The Media in the Press 8.1.10

Photographs of broadcaster, Jonathan Ross, grace most of the front pages of the Scottish press today, with the Scottish Sun splashing with a report disputing he isn't leaving the BBC of his own accord and the Scottish Daily Mail and Scottish Daily Express both opting to feature a pic of him down the right-hand side of their covers.

Says the Sun, on pages 4 and 5, it was 'Sachsgate' 15 months ago – referring to a controversial, prank rude message Ross and comedian, Russell Brand, left on the telephone answer machine of actor, Andrew Sachs – and now it is 'Sacksgate'. The newspaper claims that even though Ross is said to have offered to take a 50 per cent pay cut, BBC bosses were allegedly still not interested in renewing his contract, later this year.

In the Scottish Daily Mail (pages 8 and 9), columnist, Alison Boshoff, describes him as “this vain, impulsive man often behaves with a childlike petulance”. Fellow columnist, Paul Connelly, is also critical – writing of “infantile pranks, lecherous behaviour and interviews about as penetrating as a sponge” – but goes on to write more warmly that, at his best, Ross is witty, charming and intelligent.

The Daily Record leaves the question – did he jump or was he pushed? – open, while the Scottish Daily Express (page 3) plays it relatively straight, reporting him walking out on the BBC. Later, across pages 24 and 25, it carries a feature about fellow TV presenter, Graham Norton, with the standfirst: “Once he was Britain's crudest presenter but today Graham Norton, tipped to replace shamed Jonathan Ross, knows better than anyone that nice is better than vice”.

The Scotsman notably doesn't have a picture of Ross on its front page, but doesn't hold back inside, devoting pages 3, 18 and 19 to him, plus a leader comment. The headline on page 3 reads: 'Tea but Not Much Sympathy as Ross Quits BBC' Downpage, executive editor, Bill Jamieson – under the heading, 'Good Widdance. Watching Woss Wotted My Bwain' – writes: “Ross was a product of a BBC that has, for reasons unfathomable, surrendered Saturday night viewing to that section of the population most likely to be out”. Maybe he meant Friday – as in 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' – but you get the drift. A feature – across pages 18 and 19, by Andrea Mullaney – firmly comes down on the side of the argument that his departure is about money.

The Herald too devotes a leader comment to Ross, plus most of its page 3. Writes Brian Beacom, in a downpage commentary: “…the signs emerged that the boy wonder was morphing into the archetypal, thick-skinned American chat show host. His work became Letterman-like self-referential, with more looks to camera, more personal references, more guests who were chums (such as Ricky Gervais) with little to say and, worse still, less attention to interview detail.”

Closer to home and potentially vital for the continuation of local newspapers in Scotland, The Scotsman also reports (page 16) Scottish Government culture secretary, Fiona Hyslop, urging caution on her own government's proposal that local authorities transfer their public notices from newspapers to the internet (thus saving local authorities, but denying newspapers, potentially millions of pounds). She is quoted, saying: “A balance has to be found between making sure local authorities and taxpayers have value for money and also recognising the cultural identity and importance of having local newspapers.”

The story also appears on page 4 of The Herald.

Other media news making it into today's newspapers includes a report in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 21) – which appeared in yesterday's Daily Record – suggesting bosses at TV morning show, GMTV, may be about to axe two presenters, to cut costs. In today's Record (page 3), Scots GMTV presenter, Lorraine Kelly, “sizzles” in a music video by Scots singer, Horse McDonald.

The Scottish Daily Express (pages 36 and 37) previews a forthcoming TV documentary, on BBC Four on Wednesday, about photographer, Brian Duffy, who produced some of the most iconic images of the 1960s, but who destroyed a large amount of his work when he flew into a rage after one of his staff reported his studio had run out of loo paper. 

And reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Scottish Sun (page 31) and The Herald (page 3) say there's a 3D television, the depth of a pencil, that could be set to “revolutionise the livingroom”.

And BBC Three's new season includes actress, Lindsay Lohan, investigating child trafficking in India – The Herald, page 13.

Meanwhile, in the USA, a clothing company and a charity appear to have used images of President Obama and his wife, in adverts, without permission – The Scotsman, page 29.

On page 3 of the Daily Record, meanwhile, it seems to be no more than coincidence that a live backdrop of a bridge across the River Clyde, on BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland, has glowed the same colour as presenter, Jackie Bird's blouse. 

On the same page, there's a tale about Radio Clyde presenter, Des McLean, pretending to be new Scotland manager, Craig Levein, and making a prank telephone call to footballer, Barry Ferguson. 

And finally, an apology in The Scotsman, page 13. BBC TV director, producer and writer, Martyn Smith (whose credits include Dragon's Den and The Apprentice), is not the TV producer of the same name “spared jail over child porn offences” as reported on the 22nd of last month, and hurriedly corrected at the time by the newspaper when it was realised an error had been made.

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