Media in the Press 8.2.11

POST-graduate journalism student, Orla Ni Sheaghdha, from Edinburgh Napier University, reviews the media stories in today’s newspapers…

All of the papers this morning report on AOL’s takeover of US online news site The Huffington Post. Reports The Herald (page 12): “Media giant AOL has agreed to buy US internet newspaper The Huffington Post for $315 million (£195 million) in a bold bet on the future of online news.” The article goes on to give further details of the deal between AOL chief executive, Tim Armstrong, and Huffington Post co-founders, Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer: “Ms Huffington, 60, editor-in-chief of the centre-left newspaper will head up the new Huffington Post Media Group which will merge all Huffington and AOL content.”

The Scotsman comments on the move made by AOL (Business, page 3): Technology analyst, Rob Enderle, is quoted as saying, “This is one of those out-of-left-field moves that actually makes a lot of sense. This could put AOL back on the map.”

The Scottish Daily Express reports (page 44): “The deal will create a group with 117 million visitors a month in the US and 270 million globally.”

Also reported by the Express (page 24) is a comment by former newsreader, Anna Ford, on the ageism row that recently involved the BBC and an ex-presenter of the Countryfile programme: “The 67 year-old, who was the first woman to present the ITN news, said she was angry that older men were still getting TV work while women of the same age were not.”

It follows news of Question Time presenter, David Dimbleby, 72, reportedly being offered a £4 million deal for five years. The article continues: “Anna’s comments came after the BBC appeared to respond to accusations of ageism by bringing back Julia Somerville, 63, to present one of its main evening news bulletins.”

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 32) also reports on the story leading with the headline, ‘Dimbleby, the BBC dinosaur’. The article reports on past allegations of ageism by the BBC: “In 2007 there was an outcry when Miss [Moira] Stuart, then 57, lost her slot presenting the news on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning show on BBC1. Last year, she returned to present the news bulletins on Chris Evans’s Radio 2 breakfast show.”

Also featured in the Mail is news of ITV’s ad income (page 66): “ITV’s advertising revenues are set to jump by almost a fifth in April as the renaissance in the TV ad market continues apace.” The article states that major retailers hope to gain customers during the Royal Wedding weekend and are gearing up for springtime advertising. “The strong bookings will allay concerns that the TV advertising market could be heading for a fall as the full impact of the government’s austerity cuts begin to bite.” The article continues: “The broadcaster is set to re-join the prestigious FTSE 100 at next month’s quarterly reshuffle after reaping the rewards of the sharp rebound in advertising budgets last year.”

ITV is also featured in this morning’s papers over complaints sparked by a remark made by Dancing on Ice judge, Jason Gardiner. The Daily Record reports (page 7): “More than 3,000 irate viewers complained to show bosses after Gardiner told ex-judge, Karen: ‘If your opinions mattered you’d still be on the panel.’” The article goes on to describe the reaction of the producers of the show, quoting an ITV spokesman: “The producers of Dancing on Ice have made it clear to Jason that this type of comment is unacceptable.”

The Scottish Sun also reports on the story (TVBiz, page 1): “Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner faced calls for the sack last night as complaints to ITV about his jibe at head coach, Karen Barber, hit 2,200.” The article continues: “Jason, 45, apologised live on air – but furious fans still deluged ITV and telly watchdog, Ofcom.”

The Scottish Sun (page 22) reports the return of comedian, Jonathan Watson, to the BBC Radio Scotland airwaves, in a new show starting Friday: “Impressionist, Jonathan Watson, will be back on the air this week to mock Scotland’s personalities – just a year after his Watson’s Wind-up show was controversially axed by BBC bosses.”

Watson is quoted in the article, describing the format of the new show: “The difference from the Wind-Ups is rather than focusing on the week’s news this is less specific. It’s more in the style of Naked Radio from years ago.”

Watson is said to be joined by Only An Excuse producer, Philip Differ, as well as Clare Waugh and Barry Hunter.