Women ‘locked out’ of coronavirus reporting

Women’s voices have been ‘worryingly marginalised’ in reporting of COVID-19, partly due to a ‘war-like’ framing of the pandemic, according to a report analysing news stories across the UK, US, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and India. The report, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that each woman’s voice in news coverage of the crisis is ‘drowned out’ by at least three men.

The study said the pandemic had exacerbated the lack of women’s voices in the news, particularly in the UK and US. Across the six countries, on average, only one in five (19%) experts quoted in highly-ranked coronavirus stories were women, while fewer than one in four protagonists in the stories analysed were women. The researchers explained that the inequality is partly to do with the ‘war framing’ of the crisis – a metaphor that excludes women because ‘wars are traditionally perceived as a male domain’ according to the report’s authors.

Andrew Neil to head up new channel GB News

Readers will remember that this newsletter recently reported on plans to launch a ‘Fox News-style’ news channel here in the UK. Over the last week, Andrew Neil has announced he is leaving the BBC after 25 years to head up new channel GB News as presenter and chairman. It is tipped to be to be similar in style to opinion-led US networks – featuring anchors with ‘attitude’ and ‘a bit of edge’. Neil will lead the programme line-up with a primetime evening slot.

Plans are in place for ‘Britain’s news channel’, aimed at those who feel ‘underserved and unheard by their media’, to launch early next year. Andrew Neil has emphasised that the new channel will not offer rolling news but will instead be driven by presenters with ‘personalities’.


Bake Off secures biggest audience of 2020

Channel 4 has nabbed its biggest audience of the year so far with the first episode of the latest series of The Great British Bake Off on Tuesday. The 11th series of the show attracted a peak audience of 7.9 million viewers at 9pm, according to overnight figures from the broadcaster. It certainly seems that the public are looking for escapism from coronavirus news, as the average audience for the whole episode was 6.9 million – a 32% share of the total audience watching TV during that period.

It means that the episode was the biggest overnight series launch to date on Channel 4. The show also pulled in a 56% share of the highly coveted 16 to 34-year-old demographic, making it the biggest show on TV this year for this age group – not counting addresses from the Prime Minister and The Queen.



Charlotte Middlehurst has been appointed Editor of the Financial Times’ LongStoryShort newsletter, described as a thought-provoking selection of the week’s best stories.

Ben McLannahan has left his role as Markets News Editor at the Financial Times, Ian Smith remains Deputy Markets News Editor.

Ben Lazarus will be joining The Spectator in October, he leaves his role as Assistant Features Editor at the Mail on Sunday.


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