The Media in the Press 7.4.10

MA Journalism student, Matthew Nelson, casts his eyes over the media stories making it into the pages of today's press…

The BBC is again being criticised for allegedly paying some its presenters exorbitant wages. An old story, with a new angle, this time the Corporation is being attacked for how much it is paying its radio presenters and being secretive about details.

Four years ago, the Corporation was slammed for reportedly agreeing an £18 million – over three years – with TV and radio presenter, Jonathan Ross.

In today's Herald, page 5, the headline reads: 'MPs Slam BBC Over Pay Deals for its Top Radio Presenters'. Writes Sherna Noah, the BBC has “been criticised for paying some radio presenters twice the amount commercial stations give their stars”.

According to a report written by MPs on the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, the BBC spends taxpayers’ money “without full analysis of cost and benefits”. The report also asserted that the Corporation, is not “properly held to account” for the way it spends money.

The Scotsman also picks up the story, on page 7, again with Noah's byline. She writes the BBC has come under fire for “driving up salaries” and “signing confidentiality agreements with some stars”.

Says The Herald, figures released by the Corporation show that the BBC dished out a mammoth £229 million in wages alone in 2008/09.

Staying with The Herald, and the editor of the Radio 4’s Today Programme has defended remarks he made about female presenters on BBC news programmes. Ceri Thomas was reported to have said that “looking good will suffice” as far as female presenters are concerned.

Writes Ruth Wishart (page 5), Thomas was reported to have criticised female presenters saying they were “too thin-skinned and did not have the skills for the flagship BBC news programme”.

Thomas is quoted, saying: “I did say we don’t have enough women on Today, as presenters, reporters or guests.” Thomas’ testimony continues: “…we’re part of a wider world, in which women have not been represented in senior positions. I said that was changing, and that those changes would feed through Today”.

Journalists and editors alike will have noted with interest that the use of super-injunctions are set to be examined by a committee of lawyers and judges. The measure, used by footballer John Terry earlier this year, prevents journalists to keep both information and the existence of an injunction secret. Says the Guardian (page 16), the committee “represents an unprecedented investigation of the measures”.

Writes reporter, Afua Hirsch, super-injunctions have “been blamed for silencing the press partly because of the cost of having them overturned”.

Staying with The Guardian, and the Press Complaints Commission has spoken out against the findings of a Westminster parliamentary committee that recommended it should have the power to suspend publication of newspapers.

PCC director, Stephen Abell, is quoted, saying the findings were “disappointing”. Abell is sceptical as to how a democratic society could consolidate the sanction of such measures: “As far as the commission can determine, no other analogous body in the civilised world would employ such a sanction.”

And finally, sports TV broadcasters, ESPN, have won the right to supply English Premier League highlights to mobile phone users. Says The Guardian, the package will allow users to access highlights of matches from the final whistle.

Writes Matt Scott, it’s a move “some say could have implications for the BBC’s Match of the Day”. Currently, the BBC’s flagship football highlights programme does not usually air until after 10pm.

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