Media in the Press 1.4.11

Post-graduate Edinburgh Napier University Journalism student, Alessandro Brunelli, casts his eyes over today’s media stories…

It’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, who has been declared the winner of the first pre-election TV debate, The Herald (page 6) reports. According to the online, ScotPulse poll, 87 per cent of the 991 people who were surveyed thought the SNP leader won the debate, aired on Tuesday evening on STV.

Tory leader, Annabel Goldie, followed with a share of seven per cent, while Labour’s Iain Gray only reached five per cent.

74 per cent of the respondents, meanwhile, also stated that their opinion of Gray had worsened after the debate, whereas 53 per cent of them thought their perception of Salmond had improved.

From a debate it organised yesterday at its Edinburgh HQ, The Scotsman devotes two pages (4 and 5) on how the party leaders performed, with its 'political team' giving Salmond 18 out of 30, Gray 18 out of 30, Goldie 17 out of 30 and Lib Dem leader, Tavish Scott, 16 out of 30. 

A few pages on in The Herald (page 11), meanwhile – and under the headline, ‘Former editor faces police pay grilling’ – it’s being reported that Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, has been contacted by chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, over allegations of phone hacking by journalists at NI's News of the World.

This follows claims by Acting Deputy Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, John Yates, that the News of the World had been paying the police to gain access to information.

In a letter, Vaz is understood to have asked for details about the number of police involved in the alleged practice as well as the sums which might have been paid.

In 2003, Brooks, then editor of The Sun, admitted to a Commons Committee that the paper paid police for information.

Staying with The Herald (page 13), it’s reported that Scots cameraman and filmmaker, Richard Steel, died in a car crash on Wednesday morning near Menstrie, Clackmannanshire.

Steel had been a cameraman for ITV’s news magazine, Tonight, and had worked with Fox Sports, Standard Life, HBOS, Channel 4, ITV and the BBC.

Steel ran Independent Production Facilities, a production company based in Edinburgh, which provided pre- and post-production for the likes of BP, Motorola, Diageo and Sky TV.

Managing director of communications firm, 20/20, Alastair Scott, is quoted, saying: “It’s devastating for his family and [Steel’s girlfriend] Dawn. It’s left a massive hole in many of our lives and I think our industry has lost one of its stars.”

His death is also reported in The Scotsman (full page, page 11), the Scottish Daily Mail (most of page 20), the Daily Record (page lead, page 39) and the Scottish Daily Express (page lead, page 11).

Also in The Herald, page 31, the marketing and communications company, Material, is reported winning 'top spot' at an awards ceremony celebrating Scotland's Best Workplaces. Among 25 other top workplaces are comms agencies, The BIG Partnership and Weber Shandwick Scotland.

Yesterday's splash in the Daily Telegraph, claiming that the SNP has twice gone to the Court of Session to gag its reporting of local income tax plans is followed up on page six of The Herald and page four of the Scottish Daily Mail.

In other media news, and again in The Herald (page 10), it’s being claimed that TV presenters, Sian Williams and Chris Hollins, of morning TV show, BBC Breakfast, won’t be following the programme in its planned move from London to Salford.

However, half of programme’s team, among them presenters Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid, is reportedly ready to move North.

On to the Scottish Daily Mail (page 11), where it is being reported that a switchover from the FM analogue signal to digital radio will cost the taxpayers about £16 million.

The sum represents the major share of a total £25 million investment needed to implement the new platform.

The BBC and commercial radios will then be expected to cover the remaining £9 million.

Some Westminster ministers are reportedly sceptical about the timing of the planned switchover, originally set for 2015, claiming that it will more realistically take place between 2017 and 2020.

Staying with the Scottish Daily Mail (page 25), reporters, Paul Revoir and Liz Thomas, are claiming that children’s programme, Blue Peter, will probably be cancelled from BBC1’s afternoon schedule and moved to digital channels such as CBBC and CBeebies.

The idea, part of proposed budget cuts being considered by the Corporation following a freeze in the cost of the TV Licence Fee, was reportedly discussed at a meeting of 60 senior TV staff last Friday.

Blue Peter, the world’s longest-running children’s programme, started 52 years ago, and reached one million viewers at its peak. However, says the Mail, the number has recently shrunk to 100,000.

Blue Peter editor, Biddy Baxter, is quoted, saying: ”It would be quite wrong for it not to continue to be on BBC1.

“It is vitally important that it stays on the channel because it will attract more viewers.”

Moving on, The Scotsman (page 9), is reporting that the last issue of Glasgow City Council’s publicly-funded magazine, Glasgow, has been withdrawn, following accusations of having published articles against the SNP.

This follows a story in yesterday's Herald. 

Councils are prevented from publishing material that is likely to affect support for a political party at any time, especially during elections.

The magazine reaches 300,000 homes in the Glasgow area.

Back to The Herald (page 13), and it reports that The BBC is launching Radioplayer, a website which will air more than 100 national and local radio stations.

Almost finally, former president of the National Union of Journalists, Denis MacShane, is described in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 15) as the fourth 'most annoying MP in Britain'.

And finally, congratulations to Hannah Philips, a junior film reviewer for The Herald: the 19 year-old is reported (page 3 of The Herald) to have won a place at Harvard University.