In the first of an end-of-year series, Media Updates editor Jo Bowles chooses her top 10 UK media stories of 2011.
After 156 years, the Liverpool Daily Post announced plans cease publication of its daily edition and move to a weekly frequency. It was the latest and highest profile development in a regional newspaper trend toward a reduced print schedules, one also followed by Exeter’s Express & Echo, Lincolnshire Echo, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Torquay Herald Express.
Seven years after the BBC announced plans to move selected operations to Manchester, the much-anticipated relocation to MediaCityUK began in May 2011. Departments including BBC Children’s, BBC Radio 5 live and parts of Future Media & Technology moved to BBC North, as well as around 2,300 staff. The proportion of those who are happy about it remains unconfirmed.
Ofcom’s ban on product placement was lifted in February. On 28th February, Nescafe paid a reported £100,000 for placement of its Dolce Gusto machine on This Morning, making it the first ever item to be promoted through product placement on British television.
Baroness Buscombe stood down from her position as Chair of the Press Complaints Commission in July following strong criticism of the PCC’s approach to the year’s biggest media issue. An issue so big, every story in this Top 10 could be about it. But I’ve limited myself to just two more…
Wikileaks published no major leaks in 2011, though Julian Assange undoubtedly had other things on his mind. One of those things was an apparent year-long feud with his former allies at the Guardian, most notably concerning the paper’s approach to the publication of certain US embassy cables, which Assange described as an act of “gross negligence or malice”.
On completion of the UK tranche of Hearst’s Lagardère mega-deal. NatMags united with the UK arm of French glamourpuss Hachette Filipacchi to rebrand as Hearst Magazines UK. Hearst gained rights to brands including ELLE, ELLE Decoration, Psychologies, Red and Digital Spy, and the combined business numbers 26 magazines and 22 digital properties with 16 million print readers and 20 m monthly uniques between them.
Following the trail blazed by The Times and The Sunday Times’ in 2010 and the New York Times earlier this year, The Independent became the latest English-language national to attempt to charge for its content. The paper announced the launch of a paywall for non-UK readers in October – the same month as its print readership fell 24 per cent.
When the MailOnline announced a unique visitor increase of 27 per cent to 39.6million uniques in March, it became the world’s number two English-language newspaper website, with only the mighty New York Times ahead of it. By the end of the year, the website was regularly recording nearly 80 million users every month. 80. Million. Quite a year for the “sidebar of shame” (h/t @gracedent) .
Lord Justice Leveson’s investigation into the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal is the inquiry that keeps on giving. A stream of celebrities – Steve Coogan, Charlotte Church, Max Mosely, Sienna Miller, Mungo Grant – have provided glamour, but it’s the down-and-dirty details served up by the McCanns and ex-NOTW journalist Glenn Mulcaire that have made for the most compelling testimonies so far.
After a 168 years, the UK’s biggest Sunday paper became the biggest single casualty of Hackgate when News International cut its losses in one sudden, shocking announcement on 10th July. Within moments, Charlie Brooker had tweeted the feelings of a nation: “Death Star explodes”.