The Media in the Press 25.5.10

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…

Protests will take place outside BBC offices today over the closure of 6 Music and the Asian Network, reports The Guardian (page 13).

Demonstrators will pitch up outside the Corporation’s offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Glasgow, while a petition signed by 80,000 people will be delivered to the BBC Trust’s London offices, adds James Robinson.

Meanwhile, The Guardian (page 31) features opposition to the proposed cuts in the form of a joint-letter from several well-known names including Emma Thompson, Peggy Seeger and Zac Goldsmith MP.

“Losing services like 6 Music and the Asian Network (Flashmob campaign, 22 May), which have brought thousands of new listeners to the BBC, would be a huge mistake,” they write.

Staying with the BBC and trade body for independent television production companies, PACT, has leveled criticism at the broadcaster over its commitment to deliver 50 per cent of programmes to in-house producers, says the Daily Telegraph (Business, page 8).

In a submission to the BBC Trust, PACT called for the “fundamentally flawed” current arrangements to be reviewed “as soon as possible……..with a view to removing the in-house guarantee or setting it at an appropriate level”.

Meanwhile, a litany of top names from the worlds of politics and journalism turned out yesterday to pay their respects to the highly renowned writer, Alan Watkins.

‘Farewell to a Fleet Street Giant’, reads the headline in today’s Independent (page 20).

Indy supplement, Viewspaper (page 10-11), features an edited version of an address read by Welsh ruby star, Gerald Davies, at yesterday’s funeral, in which he says it is “a great privilege to have known Alan Watkins”.

Adds Davies: “What mattered was his writing, mattered to us all – his point of view and the manner of that expression of that point of view – with the occasional old-fashioned phrase, tactically placed and poised, for resounding effect.”

Elsewhere, TV presenter, Davina McCall, is facing criticism from media watchdog, Ofcom, for using the word “retard” when interviewing a contestant on the Celebrity Big Brother’s Big Mouth show – The Scotsman (page 24) and The Herald (page 2) reveal.

Mark Goldring, chief executive of learning disability charity, Mencap, is quoted in today’s Scotsman, saying: “The groundswell of protest and emotion caused by Channel 4’s broadcasting of this insulting word has demonstrated just how offensive and degrading a term it is.”

And, finally, TV ventriloquist Ray Alan – known widely for his double act with puppet Lord Charles – has died aged 79, several of today’s newspapers report.

Reads the Scottish Daily Mail (page 28): “Ventriloquist Ray Alan, famous for his act with monocled, upper-crust puppet Lord Charles, died suddenly in his sleep yesterday.”

Alan was a TV regular for decades, making various appearances on variety shows in addition to having his own children’s series, Tich and Quackers.

Opines the Scottish Daily Express (page 12) editorial: “Just like his doll, Lord Charles, he was a true gent.” See also – Scottish Sun (page 9), Daily Record (page 16), Scottish Daily Express (page 22), The Scotsman (page 15), The Herald (page 11, 21), The Guardian (page 13, 32) and The Daily Telegraph (page 12).

Other media stories:

* Concerns have mounted over the future of several titles after wholesale magazine distributer, Magazine Marketing Company, went into administration – The Daily Telegraph (Business, page 3), The Scotsman (Business, page 4).

* “Long overdue reform of libel law is on the cards at last,” comments Simon Singh in today’s Daily Telegraph (page 20).

* A new iPhone application – described by the Daily Record (page 8) as “true genius” – aims to help holidaymakers avoid the midges – The Scottish Sun (page 20), Scottish Daily Mail (page 9), Daily Record (page 6, 8), The Scotsman (page 12).

* Apple’s latest sensation, the iPad, will hit British stores on Friday – but those who have pre-ordered online may face a longer wait – The Times (page 33).

* Terence Blacker condemns the “seedy, sanctimonious press” for its treatment of the Duchess of York – The Daily Telegraph (Viewspaper, page 4).