Media in the Press 1.12.10

An agreement has been reached between the BBC and the National Union of Journalists over proposed pension scheme changes, The Herald (page 2) reports. 

The dispute arose after pension proposals put forward by the broadcaster in September – where payments into a new career-average benefit pension would increase each year by four per cent or by the rate of inflation, depending on which is the lower figure – were rejected by NUJ members at the Corporation.

Writes The Herald: “Members of the National Union of Journalists went on strike last month and had raised the threat of industrial action over Christmas if the row was not resolved.”

Elsewhere, and as reported elsewhere on allmediascotland, BBC Scotland could be made to appoint a Scots dialect advisor under the SNP government’s new plans to promote the country’s ‘mither tongue’. The Scottish Daily Express (page 2) picks up the story under the headline, ‘Stooshie Over Scots Dialect Project’.

Writes reporter Dean Herbert: “The SNP government wants the publicly-funded broadcaster to hire an ‘advisor on Scots’. BBC Scotland producers and presenters should also be recruited on their knowledge of local dialects, according to a new report.”

The report, published yesterday, is quoted, recommending that BBC Scotland portrays “native speakers using the language in any and all contexts”. The report continues: “Interviewers talking to Scots speakers should use Scots themselves, to encourage the interviewees to respond in the mither tongue.”

But the move has been met with some opposition. Conservative MSP Liz Smith is quoted, saying: “I really don’t think it’s a priority just now. By all means have experts in this area and allow them to send information around, but I don’t think it should be an obligation for the BBC.”

More on the BBC, this time in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 8). The paper reports that the Corporation has been criticised for wasting license fee payers’ money by sending a large crew to cover the announcement of where the next World Cup is to be held. The paper reports: “The BBC has been condemned after it emerged it was taking 35 staff to cover the announcement of who will host the World Cup.”

The paper estimates that the coverage will cost more than £100,000. The news comes after the broadcaster was accused of damaging England’s chances of hosting the event with its Panorama programme investigating alleged bribery of officials, as reported in allmediascotland yesterday.

A ‘BBC source’ is quoted, saying: “The irony that so many staff are heading over to Switzerland to cover this event after the Panorama programme put the proverbial boot into our chances on Monday won’t have escaped the attention of the British public.”

The ‘source’ continues: “There is no way that more than five news and sports staff are required over there, with perhaps two support staff.”

Staying with the Mail (page 66), the Telegraph could be the next national newspaper to launch a paywall. Writes the paper: “It is understood that the Telegraph Media Group is considering charging for some of its digital services, including its applications for tablet computers such as the Apple iPad.”

But it is expected that not all content will be off-limits to those who don’t want to pay to read the paper online. The report continues: “It is expected that users will still be able to browse parts of the Telegraph site for free. This approach will be in marked contrast to the Times newspaper, which has built a full paywall around its internet offering.”

Meanwhile, The Scotsman (page 31) features more reaction to the remarks made by Peter Kearney, the director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, bemoaning anti-Catholic sentiment in Scotland, as reported in allmediascotland yesterday, Monday and Sunday. Kearney’s comments were made in the wake of an alleged offensive email about the Pope, sent by now former head of refereeing at the Scottish Football Association, Hugh Dallas – who stepped down from the position last week.

Well-known Scottish journalist, Allan Massie, opines that while Dallas’ alleged email was “offensive and not at all funny”, the right to make jokes and laugh at others must be upheld. Writes Massie: “Pope Benedict XVI is a good man, revered by the faithful and by many who are not members of his Chruch. But that’s no reason not to make jokes about him, just as people make jokes about the Royal Family and politicians.”

Massie adds: “I wonder what type of jokes Mr Kearney relays to his chums? It’s just as possible that some might think them tasteless.”

And finally, today’s Daily Record (page 20) features an unlikely looking photograph of the north bank of the Clyde with the word ‘Dumbarton’ superimposed in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign. The paper reports that Dumbarton’s BBC studios have become such a hub for TV and film productions that they are now seen as Scotland’s answer to Hollywood.

Writes Paul English: “BBC Dumbarton Studios have become one of the busiest in the UK, with executive producers from independent film companies putting it on a par with famous industry hubs such as Pinewood and Shepperton in London.”

Productions such as Scottish soap River City, 18th-century legal drama, Garrow’s Law, submarine thriller, The Deep, and hit BBC3 comedy, How Not To Live Your Life, were all filmed at the site. And there could be more to come. BBC Scotland’s chief operating officer, Bruce Malcolm, is quoted, saying: “On average we spend £7 million on River City and about £15-20 million on network drama. We hope to grown that business and Dumbarton is part of our ongoing plan.”