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Read this: Media Masters - Jeremy Hillman

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Media Masters - Jeremy Hillman…



Media Masters with Paul Blanchard

welcome to media masters at series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game turned on by Jeremy Hillman communications director at the World Bank the organisation is the largest funder of development work in the world with a mission to end extreme poverty Jeremy was previously director of external communications for the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he was responsible for their digital platforms media profile and reputation has a background in broadcast and online journalism for the BBC where you run The Newsroom for the Global commercial news channel BBC World News Jeremy thank you for joining me.

Thank you for a lovely again.

No longer in the media, but great to be here this week.

We say that to all I guessed yet.

I've listened to the end.

No tell us about the World Bank is at the MIT their mission is to end extreme poverty.

How do you say it's going that's why he we have its own goals end extreme poverty which is try and end the number of people living on bill.

Madonna 98 day at Auntie tackle inequality we call it boost shared prosperity, so I'm a lesbian incredible progress on on those goals in the last 4 years.

I know for many people that sort of devour the news everyday.

It doesn't feel like it's been great progress, but the facts are millions and millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the last decades.

There's now fewer than than 10% of the global population in extreme poverty Has Fallen dramatically the number of the of children under five dying and you know needless deaths has Fallen dramatically over the last 4 years so when you look at that big macro picture has been incredible global progress that doesn't mean there are huge challenges still and lots of the a lots of poverty and lots of deprivation around the world, but you know things have absolutely been moving in the right direction and why is that I think it's a combination of things obviously the huge global economic growth that we've seen the transformation of particular countries China is a country which has.

Lifted millions of people out of poverty through its economic growth many other countries to we still see obviously huge pockets of extreme poverty increasingly concentrated in areas like sub-saharan Africa in India there is still that there is still a large Sword of the amount of poverty, but as I said the trend has been incredibly positive partly because of economic growth a better understanding of what it takes to create jobs and opportunity.

I'd like to think that the said of multilateral institutions like the World Bank and others have made a contribution to that through through the infrastructure work that they build through investing in in human capital in education in health and many other side of developments in the work of foundations as well that I know will come on and talk about the bill of Melinda Gates Foundation my work so as many factors that I think of contributed to the progress but now it's really really important to keep that progress going and when you join the bank in 2014.

It was going through a period of change and you said it had struggled to tell us strong.

Story about its role in global affairs.

Have you changed things so I think it's true that most people don't really know what the World Bank is already understand what it does.

Obviously those within the development community many journalists in that community that have a high level of understanding, but the World Bank is not actually like one of those consumer brands where you could stop someone in the street, and I tell you exactly what it doesn't and that's good.

That's probably fine woodwork.

You know what I think it does doing what is important to understand is the institutions these multilateral institutions in the World Bank is is one of the largest a huge contributors to Global developer to every aspect of global Development so the World Bank group works on on health and education and agriculture climate change a huge number of sort of areas of development and puts massive resources into those working in developing countries working in some lower middle income countries in every where in the world is one of the huge diverse global organ.

Patients that will be very hard to invent today.

You wouldn't be able to suddenly builder World Bank today.

They were you know they will be reaching the 75th anniversary of the World Bank the Bretton Woods institutions and they will sort of conceived at a time post second world war when the world realised that it needed to come together to tackle the biggest global challenges post second world war that was rebuilding Europe after the Second World War and that was the son of first task of institutions like the World Bank but since then the mission has changed her in over the years and now as well as we talked about it's now very much about tackling extreme poverty and trying to lift those still remaining in these terrible situations are in a out of poverty and with the decline in poverty is used in States like India Summers called for the bank to shrink and focus only on low income in fragile States so this absolutely absolutely right in the bank puts, you know most of its resource into the poorest people and focusing on the areas of highest need.

An increasingly, we're going to see the highest proportion of the poorest people in the world living in fragile conflict affected States areas which are subject to a clean extreme poverty and those that there's going to be the priority areas for the for the for the bank going forward, but there is still a role in in middle-income countries there are still huge pockets of poverty in countries which people will think I was being has been richer and indeed.

They are and in those countries.

It's probably still important for organisations like the bank to keep working because there are areas where you couldn't really test and learn and apply in a great unified experience from those countries to the poorest settings as well, so the bank works in countries like India and China on health systems where there are still be no millions of poor people as well to really understand those lessons and because it's part of the banks financial model as well the bank lends money to these middle-income countries so it can create and generate the rev.

New the income so I can carry on landing and donating countries to the poorest countries mazing research like the report this month which found that only 6 countries have equal rights for men and women yeah, so this is the women business and the law about annual reports.

It's a very powerful and and sort of well covered report which looks and tracks the progress in creating equal opportunities and legal in House of the rights for women across across the world.

It always provides.

You know sort of great talking points and you've picked out.

You know this year that that there's a there's a small number of countries that absolutely hit that 100% but the bigger story here is this debate has been huge progress.

You asked earlier about progress.

We've seen every year more and more country is moved towards instead of equalising and greater rights for women there are still air is in the world which a liking quite badly Nando's most of contained in the womb business and law report, but it's really important.

B2B creating that legal framework, it's not all you need to sort of a route to create with women's economic empowerment because just having laws in place is not sufficient.

It's necessary you will need to address many of the cultural barriers.

You need to address many of the other barriers that there are as well and the bag works on any of those issues, but the women business and the law report this definitely outside of worth reading just to see see the progress that has been made and and univ than the gaps Estella what's the typical working week for you and what's top of you to do list at the moment.

I'm in college from journalism 10 zombie listen to think they'll be listening no sense.

I think I would spend the majority of my time.

So they doing Media in fact.

That's probably the smallest other part of my work.

Maybe sort of 10 over 15% of my time.

Is that working with the media are unlucky to run a large department with with a very sad of diverse skill set everything from our audience research and some insights from the country.

Atwood internal communications which an organisation like the bank 15000 strong is that is episode of fare Demand on time to digital channels and platform social media websites something we call digital governance which is out over seeing that are all the set of sets of digital should have platforms that the banks that runs across the whole institution of which there are many so what I have a soda pretty.

Yeah.

I know we can source it is the same know anyone you've ever interview will tell you know you know know know week is the same node as the same.

There's always a new issue.

There's always something coming up but what I love about the job.

I'm in a laugh.

I love that use use that we work on there's always something to learn there's always a report to sort of read and understand her and then when you manages you know because you've got an increasingly a bigger teams around whenever you have set of managing a team.

There's always a lot of work to do to support that team and make sure they're getting what they need to do good work and I'm privileged to run them but you know fantastic team.

I look forward to the day when I can replace all of them.

Would robots get more definitely coming because the bank is predicated on the existing economics been roughly the same as that when we look at the rise of automation artificial intelligence and SORN it might be that we're all looking staring down there, then I was a bit of a huge a different economy 30 years from now question and it's in Arabic.

We work on very closely at the bank.

We in a we talk about we call it sort of this disruptive technology machine learning and automation is going to have massive implications both for the waves certainly with way that we work at the bank, but but more importantly for that the countries that we work with one of the things that we really focus on at the bank is trying to understand how the developing countries have client countries where we do most of the work are not going to get left further behind because when you think about it most of them have much lower capacity.

They are going to a potentially Forfar

Behind in this digital race so we're doing out with a huge amount of work in Africa we are we at with the sponsoring a huge initiative now called the Africa digital to the moon shot which is really looking at how do we build the infrastructure the skills and capabilities setting out you know cross Africa bin in sub-saharan Africa particularly to make sure that these economies understand and are able to to carry on growing and carry on succeeding in her in and the competitive global economy which is rapidly changing fast through through technology reverb reproduce the number of reports over the last couple of years around that sale of digital transformation and they know and it's stand the Landscape is changing incredibly quickly the technology is moving is moving very fast so I think the future of work.

You know something that we've we've thought should have really hard about and it's still not only being understood by by many.

Sea metres around the world they're still I think a violet relatively low level of knowledge and understanding within policy making circles around the world of us that the speed and the depth of the changes that are coming in certainly at the bank at we think it's part of our job to try and help navigate that landscape when the countries we work to understand the implications and to get countries to be as resilient as possible and to prepare for that sort of that changed economic landscape that change working landscape view on the so-called white saviour dynamic within the media so we work with a non-profit micro finance bank and you know I've been a bit too.

I've been to working many many African countries and family could be quite prosperous and yet when they're trying to raise funds for their micro finance Bank from people in the west if they show a dusty African village with a small bowl with no shoes on pandering to the African stereotype their donations go up and of course that that doesn't actually reflect that the reality of it now.

That's a really interesting question.

I'm sure you're like me you've been seeing the sofa.

Said of little to and fro and Comic Relief and some criticisms buy a David Lammy with labour MP you know of Comic Relief and and and and in fact I think they think he specifically mention this other white saviour Complex from the bank.

You know what I don't really feel it's so we're not in the centre of that because we work within countries where we work very closely with countries and we have that that that work forces embedded in in those economies, but I think it's a really fascinating as you and I think some of the criticism that David Lammy made specifically is it racist really important issues, and I think you've pointed out correctly.

There is a tension between what some Ngo what mean of potentially Comic Relief of traditionally seen as being at Great ways to raise revenue target the heartstrings you use those most powerful images and and certainly in a we know that last trying tested.

It works and people in the UK particular incredibly generous and Incredibly supportive and they have over many.

Yaseen I've been been very charitable and very generous and I may do that because they see their on-screen moving images and the real need but at the same time where the criticism is is very bad.

Is that that stereotypies has long been left behind and the whole world of development the whole shape of those that you know economy says you're describing his absolutely changed and and that stereotype now.

It is in that.

It is time to leave that behind and I think what what is a much more complex story to tell is no it's the one of these incredible on innovation and entrepreneurship in these developing economies this incredible optimism in lots of these developing economies as well.

It's not the traditional images that said of tug at the heartstrings and David Lammy talk about then another flies buzzing around the sudden stopping child.

It's actually a much more nuanced complex story there is still those hot tugging images to be found in the poorest parts of the world of course.

That's true and unfortunate probably going to be true for some time to come.

But I think helping the public understand the development is done very differently now the private sector is much more involved in development.

It's no longer should have just handouts from people instead of writing a cheque.

It's actually a much more sophisticated understanding of growth and development and what it takes to do that how to attract in private sector investment.

How do you grow jobs? How do you support that entrepreneurship including Sid of women in a women entrepreneurs in Abyss is a very different story to tell I think from what I know and I'm not living in the UK right now.

I don't watch it as closely as others but I know Comic Relief as as as seen that understood that has been reacting to that, but it's it's a big change in approach, and it's it's really having to sort of take the public on a on a on a new journey and leave us some of those stereotypes behind and a look at a really different understanding of development and what it takes to move economies forward a friend of mine qatil she runs and media campaigning organisation called One World media and they're trying to challenge these kind of stereotypes the other rewards scheme that they were.

Every year called The the Pharaoh filming standard on the fair filming standard and one of them is that they they says that they want Africa to be presented properly as you said and they've heard tales of people film crew is filming in Africa where you not that young kids have been going about their business in shoes and going to school and then when the bean film with the been told to take their she was often so that they look more African I mean clearly that there's an element of of perpetuating the stereotype in with the directors when challenged say people don't believe it is African unless it look conforms to their frequency stereotyping.

We just filmed it in you know anywhere, but that's the reality of prosperity many parts of Africa now course yeah, I think I remember seeing a skit with Ricky Gervais in on Comic Relief where he actually said have you don't suppose some of the irony in that it was it was brilliantly done and of course there are other side of organisations.

I think it's the radiators to Africa is it one of the Norwegian thinks that I think there's even an award which is.

Jennifer Los Alamos stereotypes typer, you know white saviour type that I think there's only just seen I'd like to be charitable and say that I can understand the motivation for for some of that you know because people hopefully I doing it for the right reasons.

They think they can erase more money.

They think it's going to be supportive, but it's clearly the wrong conclusion and the wrong approach.

I think that the right approach is for really deeply creative people and people that really care to start to understand what it takes to change those perceptions to tackle those stereotypes.

There was still greatly there is still a really important reason to be supporting development in these countries to be supporting the poorest to be creating opportunities for the many people around the world that don't have it, but the way to do.

It is not simply by playing old stereotypes, but it's by really helping people to understand not just a need but what they can do.

22 address that in a sustainable way, there is incredible understanding now and sophistication around how you support sustainable development how you help people listen selves up how you create those opportunities.

They're both for infrastructure through education through through the rights of health programs and I think it's a hard a story to tell you know it's obviously easier.

Just to put a picture of you know some starving child up on the screen and and ask for money, but really it's it's not telling the full story, it's not even telling half the story.

So how do we really get creative about about getting people engaged with the issue of development and what they can do a settler within the richer economies to help address some of those needs and understand that you lost one of your team members in the recent Ethiopian crash.

Yeah, unfortunately.

We did a very sad Max to be so Atkins was one of our climate youngster the climate communicators lovely daivari.

Peter very passionate guy watching a Kinect for climate the initiative and he was on the Earth on the plane that crashed in in Uno in Ethiopia so dreadfully sad at along with you actually many other members of the UN and many others Ngo and development workers in of course with all the other victims as well.

So yeah, I know I like to pay tribute to him and all those others that died as well.

It's it's very sad, but there are a lot of people you know to the putting themselves out there and doing great work and this was so you know tragic for the team now you live and work in Washington DC and I spend a lot of my working time in America but we're both in London so brexit on my mind at the moment.

Can I on behalf of the British people apply for a loan? I don't know if you have any documents in your briefcase the application forms and so do you know do you think that Britain is going to come have to come in Cap in hand?

That the UK is that a strong a massive supporter of the of of the World Bank and is a great day.

It's one of our outside of key an important shareholders and and we really appreciate all the support we get from different soa breaks.

It is not something I'm unfortunately I can I can talk to you about mischievously trying to put you on the spot anxiety and I will say it's never come back to the UK it's it's tough to get away for him from brexit.

It's it feels like be the only issue and end in a from my perch in there in Washington in my perspective.

There are so many important pressing issues proteases of course you know you know of key importance in our it in the in the UK and it will eventually be for the UK public in the UK politicians to sort out but that but there are there are other huge challenges issues, so you know over the horizon which shower which you know every country.

Lisa start thinking about you been at the World Bank 5 years this time.

I know what's been your greatest achievement sci-fi.

What's the thing? You've done that which you most proud are we should warn me of that question so that I said so much.

I've got a fantastic team and and I think with they do great work everyday.

I think probably to date the thing of which I'm I'm I'm proud on behalf of the team was launching at the end of last year what we called the human capital index.

This was all about.

How do we encourage and work with countries to invest in that people in Barry human capital being people investing education in health and social safety nets last year the end of last year in there in Indonesia we launched are and index which ranks every single country in the world based on its investments in human capital, are you the health and education for the metrics and we use new data looking at the not just eat the number of kids in school, but the actual quality of the Education quality of

Learning that are getting it was quite a controversial thing to do countries generally don't love being ranked and they look to see who's about them who's below them, but it was a really important piece of work out for the bank to do because you know it is very clear to us and we think countries are sort of seeing this understanding working very closely with us on this that but those investments in people correlate with the growth of the countries in the success of their countries and and since we launched and we did a huge for the Global launch in that we did lot of work with big publications including the ft and others have a lot of coverage in the media coverage, but also had some really great conversations with a lot of stakeholders civil Society governments with whom we work and we seeing amazing progress already were you know what you can also.

We've seen countries like India sign up to her to Pisa one of the educational measurements of the big measurements in education.

We've seen them countries are really start to think of.

How they within their the ruling structures their their their government structures address than the the human capital investment human capital needs with working in a closer now with more than 50 countries on human capital and I like to think that part of the work.

We didn't communications about telling that story about explaining that link between investment and people and healthy economies are in a really hurt has started to make an impact and I think that's one of the great things about work at the bank.

It's at it.

It's a big large complex bureaucracy it can be hard to get things done because you need a huge amount of consensus in agreement, but when you can when you can get that you can really move the moving needle and you can really have global impact in it in a really important significant ways our I'm really pleased with that work is ongoing it's not to the beginning and ended human calories is a big part of the bank strategy right now and I'm so the police to still be very closely involved with it.

We're doing a lot of work it on in education right now number for The Bank you run external communications for the bill and Mel

The gates Foundation it must have been fascinating to have seen Bill Gates work at class.

He's incredible guy and I could talk about him 4 hours.

I like to be fantastic as amazing but I have had the pleasure of working with her and she's done incredible work.

I should a fantastic book out this year and you know she doesn't credible work particularly answer the phone on gender and women's studies.

We can I make empowerment and health as well, but they're they're incredible couple and the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an amazing organisation.

It was a hero to me at Microsoft as an entrepreneur and he's become a double hero to me because of all the philanthropy that he's doing is literally giving away on his wealth and really trying to make a positive change in the world incredible gap the foundation approaches for that.

We are back in in a very different way LE67 you before what Fallout 3 is and what it can do and it's really.

Based around very rigorous metrics measurement and evaluation of impact and that very much comes from Bill and Melinda you know so they working life at Microsoft they don't just do things to say they've done that may really want to understand.

What's the change that they're delivering and and the millermen to get foundation works in strongly in areas like health and agriculture polio eradication was another one of the son of major programs for device.

I was in a lucky enough to work on at the gates foundation and I don't know what the quantifiable figure is but I have absolutely no doubt that the work the foundation has done has who has saved millions of lives at which is an incredible feat.

Anna Friel said have you know something that we can just sort of a stand back and admire, but I think what they also doing which is as important is there are leading the whole set of industry if you like as a freelancer whole approach to fill me in release order redefining that threw something called the giving pledge that.

Belinda and Warren Buffett for the setup correct you know that they're bringing many other individuals so that into the Fold to really understand what it takes to deliver great stay positive impacts over and Bill particularly.

I mean it was amazing amazing guide to work closely with the it's daunting you know talking to him.

Is that is in many ways and intimidating.

He's so bright peas soluble and you know the time you said something he's already three thought so.

Beyond you and that United and he's just got such an incredibly forensic at mind but he's also got incredible values and he's he's a polymath.

He really is able to span so many different Fields he gets signs he gets biology.

He gets politics.

He gets up he gets every feel that any constantly feed himself with information.

He constantly surrounds himself with the with the brightest people he has formal learning.

Fashion sweater something he feels he really need to understand better.

He'll just gather all the smartest people in the world in a room and and he'll have a day just learning and getting deep on that so he can just keep feeding that Back to the Future mind if it is a voracious reader and just hungry and curious Facade of information and then and is able to make linkages in a way that I've never seen so that anyone else do so I United so it was incredible privilege and never would've ever dream that I would get to work in a closely with with someone like that in there and I loved every minute of it seems to have painted the path as you said 4 billionaires to balance their success with a social conscience.

I sat.

I think that's right.

I think it's interesting how he in how the foundation started that the history of other starting and it was interesting as it was all his his father.

You know about Bill Gates SR who started making some small in a relatively small obviously not not small small relatively small set of facts of philanthropy and donations and then.

Peaked Bill and Melinda curiosity a certain point in their career when they were obviously starting to think you know what's what's an accident and and suddenly he just saw this I think it's a huge intellectual challenges.

He started to at AMOLED I started to get the heads around the complexity of these problems and what could they do to tackle them and and their ferociously difficult problems that they're taking on because they're not just about writing a check.

You know they're not sold by it by money alone.

They're sold by a combination of a resource and and politics and addressing cultural challenges and 101 others of barriers to really solving these problems and and and it's that level of complexity when you're taking on issues like that for the so complex that you really need the smartest minds and and the right resources and the right sort of thinking to do it.

That's what I loved about the foundation is the intellectual so the river that goes into taking on some of these incredibly Thorney challenges and how much of a difference do you think the foundation has made in terms of?

Herbal health and education that I don't know I'd number figures.

I think it's made you know it's mining capital contribution both in terms of number of lives saved of of new types of vaccines and treatments developed over in our in the field of Agriculture and development of agricultural seeds and other areas in starting today in getting close in obviously, not there yet, but getting instead of much closer to eradication of polio tackling malaria in a very big and substantial way, but also just in leading many others and setting setting that agenda for many you know many others in the field even those that aren't working the same fields of Agriculture and health and development.

It's also just set up by in terms of the way that you do philanthropy and how you can really measure the impact of Fallout 3 when I was at the foundation.

I was amazing I first arrived to see how many people were working on what the course the Emily measurement learning in evaluation.

Just like that, so seriously it's all about that accountability and showing the impact.

It's not just about the output is about the outcomes and that's a that's a novel of the new way of thinking about philanthropy.

It's not we giving this much money.

It's this is what we've achieved.

You know in this way and if anything is haven't worked.

It's also about being honest about those failures and saying ok that didn't work.

Why didn't it work? What do we need to do instead so I think being able to to be honest about his failures which is something that but you know in almost no Fields that people aren't good at admitting failures in a meeting mistakes and if you don't do that.

You can't you know progressing almost anything you do and I think certainly and development feel there is a real fear of being honest about things that haven't worked and mistakes in the past you never sent that at Foundation the foundation was just hungry to to understand.

What move the bar thought what move things forward and what was holding them back and and if they if there are mistakes, then they would they wouldn't notice them and quickly move on.

The bill and Melinda Gates Foundation strategically supported lot of Media organisations philanthropically terms of raising awareness of what they were doing.

How do you see those does partnerships working and where do you think they're going to win the future? That's the Range estimation if that's right the gates Foundation head office of a multimillion-dollar still does portfolio where it supported media including here in the UK the Guardian book book media around the world as well and and I think that's a really growing trend there out.

There are a lot of philanthropist.

I just specifically set up to support Media or big families that are supporting media as part of this order broader portfolio and this is huge amount of money coming into Media social media companies Facebook Google News initiative.

I know you've done interviews you know you know so they talking to it to people about that an agent with massive chin up a from Google or a while ago did great so I think there are huge opportunities and and challenges as well.

What was very positive.

I think about the way that the gates Foundation approached that sort of Media pa.

The ship work was in absolute respect for editorial independence and editorial decision-making so the starting point of the gates Foundation has just because they decided that this was that the effective sustained way to do it was that they would support coverage and of the issues which the foundation cared about coverage of development issues and health and agriculture and other areas but they would not in any way.

I never have you no interfere editorially with with that sort of without contact now the question is that always going to be true if you know obviously you know the money comes with her.

I never comes with a set of expectations and anyone giving money to germs and comes with the 7xz of expectations to my experience of it through that lens has been good, but I think I think there is a question around truly totally impartial independent journalism and how that gets funded and what the sustainable models are and I think there are there are.

Great models are emerging and I think we are probably in some somewhat of a Golden Age singing incredibly strong journalism from many new players and lots of established players like like in York Times and others so I feel very optimistic about journalism and I think the the philanthropic money that you asked about his is buying large having a great positive impact right now, but I think it is it's still the other jury is still out on on on how we do not have this this develops in the local news that that that that Facebook is going to invest in and and the Google News initiative.

Where are they ultimately going to sort of end up and and and how sustainable are they and what do they end up producing? I think these are these are really crucial questions of which I think you've been to be Polly other people have a lots of people thinking but then I do on but it's so but it is going to be crucial questions.

Do you know that journalism is under physical threat as never before you've got Marie Colvin deliberately murdered by the

Henry schein khashoggi murdered by the Saudis in their embassy that you've got journalist Ada taken prisoner held hostage on the battlefield.

Where's before they would be allowed to come over, the war now.

They're putting orange jumpsuits Guantanamo styling then held up for execution.

I mean couple with the fact that fewer journalists than ever now because the money seems to be in PR is it isn't that great the what you sent but on the other hand there is some serious threats out there yet.

Not I don't think you're out here.

I wouldn't argue that at all.

I think I would be scared you know so they doing some of the things that I used to do doing them now.

I think Jones have much more become a target.

There is much more of a readiness and willingness to work to target journalists around the world or if you look at you know any of the figures from the organisations that should have put these out around Jonas killed in killed in the line of Duty or targeted in many many autocratic countries beginning with c know you know huge increase in there.

When I was sort of when I was working you could be unlucky you know if you are covering of foreign story award earthquaker disaster you you might be unlucky, but you know generally apart from a couple of set of examples.

Wouldn't wouldn't be the target that doesn't feel true anymore now.

It feels the journalists in many different settings have I seen as being legitimate targets in and that's why I take my hat off to a lot of my colleagues and former colleagues.

You know they're still doing that work and be incredibly brave in doing it.

It's it's very tougher to Ashley necessary and God knows I'm grateful that are out there doing it but her but it says he needs.

It's really tough know what your background is in journalism and you've had quite a number of big job is at the BBC and we'll talk about that shortly we can book but my question is how did you end up in kind of global development you know you're at you a journalist and now you working for Bill Melinda gates and out the World Bank and it I want of the Damned never covered d'avella.

Renting and those issues particularly strongly as as a journalist, I was having foreign use I covered lot of politics and business and technology so it certainly wasn't an area that I should have said I was never particularly steeped in before before leaving the BBC really it's a very simple and said all story I got approached while I was doing my cellar final job at the BBC about this service job Melinda Gates Foundation I didn't know it's done about it and you a little bit and and a conversation started and it took quite a few months does a rigorous recruitment process at the foundation.

There are a number of interviews in a final trip out to Seattle and then I was offered a job and my wife and I thought that sounds goodness the right time and you know it was I was sad to leave the BBC with some incredible career at the BBC and I'm sure we'll talk a bit about that, but say it was an opportunity.

I just couldn't say no to and haven't looked back.

How long will you at the BBC for 17 years long time? Did you go?

The statler journalism, did it like trainee scheme local radio and LBC radio in London and elsewhere, breakfast show they were there a character called Mike Carlton Australian there for anyone that remembers him and five live was launching at the time about to launch and and in fact that was exactly as I think it's the 25th anniversary this month.

I may be having this week actually other Radio 5 live so I was recruited to join the breakfast programme of work with a great team Adrian Chiles was doing a business business presents a method of him at the wake up Jane Garvey Woman's Hour is that the present from Peter Alan was the try and Brooks that was still working with a three of them should the greatest bulletin didn't she morning listen to that?

Text Sarah Longfield things.

I didn't think it would work at the time and I've been proved wrong countless times.

I didn't think the move to Salford woodworking clearly house, but I thought it was a very novel concept of time.

It is hard to imagine that now, but it was a very celebrate this whole idea of Sports News wasn't really a thing I mean people sports or sports and news was news, minutes.

So there was a lot novel including the son of I think the real should have regional approaches while loop 5 Live setup the whole group of regional journalist a really cover the UK na na na different way that hasn't really been done before you get out of the son of metropolitan city get out of London I think there was a lot of side of novel innovation at the time and some

Simple bravery on the part of the son of BBC leadership to setup 5 live there was certainly internal resistance at the time.

I remember it was some of the more traditional set at the BBC world little bit suspicious Armada what's this new upstart at going to be about but it really established itself pretty quickly and if you look at some of the talent.

That's come out of your nose that group and and the station over the years.

It's been incredible now.

We have a tonne of listeners.

Who are at the early stage of their career his it's quite possible that someone listen to this might be a producer on morning report on 5 live.

So let's say that they want to be a director of BBC World 17 years later that you want advice.

Would you give them to progress through the ranks as quickly as possible cos I was very lucky.

I was in the right place at the right time and I think I think you're not in any career think having the right mental some people that look out for you.

Is was was really important.

I've had the number of those inmates.

You know I had number those in my career at the BBC some great man.

Just people like bill Rogers who was the first star in the editor of five live breakfast programme many others and the BBC's incredible organization and like any any career.

It's a certain amount of luck being at the right place at the right time.

Are you on the right story do you get noticed that this particular moment so for me? I'm in the my should have moved to foreign use was very serendipitous move because that is a long time ago before your time, but I was there in one morning when the Japan earthquake happen the Kobe earthquake.

I think was 1995 from someone on the correct me but I know I've been lucky to have lived in Japan for the last poker a little bit of Japanese and there was on the phone bashing the phone is trying to us or that some interviews using my Japanese and that one of the bosses Phil longman, who sadly died since.

I think it was walk-behind City speaking Japanese we're gonna send him to a synonym for kobam.

I couldn't quite believe it.

I was sort of soda.

Cayman my morning to work and next thing I know I'm going home to grab my passport on a plane to Japan and was so excited and I would one of my biggest clients ever in the last 20 years just gonna happen to be walking past someone in a corridor that was discussing an opportunity and it just show you just now it just shows how it's serendipitous these things are lucky Tassimo incredible opportunities and don'ts love I don't take this for granted.

It's so the BBC was incredibly you no good to me.

It's an amazing organisation and yeah, I know I just obviously do some amazing things that work with some great people left.

How long are you at 5 lifetime? What can next Galaxy 5 live for a couple of years and then it's going to be hard to remember that I don't move quickly as I did want to be such a slightly strange jobs where I was so foreign radio producer and and it's basically the on-call foreign radio.

She said she's got sent hither and thither.

It's a little boy.

You never actually got home.

Annabelle Thorpe do your cleaning or anything you just be from one one country to the next they like her but just answering the phone with trepidation the other side of the same as a lovely guy called Malcolm Downing who knows if you listen to this hi Malcolm if you do and you knew that deep booming voice on me and other phone means you're off somewhere else to whatever the next story was you know when you're young and you've got for the no Commitments it was just incredible challenge incredible fun always have your passport with you all you would always have your passport with you and that and a bag packed and you just be often often you wouldn't get home between you just go from one story together.

I mean out nowadays.

Everyone has a ticket but I can remember very first tools of The Newsroom so the two decades ago.

There was in office travel agent that actually print the flight ticket there and then because you might have to be sent to Japan and they would give you your ticket then then I tried in the office at incredible amazing travel guide call Dave Bristow who many and the BBC remember.

Walking encyclopaedia of every single root connection airline and he will get you to the right place and and without even saying to have to tap on his keyboard.

He was there he was amazing and he was the go-to guy newsradio that was for all of the venues programmes on all of the radio stations that job that job was so yep, so that job I was working for Radio 5 live on Radio 4 United Premier League yet.

What can next after that I again this is where should have great mentors come in and I was sort of push slightly towards doing a longer stints in one place and I will I went to Washington where I'm living now.

So that was the first time I lived in Washington DC and I was there for the herb 96 the election campaign Clintons night election campaign and then and then working on the impeachment to hold impeachment said of her Clinton impeachment vote for a few months will people like Brian Hannah and it came out of Gavin esler Bridget Kendall we're all in this sort of beer at the time Bill Maher bill so got

Work with all of these celebrate Christmas is doing all the brexit stuff now.

I was there at the time as well.

So that was my first real taste of what it was like to work in our BBC foreign Bureau we had a great office on Elm Street in in Washington in fact that the office right now.

It's just a few doors away from that now and they began a DCC amazing to go in a great city and then a very exciting exciting time.

I'd say you know will you would always pinch yourself thinking I'm here and I'm representing the BBC and I'm doing this incredibly said of interesting work.

So it was a fantastic experience.

What was it like to see the brutality of American Politics of clothes? You know the Old adage, if you want a friend in Washington DC get a dog inexperienced and probably a lot of it went over my head at the time.

I should have said I was a fairly new green producer.

I didn't tend to have many of those bacon out of relationships myself.

I didn't spend to spend much time with with with with the politicians myself.

You know it's so you know I was saying I was watching a lot of output.

I was trying to keep track of what love the US networks we doing I would have him I might in my flat in DC I remember having for tape machine setup so you able to record simultaneously each of the Year the US survey Sunday morning shows in and take clips from those from the politicians.

So it's a bit of learning you know Curve care for me and and and you know where do just trying to understand the complexity of American politics and how it worked I used to work many many years ago with Bob friend before I died when he was the US correspond of the BBC's producer was Mark Thompson.

That was great in Oxford today giving a speech about the BBC

Society next but what what came after Washington DC let's come and finish the courier bid us so that was another launch for me about was the news 24, but yes, I was on the breakfast program and as well could never quite escape the overnight shifts first early years of my BBC Korea have a lot of overnight shifts in the breakfast programme on News 24.

I just remember we didn't really know what we doing is hilarious.

We were using a newer new equipment that would work sometime and wouldn't work out the timetable put strange Aston tapenade moments and maybe the right BT would run maybe it wouldn't we were really sort of discovering and learning if you are still unsure.

Now I make with it was great fun.

We had a lot of you know it's a very young team as they always out at the BBC doing something new was Tony hold channel director then.

Yes, I'm taking who was head of news saying that right.

Yes, I think you was close.

How Long Eaton news 24/24 for a couple of years and then I then I made my big escape from the UK and moved abroad for quite a long time after that so.

Are often used 1:35 Asia to Hong Kong first and then Singapore working in the foreign Bureau there and that's where my for the BBC have that for the BBC and that's when my kids were born on my daughter was born in Hong Kong my son wasn't born in Singapore and and we still didn't look back and we're out of the UK for a for quite a long time at that point again all for the BBC London New York and Washington DC to get a bit restless stainless in play some time to download it.

Just been the way the EU careers taking you know I definitely my wife and I often talk about United have going on The Venture and when we are when we move back to the UK after after a few years.

We we said are we just need to we need to go on the next adventure and that's a love letter to Seattle moving everything so oh I do like to move around I love for us from a family perspective.

It's always been great moving because I feel it's just it's been really binds together the family your go to this joint experience you know with the kids and yeah, you're making new friends in your setting up a new home.

No, just love that hole that whole set of challenge and we really enjoyed that you know each time with move which has been many many times at my daughter complains that she's been to about 11 school SE12 school.

She's now collagen in the US better, but I think secretly she quite enjoyed it and now she's you know she's met people around the world and all the places we've lived in there and my wife that luckily has been able to work.

She said she's in education tutor teacher.

She's now our principal duties of a school one that said she's always been able to be flexible while much.

I'm grateful for as we should have popped around the world, so let's just round off to meet you at the BBC.

The last big job was doing business and economics.

Was it not that's right.

Yeah, I was editor of the business and economics unit during the financial crisis of 2018 was there for about 3 years 2008 to 2011 I was working with Robert Peston over.

What are you doing now then or remember here Divino and Stephanie Flanders ever heard of her over and Incredibles

Team and it was a frantic frantic time.

You have drama that you have to cover in all of these roles what exciting times.

I think I said before I think Peter has got a fair amount of just luck and being at the right place at the right time and I've always been lucky to be in places where things are really happening in the news wise and and yet.

There was nothing like the new story you know around the banking crisis in the financial crisis from 2080 was amazing.

I really steep learning curve for me again.

I have not being that.

I had not been deeply into business and economics coverage before then.

I was learning all the time from real experts that had spent the whole careers in in in business economics and the likes of Robertson Stephanie and all of the correspondence there at the time, but it was even though I mean that I mean what happened in 2018 for the next couple of years has impact.

Just still being being felt so it was a really defining part of my career.

It's one which I can I look back on and probably if I'm honest didn't really understand completely significance you know that time at the time but I I did say there's a huge editorial challenge the dramas.

You say was palpable.

You know where every day.

There was some something size mix of happening in and and and and it felt and it was really on the precipice in terms of the global financial system and and where it was going to go and what was going to happen and what an amazing should have a moment to be a journalist and energy networking in business and economics and is you learn all the intricacies of the global financial system did that help you explain it to the the viewers and listeners who themselves needed help to understand.

What the hell was going on.

I wasn't just pretending so yes, I think we also working with amazing.

You know communicator so so that the whole team of the time.

You know wasn't very good at translating difficult complicated Concepts into into language and visual tool of journalism that that that really did understand and I think enough I think business and economics journals and financial journalism is just runs through everything and I'll and again I probably didn't appreciate that immediately at the time but I gotta quickly grew to understand that to understand almost anything in the world including issues at work on now like climate change your help for agriculture.

You know if you don't understand the economic underpinnings and the business and financial underpinnings.

You don't really understand that you know what they contain the issues and where the Solutions lie, so so are you not my personal feeling is that every journalist should should at some point in a working in in business into the financial economic journalism because it's

Kian crucial to understanding almost everything everything else there is and certainly for me.

I think that you know trying to find ways to tell their stories in an accessible way and it's very hard to to traffic some of that complexity and especially getting about 6:00 news of a 10:00 news.

You've got a tiny amount of time on maybe a short to wear interview to tell something very complicated in so where I've seen it yet in a very sad of short space of time but I love the the challenge the creative challenge one of things.

I was really proud of that the time was Sir Arab Ossett time Peter Horrocks so was the university head of the The Newsroom very interested of a very creative huge.

You know into huge in selector unit in use at the time and she said A Challenge for everyone to come up with some innovative ideas in their area and then put some money into supporting any innovative ideas and I challenge at the time was Sir

You how do you really talk about something like global trade but make it tangible and make it something that people consider understanding and see and so I had this idea.

I'd read this book about the box this the shipping container and and I just had this idea but what would it be like if we could follow a shipping container around in that there was so so lucky.

I was I was well supported by Peter Anand by inner Circle others as well and we put on my GPS tracker on the BBC painted it and then we just it all around the world with a map online and telling stories need to the port where it landed.

I remember one of the first stories with Hugh pym.

You know as the box left Scotland with a big shipment of whiskey headed to China and then we follow it from here to Brazil and I can't remember that the root and tap but it was it was so gratifying because a lot of unplanned things happened where teachers started to follow this boxing.

Stop to teach global trading in geography today.

I Don't Cry by boxing someone said that their own website.

There was a Wikipedia page suddenly appeared and it was all of this spontaneous for the first latching onto this idea and it was just said it was fantastic to work.

I'm at work with a great team ever to producers Carolyn and Joanna who just start absolutely should have took the project and just killed themselves mojito soda work and I was so you know really grateful to them and he explains that you gained running the business economics team as edit it helps.

You do a better job holiday terms of the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation indeed now with the World Bank the transition from journalism to communications.

I thought it'd be much easier than it was and I was quite naive I think when leaving the BBC I think what I what I was starting to get some understanding of with managing a large team and I don't think of myself as being a great natural manager those people I work with energy.

Sorry, naturally good at it, but I had some experience management team and obviously you when you leave and going to communications.

You're taking a certain skill set with you some of which is very useful that story telling the media understanding Abbott there was a lot about working communications that I just didn't understand and I really had to sort of learn quickly or trying to learn quickly the whole set of Strategic Thinking and that much longer term planning was something I didn't really have much of you know the BBC I was very much for the day today week to week and that really changing your mindset around that was very difficult the whole idea of should have going to an organisation when you're at the BBC Oran Oran is organisation that very much of shared language is shared culture everybody is to some extent in content and they're doing a similar thing.

So you don't have to work hard to explain what you're doing to people when you go to a different organisation like the like the gates Foundation of wellbank actually the vast majority people are not communicate as they're not from your field.

And they understand the world in a very different way so trying to pick up an end and change the way that you talk about your work and bring what you have to the table, but understand that you might be doing with economists and scientists people who just have a very different set of priorities and understanding of the way the world works at the new do that's probably the biggest challenge your suddenly one of a large number of a different people are the BBC One of large and very similar people with a similar sort of mindset and a similar approach to the challenge so I think that's probably the biggest difference and I hadn't appreciated that with making the transition so I can you know I found the first few months.

So you know the gates Foundation really tough to understand.

What was expected of me, what my added value was to the organization but however things I really need to work on an undeveloped and I felt like Gru you know so professionally huge amount at the gates Foundation were probably again in hindsight had probably stop growing in that way you know.

At the BBC because I've been doing now broadly a similar thing for it for quite a long time last question and I don't expect you to answer is no one ever does but what's next for you when I was hoping you would offer me a job and I can come and work for you.

Paul I could make extra editing this interview actually substantial questions on it.

So long and really enjoying the job.

I'm doing right now and you know I got I said I've always been lucky in something great.

There's always come along and I just work you enjoy working on on important issues and they're trying to do what I can join me.

It's been an absolute fantastic conversation that really learnt a lot.

Thank you ever so much for your time.

Thank you are right angles podcast in association with big things Media


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