January in media

by Alanna Duffield

1st February 2018

Is it the Standard? The Times? Oh bother, it’s the Guardian.

The Guardian shed its signature blue branding in January, as the newspaper underwent a redesign, transforming it from broadsheet to tabloid. Editor Katharine Viner made no secret that the rebrand was done to save money, with several million in savings predicted because of the change.

The rebrand comes at a time when more and more newspapers are struggling to secure a place for themselves in an increasingly digital space. Creative director Alex Breuer said, “The bold new masthead represents the Guardian’s place and purpose in today’s turbulent news agenda.”

But many noted that, far from distinguishing itself, the new paper looked somewhat familiar. Chief among the suspected muses is the London Evening Standard, which is also rumoured to be toying with the idea of a rebrand under new editor George Osborne. Maybe they’re doing swapsies on printer ink.

There’s no denying that the Guardian’s new look will save the publication a significant amount of money. Whether it will deliver on its more problematic aim to keep print alive in the age of digital is yet to be seen. For now, it’s in with the bold, out with the blue.

The war of the plastic campaigns

2018 has commenced with a war on plastic, with retail giants like Iceland, Co-Op and Starbucks all taking steps to reduce their plastic waste footprint.

You’d be forgiven for assuming the nation’s surge against plastic pollution was largely a result of the television phenomenon Blue Planet 2, which educated its 14.1 million viewers on the harmful effects of plastic waste on our world.

Alas, according to the Daily Mail and London Evening Standard, it’s their victory.

Throughout January, both publications took credit for new reductions in plastic waste in a well-meaning, but rather humorous bid for campaign victory. The Mail referenced Iceland’s plastic ban as the latest victory for its ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign’. And Pizza Express announced that it would be binning straws in a “fresh victory for the Standard’s Last Straw campaign.”

Of course, one must commend the work of both publications on a pressing environmental issue that is finally getting the airtime it needs. We’d pat them on the back, but they’ve rather beaten us to it.

Murdoch’s Sky bid blocked

Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7 billion bid to take over the 61 per cent of Sky that his family company, 21st Century Fox, does not already own has been blocked by the UK regulator investigating the takeover.

The Competition and Markets Authority said that the move was not in the public interest and that the takeover would allow Murdoch “too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”

If the deal were to go ahead, Murdoch would add Sky News to his media empire, which already includes The Times, The Sunday Times, the Sun and Wall Street Journal. Despite this ominous prospect, many believe that the deal will eventually go through, with the head bods at Sky having already accepted the offer.

An editorial piece from the Guardian reminded its readers of Murdoch’s influence over the highest editorial powers in our country, particularly as the UK prepares to leave the EU. When asked why he was opposed to the European Union, Murdoch stated: “When I go to Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.”

In a timely move, Anne Lambert, chair of the CMA’s independent investigation group reiterated that “It is very important that no group or individual should have too much control of our news media or too much power to affect the political agenda.” Here’s hoping…