Media Power List

The 15 Best Media Stories You Might Have Missed

Snapchat killers, Jimmy Wales and the return of 'The Face.'
April 26, 2019, 9:18am
A screenshot of Netflix's new 'random' feature for Android which chooses an episode of a tv show at random
(Photo: screenshot)

Welcome to the Media Power List. Every two weeks we'll be running a rundown of who's killing it in everyone's favourite dying industry. Let's go.

15: RUPAUL

Charges $25 per selfie, as per Popbitch.

14: THE GOATS WHO CLIMB TREES FRAUD

Moroccan tourist attraction and Instagram sensation turns out to be… farmers shoving goats into trees to fool tourists. True 21st century click farmers.

13: THE SNAPCHAT KILLER

Defining murders by their medium is an age-old tabloid tradition, an annual rite in tawdry sensationalism. After 80s video nasties, 90s GTA hoodlums and 2000s "Craigslist killers", we now have "Snapchat murders". Still no sign of a Sun-reading extremist, though, strangely enough.

12: MARKS & SPENCER

After 12 years, they're reviving the campaign that invented food porn. But because it is now 12 years later, the twist is "people taking the piss out of the old campaign" as they describe their salmon or sourdough to themselves. Drizzled with lazy self-satisfaction, slathered in chummy, "recognisable" tubby dads, this isn't just any advertising, it’s advertising to make you want to core out your own eyes out with a betting pencil.

11: THE SPECTATOR'S ANONYMOUS INTERNSHIPS

The Spectator magazine, the best way to get inside the mind of Toby Young on a weekly basis, is already media-famous for having binned CVs for its paid internship programme. That unconventional decision turfed up a 48-year-old mother-of-three intern, among others, who has since gone on to become a staff writer at the Sunday Times. Now, the magazine is binning real names as well as the CVs - BBC 3 rights to the ensuing fish-out-of-water shitcom remain pending.

10: MMUK MAN

Even in a world flush with dubiously researched press releases posing as news, the statement "one in three British men will be wearing makeup by 2020" still takes some beating.

9: GEORGE EATON

Gets conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton to do an interview with his New Statesman magazine. Gets Scruton fired from his unpaid government advisory role on the basis of ensuing outrage. Eaton then releases a picture of himself with a bottle of champagne celebrating this scalp. Turns out he may have distorted some of the quotes. Deletes picture. Deletes tweets of quotes. Refuses to release a full transcript of the interview. Yup, absolutely splattered in glory, George.

8: PINTEREST

Your mum’s favourite decoupage-heavy media conglomerate has sidestepped the traumas that have beset Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat, largely by concentrating on novelty cakes instead of TERF wars. Yet the company still debuted on the US stock market last week valued at $15 billion (£11.6 billion) – three quarters of a Twitter – and they’re already close to turning a profit. Just wait till the neo-Nazis turn up and start pinning the shit out of Dr David Irving banana bread recipes.

7: REGGIE YATES

Seems like a nice enough guy.

6: SWOOT

Could there be a worse idea than a podcast player that "lets you see what your friends are listening to"? Your friends are listening to Adulting and Dolly Alderton and anything with "sex" in the title, and true tales of butchered tweens and something where four gay NYC comics watch the same episode of Gossip Girl every week and then talk about their madcap big city lives. You do not want to know what your friends are listening to.

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Jimmy Wales. Photo: VGrigas, via

5: JIMMY WALES

"The news is broken," Wikipedia’s begging letter writer-in-chief Jimmy Wales announces, in a video published in 2017. "But the good news is we figured out how to fix it." The fix was WikiTribune – ten professional journalists on a WordPress platform, supported by a Wikipedia-style community of volunteer editors. They rented offices in the Shard, and set to work fixing our broken newsglobe.

A year later, WikiTribune announced it had rung up £110,000 in losses. Six months after that, WikiTribune sacked all its reporters.

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Now, Jimmy Wales says he has figured out how to fix what he said would fix the thing that was broken: by making WikiTribune less hierarchical.

But it’s not quite clear that Jimmy has understood what journalism is. "A community of enthusiastic amateurs", as Wales proposes, does not get to turn up at NATO press conferences. They do not get interviews with Sudanese presidents, or even rehab-bound teen stars. Wikipedia editors armed with Cinnabons and pints of Diet Coke have proved a fantastic weapon for organising information – not so much for creating information.

Besides, Wikipedia itself is already writing the news. In a roundabout kind of way. The Christchurch shootings page was up 28 minutes after the first bullet was fired. It quickly became a gold standard for cataloguing the tragedy. If it ain’t broke…

4: NETFLIX RANDOM

A new button being trialled on the Android app will offer subscribers the chance to play a random episode from a series: for when you’re desperate for the numbing familiarity of Bojack, but too hungover to make even trivial decisions.

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3: 'THE FACE'

The Face is back. But this news will only mean anything to over-35s, so it remains to be seen what a cutting edge fashion and culture mag that only has cred to people who no longer look fuckable even in Burton clothes would look like.

2: NORWAY

Top of this year’s Reporters Without Borders press freedom rankings. The United Kingdom came in 33rd – lower than Surinam, Jamaica and Ghana. The great British tradition of using "national security" to carve up the press, plus our legendarily harsh libel laws, saw us pulling up the rear among the Western European nations.

1: PETE BUTTIGIEG

The unamusingly-named US presidential hopeful has taken a podcast-first strategy to his media appearances, and it feels like he won’t be the last. Andrew Yang sharply boosted his profile with two hours of chewing Joe Rogan’s ear off about Universal Basic Income. Twelve years after the "first social media election", the Democrat who emerges to challenge Trump may well be chosen via a three-hour ramble about whether they’ve ever smoked DMT and what they think the chances are that the Bosnian pyramids were built by aliens, not by a pithy slam-tweet about racial harmony. And that can only be progress.

@gavhaynes