‘Just stop it’: News execs Will Lewis and Lionel Barber condemn journalists’ ‘unbecoming’ use of social media to share opinions

William Turvill:

Will Lewis, the former boss of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, and ex-Financial Times editor Lionel Barber have also spoken of their uneasiness about the “blurring” of opinions and facts in journalism. 

Lewis – who recently left his role and missed out in the race to become the BBC’s next director general – said that in “this increasingly resource-constrained time… journalistic standards are inevitably slipping. And we’re beginning to see the blurring of facts and comments in a way that I think is extremely worrying and extremely challenging.” 

He exempted the FT, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and New York Times from his criticism.

Barber, who was speaking with Lewis on a video conference (see below) organised by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, said: “I would make a more general point – we’ve seen this particularly at the BBC: We have to be very careful in the way journalists are using social media. 

“They are essentially seeing [their social media pages as] their own platforms, and it’s definitely comment. And therefore this blurring that Will rightly identifies has been massively accentuated by social media. 

“And it’s not good enough for journalists to say: Oh, by the way, on my Twitter handle, these views are [my own] – because they do work for an organisation.