Stephen Bush Joining Financial Times

The New Statesman’s political editor, Stephen Bush, has announced he’s leaving the magazine to join the FT as a weekly staff columnist and associate editor. He’ll take up his new post in early 2022, having worked at the New Statesman for over six years. Commenting on the move, Bush says:

“I’m thrilled to be joining the FT, a newspaper I’ve read and admired since my student days. It’s the best newspaper in the country bar none. From its peerless Africa coverage, Lex, Sarah O’Connor’s columns or the work of its fantastic Westminster team, I always start my day with the FT and am incredibly excited to be joining.”

Only yesterday his soon-to-be ex-editor said of Andrew Marr’s hiring that he’s finally bringing “in some big hitters and more experience”. Presumably Stephen had secured his next gig before Jason Cowley’s comments…

mdi-timer 2 December 2021 @ 16:21 2 Dec 2021 @ 16:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic Has More Online Readers than the New Statesman, Novara Media and Morning Star Combined

An article in this week’s New Statesman (“In the Post-Corbyn World, What Next for Alternative Left Media?“) spurred Guido to do some research into their traffic and how they are performing generally. The short answer is not very well in terms of raw audience size. In comparison to right-of-centre political news and opinion sites they are well behind. Like-for-like The Spectator has double the New Statesman’s readership. To give you an idea how much worse they are faring after the Corbyn-era glory days, consider this, Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic alone had last month more online readers than the New Statesman, Novara Media and Morning Star combined!

Even the upstart newly launched GB News website has more traffic than most left-wing websites and those same websites say GB News is failing. The question that needs answering is why are right-of-centre news and views outlets out-performing – in terms of audience reach – left-of-centre news and views websites? Some of them will argue that we’re looking in the wrong place – the audience is not just on their website. The Canary and Skwawkbox generate engagement on Facebook which outstrips their own native website audience by a multiple. Novara Media’s videos and podcasts are apparently seen by far more viewers and listeners than will read their articles. Owen Jones has his own lucrative YouTube channel. Of course GB News has a television channel so can’t be compared like-for-like, it also has an active online video audience, as do the Spectator and Unherd. They match the left for reach, similarly they tend to preach to the converted. The only place where the left-wing media seems dominant is on social media, Twitter in particular.

Is the left’s supposed dominance of Twitter entirely true? The left are are certainly more active on Twitter, in terms of followers however @GuidoFawkes has more than any of the left-wing politics sites. Academic research suggests that left-wing Twitter is more active and that activity is mainly preaching to the converted and engaging with other left-wingers. The left is more active on Twitter undoubtedly and it gives the micro-blogging site a hostile atmosphere for right-of-centre users, however election after election shows that, in the words of David Cameron, “Britain is not Twitter”. As the SNP’s Cyber-Nats demonstrate all too loudly, ferocious activity is not evidence of numbers.

Is it money? The New Statesman is backed by Mike Danson, a billionaire willing to bankroll the millions in annual losses of the magazine without flinching. Novara Media got funding from a foundation backed by millionaire philanthropists, Tribune Magazine has the backing of an American publisher. The healthy tradition on the left of funding publications from readers’ donations means Novara Media and Owen Jones have six-figure revenues and paid staff, on the right only Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic is funded likewise. The Spectator and Guido Fawkes are profit-making commercially competitive media enterprises that stand on their own two feet, they are also read in droves by left-of-centre readers who don’t share their editorial line for the news, gossip and entertainment, whereas few right-of-centre readers would enjoy reading the dreary ideological output of most left-wing publications. Funding isn’t the problem.

Perhaps the answer is simply that the likes of the Guardian, Daily Mirror, Buzzfeed News, Huffington Post and the BBC provide most left-of-centre news consumers with satisfactory confirmation of their prejudices such that they just don’t have to venture out to the alt-left for content that appeals. Is it just that in the wider media context it is harder for the alt-left to appeal beyond an ideological core readership?

mdi-timer 30 October 2021 @ 14:33 30 Oct 2021 @ 14:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
New Statesman’s Harry Lambert’s Wikipedia Revisionism

While most political journalists have sizable egos, some are more careful to hide it than others; this week The New Statesman’s Harry Lambert is winning plaudits for a feature on the Labour Party’s 20 year-long decline, though it appears he’s been even busier writing something else: his own Wikipedia profile. 

A keen-eyed Twitter user recently spotted that Lambert’s page was created by an account called Blueriverrock29, an account that exclusively contributed to; Harry Lambert’s page, Jenni Russell’s page – Harry’s journalist mum, Stephen Lambert’s page – Harry’s media executive dad, and to add Harry references to other Wikipedia pages, including Dominic Cummings’s. Blueriverrock29 has now been deleted…

Shortly after, a new account, called BlueRiver472, added the picture of Harry to the profile, describing it as their “own work” in copyright terms. Perhaps most peculiar among the edits was the inclusion by Blueriverrock29 of the ego-boosting claim from Iain Dale that Lambert is “a new star in political journalism”. Peculiar due to the citation being a two-year-old Tweet – not something that’s usually accepted as a reliable source by Wikipedia’s citation policy…

Unfortunately for Harry, once you have a Wikipedia profile, it’s difficult to stop others from adding uncomfortable truths to it – for example your well-known, media establishment parents. In February a third party added parental information to the top of Harry’s profile, only for a new account called Eagleheights162 to remove the information, arguing it’s

“not relevant to the opening section – not what he is known for and it is not in style of Wikipedia. Known for work – reintroduced to opening section”

Who was Eagleheights162? We may never know. Though it’s interesting to note “Eagle Heights” was the address of a film company of which Harry Lambert was briefly a director…

mdi-timer 3 September 2021 @ 16:19 3 Sep 2021 @ 16:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
New Statesman Shows Commitment to Environment

This week’s edition of the New Statesman features a caricature of David Cameron, reflecting on the last five years since the referendum. Guido thought it looked familiar…

A quick look through the archives revealed the paper has lifted it from an almost identical splash in 2016, then reflecting specifically on David Cameron’s legacy. Given the New Statesman’s commitment to pushing the climate crisis, it’s good to see them put their money where their mouth is and get recycling…

mdi-timer 24 June 2021 @ 16:19 24 Jun 2021 @ 16:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Biden’s Burden Doubled

Staggers is a little behind the times in this week’s issue, with its cover image and headline an almost carbon copy of the Speccie in early December. Staggers got Biden’s usual tie colour wrong though…

mdi-timer 20 January 2021 @ 16:14 20 Jan 2021 @ 16:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
How Goodall Spectacularly Broke BBC’s Impartiality Guidelines

The BBC press office is being quite evasive even by their standards, we have got from them that Goodall’s New Statesman piece was apparently signed off by his superiors. They claim the blanket ban post-Hutton on BBC journalists writing about political controversies has been rescinded. The BBC press office further claims, with a straight face, that Goodall’s piece isn’t controversial.

All we got on the record from the BBC press office on the record is the following:

“It’s a piece of journalistic analysis, based on evidence, that holds to account the handling of examinations by all of the political parties that govern the UK.”

The piece spectacularly breaches the BBC’s own guidelines on impartiality on three grounds; it expresses strong views, advocates against a policy and exhorts a change in policy.

  • The claim that “a government led by technocrats nearly destroyed a generation of social mobility” is a strong and controversial view.
  • Expresses the view that “even if a set of algorithms could ever predict with ­certainty how an individual might perform then, for reasons of politics and, yes, morality, they probably shouldn’t.” A clear statement of self-defined – by Goodall – political and moral opinion.
  • Expresses the view that the exams crisis “demonstrates the weaknesses of this form of technocracy” and is evidence that the data driven government as espoused by Dominic Cummings is a flawed “dataocracy”.

The whole article’s thrust implicitly advocates a change in government policy. That is not appropriate from the supposedly neutral policy editor at BBC Newsnight. Goodall should resign. Or be fired.

mdi-timer 20 August 2020 @ 17:10 20 Aug 2020 @ 17:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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