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

MEDIA NEWS

Tweet to Fleet

LinkedIn and Twitter have this week both revealed they are testing new features in a bid to fight for our rapidly dwindling attention span. Reuters reported that Twitter is testing tweets in Brazil that disappear after 24 hours, similar to the stories feature by Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram. Called “fleets”, the vanishing messages are viewed by tapping on a user’s profile picture, and people can react to them only with direct messages. Meanwhile, LinkedIn revealed it is testing a “stories” feature internally that it hopes will bring “creativity and authenticity” to business conversations on its network.

Media Research Consultant Emma Stanworth comments:

Ever since Snapchat introduced the ephemeral “stories” format in 2013, it has been copied by Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube as the threat of a permanent record of our social media posts lingers. The move comes as social media companies look to make their platforms more user-friendly and bring in more people through measures such as allowing people to follow topics and by trying to clean up abusive content.

Murdoch Junior invests in the fight against fake news

The younger son of Rupert Murdoch, James, is making a seven-figure investment in start-ups that tackle disinformation and foster a “more sustainable news ecosystem”. It comes weeks after he criticised his father’s news outlets, which include The Times and The Sun, for promoting false skepticism about climate change.

Britain ‘crazy’ to throw BBC away

The new culture secretary says the BBC is an “an institution to be cherished”, in a change from some of the Government briefing against the broadcaster in recent weeks. Oliver Dowden, who is overseeing the consultation on whether to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee, warned that the UK would be “crazy to throw [the BBC] away” but suggested the corporation had failed to reflect recent social movements such as Brexit. The Secretary of State echoed his predecessor in warning that the BBC needs to better reflect the views of people outside London, and report on the country with “genuine impartiality” and a “genuine diversity of thought and experience”.

In a nod to recent research suggesting trust in commercial TV news providers such as Sky News and CNN is marginally higher than trust in the BBC, Dowden commented: “Ultimately, if people don’t perceive impartiality, then they won’t believe what they see and read, and they’ll feel it is not relevant to them. In an age of fake news and self-reinforcing algorithms, the need for genuine impartiality is greater than ever.”

LAUNCH OF THE WEEK

Sam Joiner is now managing the newly created data and digital storytelling desk at The Times and Sunday Times, covering data and visual journalism, bespoke projects and new formats for reporting. The data and interactive teams at the titles will be combined.

One of the interactive team’s recent projects includes this tree-ring map covering how often constituencies change hands, which was released during the 2019 General Election.

MEDIA MOVES

Lauren Moss has started at BBC Health as a correspondent.

Joey D’Urso has announced he will be joining Buzzfeed UK as media and politics reporter. He is currently a digital journalist at BBC News.

PA Media has appointed Jemma Crew as its first social affairs correspondent.

David Wolf is the new editor of Guardian Long Reads, which features in-depth reporting, essays and profiles.

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