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Read this: Jon Snow: A Lifetime in News

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Jon Snow: A Lifetime in News…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 hello that distinct musica mean only one thing it's time for Channel 4 news and one of the most famous faces in broadcasting Jon Snow has been the face of the program since 1989 over the course of three decades every Prime Minister from Margaret Thatcher up to and including Theresa May he drew the Iconic word let bygones be bygones from Nelson Mandela he said of playing with ADR mean reported on a crisis in Vietnam and it's not all being hard news.

He has danced and son on TV and even got stoned on camera, but he's also been accused of being too.

Physical views that were too obvious and which undermine the networks impartiality and so at a time when the future of Channel 4 is up for grabs his words of come under unprecedented scrutiny welcome to the media show and I guess before we start first question is you got a few days left at Channel 4 News hoping for an interview with Boris Johnson I'm absolutely standing ready and I have ever hoped that phone call Cameron has suddenly be able to say I've I've literally interviewed every Prime Minister since I started last keep on trying to get stuck in.

I just want to get one thing clear which is you know how you see yourself.

We know how we see you, but how do you see yourself you see yourself as a newsreader first and foremost.

Are you over water digging for original journalism who just happens to be the news and I told her that I'm a reporter.

I am I have nothing else.

Responsibility then to tell stories to tell the truth and to interrogate Lorena of retrieving information and ideas and stories the maybe nobody else has got obviously spent a lot of your career doing that out on the road even as a newsreader New Orleans after the flooding you were on the ground outside grenfell Tower for you and I even work together for a very long time and channel 4 news and we we went to India together over a decade ago.

What what do you get from being on location that you wouldn't get otherwise?

I think you get totally plugged into reality there's nothing between you and what you're looking at and it's up to you to try and make something of it and to interrogate anybody who's there in D2 interrogate what it is.

You're being told let's go back to where it all began if you like you went to university to study law but you were thrown out for taking part in an anti-apartheid protest.

Did you grow up in a political household or automatic Torres I don't have any choice there was no choice additionally extraordinarily my father was the headmaster of a school in Sussex and it was there that I'm counted my first politician 12 extra things I was in the chapel and I said to her mother who's that unhappy looking man down there at the end of our Pugh

How do you say I get your father to tell you and you said Jonathan cos that's what they called me Jonathan this is Mr Harold Macmillan he's the prime minister.

You know what a prime minister geoman.

Is it well I am conservative politician and I run the country that you met her about melon.

Didn't I take it from your career make you think I want to be a politician, but there must be some sort of Media Jean in the snow family tree come.

See you that your cousin Peter snow and now his some dance no TV presenters.

So did you always know you wanted to be a journalist? No, I didn't really know I wanted to be a journalist.

I really wanted to be a troublemaker.

I wanted you know to change things I mean after I was sent down from university.

I had to find something to do and I went to work in a day centre for homeless and vulnerable.

And I stayed there for 3 years and it kind of took me everything I haven't learnt at that point.

How come you're sitting with me now on the media show you did become a journalist will I did and the I wish I could have said I'd work for the BBC and that made the transformation but actually despite pining to work for the BBC I never have been invited times, but in that time the Invention of independent radio of commercial radio was hatched and the first station on our with LBC London broadcasting and I applied for a job there for some reason.

I think probably yes probably Peter snow maybe our own Johnstone it'll be alright.

They got their own Peter snow that look that will make sense and I had 3 years of amazing.

Journalism really because sadly the IRA went wild there will be no way across London and the lucky thing was a day rider bicycle as I got to the seat of time often before anyone else was anywhere near it and all had to find somewhere to lock my bike up and otherwise I had my eula tape recorder on my shoulder and dive straight in and if you're getting raw amazing revealing stuff right there on the grand.

It's it is much more powerful even if it's not as good I mean the may not be great journalism, but it was radio and people favourite the heart of it and you will therefore thought to be a very good reporter even there probably was a terrible reporter you take over as Channel 4 news news from Peter sissons after he responded to the BBC was that was your and gold with the news and I never really regarding and I still don't regard.

I do it travel news as reading the news because why not interrogating the news I mean across you you've got a layout and then challenge the people who are involved in those fact and determine whether they really are fat stew it's it both oral and rapper Taj will talk about some of your big scoops is a journalist there have been a lot in 1976.

You were flying in a falcon executive jet along with the sauna.

Idi Amin Who at that time was the dictator in Uganda how did you come to be on that place? I have to go a little bit of background and when I left school.

I went on voluntary service overseas to UK but never having been out of England so it's a big culture shock and rest it is also the most intoxicating and wonderful amazing way of love.

The world and I developed This Love of Uganda out of Africa and almost as soon as I became reported itla did a lot of reporting from Africa with copper on the lawn the setting for president I mean today with the diplomats was the former British High Commission residence at Necker Sarah Lodge it was to be Estate garden party with a difference the game itself was dominated by Abdul between president I mean rather smaller mystic FM hi the latter their over-60s occasionally running the president office feet with British cat as a result of moral considerations British interests were represented by the French ambassador who moved with great Style but to little effect and then he Mr President Amin made no mistake with the Swan one of those trips that we were sent to Uganda to try and hunt down I mean and challenging.

The terrible things he was doing and the funny thing is that I mean was rather taken with the fact that I knew you gotta admit.

I'd live there and it's all well.

Are you excited to hear invited? This is his presidential jet fly to the north of the country and then I was with my crew with him and with a rather barely looking air hostess who clearly had a girl and as we continued our journey.

It became clear and you've gone to sleep next to and I thought

Service pistol hanging off his belt I don't should I shoot him.

I mean really consider it, but also me him murderous bastard me brave courageous looking for the truth.

It's time.

I did tell me about this hello puppets.

No possibility then.

I thought he may not be asleep.

He may be pretending to sleep and I looked at the hosting.

I looked the house was undone and I could pull the gun up and gone is it loaded? What idiot would let Idi Amin Idi Amin on board with a loaded pistol you're an idiot.

You're not going to survive this you try that so I didn't not doing it stupid thing to try and do.

78-in Vietnam reporting on a refugee crisis and reminders what happened in Vietnam cos I think you ended up getting arrested or there was a tremendous.

You know exodus of people when they were taking every kind of vessel boat whatever to escape and across the malaysians are not too keen to see people or maxscale coming into the country especially strong measures to try and stop them we got onto one of the boats because we got there was a clever idea to see just how much they were suffering suffering gravy the word dead people on the boat.

You know them terribly squash belowdecks in huge numbers and we had a boat to take her out there and he was standing or are we talk that's fine he awaits but actually didn't leave lead and we were left stranded on the boat are fate really bad with theirs and we then spent time.

To help these people and had a cold that upset the locals something rotten and women arrested in 1990 in Johannesburg to watch Nelson Mandela freedom.

What was that like and how do you go about reporting a story of that kind? I think the problem was it was absolutely the most glorious and it was liberation.

It was my nearest South Africa had a terrible record of a party animal if it in here was some kind of you know almost Jesus Christ figure who cheered you know out of prison an absolute hero of the time and the Amazing responsibility you like I've been allowed to interview him welcome to this Channel 4 News special program from South Africa Nelson Mandela is free but even before he has an opportunity to address his people in public.

Balance police open fire on tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered awaiting his arrival outside Cape Town City Hall here tonight.

They know little of this instead.

They're already out on the street dancing and singing awaiting his arrival here sometime later tonight or tomorrow morning.

He was no problem at all.

He was I mean it still possible interested in me as I wasn't him and he kept asking me questions.

I don't want to disappoint you have to ask you if you wanna hear from you asking me nothing you know everything can we just do this interview? We had a beautiful interview and he was the most lovely and gracious and amazing guy.

Who'd been through so much and yet was still the most feared and and affectionate loving human being.

Harmony among humanity then taking it out on the people taking it out on him, but that's what I wanted to pick you up on this question of the pressure that everybody hazard, but also the fact that apartheid committed so many crimes also many crimes were committed in the name of apartheid.

What should happen to people who committed those crimes.

I have been seen at throughout.

let bygones be bygones

Lep what has happened

Bus as something unfortunate.

Bad tell which one was forgot now and also grilled almost every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher didn't politicians are harder to pin down now than when you first started.

It's interesting I think as the technologies developed so has the capacity of the leader or politician to evade scrutiny.

I think that's a fact and it's much more difficult.

This is no question that the conferences good stuff and interrogation Congress and the rest of it still functions but the beauty of the press was it was able to cut through a lot of stuff in this get to a litre and and test and that's much more difficult today than it was in part because they got people spend them full-time lives preventing you from getting anywhere near doing anything she didn't actually need massive defenders.

You know she was happy to be quiz to my doorstep number 10 as anyone.

And it is become much much tighter much more difficult and infinite sort of way.

It's almost left leading politicians looking smaller than their fathers who used to give amazing accounts suddenly you stop in the street.

Is it so what's going on here and you get an answer one of the things the Russians are saying is that in the person golf? They would like to see a un who in the world would be a commander.

How are the rules of engagement be done there all commando members of the United Nations how in the world.

Would you get agreement in the United Nations to how's that force should use its power you wouldn't you've only got to give a moments thought to it.

Didn't know that.

You wouldn't know the feeling back.


I think where the enemy you know it's got to a very soft and sad space course not.

I want truth I want to find out what's going on.

I want to know more about on behalf of the viewer in the listener.

I mean what is happening.

What what what is your real purpose? What is the purpose of this law or what is the purpose of are you doing but it can be very difficult to get across you can get a background briefing but no pictures and nothing to prove you ever spoke to visit off camera your fellow big-name interviewers tend to have a particular approach.

You know Jeremy Paxman used to go on the attack and Neil with adopted for the tone of incredulity if you how would you describe your interview style well, I'm much better countries people with university degrees and I'm not and therefore I have to be a much more animal and I try to ask either of you about I really want answered and then you know I am in I try to follow up with an intelligent question, but I'm in the idea.

But I know any more than the average citizen perhaps the joy of this mean the average citizen wants you to ask questions on their behalf.

They don't want you to pull out your PhD check you know subsection 5 + 6 and see where the ministers telling the truth and they want you to ask you straight on what's going on here.

There is no disunity whatsoever and rebelling is not dead the legislation is gone John it's finished the only thing and they've lost everything in the lobby was excellent this evening with no difficulty about it when your opponent also saying that they've won Innocence because they've drawn a line under Maastricht prevented you going any further with any kind of integration and effectively have forced you any possibility return to the yard.

I don't wish to get back to the exchange rate mechanism.

Play at the moment you can see the difficulties they actually exist in the exchange rate mechanism in other countries.

It's not all just being straight news for you.

You know you've been stoned on TV you've danced you someone I know your phone Chorister so you know even so is that isn't that quite unusual thing for a news journalist to do it is there a case with a not a case for saying the newsreader shouldn't start the story the audience is one day more bland figure the presenter of news has a responsibility to evade the truth that he or she with me and I think the attraction in many ways of what we who had left say more opportunity to question people in need to be more discursive is the we remained human beings we didn't become automatons or you know trapped persons who doing you know other people's bidding.

Ask about your accent because it has definitely changed over the years.

Will you will you ever told you sounded too posh? Did you change it on purpose crystal speakers? Are you ok? Did you do know have you listened that you have listened about your voice is definitely got left prizes.

Ok later.

Will I have to ask? How's the question of impartiality ever been raised with you by your bosses that you've been called a pinko and a Lefty you are too right wing go to left wing know anything else.

I don't think I am.

I think I go straight down the middle and I look I mean for example.

You take bentyl.

Tap is an extraordinary event in our time that speaks so loudly of inequality if I take.

A position that looks of this from the point of view of a victim somebody who is living up on the 7th of 3rd floor lost her husband of a child and everything else you know am I meant to say I'm sorry I've got to work harder.

They wouldn't been up on the 12th floor out all that no no no I mean you you have the right person asking the right question of the right time and you're not going to adjust yourself because you think in some way, you're too left or to write it.

I don't think of these things I think of the polling suffering a person over 12 for who went through that terrible experience Andrew Marr when he said he was stepping down from the BBC to join LBC he said he wants to get my own voice back as Harry Potter you feel constrained by what you can say because you work at Channel 4 News absolutely not I don't feel any constraint at all and I have very very rarely ever been ticked off for anything like that.

Has been heavily criticised by the government some of them seeing as you know having a left wing political bias, which Channel 4 News entirely disputes Channel 4 boots obviously but why do you think they have that impression about Channel 4 News because obviously just close the consultation all channels future Channel 4 has the luxury of not paying the BBC I love the BBC and I listen to it or watch it you know far more than I watch any other channel, but the fact is that given the BBC's position are given the fact that it is Innocence Estate Runner control organism even though managers to run a very very fine and very objective operation, but I think the glory of travel for Innocence is that it's not the BBC actually has the opportunity to roam.

Free and make of the world what we can.

You are governed by the same regulator Ofcom auntie, the BBC and Channel 4.

Can you remember a time when journalists came under so much criticism from the public as well as the government.

I think there have been many times when it has been tough.

I don't think it's gone on for as long as this but then the pandemic isn't is a very is in exacerbating Factor put another times in Mrs Thatcher's period when there was tremendous warfare with with the media.

You know it goes inside Wilson complaining you know I mean is it it's part of the furniture is part of adventure.

Thank you to Moxy stop complaining about the media then we've reached a very bad situation does cancel culture exist and do worry about it if it does not concern I really am not conscious of it at all.

Everybody's Under Pressure wire and made under pressure to tell the truth and that our responsibility if I caught short telling the truth, then we should be called to attention and not repeat it but the fact is that that doesn't happen very often people exaggerate the extent to which there is some sort of a battle going on.

I don't really think there is before we are interested in hearing your take on the health of the news industry right now.

You work ITN which makes ITV News Channel 4 News Channel 5 news4jax cope last week as we discussed her on the media.

Show that footage of allegra Stratton joking about down the street party.

What was the mood at Channel 4 news like watching your colleague get such a big scoop closure genuine pleasure because it come from ITV which didn't have a great track record of real massive scoops like that and it was a really at.

Put a very meaningful one and we were yes and yes of course but we were thrilled because we didn't say very much because we had access to it after its been broadcaster all our TV but no, it was it was pleasure that are building which houses lot of TV channels had done something that the BBC must have been laughing their ears about an hour that has been quite a lot of changing of the Old Guard recently in the New Zealand Australia Andrew Marrs leaving the BBC Adam Boulton leaving sky Andrew Neil has had his own well except from broadcasting for the moment anyway it what do you make of all these big newsbeast yourself included going all at once well.

I think the big thing is to say how old are we and when you look at the ages that we emerged from in many ways that kind of naive and youthful period of the Media's development in which there was we're all fine away.

And the media today obviously is quite different from the very ardent confused and rather posh outfits that used to exist in the 50s and all male candle and and no it's multicultural.

It's raining and it's a different world and we've been lucky enough to have been born in 8-years a the late 40s early 50s and we've come a beige as broadcasting and the media have come of age and we blossomed and enjoyed it and giving back and I'm very proud winter.

How do you feel about leaving Channel 4 News after three decades you know it's been a long time leaving a marriage.

You know I mean that the kids and her the all the links and the rest of it all independent in So Many Ways in the workplace and you'll see each other day after day week after week.

You're up to you and obviously a big wrench and it's the routine because you mean your routine is Channel 4 News hasn't changed in 33 looking back over your time in the role.

Yeah a lot of people something.

I've encountered over the years leave journalism.

Cos they feel jaded they say the same story keep coming up again? It's depressing nothing changes.

Do you feel that your journalism has made a difference? You know you were talking earlier on about your background and what to do when you came into journalism to think that you're journalism has led to change for the better because I'm tall and her funny ties people are terribly nice to me in the street and you get the feedback and that's wonderful.

I mean you do get feedback.

Can you go to get to sensitive? Why people watching why they enjoyed the rest of it is not just me factory.

Team and the rest of it and where different from other opportunities from other options and obviously going to be star Jon Snow thank you so much for coming mediashow today.

It's absolutely brilliant to hear from you and thank you to ask studio engineer job Aspen the media.

Show will be back at the same time next week, but never know that thank you so much for listening and goodbye.

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