Read this: Media Masters - Richard Sambrook
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Media Masters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media games on by Professor Richard sambrook director of the center for journalism at Cardiff University during his 30 years with the BBC he was instrumental in establishing its 24-hour news channels and spent six years as director of this world said it was Central to their response to the complaints about its coverage of the so-called sexed up Iraq war dossier in 2003 and later give evidence at the Hutton enquiry.
Richard plays a leading role in lobbying for the safety of journalists around the world is on the board of the Bureau for investigative journalism and is chair of the Frontline Club Richard thank you for joining me.
Thank you for having me straight to be here Richard your the director of Britain's premier centre for journalism, which huge experience itself it is it a good time for you Cardiff students to be launching a career in journalism.
Well, you know it's like the Dickens quotes the best of times the worst of times whether it was so all we read a lot about how many jobs to go.
In journalism and travails of the news business and someone said challenges, but on the other hand.
I think it is a brilliant trying to be going into journalism, because there are also lots of opportunities new rose new kinds of news organisations and no I mean it's it's evidenced by the fact that over 95% of our postgraduate jobs within the year so there's definitely demand for people are well trained and what I say to them is you you are information professionals and were the Time whereas.
I'm sure we're going to talk about as a lot of confusion over public information and news and journalism and people who understand that world in the world trade are in demand and obviously with the most academia think it's question is even more relevant for you because I do think about it from time to time but what exactly is a journalist well, that's a really good question because it's changing isn't it? And you know you and it's never been a profession with a capital p in the way that you know teachers are all the lorries or dentist is largely because people don't want to next.
Little body having a licence who's a German this is Anna free free expression issue behind all of that though.
I sometimes think that perhaps another newspapers hide little bit behind there to allow them to do anything that they want to get away with mystery exactly but nevertheless I mean that the role of a journalist is is changing beyond all recognition.
Where is a 1 time you will be a some of that or reporter in a Newsroom you know that was owned by an organisation of some scale these days in amor amor a freelancer in the gig economy of different hit journalism and a quarter amor amor jobs in data.
Journalism social journalism and you no longer gatekeeper and that's the yard listen to urea you're a chat with Alan rusbridger.
There was a large part of what his book was about these shifts from vertical command control journalism to horizontal network Germany and we still working out what the role of a journalist is in that environment but but that's why I say we need to train people to be information professionals and they can working all sorts of different ways and the one thing I think German is do need now.
How is the have a really wide range of skills and the ability to adapt to change very fast and there's a growth in amateur journalism isn't in a can of proper sense of the word like at it.
This is amateur journalism your is Tommy Robinson stood outside the court calling people are on trial rapists when they eat should be saying that they're on trial for reddies.
Is that a form of journalism loads and though it is but I wouldn't say it is because you're my view is the journalist have responsibilities as well as rights and in a lot of people would claim the right to free expression and the right to stand outside the court broadcast and live streaming do whatever they want to do but actually there are responsibilities that go with that and I think a small p professional during this understand such responsibilities works within the law and you know produces a higher quality of information as a consequence of that is good and bad about the amateur journalism, so if you let the bad is that lots of people call themselves during this and then produce fake news or produce no poor stuff whatever it may be but the up.
Side is lot of really good talented people are coming into that public realm whom otherwise might not have done because they'd never have got into the kind of formal journalistic and structure, but yeah, I think bellingcat investigative site is a good example, so I didn't into who launched that you know was in his front room looking at YouTube looking at the footage of Syria and became an expert in the war in Syria and now has become an expert in online investigation and he had a set of skills that are now really valuable.
He certainly he might not called himself a Germany but I certainly think of him as a journalist and what he brings to be to bed and so you know I think the doors open to all sorts of other kinds of expertise which and the complicated world that were in now.
We really need in in the world of puppy discussion debate but journalism is under attack as never before in so many different ways it in terms of at you're not just the finances but cries a fake news from brexiteers people like Donald Trump and sauna so far but actually we can discuss and immediate question was one of the
Likkle danger the janitor in your very active with the Frontline Club given the growth of freelancing you're in the old days when you work for the BBC off your a commissioning editor ITN you might send Rageh Omaar to Syria but there was some safeguarding procedures.
Yeah, you don't get that when your freelancer in fact you got there.
It was no protection hoping you're get a story and then someone will buy it from you, but that must be hugely dangerous.
That's very high risk and I start to get involved in during the Somme safety.
That's why I was at the BBC management coverage of Bosnia and suddenly you're in a different kind of conflict where they were unclear and sides and clear front lines and James married across the front lines and someone as well.
That's when we started to get into equipping them with flap jackets and armoured cars and giving them safety training and I got a bit an organisation like the BBC or write as a something can afford to do that, but if you're a freelancer, how do you afford to do it well things like the Frontline Club in the Rory Peck trust and so I'm trying to set up training try and give access to training to freelancers triangle are freelancers to get insured.
Otherwise would struggle to get someone in order to enable them to do that, but you know it's a very risky thing to do and I would not advise anybody who think so I quite fancy going to report the Middle East just jumping into it.
You have to build up your experience build up your contacts and network and methodically kind of work your way into that world and to go to the the penultimate dimension there which is the cries of fake news.
You know when I when I was an elected councillor in York at where was for 6 years.
I might not like what the Yorkshire Evening Press said about me once or twice a week, but I largely believed what they succeeded had a commitment to accuracy now.
It just seems that you know that that the truth doesn't even matter you've got a large amount of people who support Donald Trump who actually as part of their identity want to distrust actively distrust, don't what they call the mainstream media as if it's against them the iPhone users always use this now because it was everybody uses about anything that they don't like that.
So what you know I would say let's be clear about what I mean is disinformation propaganda missing.
Formation you know political spin let's try and separate out be very clear about what it is.
We talking about and then you can start to understand it and perhaps tooth to come and deal with it a little bit somewhere but you know where we live in a very confused world at the minute.
It's not just about news and information people are confused about the future of work with a either confused about Britain's relationship with Europe they confused about climate change a confused about the way global finance works at everything is very confusing including the world of news and information and you are actually good journalism all to be part of the solution to that the difference of course is a moment where people are attending not to trust things that maybe they can trust autotrust things that they shouldn't and that's about media literacy to a large extent so many think that will shake out in the end because people will discover if they read certain sources and it turns out to known latest conspiracy theory turns out not to be true and now work out that it no sources that they can trust other ones that have in a dick.
Standards have a complaints process have some accountability in place have some independence from you know particular lobbyists or whatever and they will work out or well.
That's the one that actually is more reliable, but it may take time are quite early in this new environment where there's so much news and information flying around and yet in America for example is seen as a badge of honour within trump supporters that they just distrust CNN I mean they're like between where trump was heard that video graphic him physically fighting someone in a boxing ring Dad a CNN head as it work and it seems to be part of their identity in Courage by tramper course because he doesn't want straightforward reporting on his campaigning and what he's doing and I think it's really dangerous RCN complaints procedure and it's already know better, but don't be absolutely but it but you're not in the end you whatever you think about trump and now I've left the BBC I can be honest about what I think about trump.
He's a long and in the end you get found out you know and we put people and I think that.
Wouldn't be problems when he's found out but but you know where is the stage where you know if this is huge ideological split things are polarized idea with us or against us and that makes it very difficult for journalism which is trying to hold a pseudo middle ground with integrity.
They know there is no legitimate middleground anymore which sorting whose side.
Are you on and actually Eckles journalism shouldn't really be on anybody's side.
What is an open question some people like you out.
You should have activist journalism, but actually kind of journalism that im interested in doesn't pick size.
It's on the side of evidence and facts and finding out.
What's happened watching huw Edwards read the news on the on the 10th night.
I don't want to know his opinion.
I want him to tell me what's happening if I want an opinion.
I'll go to the opinion pages of the magazines and newspapers you until you get that still from the BBC and uniform on to other organisations, but we are awash with opinion.
We live in an age of opinion and a session over facts and evidence and there's lots of reasons for that.
I think but you know we need to get.
Beyond that into people may be sufficiently Media literate to understand the difference between a session and fact that they're not the same that went Donald Trump says that's fine used as lead isn't he may be true and they need to be able to interpret that an understanding that will take some time so the million dollar question then is how do we do that? Well? I think there's lots of different ways of doing a lots of we've got mine because the end of the house campanula, so there's this new literacy.
There's no people trying to fact-check there were people are trying to Quality label.
New sites online as a lot of pressure now on the big tech platforms to colour filter out information and to favour a more reliable information that you know is a whole variety of things going on which should I do hope over a period of time but it will take years will have an impact newspapers declining in print form, but it seems to me that the is the extreme views that get their Media oxygen, but how can we tackle that because yes it is the Spectre
What is it does Drive the clicks? I'm guilty of it myself, but that's of course.
I am one of the problems is that social media favours that and then you will know about clickbait and there's so much noise out there now that you have to be more exaggerated in your headline.
Whenever it is to get the attention.
So you know it is it almost to come out in bill bias towards exaggeration and and and and volume and he rather than light and someone as well and getting your actually the straightforward sober reliable news maybe a bit dull and you skip over him.
You know guilty about to do some extent but I mean I think in the end institutional strengths matters and I think that will come through.
I hope you'll come through.
I think it will what are the biggest tribute to the BBC journalism that I can have a pen.
I've said this a few times is there even when the BBC wants to turn on itself I actually trust the BBC's reporting with its own difficulties more than I do other competing news organisations.
You know poor torin Douglas stood outside nbh say again around the Hutton and although this.
Can I think it was incredible because actually was the best best gin.
We have to do that if you work in BBC News because if you want people to trust what you say about your other crises or other stories or events you need to show you bring the same Riga to reporting on the BBC as a as a corporate body as well as you wouldn't you know now TV news no disrespect, but you would you would get John Humphries you know talking to George Entwistle on that Saturday morning when I heard that I thought it was finished.
Even even while it was on there and of course they sadly had to leave but I mean you would never have got such a vociferous interview at by an ITN I'm going to be in this crypn John know but I think the BBC in particular as is publicly funded in need to demonstrate independence and therefore a needs to be as tough on itself.
Is it is on anyone else and he needs to demonstrate that I mean sometimes.
I personally I only went too far but it's probably better to do that than to pull your punches well.
That's updated Rachel jump in the same chair as you're sitting in a few weeks.
Are there any to BBC Panorama and they've turned out there the lens on on the BBC quite a few times as well as well me Panorama flagship beer.
Heart heating programme the BBC so you know during the car Debbie Kelly affair and someone absolutely you need Panorama two investigated in during other BBC's crisis as well.
You know you have to does he have to be so hard on yourself as you will be on anyone else all we got plenty of time to talk for you.
Tell me the BBC book you mentioned earlier about this the sense of relief that you felt when you can actually now tell me what you thought of Donald Trump did it feel like a bit of a how did you feel when you left the BBC BBC difficult place to leave because when you work for a leak on a wrapped itself around you and becomes all-encompassing and that's a 02 after I left.
I had people ring me up and say no Richard how do you leave and what's it like when you leave and then the rest of it and the first thing I said where is main thing is you just got to get over yourself as are you in the BBC you get access and certainly you know 20 years ago 2° status with your work for it, then.
You are long-sighted incredibly talented people in usual witnessing history and all rest of it when you leave was no beat, Australia
The danger is that you think all those fantastic things happen because of who I am which is not the case at all.
They happen because of the role you were lucky enough to temporarily occupied so it's like that in the end of Superman II when he said lowest it gets into takeaways Powers yeah, exactly who says you know if I take pick up the phone and saucers Littleborough from 60 minutes anyone in the world would take my call if I drop 60 minutes nobody takes a hand in a can be difficult place to leave do I feel relief do you know the honest truth? Is it took me a long time to be able to have an opinion about anything because I spent 30 years of soda self discipline of so what about the other point of view and what other points of View are the wheel to be taken into account auditing 30 years of that.
It's quite quite a long time to relax to say actually.
I do think something weird it forward to me.
Humphrey sitting in the chair and he actually said to me something quite profoundly said everyone thinks they know my opinion they don't I do have an opinion about things but I will keep it to myself cos I'm a professional broadcast journalist jahangir opinions that with the code when you come in the door.
How long were you at the BBC for 30 years wow, can you walk us through that so I I started in journalism in local newspapers in South Wales from university.
Where did English another one of my going to do it just about this is the 70s when if you had a degree you can sort of choose what you wanted to do still have still been employing for graduates exactly I need a cruise if I said for some reason it said town planning and a shortage of town planners at the time.
She think about that will teaching and I thought about journalism and I live in Milton Keynes well.
I believe no way I could have made a difference because I'm living tribute to the virtues of good town anyway.
Newspaper Thomson newspapers course in the valleys so I went off to as a home counties boy went off to the Rhondda and to Merthyr and then on to the uni paper in Cardiff and then after 304 years of doing that.
I just sprayed applications around the place to move on and BBC Radio The Newsroom you know pick me up and I was sitting there doing night shift writing the Radio 4 newsreader strips for a bit and then did a bit in the regions in the motocross the TV news as a producer in colour moved up the chain to editor manage to go out produce on location of it and then so they moved into management news editor for BBC radio and TV promos together head and newsgathering head of Sport for a year was given a wasn't huge sports fan of the time as interesting year for me and then became director of news and then across the global news the world service that was the most incredibly speedy run through your in Taka rate.
You you writing the scripts on Radio 4.
Did you did you make a conscious choice at that point that you wanted to not be airside is Jeremy Vine want to call.
They are way you wanted to be the other side of the glass and be on the producing side.
I guess so that if I'm honest.
I I probably guessed or knew that I was going to be good enough as a broadcaster.
Where as I was much better as a summer literal producer and I think I just instinctively knew that so I never really tried to report a broadcast.
Yes, he's got a good place now.
I think I just knew I would be better on in production in an area.
So then as you work your way up the ladder.
Is it where how ambitious where you did you did you want to be DJ even solid 30 years ago now because I was a local councillor for me was the first rung on the ladder to being Prime Minister and it was inevitable that I've never ever had a plan and I've never.
I've been particularly ambitious to be honest with you and the most if I was being really push to be really ambitious.
I would have said it would be nice to be for a little one day, but then you know opportunities open up and things happen when the place changes and another vacancy opens up them and you know part of its you think I'll let you know I don't want him to get that job so I can have a go and you know and before you know it you've moved up the ladder Huey arrivals back.
I'm not telling you that you wanted to be but was there a moment as you work your up the ladder where you knew you were going to be at a manager that you were going to move out of editorial decisions a movie to watch UC management thing.
This is about timing in the end of the and I was lucky.
I've moved across the TV news and I really found my feet they are love producing television cos as a producer you have so much more to do you got the pictures and the graphics and organising the
Just sticks and you know it's not just sitting with a bit of agency copywriting Script so I love to all of that.
What was your first TV producing job? It was been on the can.
I want to come 6 new you still want to doing items on that but also that was a time.
Just about the time in raw milk a metre TV news and completely reinvigorated in changed it and reduction 6:00 news in in John Burke came in a huge changes and when that's huge changes is opportunity and I'm partly cuz I was quite new in the TV Newsroom I wasn't saddled with the past of TV news, so I know I was lucky.
I moved on quite quickly through programming and then there came a point where has view more favorably now with through their historical landmark.
I absolutely think he's a good thing because it how many SME business of the time they hold producer choice thing and it shouldn't be the BBC shouldn't be in the business of Hawking it's Studios out by the hour to ITV mean now.
Morrissey the I think John Burke was much-maligned Amy was a difficult person to work for because he had a very clear sighted and and very rigorous about imposing what he believed need to have but it did need to happen.
So I'm I'm actually no but supportive really and I think he had you know grateful site by the way the media businesses was going as well particularly opposite with digital but even before that can you sing the TV news? I got moved across from output producing to newsgathering which is organising the logistics of reporting the foreign Bureau in the camera Crews and all of that and that was his newsgathering.
Is it a word that always impresses me but if anyone ever asks me to define it.
I wouldn't actually I would it is the stuff that happens out of the building basically said so so I was moved across to help call later.
Love that because I wanted someone who understood programs or programmes wanted to go across to help organise what was happening over the building or was being brought back as it were and I work for a guy call Chris Cramer
Who was a real mental for me and I said great you it's raining it's probably my favourite job and then they ain't Chris moved off to run CNN international live cookies Jobcentre news gallery some what does head of newsgathering good and is that a largely managerial resources great thing that first management big management Rosie running and firing budget running into the hundreds of millions and 100 staff and you making big strategic decisions about who were the key appointments.
Is it like being a football manager that where you can make Nick someone from the world service where you there's almost within the baby.
So you can buy things from is it from your internal write about it.
So you want to put the best on a team together that you can definitely something all that was fun, but you're also negotiating agency contracts and looking after the budgets and you know the rest of it and you're in that was the time we brought radio on TV together.
See you trying to force together.
Funny reluctant bedfellows to get them to learn from each other and work together soon as well, so I was good time at one of the things.
That's always shocked when I first to get involved in Uno placing things in the BBC's just how much competition there is within the programs people think mistakenly that there's the BBC but actually does lots of individual producing teams are competing against each other.
I meant was Gordon Brown famously, can a broke down during the election because that Hulk anything about that bigoted woman be any news on Jeremy Vine and I member saint of Philly editor.
We said he said I was really glad that we got one over on news and I said im quite nice like we all BBC news is like nowhere Radio 2, but it's a news program on the BBC BBC News over the last 4 years have been continual integration and you know I can remember so right with integrating radio Television or integrated world service in the domestic use and that's happened three or 4 times in the last of 15.
20 years and it has to go on happening again because after busy all colors shapes out on a different arrangement and then you have to reintegrated again.
That's just running complicated business insight director of news Gathering then what was Top of you to do this when you started the job? Well? It was a time when we integrate Sunday World Service news Gathering with the domestic newsgathering.
So how do you get the the best value out of that in terms of international coverage and expertise with the expertise was in the world service.
It was a time where we had Murs radio and television and not everybody going to radio reporters for me to do tele in teles report submitted to radio nowhere always very good at the other medium.
So you had some training or rest of it.
It was a period where in a range of launching News24 is it there moles of five live and the website so massive fans of bath yet good so listen to Up All Night on Rhod Sharp
Yeah, it's great, but I think I suppose that's probably the biggest change in that you we went from a culture of set piece bulletins which were quite strict and rather formal and if you remember pieces the camera then would be a report of standing up very stiff and very foggy outside of building delivering to camera and then a course on a light on her channel is never gonna work, so we had to do a lot of training and encouragement and recruitment of people who could walk into or you could look relaxed you could look a little bit more informal who could be a bit friendlier and that was the start really of trying to get journalist who look like people rather than you know rather stiff automaton standing in front of the camera and it also broke the new cycle so instead of having deadline today suddenly You're Always on so managing the intake and the input of material to be always on across radio and TV domestically and internationally with BBC World News the world service at and trying to get a new skill set and of ingrained into the staff was quite a big task.
Yeah, because you creating it as you go along that you know running use other than at the American trail blazers like CNN and so on in the BBC had to rethink how they were going to present it because the other old appointment of your bulletin.
I mean the problem that Hugh Edwards has it always a fantastic journalist is before I even opened his mouth at the 10 Rd know what the news is as I've been on twitter all day.
Yeah, I actually know what he's going to say which in that chair a few months ago and they're really tackling that differently because they know that we know the news the other so I'm looking for more of an analysis already know that person's resigned.
I want to know why it is really crucial for them as well to work out because you know I got into trouble with some my former colleagues by writing something for the Guardian that should have said that there's a 24-hour news are over it.
That's a slight exaggeration.
I didn't say you should close down all 24-hour news channels for what I did say was I can't go on marking themselves on being the place to find breaking news cos I don't know anybody gets breaking news by watching 24-hour television channel they get it all off her phone off Twitter or whatever it is.
And they come to television, I don't see the pictures of what happened to find out a bit more and have a bit more depth and therefore I think the news channels is Greg Spencer then you have to rethink its role a bit too still say you'll get the breaking news here first is a kind of Samuel to make most people shrug their shoulders a bit so I definitely think that they need to rethink the purpose of some of that also if there was breaking news on a breaking news channel now.
I actually wouldn't look at it because I'm so used to the ticker on Sky being yellow actually don't look at it anymore though.
It's actually it's almost like the ticket that Cried Wolf this choreography of television a really interesting thing and it has changed over the years, but some of it still feels a bit artificial in amite.
My kids are in their 20s and they would have watch a bullet in it's very BBC could be any of them and you get a throw from the studio to the personality of a satellite link talks a bit and throws back to the student or discolor choreography going around the place in my kids and I just get out the way and tell us what happened.
What is all this garbage as you've got to put in between me and the store.
And you that I used to watch invoice and feeling immersed in what's happening and being there and they need to know they want a different style art of storytelling basically, so you know I think that has changed.
I think that is changing and becoming different and I think there are those so you're starting to emerge on mainstream television news, but I think it's got further to go.
I love watching Newsround when I was a kid because it not only said what was happening, but it explained behind it and it would actually to explain the terms be guilty secret Newsround is of course the other parents loved it cause I finally understood.
What was going on and around which are mainly done Elsewhere and I do think the news just try to explain things get you no more.
I remember when Kim Jong-un famously called Donald Trump dotard Fiona Bruce was reading the 10 and then she said for those that are unaware of the term it means an elderly in computer gentleman and I'm glad that she did that because I didn't know what the word meant.
He didn't expect her to exam what it was.
Knowingly yeah, so what came after newsgathering then then Greg Dyke arrived and I was put in charge of Sport for a year.
Did you have a cut the crap card? I had a lover back with a real they were absolutely and he was reorganized the BBC he wanted to bring someone in from outside to run small but they couldn't come through year and Indian living comfort all so he said to me because I done a lot of this management stuffing newsgathering and change management, so I only said ok.
I want you to go into support bring together radio and TV sport and sport commissioner spore production or one division call BBC Sport BBC Sport going there bring all of that together you got a year to do it and then you know my mate Friday where is is going to come in and pick it up because I didn't mean I'm gonna like small downlights born then a bit of it's not my thing I don't wake up passionate about it.
So it was a man.
It was a managerial tasker gaming and that is interesting as I read Harvard Business Review and it's the kind of case study would read where you look does the fact that you're not a spot.
Make you a better person because you're not Blinded by the intricacies it or did it actually undermine you in the end it work because I wasn't a threat to them.
They knew I was temporary then you have been given the task of the torch was going to go away and so as long as you go about it the right way, it was it was fine, but the thing came when the person drink wanted to appoint wouldn't come and he said to me or what do you want to carry on then? I thought about it and because I know when I wake up in the morning.
I don't wake up thinking about support.
I wake up thinking about news and then don't say they wouldn't be right to take on support if you're not really passionate about it.
I am now passionate about Liverpool Football Club but that's that's no more recent problem was that the first big big job then director of BBC Sport that was the first board level job and then after year 20 all moved on and I took over his Drayton news Tony Hall I've heard of him out.
What is going out even bigger than that? Would you feel quite Sensibility director of BBC New
Yeah minutes Eugene at the cause of what they don't tell you about it is in a you you think what I've worked my way up through me lots of different roles in this operation, an operation, but I've been all sorts of levels and all sorts controls.
I know it pretty well, so actually I probably know how to run it, but when your head of it your job isn't a run it your job is as an ambassador upwards and outwards your job is to manage the corporate politics and to manage the external politics just a ticket kicking on a daily basis and to answer you learn to take that into account and to get the resources of fight for the resources.
You need more rested and your team as the manager only time for managing down to talk nobody ever tells you that so is it like being home secretary that no one cares about the job and something goes wrong and there is a we're probably so I was there for 3/2 years must have enjoyed it then if you were there for that long of course because it is such a fantastic job and you know you're running your only the UK news operation and I never
Rental have a job like that, but it's a nightmare job because everybody wants a piece of your skin you come in every morning to look for a fight with somebody and even if it is not the politicians or you know someone you've upset me what you broadcast about the middle be your colleagues because you did something so it's a pretty brutal job, but yeah and and yellow in the end, of course that was encapsulated within a the hotelier Farringdon enquiring all the rest of it which was incredibly bruising but on the other hand you run this Incredible Machine that is a colour part of the National fabric is fantastic wanted to do it if segway, then talk to one of the big questions.
I wanted to ask them because obviously the Kelly affair and they Hutton enquiry happened on your watch as director of News when was the first he became aware of it about a week after the report went out because the other thing people think of your head in use your like United page you have Conniff you know you preview everything is going to be broadcast but actually it all those live channels on all of those that output.
Was something at that time is means even more now because of BBC News has grown but it was about 300 hours of output in every 24 hours.
So they were parallel streams.
There's nowhere you can never know what's going out when you have to have a structure the team and I can a system and managers in feedback and other human beings who make mistakes were the judgement and sometimes I get it wrong.
So I was actually Moscow and I had a call from the radio news is said that we put this report out last week.
We should come and seems to be bit upset about it and it's instead of going away which is what usually happens if we getting worse so you're lying I came back from Moscow study to get into in try and find out what happened and I know it's 15 years ago now, but still quite device if you'll find people who passionately believe one side or the other government versus BBC still but in the end is that everybody makes mistakes BBC sunny made some mistakes the government absolutely made mistakes and you know the evil to have been avoidable but inner it.
Wasn't Alastair Campbell really came for the BBC One did you give us a good kicking what politicians off and don't realise this when they choose to do that the BBC has no option but to digging has to demonstrate independence know if we told sorry.
I'll see it.
Would you how do you want us to report this then? You know I will trust you go out of the window and the other thing of course is that you know often happens in crises as the BBC in all organisations is the first information you get on the list and add to be right people get I don't quite remember right or they don't worry.
They're not completely frank with you about what happened and all that sort of thing so how's things go on it develops, so we took a stand over an issue of independence and in the end of gravity to stand on gateway beneath us and have a stud spotted that the yeah Andrew Gilligan report you know I promise with it.
You got his crowbar in and worked.
Well it because it was it was the infamous 606 wasn't it? Was just a two-way with I think John Humphries it lasted all of 60 seconds.
I would have given it any further thought I had had Alastair Campbell not kicked off with an opportunity.
To have a go to BBC which have been wanting to do for sometimes.
I give us a bit of a cookie and you know it was probably exhausted after your atwal all the rest of it and you know unhappy with us so went for a bit of kind of tie babe.
Alpha male willy waving on both sides.
Yeah, they're very much a beta male personally I would say but you know sometimes in that gonna roll.
You have to step to step up and you know this collective responsibility so my natural Instinct would not have been to go very aggressively back at them, but on the other hand the attack was so aggressive ugly that's what was required and it just seemed to Spiral out of control and Hinckley on both sides really regret the whole episode even as a as a citizen.
Yeah, obviously I'm in it for the Kelly family butchers Absolute Radio in the end my view about it, but not everyone will agree with is that what?
David Kelly told the BBC news on three different BBC reporters this and we know what he said because Susan what's on Newsnight tape recorded the conversation.
She had with him so just taking that conversation as it was recorded and what he said was true unfortunately Andrew Gilligan Today programme with family and the way they reported it and they left this note opening for the government of attackers and what followed what's your abiding memory of the Hutton enquiry that forensic scrutiny of a court of law because journalism isn't like the law you know journalism is a bit rough and rugged even the best journalism is the first draught of history and when all the words are coming dissected forensically by lawyers and when all the emails are another forensically analyse by lawyers in a court of law you know.
I'm not sure where.
I don't want Madeline ever want my emails forensic analyst at but was that challenging as well.
Cos you have to make sure to modernise service and then move the focus from Europe to Asia in the Middle East it sound like a gay in another huge job with a lot of the inherent systemic angst it will it was but you know you'll have gathered that I quite like those tasks from from newsgathering.
Lot of that kind of strategic management of it is something I enjoy people say all you know what you were a journalist and then you went into management how on Earth did you put that with that but the point is that the motivation is exactly the same you know whether oral or written report drivers wanted the best programs in the best journalism out on there and that's exactly the same motivation when you are in a head of a department or the director of news whatever it maybe it's just that you you do it in different ways.
But you're a strategically the world service in a had to try to address the changing world and that included The Middle East win terms of and tell her the growth of television including obviously the growth of online and mobile services and we also launch BBC Persian but a big part of it was also stabilizing BBC World News English language.
So it was because when people understand this is a commercial service therefore.
I know it doesn't benefit from necessarily the same level resource that the licence be funded services are able to enjoy it and therefore sometimes.
It doesn't look as good and we had to find a way of showing at that my strengthening that and I think we manage that pretty well and also doing that commercially we had a trying make a minus make sure that was breaking even or in profit and in after 2-3 years it was I mean I love BBC World News whenever I'm abroad.
It's the thing that goes on the on the TV that CNN and and sometimes sky but you are right many people don't realise it has to be commercially sustainable asteroid she's facetiming.
It was not the first time you have to.
Can a computer can a brute force commerciality into your consideration I suppose it was really here and there was also the time when we took the website commercially international website that was very controversial but again if you looked at the Convergence of TV and online it was the obvious thing to do plus.
It was away bring more money in Plumley we could get advertising on online site to help support everything else, so that was controversial cos people think he felt something with the BBC you know we don't want this they've had someone but in the end international audiences.
Don't feel that in the same way the British audiences do and this is something just pointed outside of the UK so I don't think it you know it had the same sensitivity the perhaps some people felt it should because when I work in America which is every other week when ever go on the BBC News website it automatically redirect to bbc.com and then I get adverts I am whenever I listen to BBC podcasts even when I'm back in the UK if I if it's been also downloaded when I'm out of the the UK this then that me to the beginning that says this is funny by advertising.
Keep me I must keep remembering to delete it when I landed and then and then reload so how long are you at the world service for 6 years and what was the journey throughout that 6 years but initially it was upset getting up to speed with a very different organisation and then it was trying to recover build within the BBC akala presents for the international services.
They always been slightly the poor relation and actually you know mostly international expertise resided in the world service and then we had to try and modernizing bringing together in terms of launching TV services in Arabic and Persian and you know making these changes to the world news the website someone as well and did you feel that that almost physical geopolitical shift that in terms of Focus to out of Europe and more toward Asia and the Middle East definitely definitely a great time and it one of the other differences that situation when your director of UK news you going to work every day, 2.4 fight director of the world service on global news you going to work everyday.
No one says I want to.
You are really strange different but generally the world services loved respected me about BBC World news BBC UK you know whenever there's the World Cup it's always about how well Britain has done or if it's the Oscars there's always a non Britain did well tonight.
Cos Olivia Colman won the Oscar did you have to consciously disconnect that can a British lens through which he reported in you well to a degree because of course you know being BBC journalism it has to be independent and they're not yeah.
The world service never has just pushed BBC British political interests so has to be editorially independent but at the same time of course it does represent something British around the world and you know I think of your name called Britain's greatest gift to the world.
So it is managing that quite difficult mix of course.
It's British values and characteristics but editorial independence and you know that.
To be quite complicated sometimes and how did you finish? He came to the end of that six-year stint position were about to go through another colour strategic cycle of change and overall strategic down.
I do I was gonna stay on for another 5 years or I was going to get out and I done 30 years and I've been six years in that job when there was no other job that I wanted or whatever I've got anyway, so I just ok.
It's time to go and I just left I didn't get a package or a deal or you know enhanced pension really I just said ok.
It's been great goodbye.
I mean that must have been quite an exciting and unnerving daunting time but how did you feel it? Was it about it felt the right time to go you know I done everything and more that I ever wanted to do in BBC and it didn't Germans and really and you know you have to recognise the time to leave then and did it did the world of academia immediately attract you know in initially I went into PR guy that son's I still.
The mortgage to pay off early the kids in university, Leicester hi did that for a couple of years at Edelman where I was trying to help them develop corporate content and that sort of thing but I'm on work it was slightly ahead of its time and really take within the firm and then went to Cardiff roll, came up.
I mean I knew lot of people there are new Cardiff from when I started as a journalist just into great opportunity.
What does a professor of journalism do what is a mix of things really so I teach and I said he's our undergraduates out of man's desiring response of a postgrad who are on vocational training courses wanted to become journalist, so I teach some of the modules they do I help kind of liaise with no business is an industry and make sure and get jobs in understand.
What's happening in the business to make sure our training HR courses reflect what employers want and I'm able to, comment and write a little bit about no editorial issues in the news and journalistic issues and some
As well and I do bits of research and I'm not a PhD so I'm not a research academic teaching scholarship academic, but no I have been involved in research projects as well as well.
So it's interesting think you know there's a lot of BBC people wind up in universities many of the running Oxbridge colleges, but I think the point is that universities are very comfortable place for former BBC executives because they are public institutions.
They're quite complicated matrix organisations, but they're full of very clever articulate people driven by ideas and therefore it feels quite familiar so that's why I think you know universities are an obvious place for BBC people open migrate on to the rhythm of the working week now given that you know you've been used to all those hard years of taking a daily kicking when it's quite well said earlier is it wasn't me awhile to have opinions and it took me awhile to realise I didn't need to be checking the phone and listening to the news outlet on.
Rest of it so that wines down for a bit you can you can take a step back and that's does it does it take time to clean yourself after urgency addiction.
Yeah definitely news event.
You know the adrenaline starts to whip up again.
You know I've got nothing to do with this see her but yeah, that's great and the students of fantastic.
So that's what I really enjoyed working with the Next Generation going to The Business when you've you've talked about what you do as as professor, but how does it break down in terms of a working week? Do you do give lectures? Do you run seminars is a lot of it though.
You get involved in the can a corporate stuff of the University as well, so I mean I backed off of his O'Connor part-time at the moment though.
I'm a step it up again.
We'll see but yeah, I do get involved in some of the corporate staff and there are again.
No, if you know that budgets and their appraisals that need to be done but but not quite on the same scale and you know this is sort of a history networking because it's a slightly I'm 22 my thing but you know you you have to manage your network and your contacts.
With industry and with news organisations and in up with government and those things and look for opportunities to develop new courses so one of the things that I did was to launch a new course in coding and journalism, so we have an MSc in computational data journalism and I've made data journalism Cool For All students which she has a bit of resistance to but now employers rapping in Armagh saying one of the great things about if a couple Cardiff is they understand data now understand them wasn't doing stuff.
That's a big Plus for employability.
So you know it's understanding what what's trying to look at slightly ahead and understanding what was going to want and making sure that you can you still up the students in the right way to me like that a large part of what you doing.
There is actually being a genuine thought leader for journalism and in journalism that you're trying to look ahead and understand what's happening and look at what you know.
The university or the particular courses for students are responsible for need to do to do the dresser and is there any element of like externally facing in terms of like speaking up for journalism and journalism writing speaking speaking compasses guest lectures before Donald Trump brexit will he of course claims to have invented the term which in the ironically is fake news.
I could see Sally I could show it showing stuff before you came up with it.
Yeah, so yeah, it's about thinking ahead and try and understand what's happening in and trying to anticipate it.
Are you optimistic foot for journalism in a can of short medium and long-term because it just seems to me like that you mentioned at the beginning there in one sense that sparring Germans have more opportunities to get noticed and son but you know Jeremy Vine sat in that chair 3 years ago.
He said when he started at the Leicester Mercury there was 40 people in the news right now will be to you.
Just few of the tradition.
Also the end in o irritates me cos you you read the headlines in the trade press the rest of him about reporters jobs going subs jobs going but they never office at that with the the new digital roles that data journalism roles the community manager Rowsley you know the things that didn't exist in the past.
I'm not saying they definitely offsetting completely but there are new opportunities and you have to be in a prepared to be flexible enough to try new things in new ways so I think it's I am generally optimistic, but I think it's really important for someone in my position to be able to Mr give you know if I can't be optimistic and wave the flag for the importance of public interest journalism, then you know who who's going to really so I do get a bit fed up with how everyone is running it down and I've not like it used to be and I would never let my kids going to investigate.
It's still fantastic business to go into her apartment as it's a lot of fun.
You get access you get to meet people.
You'll never get to meet otherwise it go places.
You've never get to go and do things and yeah, it's
Yeah, maybe it's more complicated to carve your part your career out than it used to be but that doesn't mean to say the answer is really talented people out there succeeding and doing it.
I forget which one of my guests said this which is doing them a huge disservice, but one of them said a couple of years ago and journalism is the worst job in the entire world unless you just happen to think that it's the best job in it.
I will lol exactly and I'm definitely on the best idea to tell us about the things that you doing outside of your academic career because you've got the Frontline Club when you're also reacted with in the Bureau for investigative journalism.
Tell us what the Genesis of that in the roles and what you doing and why so Frontline Club amin-smith.
Who's the founder of it? I knew when you're on the Frontline news.
I met Bonham regions in his studio is great guy Vorderman on using both new and used the camera and all the rest of it and he came to me with this idea of launching London Press Club and I said Maulana some bad idea don't do it to a course.
He launched it and it's been a real success.
Aldi the paraphernalia in the artefacts in this one way out there.
I think there's a bullet in a mobile phone.
I can't say it is club for the colour for a reporting and freelance photojournalist Chris once briefly Amanda bleaching Paddington isn't it? Just outside of the US reach I did encourage you to join again falling over might have some forms on me if you like anyway, so I mean it's a great place lots of great debates there about journalism all the kinds of things we've been talking about if that really got space on the first floor with 6 cameras and they can telecast on internet really easily and a charitable trust as a lot of work supporting freelancers around the world as well.
So so that's why I support that do what I can to help them then I'm the Bureau for investigative journalism.
I went to a iconic conference that they had I think it must have been about Leveson about that time and I was on the platform next to one of my idol Terry Evans
And it was a great conference and after that the chair of the Bureau James Lee got in touch and said that I fancy enjoying the board and again.
They do some fantastic work and I think investigative journalism is more important than ever but whatever things are really believe it.
We need more accountability in the system for politics for business for every area of life and that's what I'm basically during this too and they got Bureau local which is been a great success in looking at the local level I come out this week looking at the time of misuse of public funds around local authorities and someone as well and I got very ambitious plans for the future, so I'm delighted to be involved with that as well sir Harold Evans is one of my Heroes I have been trying to get on the podcast for years and then he came on and we've actually developed a bit of a friendship realise I had lunch with him last week in New York it just me and him.
Just chewing the fat.
He's what I would call a proper jealous and he's 90 old now and he's still writing is still equally as that is all I have.
How do you say I'm very following never say never meet your Heroes but actually I'm glad I have an original I get to know to Harry's amazing.
What's next for you then? Will you will you kind of descend into old age and intemperance.
I hope so give me alternative somebody at this stage your life.
Richard you know you should be looking to do interesting things with nice people we don't have to do the boring stuff anymore and you don't have to wear with the sheets anymore.
So and actually that's pretty much what I'm doing over Cardiff is a great school University love working with the students and Frontline Farnham you know so that I'm basically where is my experience of some use and in if people want me to help I'm having said that if he will stop loving me in Great numbers now.
I'm very busy as as I am what's been the good times? What's been the bad time you know what's the things that you've done in your career as a whole looking back that you most proud of him and what has been them.
Challenging time while that's easy, I think so I mean from a journalistic point of you helping to produce the courage of the Fall of the Berlin Wall was the high point for me so I was out there for six weeks possibly bit more yellow and such a sense of of history and of the world can a turning on its axis a little bit and and producing coverage TV coverage for dinner every outlet at that time over number of weeks of that was fantastic experience not to demean at the the absolute global importance historical importance of that but everytime I think of the Berlin Wall falling out.
I was thinking David Hasselhoff stood at the top 4 moments for those first few days are in non-stop party at that and it's true, but you know so I'm in a lot of that foreign reporting.
I guess was supposed the high point that's what I really loved and you work in small teams work incredibly closer together.
You can have driven and bond together in adversity, and you know that's a great working experience must be incredible taxi.
Get caught up in this ship positivity of that given that you know how.
Amazing, I was going to be indoors.
No doubt whatsoever even at the time just how is storical important it was and you were there, but it also raises lots of questions was going to happen in the future, and what does it mean for families have been divided for so long as many years in your job is a producer is to try and fix rotator.
What is this mean one of the what's the next set of questions? We should be asking him.
How can we try and answer so that was you know who's coming till actually challenging as well as you know the greatest person that point of view and then the most testing was obviously an enquiring so I'm just because it was such a major crisis and it was one of those things.
I'm it's always the most stressful.
Thing is when you have no control over what's gonna happen, and this will have a very early on you had a sensor actually doesn't matter what I do now.
This is running out of control and you just gonna enough Wayne souvenirs the wall what advice would you give someone starting out on one of your own courses who says I want to be the next Tony Hall now and our nerve be director of news on Ab director-general.
I would be headed to have the sun.
I would say those are all the wrong things to want to be.
So don't think that far ahead really you're allowed your motivation is got to be in a running this curiosity.
I want to find out what's happening in the world.
I want to explain the world and I or even if you're on the sun, you know that you know what a tabloid immigrate tabloid journalism as well, but it's not about you.
It's about what you can do for whoever you work for so you know you get people say I want to be a presenter in you say well.
Why would anybody want you to presenter? There's lots of people to be present as what what is it about? You know? What are you offer and what can you do other people can't it's not about I want to find a vehicle for myself.
It's about how can I help my employer or any other organisation meet its aims so it's it's turning of you round outwards knowing what is there a can of set of characteristics of someone that you might meet one of his students where you think they'll succeeding Gemma's Mark you mention curiosity for ones but it is without naming names of never ever met certain aspiring journalists on your course what you thought they haven't got it.
They haven't got what it takes.
Military punch bundle spectrum and so you have some of you you you seem straight away and within the first couple of weeks.
He said yeah, I got it.
They Gonna Be what is that when you said they've got it, what is it? It's a motivation.
It's a curiosity.
It's the ability to come of learn and pick up things really quickly, it's an attitude.
You know they're, quite open and humble then enters is positionable whether it's OK Google can I learn at it's an active interest in the world and then you get to know people at the other end who know maybe they want to be a presenter or you know it to in Woodley Focus door.
They're really understand.
What's going to work and you lot of people in between your working out.
What are the motivations for becoming a journalist when you when you see them, so it out? You know is it from police have everyone's starting your cost of the want to become a Woodward and Bernstein their campaign is it half-term want to change this? I take with Martin Brunt on the the podcast recently Skies crime correspondent and you not he stood outside courts for 30 years now.
In One Sense is not campaigning to change the world but by highlighting you know that that the very best and worst of society is changing the world order so that a direct consequence of his reported or campaign episode great public service journalism doesn't have to be there going to glamour stuff at all and you know some people doing that you know day in day out cool or political council reporting whatever make a fantastic contribution.
So you know it's about people who who want to make the difference.
I guess they're motivation choir choir loving want to change the world in some way, but you don't be a bit careful about that, but they want to find out what's happening tell people about it's this implies that any terms of the platforms, what do students want to be on do they have a can of platform in my do you have students at Newcastle want to say I want to be a radio journalist.
I want to be in TV I want to be in print or is it this kind of multimedia thing now where everyone knows that Everything Counts women's conversion online in one way or another mobile calls but now have dreams.
We have a new streamers use to be newspapers with his more than online now.
We have broadcast Andrade
TV radio on the broadcast stream of a magazine stream is Murad digital Publishing and we have this computation and data stream, which is more than a technical encoding and someone as well, so you know people take their options around that kind of array of courses and some people swap around in early without people on you know the pre-course have ended up in TV and things like that.
Do you think you're going back to the dangers? You know when you think of like Marie Colvin it was deliberately targeted licence regime at Annan murdered for being a journalist and then you've got them.
You're the rules of on the battlefield now of how jealous used to be impartial and might have been indirectly put in harms way, but certainly won't targeted.
Where is now you know if example Isis want to actually capture jealous put them in orange jumpsuits and then talk to them on their just just to make the point you know do you think that jelly time on physical danger than ever before trump and fake news worse because you know there is a journalist seen as the Enemy of the people in someone as well, so all that is.
Worse but even on a on a broader scale and I blame trump regarded this as well been a lot of autocrat see it as open Season on breasts and you know killing journalists is a very efficient way form of censorship and you know if you got to Mexico Philippines other and with other countries in the whole of journalist being murdered is terrific and very few of their Killers ever get found so you know that there's a lot of work.
That's gone around not the physical safety but also a lot of lobbying around getting the UN to try and address this and say you don't eat your penis is not acceptable governments have to follow through and embedding freedom of the press as a core principle of someone as well.
I'm delighted that here in the UK the foreign office and I'll pick this up as though I think for this year as well and there's some recognition that actually a free press of free expression really matters, but it is more dangerous than it then used to be but then it's also more importantly last question then.
How many jealous Heroes I mean we mentioned to Harry Adams earlier if I can see mine typically? I guess I'm the people in the international sphere at least they said there'll be banned people like that, but only binds a legendary Brian Barron who was the BBC's glacier corresponding New York restaurant on for a long time and I work with him quite a lot and he was fantastic reporter.
I mean absolutely top drawer and Brian hanrahan.
Who's selling a longer with us as well and you know Brian famously from the Falklands through to the Berlin Wall and many other things as well with write a beautiful script and have grouping great insight into you know even a Mini and a half of TV pictures.
So those those two I think back and and really admire Richard at it's been a hugely enjoyable conversation at thank you ever so much for taking the time.
It's been a real pleasure.
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