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

Media News

Smart idea

The Financial Times has become the latest publication to try and leverage the boom in audio listening, launching two new podcasts built for smart speakers. The publication’s interactive Hidden Cities podcast allows listeners to pick their way through nine stories by speaking to the device, while News Briefings provides listeners with a 10-minute summary of the news every weekday at 5am. It comes after research by the FT found that around a fifth of its readers had access to a smart speaker, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Netflix’s Planet

Sir David Attenborough is to narrate an eight-part series on Netflix focusing on the ‘beauty and fragility’ of the natural world. In a major coup for the streaming service, the broadcaster – who typically works on the BBC’s big hits including Blue Planet II, Planet Earth and Dynasties – said the Our Planet series would ‘help bring this important story to millions of people worldwide’.  The series, which took four years to film, is a collaboration between Netflix, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Silverback Films.

No subs please

Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, told an audience of editors last week that he does not subscribe to any British magazines or newspapers. At the annual Society of Editors conference in Salford, he revealed he instead had a Time magazine subscription and listened to BBC Radio 4, as well as watching the news on the BBC’s television channels. According to the Guardian, he added that he ‘generally reads a summary of newspapers and certain comment pieces’.

Million marker

More than a million people from across the world have contributed to the Guardian in the last three years, the publication has said, with half of them providing paid support on an ongoing basis. Katharine Viner, Guardian News and Media’s editor-in-chief, said it showed a new way for journalism to ‘regain its relevance, meaning and trusted place in society’. She added: ‘This entirely new revenue stream of monthly and one-off contributions is now a crucial part of our plan to get the Guardian to break even by next April.’

Comment of the Week

Media Moves

Faisal Islam has been appointed economics editor at the BBC, replacing Kamal Ahmed. He will move from his role as political editor at Sky News in the New Year.

Stephen Matthews has been promoted to health editor at Mail Online.

Carolyn Wickware is now the deputy news editor at The Pharmaceutical Journal.

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