How coronavirus infected publishing

Lenin had it about right when he said: "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen."

In recent weeks, several decades' worth of disruption and, frankly, obliteration has come to the UK's newspapers and magazines. Indeed, it's hard to overstate the impact of coronavirus on the sector.

Many titles were beleaguered already, propped up by generous owners or operating under commercial models that simply can't withstand 21st Century reality. Some are going bust as you read this.

Much of what was going to happen in any case will now happen suddenly: publishing history is suddenly accelerated. The shift from print to digital at virtually all publications will be radically sped up. A lot of publishers are simply going to run out of cash. One regional publisher has being ringing up contractors asking if it can delay payments by three months at least.

This is the grim story that was only partially told by the publication on 16 April, of the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). They only covered the period of 2 March to 22 March - and therefore do not show the full, devastating impact of the lockdown.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Free newspapers relying on commuters have been hit hard by the pandemic

Read full article How coronavirus infected publishing

OED expands to reflect Coronavirus

New words and new uses of words related to the pandemic have entered the English language in recent weeks Image copyright ENB
Image caption New words and new uses of words related to the pandemic have entered the English language in recent weeks

Language, like the humans who deploy it, has an organic quality: it grows, decays, ages, withers, and evolves.

The Oxford English Dictionary, which is the definitive measure of the English language, issues updates quarterly. In exceptional circumstances, it will publish special updates outside of this rhythm.

Read full article OED expands to reflect Coronavirus

Coronavirus and a media paradox

Families self-isolating at home have led to soaring ratings for broadcasters and news services Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Families self-isolating at home have led to soaring ratings for broadcasters and news services

It's obviously not the most important thing happening right now, but with millions of people working from home, ratings for television channels and streaming services are soaring.

Presumably radio figures are massively up too, but they're harder and slower to measure.

Read full article Coronavirus and a media paradox

Coronavirus and a fake news pandemic

Fake news is spread through public and private forums Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fake news is spread through public and private forums

I suppose you could call it a "bombshell" tweet.

Megyn Kelly is probably the most famous female journalist in America today (though Oprah Winfrey might object). Kelly was for years an anchor on Fox News; her dealings with its boss, the sexual predator Roger Ailes, is the subject of a recent film called, yes, Bombshell. Charlize Theron played Kelly.

Read full article Coronavirus and a fake news pandemic

The web according to our kids

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPupils at St Paul's Catholic School in Milton Keynes discuss online trends with Amol Rajan

The data from Ofcom's latest report into children's media habits isn't just confirmation of deep and irreversible trends. It also suggests that we may have crossed some important thresholds.

The fact that half of the ten year-olds in Britain now own a smartphone is extraordinary of course. These kids don't know a world without the world wide web. What is really striking, however, is the sense among parents - quite possibly justified - that the dizzying rate of innovation online, and proliferation of platforms, makes it harder than ever for them to know what their progeny are up to.

Read full article The web according to our kids

A radical experiment, at an uncertain time, for BBC News

Amol Rajan outside BBC New Broadcasting House Image copyright ENB

The BBC announced in 2016 it needed to save £800m by 2022; BBC News was to provide £80m of those savings, and it is only half way to that target.

The BBC is struggling to connect with many British people - especially those from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, and - even more so - those under 35.

Read full article A radical experiment, at an uncertain time, for BBC News

The search begins for a new DG at the BBC

Tony Hall has been an effective director general of the BBC, while probably having a tougher job than any of his predecessors.

His leadership of Britain's most important cultural organisation can be split into three chapters.

Read full article The search begins for a new DG at the BBC

Could royal couple's move make media intrusion worse?

Harry and Meghan being met by the press Image copyright EPA

It is a truth universally acknowledged that for a modern monarchy to retain the support of the public it cannot be too interesting.

Prince Harry is very interesting. He says and does interesting things. This means he gets in the news rather a lot.

Read full article Could royal couple's move make media intrusion worse?

Trends v events in news coverage

Ever more journalists are asking if they ought to give greater prominence to global trends Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ever more journalists are asking if they ought to give greater prominence to global trends

Journalists of my generation, who sadly just about qualify for that dreaded term "millennial", have lived through a time of extraordinary upheaval in the trade. Change has been the only constant.

When we reflect on the causes of this revolution in media, mostly we talk about the technology driving it, or the new commercial models funding it. Less attention is given to the editorial side: whether the basic task of journalism, which is ancient, has also changed.

Read full article Trends v events in news coverage

Amol Rajan: My 9 media predictions for 2020

A world of data Image copyright Getty Images

Well, my predictions from last year inevitably adhered to the forecasters' tendency to be better on generalities than specifics.

Facebook didn't make a big move into live sports; no foreign investor swooped on Fleet Street. That said, the Cairncross Review didn't save a single newspaper, and Ofnet was indeed mooted.

Read full article Amol Rajan: My 9 media predictions for 2020