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Bumper Brexit 

It was a bumper week for Brexit last week, with the ins and outs of our split with the European Union continuing to dominate the front pages and television news. BBC2’s Tuesday night edition of Politics Live was watched by 1.9 million people after Theresa May’s deal was rejected by a staggering majority. The lunchtime show attracted a further half a million viewers, according to Rob Burley, editor of BBC Live Political Progamming. He tweeted: “Who says politics is boring? 1.9m watched Politics Live last night on BBC2 plus more on the News Channel. Biggest number on the night for BBC2. Lunchtime show scored half a million. Thank you for watching.”

On Wednesday all eyes were on the no-confidence vote, which the Government won comfortably (thanks to the DUP). But Metro editor Ted Young was less impressed with the Prime Minister, complaining on Twitter that the timing and banal content of her statement – at 10pm after the vote – had led to huge delays and wasted money for the paper. BBC One was also forced to defend its decision to broadcast the Prime Minister’s statement on BBC Two and delay the News at Ten to ensure uninterrupted coverage of Derby County’s third-round FA Cup win over Southampton. Only 600,000 people switched from the football to watch the news on BBC. The broadcast was also covered live by Sky News and ITV News, with the latter drawing in 3.3 million viewers, almost doubling its normal audience.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s local newspaper, the Islington Tribune, published a wraparound ad on Friday’s edition urging the Labour leader to back a second referendum. The ad, which was purchased by ‘Corbyn-supporting members of anti-Brexit groups’, featured photos of 132 members of the Labour Party and addressed the leader directly.

And it seems that the fascination with Brexit does not stop at British shores. The rights to Channel 4’s Brexit drama, Uncivil War featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, have been bought by broadcasters around the world. Lucky viewers in Russia, the US, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, South Africa, the Middle East and Hong Kong will be able to tune in and entertain themselves at our expense.

Finally, Tim Martin, better known as the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, also produces Wetherspoon News, a magazine with an enviable circulation of 350,000* (*according to a Wetherspoon spokesperson). If the figures are to be believed, this makes him a more successful publisher than The Spectator, Prospect, New Statesman, and The Week. But Martin is facing legal trouble after reprinting columns from The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and the Financial Times, apparently without permission. Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, said that he was ‘seeking compensation in the form of Spoons vouchers’. The Spectator is, incidentally, enjoying the highest rate of subscriptions in January since records began in 1828.


JPI Media, publisher of many local papers across the UK, has launched its #Buyapaper campaign on Twitter ‘to raise awareness for the local newspaper industry’. The hashtag was the third most retweeted in the UK on Thursday 17  – with even the Guardian, a national paper, encouraging readers to ‘support the 1,000 local news titles in the UK’. Separately, The Manchester Evening News – one of the country’s most successful regionals – announced it is launching a Sunday paper to serve a ‘city that never takes a day off’.


New York Times political editor, Patrick Healy, has begun tweeting threads for context around political stories to help build trust amongst readers. Healy said he wanted to be more transparent with readers, so they understood why certain stories were chosen over others and how they are framed. The first thread explains how a piece on whether a woman will win the 2020 presidential election was produced.

You’re hired!

Nick Hewer, former aide to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, is to host a podcast from the Department for International Trade as part of the government’s ‘Exporting is GREAT’ drive. During Local to Global’s six episodes, Nick will interview entrepreneurs and CEOs for ‘insights on growing their UK businesses around the world’.

Pay up

Netflix is to raise the price of its subscription to cover $13 billion worth of investment in new content throughout 2019. Netflix boasts 139 million subscribers, and added 8.8 million more in the last three months of 2018 – mostly from outside the USA.

Facebook invests

Facebook has announced a further $300 million investment over the next three years to support local news around the world. Facebook stressed that this money will not be tied to its own products as previous investments in news outlets encouraged publishers to deliver news through Facebook’s channels. Vice president of Global News Partnerships at Facebook, Campbell Brown, said it had ‘responsibility’ to ‘help local news organisations grow and thrive’.




George Underwood has joined pharmaphorum as features editor.

Gabriella Swerling will join The Daily Telegraph in March as social and religious affairs editor.

Yannick Guerry is now the editor of Insurance Times.

Adam Payne has been appointed senior political reporter at Business Insider UK.

Daniel Hewitt has been appointed political correspondent at ITV News.

The Wharf, a magazine published by Reach PLC since 1998 and targeted at people living in the Canary Wharf and Docklands area, has closed.

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