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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

Sky News… Live

Sky News has published figures detailing that it features, on average, 902 interviewees per month of which 37 per cent are female and 63 per cent are male. Just under 15 per cent are from BAME backgrounds. Commenting on the figures, the broadcaster said its ambition was ‘to be the industry leader for inclusion both on screen and behind the scenes’, adding that it works with ‘external organisations, such as the Journalism Diversity Fund and the Creative Diversity Network, to diversify the talent pipeline’.

Separately – and to mark 30 years of Sky News on February 5, 32 cameras and microphones will be installed around the newsroom to live stream activities for ‘Sky News Raw’. Staff have been warned that ‘sensitive conversations’ will have to take place in meeting rooms to avoid being broadcast.

Trust issues

Mail Online has criticised a US company after it advised readers to ‘proceed with caution’ and claimed the ‘website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy’. Newsguard ranks news websites based on their trustworthiness and claims to ‘give people the information they need to judge the reliability of a website’. Mail Online was given a red rating by the company, the same as RT and Sputnik. Websites are awarded a green rating if they ‘are trying to communicate news, information, and opinion that they believe is accurate’. A Mail Online spokesperson told Press Gazette: ‘We have only very recently become aware of the Newsguard start-up and are in discussions with them to have this egregiously erroneous classification resolved as soon as possible.’

Separation anxiety

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has responded to Rupert Murdoch’s request to pool resources for The Times and The Sunday Times as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Wright published the application and invited comments before he makes a final decision. Separation between the two titles was mandated in 1981 when Murdoch acquired them amid concerns about his hold on the UK media. Now News UK wants the papers to share journalists as ‘the most obvious way to achieve further cost savings without affecting the quality of journalism’.

Top entertainment

BBC Parliament attracted more viewers than the entertainment channel MTV during the turbulent week of January 7. BBC Parliament’s offer of non-stop coverage of Commons debates and select committees tempted an average of 293,000 viewers per day, whilst MTV’s Teen Mom and Geordie Shore only drew in 251,000.

Cuts

BuzzFeed Inc. is to cut 15 per cent of staff, or 250 jobs, as it deals with ‘the evolving economics of digital platforms’, according to CEO Jonah Peretti. BuzzFeed Inc. has seen expansion in recent years with the divergence between BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed News, and was considered by some to be the model for future journalism in a post-print world. Peretti said in a memo to staff that more information on the direction of the company would be announced in the coming days.

Spoons news

Following the news that Tim Martin’s *bestselling* Wetherpoon News magazine was publishing columns from the Financial Times, New Statesman and the Spectator, Mark di Stefano of BuzzFeed News reports that employees at the Spectator were sent vouchers as compensation.

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Ian King’s business slot on Sky News will now be broadcast at 1.30pm Monday to Friday.

The Mail Online’s deputy political editor Tim Sculthorpe has left the website to become Treasury Secretary Liz Truss MP’s new press secretary. Lynn Davidson is also leaving her post as senior reporter for The Sun to become a special adviser to Penny Mordaunt MP.

Madeline Grant has been appointed assistant comment editor at The Daily Telegraph.

Pricilla Balfour has been appointed global diversity and inclusion chief for the Financial Times.

Martin Beckford is now Whitehall editor for The Mail on Sunday.

The Economist has launched a new, current affairs podcast to be presented by Jason Palmer.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

 

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