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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 

Running ahead

We previously reported that ITV News was focusing on content for teens with The Rundown, a news programme published on social media aimed at 14 to 17 year olds. Six weeks on, the programme, which is published weekdays at 3.45pm to coincide with the end of the school day, has achieved more than five million views across Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and Snapchat. Most views have come through Instagram. Each daily bulletin is just two minutes long, containing six stories of 15-20 seconds. A focus group of 24 teenagers convinced ITV News to abandon its teal branding, while they also insisted that the clips should be presented by someone ‘a little bit older than them, a little bit wiser and someone they felt they could trust and aspire to being like’ as opposed to household name broadcasters.

Election corner 2.0

The Liberal Democrats have threatened legal action after the BBC announced a debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on December 6th. The TV debate, which will be hosted by Nick Robinson, will not include leaders from any of the other parties. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that the Party would ‘pursue all options, including legal action, to ensure that our voice is heard in televised leaders’ debates’. BBC head of newsgathering Jonathan Munro wrote in a blog post that both the Lib Dems and the SNP ‘claim to be the third party of British politics’ and asked ‘which of these two claims is more credible?’. The SNP and the Lib Dems will be given equal air time across BBC programming.

The BBC has separate plans to host a TV debate between the seven major political parties on November 29th, also hosted by Nick Robinson. Fiona Bruce will host a Question Time leaders’ special on November 22nd during which Johnson, Corbyn, Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon will take questions from audience members for 30 minutes each. Then, on December 9th , Radio 5 Live and Newsnight presenter Emma Barnett will host a Question Time on BBC One for under-30s.

It’s worth noting that the Lib Dems have already made similar threats to ITV News after a news that debate between Tory and Labour will be hosted by Julie Etchingham on 19th November. The broadcaster will also be hosting a separate seven-way debate.

Play fair

Last week, Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden MP, Home Secretary Priti Patel MP and Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan MP jointly wrote to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google. The letter, which was sent on Tuesday before Parliament was dissolved, spoke of the importance of ensuring that ‘robust debate during the campaign does not mutate into intimidation, harassment and abuse’. It encouraged the social media CEOs to produce advice for candidates on breaching terms and conditions with content, work with political parties to ensure the dissemination of safety guidelines, and to ‘have an open and regular dialogue with the security, policy and electoral authorities’. The letter stopped short of imposing regulations, with the ministers instead ‘trusting’ the social media giants to take ‘the necessary steps’ during the election campaign.

Reporting rules

As the first week of the election campaign drew to a close, independent press regulator IMPRESS and the Market Research Society (MRS) have jointly published guidance for journalists reporting on opinion polls. The guidance aims to improve the quality of reporting on surveys and polling data in the run up to December 12th. It details ‘warning signs’ such as a too small or non-representative sample size, and presents 13 common mistakes, including a lack of understanding of statistics, failing to check figures in a press release carefully and omitting important contextual factors. Ed Procter, COO at IMPRESS, emphasised the importance of journalism ‘particularly around election time when the public needs accountable and accurate information to navigate political messaging and misinformation….our hope is that this guidance will be a useful resource to [journalists] and helps to improve reporting on complex issues such as research and polling’.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Mark Di Stefano announced that he is leaving BuzzFeed UK to join the Financial Times as media and technology correspondent.

Tom Barnes has been appointed assistant news editor at The Independent.

Tom Davidson has been appointed assistant news editor at the Daily Mirror.

Sam Wolfson is now commissioning editor for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine.

Yohann Koshy is now assistant opinon editor at the Guardian.

Diana Magnay is covering the Labour Party’s campaign at Sky News.

Hannah Al-Othman is covering the general election from Manchester for Buzzfeed UK, she will focus on the north of England.

Eleanor Langford has joined PoliticsHome as a reporter.

Rich Knight has been appointed commissioning editor for factual at BBC Radio 4.

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