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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

2019 trends

The Reuters Institute of Journalism has published its Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions for 2019. The key analysis noted that 2019 will see the use of social media decline among news outlets and social media users alike, and will be the year the ‘regulation of platform companies starts to bite following growing concern about misinformation, privacy, and market power’.

To generate revenue, 52 per cent of the 200 news industry stakeholders surveyed said they would focus on growing their subscription bases, compared with just 27 per cent who said they would focus on display advertising.

In contrast, the report predicts that consumers are becoming more frustrated with paywalls and 2019 will see a rise in paywall-blocking software.

And finally, 75 per cent of respondents said that audio, such as podcasts, will increasingly become an important part of their content and commercial strategies.

Green news

The Guardian has introduced compostable potato starch wrapping for its Saturday magazines, replacing its traditional plastic covering. The wrapping, which can be put into a compost bin, was used this weekend in parts of the country and will be extended across the UK soon. Editor-in-chief Katherine Viner announced the change on Twitter.

Fake news

Americans over 65 are more likely to share fake news on social media, according to research from New York and Princeton universities. Findings show that age trumped education, sex, race, income or party affiliation to determine how likely someone is to share fake news. Over 65s shared nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the 18 to 29 age group. On average, 8.5 per cent of Facebook users who took part in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site. Around 18 per cent of Republicans shared fake news links compared with less than four per cent of Democrats.

Alexa!

The New York Times has announced a three-minute ‘flash news briefing’ for Alexa-enabled devices. The Sunday edition of the paper will include prompts that readers can use to ask Alexa to expand on stories in the travel, book and arts and leisure sections. Monica Drake, assistant managing editor, said: ‘This is innovation with a print element as well’.

Revenue rollercoaster 2.0

News Group Newspapers, the publisher of titles including The Sun and The Sun on Sunday, saw its turnover fall five per cent to £401.4 million in the year to 1 July 2018. The drop was attributed to ‘the continuing industry-wide decline in print newspaper circulation in the popular segment’. In contrast, turnover was up two per cent year-on-year at The Times reaching £326.4 million. This meant The Times and Sunday Times publisher was able to secure a 2018 pre-tax profit of £9.6 million. ‘Growth in digital subscription and digital advertising revenues’ were credited for the positive figures.

BBC vs. RT

Russia has accused the BBC of promoting terrorist propaganda after the broadcaster published quotes from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, in conflict with Russian anti-extremism legislation. Media in Russia is banned from publishing the statements from the leaders or supporters of blacklisted terrorist organisations. The Russian state media regulator alleged in December that the BBC World News Channel and website (both of which are available in Russian) have broken Russian law. The investigation was announced just hours after Ofcom said that Russian state broadcaster RT breached UK impartiality laws in its reports on the Salisbury poisoning.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Nathalie Thomas has resumed her position as energy correspondent for the Financial Times.

David Taylor is leaving the Guardian’s US team to join Tortoise Media. The platform, which focuses on ‘slow news’ was launched by the former director of news at the BBC, James Harding, earlier this year.

Harry Pettit has been appointed senior digital technology and science reporter at The Sun.

Kate Ferguson is joining The Sun as Westminster correspondent. She is moving from her position as political correspondent at MailOnline.

Sarah Shearman is now a social enterprise correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Tina Daheley has been announced as the newsreader for the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2.

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