Media in the Press 27.1.11

JEN McClure, a post-graduate student at Edinburgh Napier University, examines the media stories making the news today…

The sentencing of former MSP, Tommy Sheridan, for having committed perjury during his successful defamation case against the News of the World five years ago, dominates the front pages today. But there is space on many front pages too for Richard Keys, the host on Sky Sports who was recorded at the weekend making disparaging remarks about women and football and, in particular, a women assistant football referee. Yesterday, he resigned, in the wake of the dismissal of Sky Sports colleague Andy Gray – also embroiled in making sexist comments – earlier this week.

Sheridan was jailed for three years. The Scottish Sun devotes its front page as well as pages 4-9 to the story, calling Sheridan a “shameless liar” and reporting he screamed “what a #$?*#@ result” at his condemnation (page 4). The paper also announces tomorrow’s issue will include more information on “swingers, sex, drugs, orgies and the downfall of Tommy”.

The Herald, meanwhile, focuses on Sheridan’s relatives’ response to the story. Under the headline, ‘Not finished yet’, The sub-heading on page 1 reads: ‘Sheridan will bounce back even stronger after jail term, predicts wife’. Sheridan’s mother is quoted saying she believes “Tommy is the victim of the biggest, most insidious conspiracy since the Dreyfus affair” (page 4).

Elsewhere, The Scotsman’s pages 1-5 take a look at Sheridan’s life in pictures, calling the former MSP “a Samson of the socialists” (page 2). The paper also report stories Sheridan’s wife, Gail, deciding against running in the May’s Scottish Parliament elections, but possibly the Glasgow Council ones.

As for Keys’ resignation, The Scotsman (page 11) and The Herald (page 9) both carry him saying. “I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offense they have caused…Going forward without Andy would have been impossible.”

His resignation comes the day after Sky Sports fired Gray. The Scottish Sun quotes Keys’ acknowledging the sexist comments exchanged with Gray were “shocking, horrible, out of order, wrong” (page 13). The Sun also speculates on next in line for the job: possibly TV presenter, Ben Shepard, or Sun Sport pundit, Jeff Stelling.

More job woes for the BBC. Following yesterday’s announcement of 650 jobs cut at the BBC World Service, union leaders have threatened strike action. The BBC’s reasoning for the cuts was blamed on changes to the funding of the World Service.

The Scotsman picks up the story on page 13, quoting former Labour Foreign Office Minister, Denis MacShane: “You are doing in part what no dictator has ever achieved – silencing the voice of the BBC, the voice of Britain, the voice of democracy, the voice of balanced journalism at a time when it is more than ever needed.”

In a statement from BBC Trust chair, Sir Michael Lyons is quoted saying it was a “difficult day” for the World Service, adding: “We have no choice other than to live within the reduced government grant.” The Scotsman (page 13) produces an informative pie chart on BBC staffing numbers.

Edinburgh is reportedly seeking a PR guru, to help boost its profile, and a salary of £110,000 is said to be on offer, claims The Scotsman (page 14), which goes on to say the city council is searching at new ways to promote Edinburgh on the world stage as a “world-class place to live”. The appointment of the successful candidate is expected as early as next month, decided by a recruitment panel composed of Lloyds Banking Group, Edinburgh University and National Museums Scotland.

And finally, the stars were out last night for the National TV Awards, the ‘Oscars for the small screen’. The Scottish Sun’s TV Biz (page 2-3) was out in force too, focussing its attention to the more ‘experienced’ actors among the winners, with the headline: ‘It’s Brucie’s older generation game’. Both Bruce Forsyth (Strictly Come Dancing host) and David Jason (Frost) received prizes. The inevitable red carpet shots, meanwhile, had the Daily Record offering up a ‘Flashin’ Parade’.

Love her or loathe her, Cheryl Cole caught the attention of the crowd. The Scottish Daily Mail (page 3): “Oh Cherly! Surely that’s a tattoo too far’, commented on an “enormous” butterfly tattoo on her lower back that was revealed by her low-cut dress.