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


And now over to Jon Snow in the studio for A Period Of Deep Self-Reflection

Channel 4 News has announced a new policy banning non-political journalists from tweeting about politics. This will include reporters such as Health and Social Care Correspondent Victoria Macdonald. The decision comes during what one Channel 4 source described as a “period of deep self-reflection” for the broadcaster after two run-ins with Boris Johnson’s campaign team during the election.

The ban on Channel 4 News non-political journalists is expected to continue into the new year as the broadcaster reviews internal policies around journalists posting on social media. This comes after reports last month that the BBC is also considering restricting its journalists’ use of Twitter. This could mean top correspondents like Laura Kuenssberg could be told to move away from using online platforms to break stories or offer instant analysis, and ensure political updates can’t sidestep press regulation scrutiny.

Required: single weirdos

On Friday many newspapers splashed on a job advert posted by Dominic Cummings. Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser called for “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to help deliver his dream of a revolution in the structure and personnel of Government. In a 2,900 blog post published on Thursday night, Mr Cummings requested “super brainy eccentrics” to apply to work in No10, complaining the civil service lacked people with “deep expertise in specific fields”.

The ex-Vote Leave boss, who has long dreamed of shaking up Whitehall, asked for the help of “unusual mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists” and “unusual software developers” to work on AI, data science and communications problems. He also called for “some true wild cards”, as well as “artists”, “great project managers” and “people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole”.

But he warned: “I don’t want confident public school bluffers…If you play office politics, you will be discovered and immediately binned.” Mr Cummings said: “You will not have weekday date nights, you will sacrifice many weekends — frankly it will hard having a boy/girlfriend at all.” Many of his swipes at the civil service are likely to only reinforce hostility towards him, notably the suggestion he would hire and fire at will.

BBC seeks to settle equal pay cases

The BBC has approached some of the women that have brought equal pay cases against the broadcaster in advance of presenter Samira Ahmed’s employment tribunal verdict due early this year. In October 2019, the presenter claimed being paid one-sixth of Jeremy Vine’s salary amounted to unfair treatment. The high profile gender pay gap case brought embarrassing details of the broadcaster’s inner workings into the public domain, which the corporation is eager to avoid happening again and so is now reportedly pursuing hasty settlements.

One source told the Guardian: “They’ve spent huge amount of money telling women they don’t have a claim – but now they’re approaching women as they head to tribunal and offering to make it go away”.

Equal pay cases allege that a woman was paid less than a man for doing the same or equivalent work for reasons of gender. At least a dozen long-running cases are understood to be still active, the former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie said in October.

UK spent a record £3bn on streaming services in 2019

As high street sales of DVDs and CDs continue to plummet, figures reveal more than 80% of entertainment spending is now on subscription-based services including streaming films, music and TV shows. The latest annual sales and spending figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) reveal the total UK entertainment market grew by 2.4%, hitting a record £7.8bn consumer spending in 2019.

The rise in popularity of internet-based streaming giants like Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Spotify “has created the biggest revolution in UK leisure habits in history,” according to Kim Bayley, chief executive of the ERA.

The digital streaming video revolution, on platforms like Amazon’s Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV, were the fastest-growing entertainment sector, up 9.5% to £2.6bn, driving revenues to £2.1bn, up 21.5% from last year. By comparison, a decade ago digital video revenues stood at just £154m.

This year British consumers spent £400m less on buying and renting CDs, DVDs and video console games than they did the previous year. In just a decade the physical entertainment market has shrunk by 70%, from £4.7bn in 2010 to £1.4bn in 2019.

Goodbye BrexitCentral

Following the election of a majority government indisputably committed to getting Brexit done, BrexitCentral has today announced its final chapter after three years and four months guiding loyal readers through our journey leaving the EU. The publication reflected on the 500 authors it hosted debating the twists and turns of seeing the referendum result delivered, including interviews with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove. But the organizers, run by former Vote-Leave campaigners, revealed not all is over yet, as they will also be running a series of Brexit reflections during the next month from a number of their most popular authors.


Amol Rajan, BBC media editor, wrapped up his nine media predictions for 2020, including more about the case for limiting your web browsing for environmental reasons, a buyer for ITV, rumours that Daily Mail publisher DMGT could buy the Telegraph and the rise of Huawei ushering in 5G….


Lauren Indvik has now started her new role as Fashion Editor at the Financial Times, where she will oversee the title’s fashion and style coverage. Lauren was previously Chief Editor at Vogue Business.

Will Kennedy has been appointed Global Executive Editor for energy and commodities coverage at Bloomberg, based in London.

Stuart Wallace has been appointed News Director for the EMEA region at Bloomberg, based in London.

David Martosko will be leaving his role as US Political Editor at MailOnline in two weeks, seven years after launching their political team in Washington DC.

Duncan Robinson has now started his new role as Charlemagne Columnist and Brussels Bureau Chief for The Economist. He was previously a London-based Political Correspondent at the title.

Tom Knowles has relocated to London and continues to serve as Technology Correspondent for The Times. He was previously based in San Francisco for the title.

Arifa Akbar has now started her new role as Chief Theatre Critic at The Guardian. She was previously Arts Editor at Tortoise Media, and also contributed to The Guardian on a freelance basis.

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