Media in the Press 18.3.11

Post-graduate Journalism student, Sandra Juncu, from Edinburgh Napier University reviews today’s papers for media tales…

The Scotsman (page 14) reports that the BBC has been allegedly accused of wasting millions of pounds on allowances to staff who do not qualify for them. According to what's understood to have been a leaked memo, an internal investigation is said to have shown that £28 million was paid to people working unpredictable hours to staff who had a normal schedule. Another £50 million was supposedly allocated to employees judged to be “poorly performing”. The investigation is part of a BBC attempt to cut spending due to a six-year freeze on the amount of income being raised by the TV licence fee – announced last year.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is reportedly being sued by two American shareholders, the Amalgamated Bank of New York and the Central Laborers Pension Fund. The plaintiffs are understood to be claiming that a £415 million purchase of the TV production firm, Shine, amounts to nepotism – on account of being owned by the media tycoon's daughter, Elisabeth. Shine owns TV shows, MasterChef and Merlin. The two investors are alleging that “Murdoch is causing News Corp to pay $675 million (£415 million) for nepotism”. They also state that “in addition to larding the executive ranks of the company with his offspring, Murdoch constantly engages in transactions designed to benefit family members”. In response, News Corp is believed to have described the legal action as “meritless” – the Scottish Daily Express, page 74.

The Express and Scottish Daily Mail both write about STV’s new female presenters, Juliet Dunlop and Caroline Henderson. Under the headline, 'STV snap up BBC’s Juliet for new show', the Express (page 22) details how the Scottish channel “poached” the two rising stars to become their news readers in Edinburgh. Juliet Dunlop, originally from West Lothian, is quoted saying: “I’m thrilled to be returning to Scotland after ten years. This is a very exciting time for STV and I can’t wait to start.”

Caroline Henderson, meanwhile, is joining the STV team as sports presenter. She is also a former BBC broadcast journalist. Gordon Macmillan, STV’s head of news is reported to have said, yesterday: “STV is committed to delivering a more locally focused news service for Scotland and, with such a strong presenting team now in place, I’m confident that our viewers in the east will benefit greatly from the new Edinburgh-based programme.” – the Scottish Daily Mail, page 27.

The story appeared yesterday on 

Other media news:

* BBC 3 is reported to have dropped Eurovision presenters, Paddy O’Connell and Sarah Cawood. O’Connell, 45, is said to have confirmed his dismissal on Twitter by texting: “I’m being refreshed from Eurovision.” 'Insiders' are quoted by The Scottish Sun (TV supplement, page 3), saying: “The BBC wants to bring in some younger hosts” and “It is a real shame as Paddy and Sarah both did a good job”.  

* Ex-Marks & Spencer’s boss, Sir Stuart Rose, has allegedly turned down an offer from BBC2 to front a business show. The Scottish Sun (page 56) quotes an unnamed source saying: “He’s got enough on his plate.”