Chiropractic Association dropping its libel action against the science writer, Simon Singh. It's been a two-year battle for Singh, who had found himself on the receiving end of the action after having written a comment piece about the Association, for The Guardian.

Meanwhile, back at the Mail and pages 14 and 15 carries a feature by Tom Utley, who is making a return, after many years away, to reporting the build up to a General Election. And it prompts him to comment: “People are always accusing journalists of being unduly cynical – and they are often right. But I defy even the most wide-eyed, sweet-natured and trusting nun to witness some of what I've seen this week – and not to come away with a jaded view of modern politics.”