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Welcome to Lexington’s weekly round-up of media news and the latest moves in journalism. To subscribe please email communications@lexcomm.co.uk. 

MEDIA NEWS

UK Broadcasters Unite

BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have this week joined forces for the first time to broadcast a short film simultaneously across their major channels. On Wednesday evening, before each channel’s 9pm slot, 21 services broadcasted the film, titled Our Stories, in a celebration of the role broadcasters have played in bringing people together before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The launch aimed to reach 50% of the country’s adult population.

The two-minute film centres on the message that “our stories are your stories”. Making a case for TV broadcasters in a world that is rapidly changing its viewing habits, the film works to remind the general public their country needs them, by highlighting the crucial role they play. The film aims to depict how over the past few months, at a time of national crisis, the broadcasters have taken it upon themselves to keep their ears close to the ground and respond to the needs of the nation.

Mirror and Express owner to cut 550 jobs

The owner of the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star is set to cut 550 jobs – 12% of its workforce – because of falling income amid reduced demand for advertising. Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, said its group revenue had plummeted by 27.5% during the second quarter of this year, as the pandemic impacted on newspaper sales. The company, which also owns hundreds of regional papers including the Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo, said more people had been reading the news online over the past three months, with more than 2.5 million customers registering, but this was not enough to offset the loss in income.

Meanwhile, Reach, Newsquest and BBC Cymru Wales bosses have been asked to reconsider job cuts in Wales by the first minister Mark Drakeford who said they will ‘harm democracy’. Newsquest is losing 25 posts at its Welsh titles, including the South Wales Argus, and about 60 jobs are also expected to go across BBC Wales to save the corporation an estimated £4.5m.

This comes as LBC’s Ian Dale reported on rumours that the BBC is planning to axe Jo Coburn’s Politics Live and Andrew Neil’s weekly interview show, leaving The Andrew Marr Show and Question Time.

COVID-19 Anti-Vaxxers fears

A poll from Sky has suggested that Britons who rely on social media more than traditional platforms for information are less likely to say they would get a vaccine for coronavirus. The survey, conducted on behalf of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), coincides with the release of a report into the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation online. CCDH said its polling results come amid a dramatic rise in the popularity of anti-vaccine social media pages and channels, with 7.7 million more social media users following such accounts since the outbreak of coronavirus. CCDH said its research indicated that social media companies had chosen to adopt lenient policies on anti-vaccine content, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube promising only to reduce the ease with which users could find the content, but refusing to remove pages or groups which promoted it.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation is currently questioning executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter about actions they have taken to tackle an ‘infodemic’ of misinformation about Covid-19.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Ofcom has published the results from week 14 of its survey into how people are getting news and information about the crisis.

Fieldwork took place 26-28 June, asking people about their habits and attitudes in the previous seven days. The results found that more than eight in ten people (85%) are still accessing news about Covid-19 at least once a day (vs. 99% in week one). Over 55s are most likely to access news about Covid-19 at least once a day (91%) and 16-24s are least likely (77%). Less than one in twenty (4%) are now accessing news about the pandemic at least twenty times a day (vs. 24% in week one).

MEDIA MOVES

Nick Beake will soon be starting his new role as Brussels Correspondent at the BBC, covering Brexit, UK-EU trade deal talks and stories across Europe. He was previously Myanmar Correspondent at the broadcaster.

The Financial Times has launched a new podcast, Payne’s Politics, hosted by Whitehall Correspondent Sebastian Payne. The podcast appears every Saturday and includes insightful expert analysis on what’s happening in Westminster. It will also be producing in-depth policy interviews every fortnight.

Frances Perraudin has been appointed News Editor at the The Guardian.

Owenna Griffiths has been appointed Editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, stating in September. She will succeed Sarah Sands, who will be departing the BBC.

India Bourke has been appointed International Online Editor at the New Statesman. She was previously a Hong Kong-based journalist at the AFP.

 

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