Media in the Press 28.1.11

POST-graduate Journalism student, Alessandro Brunelli, casts his eyes over the media stories making the press today…

Today’s papers dedicate plenty of attention to alleged phone hacking conducted by News of the World journalists.

The Herald (page 2) for instance reports that “[Scotland Yard’s] detectives restarted a ‘swift and robust’ inquiry into the actions of staff at the News of the World”. Former Labour Cabinet minister, Tessa Jowell, is reported to have contacted the police after apparently being told by her phone company that somebody tried to access her voicemail only last week.

In the same article, it’s reported that designer, Kelly Hoppen, the former stepmother of actress Sienna Miller, suspects her phone was hacked last spring, while actress, Leslie Ash, and ex-footballer, Lee Chapman, her partner, are said to be also considering legal action over the alleged interception of their phone messages.

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 11) also covers the story, focusing on Ash and Chapman in particular.

The couple are said to have remarked that “highly personal telephone voicemails left by their children may have been compromised”.

The Scotsman (page 2) also covers the story, and describes the new police inquiry as “the most significant development in the controversy since the News of the World’s royal editor was imprisoned almost exactly four years ago in 2007 [for phone hacking]”.

Back with The Herald, and it reports (on page 3), of supposedly new plans being hatched by senior officials at football’s Scottish Premier League to create a dedicated SPL TV channel.

Says The Herald, the channel might be launched “as early as next year”, although some insiders reportedly believe that SPL TV wouldn’t be able to begin broadcasting before 2012/13.

Writes reporter, Martin Williams: “IMG Media, a division of global sports and media company IMG Worldwide, the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming, has been appointed to examine the possibilities over the next six months.”

Some analysts, however, are reported to be viewing the development as a “tactical ploy to try and push up the price of any future Sky Sports-ESPN deal”.

Elsewhere, Julia Keys, wife of TV presenter Richard Keys – involved in the ‘sexism scandal’ on Sky Sports earlier this week – is pictured holding a tea tray, on the front page of The Scotsman, the Scottish Daily Express and the Scottish Daily Mail.

In the Scottish Daily Mail (page 9), she is reported defending her husband and stating that “with men there are little bits of you that never grow up”.

Two days ago, Keys resigned over disparaging remarks made at the weekend about a woman football assistant referee. It followed the dismissal, the day before, of his co-presenter, Andy Gray, for his involvement in the remarks, plus other supposedly unflattering recordings of him.

After having offered tea to the reporters outside the couple’s mansion in Chobham, Surrey, Mrs Keys added that “[Richard Keys and Andy Gray] contributed so much, putting Sky on the map. Whether you like them personally or not, professionally there’s very few who would knock them”.

However, the careers of the pair may not be over, according to The Daily Record (page 5), which reports that Arab TV station, Al Jazeera, is about to offer them a lucrative contract.

Elsewhere, The Herald (page 29) reports that first-half profits of BSkyB increased £467 million, up by 26 per cent, thanks to the demand for broadband services, while the revenues reached £3.2 billion, up by 15 per cent.

City analysts are reported believing the figures will pile pressure on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to raise its previous bid to take over the remaining 61 per cent of the company it still doesn’t own.

Last summer’s bid proposal of 700p-a-share had been rejected by BSkyB.

Finally, the Scottish Daily Mail (page 10) reports that the BBC has been accused of ‘outrageous scaremongering’ by an aide to Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, who is said to have reported the BBC to broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

The accusations were made about the documentary, ‘The Street That Cut Everything’, which looked at the possible impact of public spending cuts in suburban areas.

Pickles is said to have labeled the documentary as “an unforgivable breach of editorial standards”, adding, ”we need a full and frank explanation from the organisation about how and why this is a good use of taxpayers’ cash”.