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Listen to the latest editionHomepage of The Media Show, Radio4's weekly look at the media.  Wednesday 1.30pm.

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11 March 2009

Bridgend, Viviane Reding and the "Crown Jewels" of British Sport
Steve Hewlett discusses the future for broadcasting the "crown jewels" of British sport, changes to the Editor's Code relating to reporting suicide and speaks to Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information, Society and Media.

The Editor's Code and Reporting Suicide

BridgendYesterday the second edition of the Editor's Codebook was published, containing new advice on how to report suicides following the deaths of young people in Bridgend last year. Madeleine Moon, Labour MP for Bridgend, and Neil Wallis, Executive Editor of The News of the World, join Steve to discuss the recommendations.

"Crown Jewels" of British Sport

Six Nations Rugby; one of the "crown jewels" of British sport.As MP David Davis conducts his independent review of government's listed-events legislation, Head of BBC Sport, Roger Mosey and David Wheeldon of Sky, discuss the future for broadcasting the "crown jewels" of British sport.

Viviane Reding

Viviane RedingViviane Reding is the European Commissioner for Information, Society and Media. She joins Steve to discuss broadband access across Europe, internet safety, product placement in TV programmes and the future for Mobile TV.

Comments on Today's Show

'Crown jewels' of British Sport:
I am staggered that Steve Hewlett managed to compere a discussion between representatives of the BBC and Sky without once raising the issue of those people who are excluded from access to many sports - not just the national events - because they cannot afford the subscription. Was he warned off because this would have given the Sky bloke an opening to question the license fee? The BBC rep admitted to having had a Sky subscription for years. Hence presumably the lameness of his defence of the rights of the viewing public.
John Broad

I think there should be more sports on the crown jewels list.The Sky person is just concerned about profit profit and more profit.He dosen't care about the pensioner,the person on incapacity benefit who cannot afford the huge prices of sky tv.I think people should boycott sky and then the sports would be on terrestial tv and the BBC does have the red button on which they broadcast TMS and I may also point out that the BBC did go open ended before transmission of Test Cricket stopped.
Neville Gregory.

I listen to the show via podcast.I write with an alternative perspective concerning televised sports coverage, but would like to ‘lead in’ via reference to a recent BBC2 television programme - Newsnight Review - which posed the question 'is TV dead?'TELEVISION: 'IS TV DEAD' OR 'IS CONTENT ALL'?A blog is available for the show and a fair number of people have taken the trouble to respond to the issues raised by the guest panel in this way. However, whilst I usually find the programme both interesting and entertaining, the same cannot be reasonably said about BBC blogs! The focus of the said programme was pretty much that of 'content' being the primary factor determining the success or otherwise of TV. This debate, I think, misses a crucial premise: being that of how we [the public] 'consume' television. To quickly tackle that one before it gets out of hand, I do not eat my television and have never tried to do so, but my point here may be best made by drawing a parallel with the changes and/or dilemmas facing the music industry.Could the same question be posed as to whether 'music is dead'; moreover, is there a fear that music is getting worse and thus contributing to the apparent problems in this sector? If so, how could we assess that - other than purely on the basis of sales? Surely, the obvious conclusion to be drawn from this line of argument is that charts – whether they be for music buying or TV viewing figures – will effectively determine what content is most available for our entertainment.TELEVISION – WHAT TO DEBATE?To offer some form of alternative premise for such a debate, what if: the public 'plugs in' to a public service digital fibre optic network (since that is accepted as the most technologically advanced option), a network that would be 'fed' by television franchise companies (franchises with profiles such as BBC 1 or BBC 3, etc.), franchises that are offered by the government of the day via the appropriate government office body (I find it difficult to mention Ofcom in this respect), with a corresponding local/regional/national range, and that are themselves provided for by programme/film making companies. TELEVISED SPORT'Sport' is a difficult topic to tackle in this context, in that the argument has to be profoundly expanded to consider the concept of specific sport-related television franchises being actually combined with sport franchises themselves, if such were to exist in British sporting 'markets'. The plot does rather 'thicken' drastically at this point, but such [sports] franchises might operate on the basis of combined multi-sport (Olympic-type) hubs at a county level, with single (or specified group of) sports franchises operating at a more local level - all of which would see the provision of television sports programming as part of the revenue stream for the sport franchisee, rather than a television franchise or television programme maker.AND WHAT ABOUT 'THE NEWS'The Media Show has broached this subject from the point of view of local newspapers, but it will simply dilute what has already been put forward thus far. Although, it is somewhat ironic that BBC competes against much of the newspaper sector in the form of its online news website! That said, it is not to say that everything has to migrate to the ‘digital age’, but that the industry is in a state of flux which may [eventually] see a resultant industry ‘split’ between freebie local [advertising] papers, that people mainly read whilst travelling, and international multimedia groups – a sort of ‘tescoisation’ in yet another commercial sector!Virtually all media industry debates [particularly where the public sector is involved] remain 'tough nuts to crack', but it is so infuriating [to say the least] to have all such arguments 'boiled down' to that of privatisation in all its various guises, and in which [dare I say] Ofcom is likely to follow suit!What say you?
John Cooper
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The Media Show

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1 October 2008
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8 October 2008
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18 February 2009
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25 February 2009
Dawn Airey, Disability on TV and Facebook
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18 March 2009
Christopher Meyer, Metro at Ten, Phorn and Impartial Drama

25 March 2009
Future of Journalism, Obama, Radio Caroline

Steve Hewlett

Steve Hewlett

Steve Hewlett is a Guardian Columnist and broadcasting consultant. He is visiting Professor of Journalism and Broadcast policy at Salford University and a fellow of the Royal Television Society.

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