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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

Let the numbers speak

Sunday newspapers have experienced the biggest drop in circulation, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for May. The Sun on Sunday had a 16% year-on-year decline, with the Sunday Express (15%) and The Sunday Telegraph (14%) also experiencing significant losses. The Sunday Times fared slightly better, with only a 9% drop. It has been suggested that the year-on-year decline was exacerbated by the royal wedding last May, which saw extra newspapers printed.

Separately, Channel 4’s 2018 annual report attributes a 9% year-on-year drop in viewing figures for its flagship news programme on increased competition and ‘Brexit fatigue’. The broadcaster also notes that 12% of its news viewers are aged between 16 and 34, more than any other public service broadcaster.

Leadership corner

During a Mail on Sunday interview this weekend, Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt promised to reinstate monthly prime ministerial press conferences ‘to ensure he is subjected to proper “scrutiny”’.

It also appears that the Conservative leadership hopefuls have figured out that digital is the future, with some reportedly hiring former Sky producer Craig Dillon to cut them sleek campaign clips for social media. Politico interviewed Dillon, who runs a team of nine at Westminster Digital, about his work producing videos for MPs late last week. He tries to emulate American politics, stressing the importance of a comprehensive digital strategy: ‘A lot of what we do is take inspiration from how the Americans run — you could be running to be mayor of some tiny little town and they will have a digital team and a strategy, whereas here you have got MPs that have one member of staff with them.’

Digital trends

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has collected and analysed data from 40 countries across six continents for its Digital News Report 2019. The report found:

  • Almost two-thirds of people feel the media are good at keeping them up to date (62%), but are less good at helping them understand the news (51%).
  • 32% of people say that they actively avoid the news. This figure has risen 11% over two years in the UK because of boredom, anger or sadness about Brexit.
  • 70% of Britons and 67% of Americans say they are worried about what is real and fake on the internet, compared with just 38% of people in Germany and 31% in the Netherlands.

The report also found that just over four in 10 people in the UK go to a news website or application first when using a smartphone. This number drops in the younger age groups, with almost half (44%) of under 35s going to social media first and only a third (34%) going direct.  Meanwhile, across the globe people are spending more time on WhatsApp and Instagram than this time last year, although Facebook remains the most important social network for news.

Brexit boost

Brexitcast, the BBC podcast hosted by Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler, Chris Mason and Adam Fleming, has been commissioned as a TV show. From September, Brexitcast will air at 11.30pm on Thursdays. It’s worth noting that the chatty and relaxed show will be replacing Andrew Neil’s political roundup, This Week.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Jon Stone is now writing a transport policy column for the Independent.

Jack Maidment is now deputy political editor at the Mail Online.

Ben Gartside now covers Brexit and politics at Yahoo! Finance.

Janina Conboye will now be covering transport at the Financial Times.

Laura Onita has joined The Telegraph as a retail correspondent.

Tom McTague is leaving his position as chief political correspondent at Politico to join The Atlantic.

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