Media in the Press 13.1.11

POST-graduate student, Claudie Qumsieh, from Edinburgh Napier University looks at the media stories in today’s papers…

Former Scottish Sun editor, Jack Irvine, has been appointed the first male member of the National Council of Women of the United States, which for the past 120 years has fought to secure women the right to vote and equal pay.

And while Scotsman writer, Stephen McGinty (page 13), notes that The Sun still shows topless women on page 3, The Sun itself reports the tale (page 40) under the headline, ‘It’s Jack the lass’. The executive chair of Media House, who will join the New York-based organisation, is quoted, saying: “I am very proud. When you realise the history of the organisation you can understand what an honour it was for me to be asked.”

As also reported on allmediascotland, The Scotsman business section (page 1) reports that STV have struck a rights deal involving some 2,000 hours of rchive to distributor DRG in a collaboration that has the new brand name, STV International (STVI). Editor of the Business section, Terry Murden, quotes chief executive of DRG, Jeremy Fox, as saying: “STV is a centre of creative excellence in Scotland and we have always admired the team’s work, especially its dramas such as Taggart. It also created a compelling slate of new programmes which we are looking forward to help bring to air worldwide”.

Elsewhere, The Scottish Sun (page 3) reports that broadcasting regulators Ofcom, are understood to have received 130 complaints over talkSPORT radio presenter, Danny Kelly, for allegedly calling former Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, a “nonce” on air whilst criticising Liverpool’s performance. The paper reports one listener who described the comment as a “disgrace”.

Meanwhile, the Daily Record (page 2) reports that “BBC3 and BB4 may be reduced or axed as part of a £300 million cut backs”. An open letter from BBC Trust chair, Michael Lyons, to BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, is believed to suggest the BBC should do “fewer things better”. Reporter, Mark Jeffries, says Lyons “made no mention of any of the BBC’s digital TV or radio services”.

Thompson is said to be addressing staff today about upcoming cuts after the licence fee settlement which means the BBC income will be “at least 16 per cent lower in 2016 after the settlement in October, which saw the annual licence fee frozen at its current price of £145.50″.

The big broadcasting story this week – as reported on allmediascotland – is Miriam O’Reily’s landmark victory at the tribunal with the BBC over age discrimination. Says the Scottish Daily Express columnist and broadcaster, Richard Madeley (p12): “Women get fired for getting old – and it happens on every single UK television channel. The problem is as pernicious as institutionalised racism used to be in the police force. He adds: “The odd thing about this issue is the way so many executives are in denial. There is no orchestrated covert campaign going on. Many are genuinely shocked at the accusation of ageism; it’s so deeply embedded in the culture that they can’t see it.”

The media is facing criticism in the aftermath of the assassination attempt of congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. The Guardian reporter, Chris McGreal, analyses a video released on the internet – by high profile Republican, Sarah Palin – in response to the shooting in Arizona (page 25). In the video, Palin says: “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Meanwhile, Mehdi Hasan (page 35) reflects on possible double standards within the media. Jared Lee Loughner – arrested for the shooting – is understood to have speculated on the internet whether he would be labelled a ‘terrorist’. Hasan points out that “Loughner has yet to be described in such terms by the authorities or the media” but asks: “Does the suspect have to have an Arabic name to be classed as a terrorist these days?” He continues: “Imagine, for a moment, that the shooter outside the Tucson Safeway last Saturday had been a Muslim. Does anyone doubt that accusations of home-grown terrorism, links to Al-Qaida and vast Islamist conspiracies wouldn’t have come thick and fast?”

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland newsreader, Jackie Bird, writes in the Daily Record (page 19) of a lifelong struggle with a stammer and praises new Colin Firth film. ‘The King’s Speech’ about King George VI’s battle with stammering. Bird says “How did I cure it? I didn’t. I’m still a stammerer and always will be”. Elsewhere, The Scotsman reports praise for the film from speech and language groups (page 10).

And that same paper’s business section (page 3) reports an increased turnover at the online arm of Dundee publishing giants, DC Thomson, which has jumped 23 per cent to £16.2 million. But it adds that, despite the increased turnover at Brightsolid, it has a £350,000 deficit, compared to a £2 million profit last year. The Scotsman attributes the loss to the purchase of four years ago.

And finally, The Guardian turns its attention (page 29) to what’s believed to have been a 70 per cent pay rise for “the best-rewarded editor on Fleet Street”, Paul Dacre. Writes reporter Mark Sweney of Dacre’s supposed £2.8 million wage packet: “Dacre, editor-in-chief of Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers, was paid a base salary of “£1.63 million and also received an annual cash allowance of £127,000 and a further £25,000 in benefits, according to the Daily Mail and General Trust’s annual report, published yesterday.”