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

MEDIA NEWS

PM protects press

The Prime Minister hosted a drinks reception in Number 10 on Thursday 11th for regional and local media. She addressed the assembled journalists saying that ‘free, plural and vibrant’ media was the ‘backbone of this country’s democracy’. She acknowledged that local media is under ‘significant pressures’ but said that her Government was ‘committed to safeguarding’ its future. When discussing how best to protect local media, the Prime Minister referenced the Cairncross Review and said: ‘Obviously we’ll wait for the review’s findings and recommendations before we make specific policy decisions but nothing is off the table.’

Old News

The Guardian has revamped their news round-up magazine, Guardian Weekly. The 64-page weekly was originally launched in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles with the aim of showcasing the ‘best and most interesting in the Guardian, what is most distinctive and independent of time, in a compact form’. The Guardian has said the aim of the magazine remains the same, with the most popular features, long reads, interviews and essays from the title’s international outlets. Three editions will be published – Australia, North America and a global edition for the UK and the rest of the world.

Speaker speaks out

Following an intervention from the Commons Speaker, the BBC has reversed plans to scale back BBC Parliament. John Bercow wrote to BBC director general, Tony Hall, and director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, to highlight the potential dangers of reducing coverage of Parliament. In particular, he cited the importance of covering the ongoing Brexit debates and emphasised that elderly and low-income households, as well as those with poor broadband, would be disproportionately affected if political coverage moved exclusively online.

Fake News Facebook

Facebook has announced that it has removed 559 political pages and 251 accounts in the run up to the US midterm elections because they break its rules against ‘spam and coordinated inauthentic behaviour’. Interestingly, all of the accounts are said to be of American origin. This comes after Facebook faced much criticism after the 2016 US presidential election for failing to remove ‘fake news’ content. The editor of Reverb Press, has hit back at Facebook after its page was removed. ‘We are a legitimate news publisher,’ he said. ‘We are not fake news…We are simply a small independent news publication trying to grow.’

Man down!

On Wednesday the BBC software service Open Media failed, forcing channels to broadcast recorded content for several hours. The technical fault meant that newsreader Fiona Bruce flagged down a police car to beat the traffic as she rushed from the set in Broadcasting House, Marylebone, to the BBC’s Millbank studios in Westminster to present the News at Six.

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Paul Dacre was named the London Press Club’s first ‘journalist laureate’ at their annual ball on Thursday. He donated his £5,000 prize to the Journalists’ Charity.

Pippa Crerar will join The Daily Mirror later this year as Political Editor.

Michael Booker is now the Editor of the Sunday Express.

Hugo Gye has been appointed Digital Political Editor at The Sun.

David Crow is now the Financial Times Banking Editor.

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