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


Time is Money 

New research into the readership of the Independent after its 2016 move to digital-only has revealed a drastic drop in consumption as readers have failed to follow the paper online. The investigation, carried out by Neil Thurman and Richard Fletcher, shows that during the 12 months before and after stopping print, the total time spent consuming the title dropped from 5.548 billion minutes to 1.056 billion minutes. Half of print readers had recorded reading the paper ‘almost every day’  while online visitors on average, only read a story twice a month. This equates to print readers spending 37 to 50 minutes on each copy they purchase whilst online readers only spending six minutes per month. In print, the Independent was only one of 13 national print newspapers but online it must rival a plethora of blogs, international press and social media in the battle for clicks.

Speak up Prime Minister!

A collection of editors and directors from Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC News, ITV News, Sky News and ITN have written to Downing Street Director of Communications Robbie Gibb to complain about Theresa May’s limited availability for interview during Conservative Party Conference. The letter warns: ‘For a functioning democracy it is vital that in turn the politicians and in particular the leaders and even Prime Ministers are questioned and held to account in one-to-one interviews.’ It continues to argue that because the leaders of other parties had been interviewed, it was crucial to interview  May for balance. The letter also references, ‘attempts to exclude some journalistic organisations in America from press conferences,’ and warned against the practice in the UK. Gibb hit back, detailing 36 interviews that the Prime Minister gave during the conference including with BBC, Sky and ITN. He said that Channel 4 News had interviewed Mrs May the previous week in New York and Channel 5 News had had a long sit down with her at the beginning of summer.

Mind the gap

A survey by Ofcom has revealed significant discrepancies between the diversity of people working in the television industry compared with viewers. 22 per cent of the TV workforce described themselves as religious, compared with 67 per cent of the working-age population. Equally, just 6 per cent of TV staff described themselves as disabled compared with 18 per cent of the public. Only 16 per cent of TV staff were aged over 50 in comparison with 31 per cent of the working-age population. Conversely, seven per cent of staff at Channel 4 and the BBC said they were lesbian, gay or bisexual where only two per cent of the working-age population classed themselves as so. On average, 13 per cent of TV industry staff are from an ethnic minority which is more or less in line with the 12 per cent of the public.

Question Time Idol

It has emerged that the new Question Time host will be chosen via a process dubbed ‘Question Time Idol’. A series of pilots with different presenters will be filmed, but not broadcast, in the quest to find  David Dimbleby’s replacement. Each pilot will reportedly feature junior politicians and a live audience to mimic the set-up as far as possible. The process is designed to test how the potential presenters cope with a live setting and interact with audiences. A largely female shortlist has been compiled, with Emily Maitlis, Mishal Husain, Kirsty Wark, Julie Etchingham and Emma Barnett rumoured to be among the frontrunners.



Simon Browning has been appointed Senior Transport Producer at BBC News.

Benjamin Butterworth is now Online Weekend Editor at the The i.

Josh Noble has been appointed Weekend News Editor at the Financial Times. He was previously Assistant News Editor.

Louisa Clarence-Smith is now the Property & Markets Reporter at The Times.

Zoe Ball has been appointed Breakfast Show presenter on BBC Radio 2 to replace Chris Evans.