Media in the Press 23.3.11

Post-graduate Investigative Journalism student, Elizabeth Thomson, casts her eyes over the media stories making today’s newspapers…..

There is no question, the top media story of the day concerns the BBC. The Scottish Daily Mail (page 25) reports that, as a result of planned 20 per cent spending cuts, much of BBC2’s daytime output could be scrapped and replaced with rolling news, while regional TV and radio are also at risk. 

Overnight programming disappearing from the schedule has been described by Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, as “a theoretical possibility”, reports The Scotsman (page 25).

It all stems from a freeze, agreed last year between the BBC and the UK Government in Westminster, that the TV licence fee be frozen for the next six years.

The Scottish Sun (page 3) warns that some of the BBC’s most popular output, such as The Graham Norton Show and Match of the Day, are under threat as they are transmitted after 10.30pm. Other suggestions include repeating popular programmes, such as South Riding, up to as many as four times a week.

Meanwhile, The Scottish Daily Express (page 16) reports that a proposed late-night switch off could save the BBC £150 million. Writes Elisa Roche: “Cutting local radio and replacing daytime shows with just the news” is one of the proposals. Some Asian networks, says Roche, have already been cut in a bid to save money.

The Herald reports that another proposed cost-saving tactic for the BBC may be to screen an increased number of shows produced in Scotland across the entire UK network.

According to arts correspondent, Phil Miller, this would lead BBC viewers to see Scottish programming as “better value for money”. Thompson has also proposed scrapping regional output on BBC2, thus placing the future of Newsnight Scotland in jeopardy. However, a BBC source is quoted as saying: “None of this has been decided, it is all blue-sky thinking at the moment.” The proposals will be submitted to the governing body, the BBC Trust, in July.

Elsewhere, the Daily Record reports that radio station, talkSPORT’s advertising turnover grew by 27 per cent last year, delivering “market-beating advertising sales”. This has been attributed in part to “the World Cup and a loyal male audience”.

And finally, according to the Scottish Daily Mail (page 7), Pulitzer-prize winning photographer, Lynsey Addario, claims to have been molested by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya. Addario was held hostage for six days along with three other U.S. journalists.

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