The Media in the Press 2.11.09

Though there are plenty of interesting and also funny media tales in today’s press, there is no single story that is capturing everyone’s attention….

Today, looks at what’s tickling the fancy – media-wise – of newspaper editors up and down the country….

Monday is media day for The Guardian and The Independent. Whole sections devoted to the industry, in fact, with the former carrying, among other things, an interview with ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham, who is tipped to become the new chief executive of Channel 4. In The Guardian, there’s a supplement within the media supplement, on documentary filmmaking and ‘digital content’.

And it is towards a new drama on Channel 4 that Times writer, Andrew Billen, turns his attention. Cast Offs is a fictional Reality TV show involving the marooning of six disabled people on a remote island. Says Billen: “[It’s] brilliantly observed comedy and a breakthrough in television’s depiction of disabled people.”

Also in The Times, sports columnist, Graham Spiers, despairs slightly at Kilmarnock football club manager, Jim Jefferies, denying quotes attributed to him, even when they were made in a broadcast interview.

Writes Spiers: “Lord knows, in the newspaper game, all sorts of stuff is whipped up out context. But on this occasion I fear the bold JJ is contradicting himself in his blunt denial.”

Talking of contradictions, will former BBC Scotland reporter, David Kerr, fully reveal himself? The SNP candidate in the forthcoming Glasgow north-east by-election 'gets it with both barrels' from the Labour-supporting Daily Record, and not without, it seems, some justification. The Record points out that when Kerr fought for a Westminster seat in Falkirk some years ago, he made out he was a local lad; a bit like what he is saying now.

Among the titbits, there’s the columnist, Hickey, of the Scottish Daily Express, having taken part in a quiz on the Gaelic language digital TV channel, BBC ALBA, but unable to make sense of the questions – because he can’t speak the language. It sounds so wierd, it has to be true.

Meanwhile, Scottish Sun columnist, Rikki Brown, asks: if there are plans to put BBC ALBA on Freeview, shouldn’t it really by Wee Free View?

It is certainly open to the imagination what the more conservative readers of the Scottish Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are making of a photograph of BBC presenter, Evan Davis, in ‘civvies’. Judging by a pic appearing in both papers, he likes his biker chains.

Across in the letters page of The Scotsman, one reader is getting all hot and bothered. “Shame on The Scotsman”, he writes: for using the “pernicious creeping Americanism, ‘trick or treating’, rather than the indigenous ‘guising’.”

And staying with The Scotsman, the back page of its sports section has the paper’s former sports editor, Ian Wood – in his brilliant, Slice of Life column – writing about the head-to-head combat that is golf’s matchplay format.

“It isn’t always advisable for a person of volatile temperament to attempt to stifle natural instincts and stay Sphinx-like in the face of adversity,” he advises. At which point, he writes about taking part in a press golf tournament and how his opponent, initially quiet, then spectacularly lost his cool when a shot went awry. Problem is, Wood declines to say who the volatile hack was.

Advice too comes from the back page of The Herald’s sports supplement, courtesy of Darryl Broadfoot, bound soon for the head of communications post at the Scottish Football Association. He suggests to Celtic football club manager, Tony Mowbray, to engage with the local media with “a bit more guile”, following some hostile reporting of his team’s recent poor results. And he adds: “[He] would be advised not to adopt a blanket policy of mistrust.”

Finally, on a more sombre note, The Scotsman reports the death of its rural affairs editor, Dan Buglass, following a short illness. He was 64 and had started with The Scotsman less than three years ago, following a career as a farmer, broadcaster and agriculture correspondent.

Former Scotsman writer, Fordyce Maxwell, pens a fulsome obituary (page 43).

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