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

Media News 

  • The BBC is expected to reduce the number of journalists covering political party conferences as it moves to concentrate on ‘core news coverage only’, according to The Times. In previous years, the corporation has reportedly taken up to 80 members of staff. A spokesman told the paper the move would not reduce the ‘strength or breadth of our coverage in any way’.
  • Peter Sands, a newspaper consultant and former editor of the Northern Echo, sought the view of 15 leading regional editors to see what they thought the essential ingredients are for a successful local paper. He found that while the letters pages are dwindling, awards ceremonies associated with print newspapers are still successful and can be used to create a true connection with the community. Investigations and campaigns are seen as less important by some editors, while photographs of people have always been (and still are) a top reason why locals buy a paper.  Read more here.
  • Trinity Mirror has suggested reports that a deal to purchase the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers is imminent are down to ‘media speculation’. Several outlets, including the Telegraph and Sky News, reported over the weekend that the sale of the publications could come as soon as this week. But this morning, the publisher released a statement clarifying that ‘discussions are ongoing’. It added: ‘There can be no certainty that a deal will be agreed.’ See Press Gazette’s coverage here.
  • Culture Secretary Matt Hancock delighted Twitter users on Thursday as he launched his new app: a social network where constituents (and others fans) can keep up with his every move and exchange views. The idea was to ‘engender a community dialogue’. The reaction? ‘Anyone who fancies beers tonight, Matt Hancock me,’ one Twitter user quipped. According to the Newmarket Journal, Mr Hancock later said he was ‘delighted’ by the reaction, adding: ‘We have never laughed so hard in the office. My favourite was the guy who said that he was leaving Tinder for it.’
  • Local newspapers and websites will be bolstered by Facebook’s latest move after the company announced it will be showing more content from them in people’s news feeds. The trial, which will push stories from local publishers into the news feed of readers in a small geographical area if they like a page or if their friends share a story, will first run in the US before expanding to other countries later this year.  Read more here.
  • Thursday’s papers were focused on one thing: BBC pay. Wednesday had seen the Culture Select Committee hear compelling evidence from Carrie Gracie, who resigned as the corporation’s China editor last month in protest at its ‘secretive and illegal’ pay culture. In the hearing, Gracie – who was supported by a group of former and current female BBC presenters – criticised the findings of a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which concluded there was no evidence of gender bias, and warned the BBC its handling of the pay crisis was approaching a ‘Greek tragedy’. Director-General Tony Hall apologised to Gracie. Read the Guardian’s take on the day here.

Media Moves 

  • The New Scientist has named its first female editor in its 60-year history. Emily Wilson, an assistant editor at the Guardian, will take on the role. She said: ‘Science and technology have never been more important, and the need to understand what is going on in the world of science becomes ever more central to people’s lives.’ Read more here.
  • The 18th editor at Tatler has been revealed as Richard Dennen, previously features writer-at-large for the Mail on Sunday. He promises his Tatler will ‘access an even wider world, featuring arresting and impossibly glamorous fashion and lifestyle’.
  • Peter Barron, the head of communications and public affairs for EMEA at Google and former boss of BBC Newsnight, is stepping down after nearly a decade at the tech giant in favour of renovating a barn in Spain – no word on his replacement just yet.

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