Media in the Press 22.211

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

All of this morning’s papers report on the resignation of Tory MSP, Bill Aitken, over remarks he is reported to have made about a rape victim in Glasgow. The Herald features the story on their front page and it continues on page two. Writes Brian Currie (page 2): “Mr Aitken, the Tory spokesman on community safety, sparked outrage after telling our sister paper the Sunday Herald last week that the attack in a city-centre lane had taken place in a location ‘where a lot of hookers take their clients’.”

Explaining his decision to step down, Aitken claims he was misrepresented. He is quoted in the Daily Record (page 4), saying: “I feel frustration at allowing myself to be misrepresented. I feel anger at being misrepresented and remorse to rape victims and their loved ones for any hurt they feel.”

Also featured in The Herald is news of a PR deal currently being reportedly negotiated by Glasgow University. Andrew Denholm writes (page 5): “Glasgow University is tendering for a public relations agency to help them devise the new global [fundraising] campaign – an increasingly important part of university funding.” He continues: “However the process has been criticised by one public relations firm for stipulating that bidders for the PR role must have a turnover of at least £10 million. Jack Irvine, founder of Media House, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and New York, said the condition would rule out the vast majority of Scottish firms.”

A spokesman from the university is quoted, defending the terms of the deal: “A global fundraising campaign requires an agency with international experience running a fully-integrated and comprehensive project. Given the strategic importance of this project we consider the minimum turnover to be reasonable.”

The other main story reported on this morning is News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of his daughter, Elisabeth’s television production company, Shine.

Reports the Scottish Daily Express (page 44): “Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch yesterday agreed to buy his daughter Elisabeth’s television production company for £415 million, raising questions about the size and power of his empire.” The article continues: “It is believed News Corp wants to buy Shine to boost the supply of programmes for its TV channels around the world.” The article ends with a caution that “a direct link with BSkyB could imperil Shine’s independent status and its ability to win commissions from rival broadcasters such as BBC and ITV”.

According to the Scottish Daily Mail (page 69): “Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch has made his daughter Elisabeth nearly £200 million richer, after agreeing to bring her TV production business within the News Corp fold.” The article continues: “On completion of the Shine deal, Elisabeth will join the News Corp board to walk alongside her brother James, as well as her father.”

Shine’s credits include MasterChef.

Top Gear is featured in the papers this morning in light of recent comments made by the show’s presenters about Mexico. The Scotsman reports (page 7): “Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has defended the show but admitted its stars could be ‘naughty’ and ‘outspoken’.” Writes Shereen Low: “Hammond, 41, and co-presenters, Jeremy Clarkson and James May, were forced to apologise after a string of insulting remarks about Mexico in a recent show.” Low continues: “The TV presenter would not respond to remarks made by former BBC chair, Michael Grade, who called the incident ‘disgraceful’ and ‘horrible’.”

Hammond joked that Mexican cars reflected national traits and were “just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight”.

Also in The Scotsman is news of ITV winning exclusive broadcast rights to the Royal Variety Performance. Reports the newspaper (page 6): “ITV has won the rights to broadcast the Royal Variety Performance for ten years. The broadcaster has shown the event on alternate years with the BBC since the 1960s.” The Daily Record also reports on the story (page 16): “ITV has snatched the exclusive rights to The Royal Variety Performance with an exclusive deal worth £5 million.” The article continues: “ITV’s links with the show, which pulls in up to nine million viewers, were strengthened when it was agreed that the winner of Britain’s Got Talent would get a slot as part of the annual prize.”

Meanwhile, the BBC is featured in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 5): “It is meant to be an exercise in making BBC programming less ‘London-centric’. But the corporation’s decision to force shows to be made around the country looks increasingly bizarre after it emerged that all four pundits for The Review Show were transported from the South-East of England to Glasgow to make the broadcast on Friday.”

Paul Revior writes: “The BBC is expected to spend more than £1 billion moving a whole range of shows and staff out of London to meet proposed quotas for half of all programming to be made in the regions by 2016.” The article continues: “The BBC claims that the move to Glasgow represents value for money as it is cheaper to make the programme there.”