Media in the Press 24.2.11

POST-graduate Journalism student, Claudie Qumsieh, casts her eye over today’s papers…

The clock is ticking and, with only five weeks to make up their minds, less than 50 per cent of 100 BBC Breakfast staff are expected to move with the show to Salford Quays. As reported in The Guardian (page 3), Breakfast’s move is part of the BBC’s £155 million plan to relocate 2300 jobs to outside London. BBC Breakfast, Match of the Day and Blue Peter will be made at the new BBC North in Salford as departments including children’s, learning, sport, future media and technology and parts of Radio 5 live are to be moved.

Sian Williams, presenter of BBC Breakfast is still uncertain about the Manchester move. As reported in the Guardian: “The ambivalence of the BBC’s Breakfast staff towards relocation is perhaps best demonstrated by what organisers have called ‘Salford or fuck it’ drinks on 31 March – the last day employees have to make a decision.”

Elsewhere, it’s being reported that pop star and TV presenter, Cheryl Cole, will have to tame her Geordie accent for her new career in the US. Cole is said to have signed a £500,000 deal with Fox. As reported in the Scottish Daily Mirror (page 5), Fox bosses have told Cole she will need to soften her accent and lose some Newcastle expressions, including ‘pet’, which the Mirror helpfully points out is translated as ‘animal’ in America. A source is quoted adding that “Cheryl was told not to use the word ‘babe’ to describe a pretty girl”.

The paper adds that the US TV regulator, Standards and Practices, will be watching her show carefully, quoting a source saying: “If audiences and contestants can’t understand her it is actually a regulatory offence.”

Not unrelated, it transpires that this year’s X Factor auditions are to clash with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. The Scottish Sun (page 3) reports that, as thousands of hopefuls go to the O2 Arena in London, for three days, airspace will be closed – meaning X Factor helicopters will be unable to fly and walkie talkies won’t work. Judge, Simon Cowell, is reported to be in “turmoil” over what to do about the clash.

As The Herald (page 7) reports, the BBC’s The One Show was forced off air last night after a fire alarm caused the shows presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones to be cleared from the studio 20 minutes into the 30-minute programme.

Meanwhile, Michael Kelly – in The Scotsman (page 31) – blames the Press for public anger with politicians. It follows the resignation earlier this week of Bill Aitken MSP, as convenor of the Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament, over remarks he is said to have made about the rape of a woman in Glasgow. According to Kelly, Aitken “had what he considered an off-the-record chat [with a journalist on the Sunday Herald] to establish the facts of the case”. In that context he is reported to have said: “If this woman was dragged halfway through the town then it just couldn’t possibly happen. So has nobody asked her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane? Somebody should be asking her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane. Did she go there with somebody?…Now, Renfrew Lane is known as a place where things happen, put it that way…It’s an area where a lot of the hookers take their clients. Now that may not have happened in this case. But you know…what was happening? There’s always a lot more to these city-centre rapes than meets the eye.”

Kelly writes: “Now, in a Holyrood devoid of talent, he has been forced to resign because of an unguarded conversation with a journalist.” Kelly condemns the press for the public’s anger at politicians generally and continues: “The bias and propaganda emanating from the press grossly distort the character of politicians. Convincing the public that ‘they are all same’ – grasping dishonest, selfish.”