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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

Radio wins

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has halted its audience decline, surpassing 7 million weekly listeners for the first time in a year. Quarterly RAJAR figures also show that it was good news for Zoe Ball, who took over Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 show in January. She has maintained an audience of over 9 million listeners, only 18,000 fewer than Evans had during his final three months at the BBC. LBC also celebrated a ‘record high’ of 2.3 million weekly listeners, thanks to Eddie Mair’s move and Nick Ferrari’s breakfast show, which now attracts 1.3 million listeners per week.

Combining the audience figures for the BBC and commercial radio reveals that nearly 90% of people across the UK tune in to radio each week, with the average listener consuming 20.9 hours of live radio per week.

Print suffers… again

The Sunday Times newspaper experienced the smallest drop in circulation among paid-for titles, according to April’s Audit Bureau of Circulation figures. The Sunday paper saw a 4% year-on-year drop in sales, followed by the Guardian (5%) and the Observer and The Times (both 6%). The Telegraph titles fared worse, with the daily edition falling by 11% and the Sunday paper falling by 10%.

This is an emergency…

The Guardian has updated its style guide, advising reporters to refer to a ‘climate emergency’ instead of ‘climate change’. Editor-in-chief Katherine Viner wrote to staff noting that the paper has been reviewing the words it uses to cover the environment to ‘accurately reflect the phenomena they describe’. Suggested changes include ‘global heating’ instead of ‘global warming’ and ‘wildlife’ instead of ‘biodiversity’. While the original terms are not banned, reporters are asked to ‘think twice before using them’.

The numbers speak for themselves

Nearly 75% of BBC news and current affairs programmes have had an equal number of male and female expert contributors over the last year. The BBC launched its 50:50 challenge in April 2018, with 20 external media companies, including the Financial Times and ABC News, since signing up to replicate the pledge.
Meanwhile, the National Audit Office found that the BBC has reduced its spend on presenters from £194.2 million in 2013/4 to £147.6 million in 2017/8. A total of 21,583 full-time staff were employed by BBC Group in 2017/18 and the organisation shelled out £1,092 million to pay staff salaries over the same period. The BBC’s median gender pay gap was 7.6% in 2018, down from 9.3% in 2017.

Trust in me

New data from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project has found that 83% of British people say that they don’t trust information on social media ‘very much or at all’. Social media was the least trusted source of information in 15 out of 22 countries surveyed, with Britons being the most distrustful. Sweden was the second most distrustful (81%), followed by France (79%). Conversely, Britain was most trustful of national TV news channels (61%).

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

The Telegraph’s consumer affairs editor Katie Morley is now the paper’s Consumer Champion. She has launched a new column, ‘Katie Morley Investigates’, which will be published each weekend.

Stuart Millar has been appointed UK editor at BuzzFeed. He was previously head of news.

David Hughes is now political editor at Press Association.

David Hodari is now covering oil and energy for The Wall Street Journal, based in London.

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