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


She said, he said

The Financial Times has developed a bot to warn journalists if their articles quote too many men. The automatic textual analysis monitors pronouns and first names, and flags an overabundance of male sources. The move comes after it emerged that only 21 per cent of people quoted in the FT were women and editor Lionel Barber tweeted a letter criticising a lack of diversity among columnists. A separate experiment has demonstrated that women are more likely to click on an article showing a picture of a woman and less likely to click on an article with an accompanying picture of only men.


Politico reports this morning that the Prime Minister is to answer ‘newspaper PMQs’ in the Daily Express later in the week as part of Number 10’s PR drive to sell the Brexit deal to the public.

Readership decline

The Metro is the slowest declining national newspaper with only a one per cent drop in year-on-year sales during October 2018, new figures reveal. Conversely, the Daily Telegraph saw the biggest drop, with sales 23 per cent lower than the same period last year. Overall, all papers surveyed by the Audit Bureau of Circulations experienced a fall in circulation during October.

Style over substance?

ShortList magazine, the UK’s biggest men’s magazine (503,000 free weekly copies), is to end. Shortlist Media, who publish the title, is rebranding to become Stylist Group and instead focus on its female-aimed title, Stylist. The decision is said to be representative of the poor state of male-targeted advertising with the company commenting: ‘Stylist Group is investing in building a power brand at a time when feminism and the united force of women has never been more relevant.’

Journo threats

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, has spoken out against the ‘utterly shameful and unacceptable’ threats to journalists being made across the globe. Speaking at the News Xchange conference in Edinburgh, Hall also condemned the abuse that journalists receive on Twitter, calling it ‘almost a campaign to denigrate’ the media profession. Steve Bannon also spoke at the conference, triggering Nicola Sturgeon’s withdrawal from the speaker list and inciting protests outside the event. Organisers defended their invitation saying it was their ‘journalistic responsibility to share and scrutinise a range of relevant viewpoints within the framework of a balanced debate’.



Jasmin Sahota has been appointed social media editor at the Financial Times.

Grace Blakeley is to write a weekly economics column for the New Statesman, starting in January.

Neil Trainis is now the editor of The Independent Community Pharmacist magazine.

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