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Read this: How to cover chaos

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How to cover chaos…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, I'm Andrea catherwood, and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 how to cover chaos the Politics of gone up in smoke and momentous political events are happening.

It seems every hour so Hardy journalist and TV producers who are Accord loving it all makes sense of it for that.

That's going to be a big question on our Show today, but I promise not the only one let me introduce you to our guests Dylan Jones is the editor in chief of British GQ you yesterday with the annual GQ men of the Year Awards last night wasn't in previous years the prime minister might well have been there because in fact he used to be a g keys motocourse.

What was it like to work expensive of Fortune parking tickets and in the end the accounts department used to pay them so we had to find various means to

Put me through without anyone knowing he was very funny.

It's obviously a very funny writing but yeah, he's with parking tickets on the car that he was he was testing the Asia hazarika is a former political advisor to Ed Miliband do you know the diary editor at the evening Standard that's the London paper edited by former Chancellor George Osborne the must be so much to choose from with all the political gossip that's around at the moment.

What made into your diary Columb today on the Booker Prize anything so much politics and in the new sometimes people don't believe so we did some stuff on the Booker Prize and always pick up little and titbits including scurrilous speculating that broadcaster, Iain Dale nitro his hat in the ring from leave because he intended it in 2009 and got.

Last three along with Stuart will also we've got nicolai gentchev, who is director of current affairs at mentor media and production company responsible for shows like Question Time on BBC One at Nicola I know you've also an executive producer at of a brexit debate for Channel 4 on Monday night.

I know you to bring back question time tomorrow night.

That's a week earlier than scheduled and Andrew Neil's new political programme Tonight two weeks earlier than planned has there ever been a better time to be working in this feels like a moment when people who don't normally pay attention to the news and politics are really listening and I was coming home late last night on on my train carriage was quite packed about 10:30 two different people write either side of me were discussing whether there's going to be a no-confidence motion in parliament today.

That's very unusual and that's a great time to be making shows that try and reach you know much broader numbers of people.

I'm gonna come back to you very shortly and we can talk about the challenges faced making these kind of programs, but let's cross night to portcullis house and to Camilla Tominey who is the associate editor of The Daily Telegraph another one of Boris Johnson's former employers split is the Telegraph support for Boris Johnson unqualified.

I would be interested in the coverage.

Obviously there's a massive dialogue over brexit as An Appetite for brexit with finding that people are subscribing to the website more on politics and any other job at the moment simply because we are in these febrile.

X yes, everyone talking about it.

Having said that I remember David aftermath of the referendum result in 2016.

I took my children to retire be Carvery and was surprised to hear brexit-related chat at

Everytable so as any newspaper or indeed broadcast of wood do we just trying to reflect what the readers are interested in at the moment you think about the live blog and breaking news events were having a situation.

Where is in just a week been a long time in politics than our people.

I'm wanting to have the latest news at their fingertips.

So that they can be arrested thing absolutely and Camilla yesterday your paper had an incredible Europe editor Peter Foster seem to have amazing access inside Downing Street over many weeks including the very controversial allegation that the pm's cheap advisor Dominic Cummings referred to the government's current brexit negotiations as a sham all the more leaks than usual with this government or is it just the leagues more interesting than anyone that knows and knows he does a lot of investigative work in the run-up to these pieces is the idea that yes, you got a situation where both sides are paid.

Pizza works a lot of things and of course there's always information emanating from there, but this is the last 24-hours the debate over the disciplining of the so-called Tory Rebels as to whether discipline had in the run-up to this event being completely lost situation before recess when Theresa May was in power the practically you know how many sugars people were having in their tea at a cabinet meeting was being licked within seconds of them leaving and it was almost like a free-for-all you know who could get the cabinet Reed out onto Twitter first.

I think there's a bit more discipline now under Boris Johnson and we know that coming has been threats to spell saying you know if there's a leak then we've seen the coverage of Sonia departure from being Savage David special adviser, but still the information a lot of vested interests and

A lot of people wanting to have their say both on and off the record number Turners of course deny that companies use the word sham, but Morgan James one of the Tory tweeted that the story and she called that brilliant journalism.

I've been hugely valuable in helping her to decide to vote against the government Anna soubry the former.

Tory MP brought it up and actually asked the prime minister if he rang the editor to complain about the story what the prime minister's answer wasn't entirely clear.

Can you tell us what happened to be perfectly honest or indeed what the reaction was from number 10 to the story but we're in the business of producing news that other people don't have it was a great exclusive we ran.

It wouldn't say that because of the events of the day that we put it and very high profile on the front page and it's not only been mentioned by the likes of Anna soubry and Margot James but also I think it's been mentioned about three times.

So, that's what we're in the business of producing this kind of fallacy around content in The Telegraph being all exclusively pro Johnson and the government's position know we're just interested in uncovering Ayesha hazarika diary editor of the evening standards, you obviously need to have leaks you need something to write a void is this government leave here than you.

I don't think it is particularly likely than usual.

I think all governments are beset with the problem of leaks.

I remember when I was a special adviser provider for a long time and there was always the classic joke when you go into cabinet somebody would get a real taking off a leaking and as Camilla said it would be erased to get it out as soon as possible remember the list of Westminster the stock-in-trade is gossip and secrets and leaks we don't have a deferential press and quite right.

That's the whole point of having a free.

A free political press Minister's advisors MPs civil servants always sort of talk around the edges and when something is so big I like em brexit.

It is inevitable that things like this are going to leak and also I also think unhappy leaderships have Morley time ever I worked when Gordon Brown was leader and he had quite a tricky time at the end and he had quite a tough advise as well Damian McBride lyrics left right and centre.

I think sometimes we clutch are pearls a bit at these leaks when actually time immemorial that is the the Business of Westminster and political journalism now.

I have to ask you editor George Osborne the former Chancellor of course resigned when remain lost the referendum wouldn't put it be having into the standard coverage of the current crisis.

Obviously he's the editor.

Very much kind of stairs and the the ship but the the evening Standard is very much for the focused on on being a London paper.

Yes break that is a very very big Focus for us.

There's lots of other stories as well.

So obviously he's he's the kind of captain of the ship that certainly in the news conference every morning.

You know people express their views very look at who I mean he's very much.

I'm a right wing traditional politics.

I'm asleep little adversaries yet.

We know what together on the on the same people and I think that's healthy healthy whether you're a paper whether your political party whether you're any organisation.

It's important to have a range of views represented director of current affairs at TV company mentorn Media you got a very busy week.

You're back a week early for the summer break with question time tomorrow night.

How's your panel shaping up for?

So it's pretty much there, but normally actually would announce it on a Wednesday after giving the you're not going to take the opportunity to do it right here given the crazy way that things change every hour.

I think this is a good week to to wait until tomorrow morning because who knows what it will bring but I can just say that it's going to be a brilliant show tomorrow.

We've got obviously some of the big players in Westminster and it's a good week to hold back and just see if there's any last minute changes to make but it will be worth watching politics things have gone out the window right and left remain and leave dealornodeal Dettori splits.

Got labour splits who got green Lib Dems SNP on earth.

Do you achieve a balanced panel across all of the divided interests? It's something that we think a lot about and it's not actually that new a problem.

I mean.

I think that's been happening in terms of the range of parties both across the nations of the UK but also.

Within England that's been happening for some time and we had the referendum campaign we know with balances absolutely at the heart of every question time panel.

We we book 5 sometimes 6-panel.

It's we spent a lot of time thinking about are they the right people at the right balance of people and we talked to the BBC and we just hope we do our best and people criticize that some of the privileges of a high-profile show that people criticize and watch and care.

Is it easier to get politicians to come on in times of crisis overview and politicians in something like this unusually calling you and saying that they want a voice told me to appear on Question Time of the people you most Want To Be The Hardest to get remember.

You know sometimes.

They are travelling so tomorrow.

We happen to be in Westminster and actually there's still be fine if you want to join the audience for tomorrow night.

If you want to go to the question time website but

You might be in several hours travel from Westminster and you're asking to take a day 2 days out of their out of the diary to sometimes get quite a hard time not to some of the planets does the audience and so I think um I think people who wrote bring me up asking to be on I would be suspicious.

I want the hardest to get are you a member of the government at the moment? They are quite hard to get a very much.

Hope so yes, I think they have come on.

Do they have to show up they have to come on every week.

You know they have to come on this week, but I think this week.

I really hope we do because actually Uno momentos x called people do it sometimes when we get out biggest casts, you know we had Theresa May and Jeremy corbyn's before the last David Cameron Ed Miliband and Clegg before the 2015 election those programs have been are you hinting that we might see some leaders time not tomorrow night.

I don't think I think the election is still a few.

But some but I think The Mentalist x you know hopefully the big the big players step up to the plate viewers do criticize a question time for the fact that they often seem to think they see a small group of familiar faces on Question Time and another political programs.

Why is it that you see the same people again and again? Do you mean on panel on panels? Well, so we were quite hard to find new Balance 1500 panelists in the last series work when you to the program but obviously with particular politicians.

You are in terms of the government in the shadow cabinet.

You are dependent on the people who are in leading positions and so I wouldn't apologise for having the you know the shadow chancellor all the all the Chancellor all the Foreign Secretary on as much as you know two or three times a series so I think it's about having a balance of up-and-coming new interesting voices and some familiar.

You know there's room for 10 as well as the person you've never seen before I hope and of course the other person that people say comes on and off allows has Nigel Farage it's often felt that he gets more than his fair share of appear that because he's good box office.

No, it's so the brexit party and UKIP Appearances have always been based on how many votes have got so if you look at after 2016 Nigel Farage didn't appear 2017 at all.

You are very much out of the picture.

He appeared once last year once this year, but the brexit party clearly coming back and we work very closely with C with all parties to look at how people are voting and try and make sure that the part from the Conservatives and labour for on every week that we represent parties in accordance with the way that people actually voted so you know I know the memes on Twitter but actually it's it's it's it's about party representation.

Are you sure all the parties are only promoting their very?

Formers in the you been working at the Labour Party and obviously the presumably there are some people that you would prefer not to have on some people that you think of better performers.

Well.

It is really changed in politics.

I mean I think we've got a situation.

Where is actually a lot of very talented people in both me and parties.

Who are not on the front benches and there's a whole group of very talented people who won the Conservative Party 24 hours ago.

Who are not there's often this and you know there is often a kind of battle in terms of who controls who goes on Question Time so when I was working doing press and comes in a we will try and have a sort of grid will we will see about who do we want to put on Question Time this week, but of course you do a backbencher who's much more box office is a bit more current within political parties.

Are there is often quite a bit of tension about who gets that plum seat on Question Time and Camilla you've been

List on Question Time as well when you are there, are you giving your employers line or are you giving your own views as a journalist, but I think the role of a journalist on the panel is to reflect really the views of the reader and not just your own but generally you know you're trying to be the common person.

I'm the kind of political posturing.

Did you go on the panel in there are people who are kind of spouting party lines literally scripted in front of them because of course all the politicians get briefing pack so I had of going on and often you're on the panel pics where you might be on with a captain of industry or an actor or a comedian.

I've been with as well in the past which makes it quite a colourful experience and of course you never know what you're going to get your not told the questions and answers no idea what the audience might throw at you so it makes for quite a challenging and slightly scary environment but all the better for being on it and from the

The newspaper I think they like to have Telegraph the Telegraph represented on panel.

Of course.

Thank you very much and thank you very much for joining us.

I know that you're on a deadline.

It's a very busy day from portcullis house.

Thank you very much for joining us today.

I want to come back Nikolai II to looking at the audience for for a question time you was playing at its highest one way or the other how is it chosen? How do you try and get balance within the audience so we have a dedicated team who spend all week working very hard to contact that we have hundreds of thousands thousands of applications for each show and they contact them.

Speak to them and try and find it a balanced audience every week regardless of where we are when does balance mean that 50% of 50% remain 50% or 50% Labour and conservative?

An axis of leave remain is its balance across several things must be extremely difficult particularly know when there are so many different fractures.

It's a really important job and when we take seriously and we put a lot of time into because actually the audience is at the heart of the show there are there a lot of great panel shows on television you see you know politicians and figures appearing across lots of different shows question thing about Question Time the thing that makes it distinctive is the audience and so we work really hard at getting a broad range of people not just in terms of political background to terms of in terms of their age and their experience to try and have an interesting audience every week Jones editor in chief of British GQ awards ceremony last night.

We're led to believe that Rory Stewart politician of the year was there when he got a text to say that had been expelled.

Party for voting against the government extraordinary times indeed, why did GQ endorse politician Rory Stewart we do live in extraordinary times on the one hand the whole the whole for the political world if you can read toxic for people and yet more people are interested in politics and never before and actually if you look at the editorial staff of TQ we have a probably about 40% more political coverage now, then we had two and a half years ago and we've hired John Crace guardian have met d'ancona Alastair Campbell does most of our big for the gladiatorial interviews Michael Wolff is written for us for quite some time, so there's an enormous first and interesting properties good.

Why would there not be but our award show is meant to reflect and kind of anticipate public opinion and in the past we have celebrated people like Tony Bland

Boris Johnson when he was there and when you're in that sort of window of opportunity of trying to celebrate someone we try to pick the most the person that I suppose is doing the most interesting things and the person that reflect public opinion and actually there was one point.

I mean we think about this stuff for months on end and there was one point.

We thought we not going to have a politician of the year because actually politics has been denigrated and that would have been quite a political statement in itself, but in the end.

We thought that was a bit facile and so we try to make sure you choose a politician who we thought was interesting things and doing the right thing and actually that was Rory Stewart and it's interesting for us to judge the mood because in a room like that.

We've done a lot of quite important people actually.

Sometimes politicians even prime minister's go down fantastically badly Tony Blair once famously and she went down very well and I was pleased for him.

It's me.

I'm interested in what you say about how much more politics you do and you've done in the last 1/2 years since the referendum.

You've always got a bit of the camera and the first magazine to put him on its cover on you having fun Jeremy Corbyn on your cover.

Why do you think that the appetite and monks jewellery has grown at the moment from a magazine like you as one might think the people looking to escape from politics in and luxury.

Monthly magazine.

What does it get from you that different from what they get in the newspapers online and Twitter on Question Time and everyone else.

I think it's all to do with editorial and I think that people would come to a magazine.

Proscape ISM and culture and art and leisure but I think you're always looking for you're always looking for a particular take on politics and we've always try to hire the best people and we were the only people to hire Michael wolf and Michael Walters writing about Donald Trump and American politics in GQ before somebody else.

I mean you rather than any newspaper or broadcaster and object you find the kind of Jonathan get the deposit to drop their guard.

I wonder if sometimes when a politician comes on it comes to you for an interview.

They might be more tempted to say something you might get a scoop that you wouldn't get they were on for example the Today programme where they know what they're going to get anything in famously of Nick Clegg of course it when he was rather than discrete with Piers Morgan interview for your magazine.

It's All About You

I'm actually weirdly.

It's easier to get politicians politicians by the way never ring up and say can I being cheeky I mean in my experience that doesn't happen because it's quite Arena but it's actually rather.

It's easier to get them done a lot of Hollywood stars because they like the oxygen of publicity a lot of people would take take on Piers because it was gladiatorial some people want to be interviewed by alasdair Campbell for exactly the same reason because they think they can come out on top is called that's a weird kind of Macho environment, but it's all about choosing the right journalists.

Are you when you were an advisor to Ed Miliband would you have encouraged him to do GQ I think he did do it then we did and I do remember it well because when you're an advisor at the absolute there the biggest nightmare interviews because the can be very aggressive, but they're not set up as a traditional political interview and after the guard can can be done and politicians.

Really want to be like when you do something with the magazine like GQ they want to be cool as well, which is like a fatal combination and also we get very worried about what they going to wear for the photoshoot entire strategy meeting with some of the most senior people about what age was going to wear for this.

I think it I didn't you made him look very good.

I think you got that one wrong the best the best is Jeremy Corbyn because actually we weren't interested in Jeremy Corbyn is a style Icon we don't have any interesting in Jeremy corbyn's interior world in terms of his culture, but he was the the often come with their guard down because they're expecting something completely different which plays very well and is it always done over lunch? I think an image that maybe these are really rather old school and you end up with her with a huge bill for an expensive lunch and a bottle of claret almost never right.

They usually done in an adjoining room like this.

To tape recorders and clinical and I think that that thing of being indiscreet over lunch doesn't really work for us.

I think you want you want full transparent gloss over the fact that you called my studio and I'm coming out of Left Field it works in question time that questions coming from An Audience solicitor response from a politician that you wouldn't get if it was a well-known political journalist asking the question.

Do you find that yeah absolutely I mean I think that's one of the reasons to watch is to see you know you can hear politicians being interviewed by professional interview as all the time and there are many brilliant interviewers, but there is something unique about ordinary members bringing their own personal experience into it and phrasing a question and it all coming from an angle that you just didn't expect and some of those moments not every week, but pretty much every week really you know travel.

Why didn't people who watching the program onto social media and live for quite a long time? Would you be thinking of putting a politician on the cover and the current? We've had many politicians on the cover when it's spelt right, but I can't think right now as any politician that we would feel comfortable with the cover.

That's a terrible indictment with true edited to TQ4 20-years and I think it's changed a lot in that.

I know that you want said recently that if you put a man on the cover at that stage you have lost your job.

You've managed to weather the storm other men's magazines have folded.

I've done it.

Well.

I like to think it's through good journalism and and and having the right things in the magazine, but we've always occupied the side of upper and lower than market and I think a lot of the magazine.

You were talking about that went out of business operated in the tabloid end and even more up-market azure calculations to Enville do you actually get more upmarket times of chasing chasing of advertising ponds at the very top of the market.

No because as sale stabilising print they grow in digital and all luxury companies all luxury advertisers have huge digital strategies and huge digital budgets.

Just before we go then I wanted to ask you the prime minister work for many of the leading newspaper editors in the country including you the former Chancellors and I editing ayesha's paper that makes it look like there's a rather cosy relationship between the British media and politicians is it to cosy I think occasion it becomes too cosy and then it very quickly falls apart and they will have to leave it then I'd like to thank all my guests today Dylan Jones that are British GQ Aisha

Picture of the evening Standard and Nicola genitive of mentor Media be back at the same time next week.


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