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March 27, 2023updated 28 Mar 2023 4:04pm

Piers Morgan and Martin Lewis lead list of most-followed UK journalists on Twitter

Press Gazette found more than 180 UK journalists with above 100,000 followers.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Piers Morgan and Martin Lewis are the most influential UK journalists on Twitter, according to new analysis by Press Gazette.

In third place is David Ornstein, a football correspondent for The Athletic who previously spent 12 years as a sports journalist at the BBC. Sports (and in particular football) journalists were well-represented, making up 11 of the top 50 journalists on our list.

Scroll down to see the list of UK journalists with more than 100,000 Twitter followers

In total, 12 journalists had more than one million followers, but TalkTV presenter Morgan and Money Saving Expert founder Lewis were the only two above the two million mark.

Press Gazette found more than 180 journalists with more than 100,000 followers – the question now is how much of this influence may be replicated on other platforms if Elon Musk’s ownership leads to Twitter’s ultimate decline, as some commentators have predicted.

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The most-followed journalists in the UK on Twitter are:

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  1. Piers Morgan, TalkTV – 8.44 million followers
  2. Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert – 2.19 million followers
  3. David Ornstein, The Athletic – 1.88 million followers
  4. Jon Snow, ex-Channel 4 News – 1.44 million followers
  5. Laura Kuenssberg, BBC – 1.41 million followers
  6. Henry Winter, The Times – 1.36 million followers
  7. Robert Peston, ITV – 1.34 million followers
  8. Andrew Neil, Spectator – 1.24 million followers
  9. James O’Brien, LBC – 1.12 million followers
  10. Eamonn Holmes, GB News – 1.11 million followers

Note: Follower numbers for this story were taken between 21–24 March 2023. Some journalists with a following of more than 100,000 may be missing: if this is the case, it is an accidental omission rather than a deliberate one. Please send anyone you think ought to be on the list to pged@pressgazette.co.uk.

Twitter has become an “integral” part of the job for many journalists over the past 15 years, with the platform becoming a common way for reporters and columnists alike to build their personal brand.

Some journalists have successfully broken out of the so-called Twitter bubble, however, to find new audiences. Vice World News journalist Sophia Smith Galer, for example, did not make our Twitter list but has more than 463,000 followers on Tiktok. Similarly CNN’s London anchor Max Foster has 425,000 followers on Twitter but more than one million on Tiktok.

Some 43% of the 182 journalists we counted who have more than 100,000 followers could be classed as broadcast journalists, although this is a crude figure as many have a portfolio career appearing on or in more than one outlet.

After Morgan and Lewis, who has his own ITV show, the biggest broadcast journalists on the platform are former BBC News political editor Laura Kuenssberg (1.41 million followers), who now presents BBC One’s Sunday morning political show and ITV political editor Robert Peston (1.34 million). Kuenssberg’s successor Chris Mason was further down the list in 25th place among broadcasters with about 270,000 followers.

The biggest national newspaper journalists on our list were Carole Cadwalladr (715,263 followers), who is freelance but has frequently written for The Observer, followed by Financial Times data journalist John Burn-Murdoch (458,529) who grew his following during the Covid-19 pandemic by sharing regular analysis of the latest Government figures.

The newspaper political editor with the biggest Twitter following is The Guardian's Pippa Crerar (427,513), who was named Journalist of the Year at the most recent British Journalism Awards for her work breaking the Partygate stories while at the Daily Mirror. She also jointly broke the news of Dominic Cummings' lockdown-breaking trip to Durham.

The 14th biggest newspaper journalist is Sunday Times chief political commentator Tim Shipman (211,220), who last year paid "substantial damages" to a shadow minister after posting tweets wrongly suggesting she had a secret adulterous relationship with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The Financial Times dominates the list of national newspaper journalists, with eight represented – or nine, if its former editor Lionel Barber (113,318) is included. It is followed by The Guardian, with five journalists on the list, and the Mail on three.

Several foreign correspondents are featured who may have grown their followings during the Ukraine war: Christopher Miller (419,247) for the FT in Ukraine, Max Seddon (361,423) for the same newspaper in Russia, Shaun Walker (213,006) for The Guardian, and Bel Trew (127,902) of The Independent.

Freelance journalists John Sweeney (280,588) and Oz Katerji (200,987) also expanded their followings because of their work on Ukraine.

Columnists and commentators are almost as well-represented in our list as their national newspaper journalist colleagues, likely due to their greater ability to speak with their own voices. Owen Jones of The Guardian is above one million, followed by Caitlin Moran at The Times (873,400) and Paul Mason (623,799) who writes for The New European and The New Statesman.

A quarter of the sports journalists (excluding presenters/commentators) we found who had more than 100,000 followers were from The Athletic, which entered the UK market for football reporting in 2019 but poached several journalists with established followings from other major publications.

Behind Ornstein, the only other sports journalist with more than one million followers was Times chief football writer Henry Winter (1.36 million followers). Back in 2015 when he left The Telegraph to join The Times, Press Gazette reported that Winter had more followers on Twitter than his then-newspaper. He is behind both The Telegraph (3.3 million) and Times (1.7 million) nowadays, however.

Most of the sports list was made up of BBC, Sky News and national newspaper journalists, but two local Reach journalists made the cut: Samuel Luckhurst (540,473) of the Manchester Evening News, and Lee Ryder (137,058) of The Chronicle in Newcastle. National World football content editor and writer Chris Wheatley also made the list (296,144).

Full list of most-followed UK journalists on Twitter:

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
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