Welcome to Lexington’s weekly round-up of media news and the latest moves in journalism.


Online wins

Digital advertising revenue from the MailOnline now exceeds the amount generated from print advertising in the Daily Mail. The ‘important milestone’ was achieved thanks to a 5 per cent year-on-year revenue increase for the MailOnline, which now accounts for 51 per cent of total ad income across the Mail Group (which includes Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday). Overall, however, total ad revenues across the Mail Group suffered a 3 per cent drop because of a 9 per cent fall in print ad profits, which offset the digital gains.

Leveson 2.0

A ‘Leveson 2’ inquiry has been ruled out by the High Court after judges found that David Cameron had not promised a second round. Campaigners including Kate and Gerry McCann had pushed for a second inquiry claiming that when he was Prime Minister, Mr Cameron had made a ‘clear and unambiguous commitment’ during a meeting.  The current Government decided not to proceed with a second press ethics inquiry, a decision that was challenged and taken to the High Court. Delivering their judgement on November 29, the judges said that although they felt sympathy for the claimants: ‘sympathy cannot override the law’ and that there was ‘absolutely no basis for these grounds of claim’. In addition, one judge said that he found it ‘unacceptable’ that the case relied on a covert recording of the meeting with Mr Cameron. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock reacted to the news by tweeting: ‘Victory for the free press!’

PSB United

Ofcom’s chief executive Sharon White delivered a speech to the Freeview/Digital UK conference on Wednesday 28 during which she renewed calls for British public services broadcasters to collaborate on a ‘common platform’. She noted that iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 have ‘tens of millions of registered users between them’ and asked if a combined platform would not have more ‘pulling power’.

Straight talking Serbian

Sources have suggested that growing concerns over Russian propaganda, fake news and a nudge from the British Foreign Office sparked the reopening of the BBC Serbian service in April. The department was closed in 2011 after BBC World Service cuts and was reportedly not on the longlist of services to be reintroduced until the FCO advocated it. The BBC decides which foreign news services to offer on the basis of ‘need’ and ‘want’, and a subsequent independent BBC assessment found a lack of unbiased media. A team of eight is now based in Belgrade with Serbian being the newest of the BBC’s 40 languages. Elsewhere, Channel 4 has paired with Ladbible in an attempt to reach a younger audience for its foreign affairs journalism.  As part of the agreement, Channel 4 will provide film content from the series Unreported World for Ladbible who will then edit together social media videos for a five-part online documentary series. Ladbible recently bought out rival Unilad and now claims to be the ‘largest social video publisher ever’.




Quentin Letts announced he is to leave the Daily Mail. He will join News UK and write for The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

Hanna Geisler is now a health reporter at the Daily Express.

Andrew Gregory has been appointed health editor at The Sunday Times.

Slavea Chankova is now a healthcare correspondent at The Economist, focusing on policy.

Alice Fulwood has joined The Economist to cover pharmaceuticals.

Sarah Barns has been appointed digital editor at The Sun.

Jonathan Jones is now a personal finance reporter at The Daily Telegraph.

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