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Read this: The future of the Sunday papers, and does journalism have a role in peace-making?

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The future of the Sunday papers, and doe…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 what role does journalism play in peacemaking in dialling down the referee the BBC's John Simpson was in key of last week to interview president zelensky in a moment will hear his take and with me Studio is another giant of journalism ma tata is the editor of The Sunday Times only the second woman to have done that job in more than 100 years Emma welcome to the media show you made me the fact that you are able to come in here on a Wednesday means that Wednesday isn't the day when you have to decide what the front pages Wednesday is definitely not the day when we decide on the front page, but it is it is a day when we're thinking about it because there's intense pressure when you're editing a Sunday pay for all week because you're expected to break exclusives, so if you haven't got anything in the bag by Wednesday you're beginning to panic just a little.

Making this week how you feeling so this morning.

I should have signed off culture, but I was actually Layton and my deputy signed off for me and then tomorrow.

I'll sign off the magazine and Style on Friday I sign off travel and money and at some point along the way I also sign off property property anytime and we will get very excited about your two scoops.

They're coming up.

I'm assuming about them now.

Ok will more from you Emma in a bit, but let's turn first to Ukraine and the BBC's world Simpson he went to give to interview president zelensky, but found himself back on our screen reporting on Mondays bombardement by the Russians John symptoms of cause a fixture of BBC coverage.

Hotspots for decades earlier today he crossed the border into Poland and I asked him what it's been like to be back like the old days.

Misty's these kind of things do people always say or it's adrenaline and all that kind of slightly boring stuff actually.

It's really interesting to be in a place where important things are happening and to see them for yourself and don't know what's really going on as opposed to you know whatever you think so what you read or whatever that's why it is so interesting and that's what takes you back to these places again and again of course and in a bit.

I'd come back to your assessment of what's happening in the Ukrainian Conference more windy, but of course you let us first go back to your interview with president delinsky which went out on Friday and was the point of your visit.

Understand it just the circumstances of it.

Give us a sense of where it was recorded the security of around around him will the president Palace but it was very much kind of wartime conditions, so they were little sandbag in placements along the corridor and up the MainStay places and so on we were able to take out a watching with a watches were were a band I suppose for some sort of the reason you know frankly it was it was a real wartime interview no natural light because the windows sandbagger and it felt very tense and very very very exciting and interesting.

At the start of that interview get answered in English before switching to Ukrainian why was that well you seemed a bit of a mistake a few days earlier so beginning of last week something like that when he seemed to say at some strange Australian conference again not quite clear way would have done.

I would have done that but he seems to say that the west should stage preemptive strikes against Russia to stop it using nuclear weapons were of course everybody immediately assume that meant he was calling for preemptive nuclear strikes on Russia he said to me in English how to make absolutely certain everybody got the point and that we would definitely use it that wasn't His purpose.

He wasn't talking about anything to do with nuclear strike he wanted.

Preemptive kind of more sanctions and that kind of thing translated or do you think he misspoke IV humour spoke right? That's why I think he is life is very very very stressful and I think you just wasn't absolutely in command of what he was saying at that particular moment.

I'm sure it didn't mean that he wanted preemptive nuclear strikes against Russia mean that would be that would be pretty crazy and of course nobody would do it anyway.

I noticed during the interview was wearing a hairpiece.

What was that was that thing as planned or something? Yeah, but been usually only thing was you get up you have a translator with you and they can whisper in.

Or let you know in somewhere another what has been said after the question has been answered.

We tried her as a new thing which I think is far far better and more advantageous which is just a translation that's going on all the time from a couple of translators in the next door.

So you run the wires out through the doors and Interiors he had I think it was a rather large lot larger than mine.

I didn't notice you.

Did you did you feel a responsibility and of course he was a responsibility to get the interview right, but you must have been aware of how High the stakes were and obviously given relation.

We've seen since clearly really were.

Yes, I mean obviously the two or three really important issues that you couldn't walk away.

Formal interview with zelensky without asking the first one was did he think that there was going to be a nuclear attack no question more important than that really and free zone reasons of course you're right.

He's got to really keep our attention on the Russian threats to say no.

I don't think they will be one but at the same time.

I think he he doesn't seem to feel like that is imminent in any way and what is tended to do with to say that President Putin was saying this because he knows how unpopular the war is becoming in Russia and he wants to make these kind of aggressive claims to keep the far right wingers if we can call him that Conservatives whatever in his own organ.

Government to keep them you know I'm on side.

So those were the kind of obvious you want to ask the kind of which will provide important answers in one way or another and that was that was one of the key things that but how careful did you feel you had to be did you feel that was a sense in which you order to the journalist as Peacemaker if you like.

No, I'm not really very very notion that that you go there with a purple something the only purpose you go there for is simply to find out what they think about what's going on with there anything off the table.

Could you ask anything? I'm sure I could have asked you anything.

I don't think there was anything off the table know you know that's another thing.

I've always have a bee in my bonnet about there's not to tell.

The interviewee beforehand, what what you're going to ask except in the most general terms, you know not to not to let them get away with saying that some subjects are off the table is how do you assess the control the Ukrainian government has over how this conflict is reported because clearly present is a key part of their strategy.

No Monday during the air.

He was outside forming a video on his phone.

He is very adept at bypassing journalist to get his message out and you had to know that you have to know that he wants to manipulate you.

I mean it so happens that probably quite a large proportion of the audience that that the interview was being watched and listened to buy with him think he's right on the right side, but you've got to know as the interviewer that he wants to.

Self and his country in his side and his purposes look good and you are the instruments that he that he's using to do that.

So you know you've got you've got to make it absolutely clear that you're not on his side because that's not what we paid to do and that I think he's really really important.

I've heard interviews with with the sky where people are a kind of rather inclined to say you know if we are on your side.

We think you're a great guy and that you know what you might think privately that that isn't the right approach.

I don't think it can be impartial in the Wall like there's no way who has covered endless, you know many many conflicts over the years.

Do you think this conflict is different to previous? Was you covered in terms of the role of journalists well.

I don't think I've been at conflict like this where there was so much support my own country for one side that is pretty pretty unusual.

I mean I don't know maybe back in the Falklands time it was different probably wise but but since then so many wars have been so voice of things that I've that I covered I mean that you know the invasion of of Iraq in particular, but also a variety of other things large numbers of people back home didn't agree with the whole idea well in this case it is different.

I think you know there are people very strongly against the what solinsky stands for and what Ukraine stands for but there aren't that many of them and you I think it really.

Not to sort of go along with that with that feeling you know kind of wheel we're all on your side Mr said that that doesn't feel good to that was BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson talking to me earlier from the Polish Ukrainian border and you can see his interview with president Valencia on the BBC iPlayer as I said we're fortunate play Metallica with us today.

She is the editor of The Sunday Times Emerald what you make first of all of what John Simpson was saying you know the end that basically some Janice in the West have been too keen to pick a side.

It's really interesting and I think it's I think it's easy for journalists to get caught up in the the side of righteousness of a war but obviously the job of our journalist out that it's report to act as I work.

This is Mrs and it makes me think of a particular story we had with one of our journalists over there Louise Callaghan she was reporting from an area that had been under Russian occupation and you.

Interesting story that not everyone in the villages that she went to what happened to see the Russians leave because there are of course you support the Russians exactly so you know she reported it honestly unfaithfully but that is the value of having somebody on the ground acting is an eyewitness and so that you can give him.

It's any reports of people can really trust and the Sunday Times had somebody there the whole time.

Have you got someone there now? How have you covered covered this conflict? We haven't had someone because Fielding war correspondent is a very expensive business.

We sent someone over.

We sent Louise Callaghan over pretty much as soon as the war broke out and she was there for a while and then eventually she came out and I'll very own correspondent Christina lamb take over both of them had some fantastic reports are for Moscow correspondent Mark Bennetts he was in there until last week as it.

We haven't actually got anybody over there this week, but we have got a dispatch coming from Ukraine because we build up as well as a good network of trusted stringers and local reporters and you mention Christina lamb, who is Chief correspondent and Sunday time she was on this show back in 2021 and she talked back then.

Yes, she was grounded because of the pandemic and like either speculating that covid-19 using as an excuse for permanent cutbacks when it comes to four and as you say for foreign travel for an coverage is very expensive but she turned her attention to report she wrote this brilliant pieces about a hotel in Shrewsbury issues that it's doors to the homeless so she was and she was wrong to think that we were going to cut back on my phone coverage.

We absolutely haven't were very committed to investing in property foreign reporting which is something of a Dying business these days.

Expensive is it important for a paper like the Sunday Times to have a network of staff in capitals all over the world and your Rose as we or is that a relic of a bygone age? It's a bit of a relic.

I mean we share our Correspondents now with the time so we have a pool of foreign correspondent the times and the Sunday Times can draw on but having said that we have a handful of former reporters who are very much dedicated to the Sunday title, because that's the way we get the really good exclusives or the really distinctive content for Sunday make sense or ok.

Let's take a step back and look at what you want to do with the Sunday Times but let's start with your own career.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a journalist? Was it early on I think I think I think it was into it by default but then I look back and think because I was proactively doing journalism, and I think my first foray into journalism with while I was at university.

And I was caught up in an instant sitting in my room.

Happy my own business and first-year student selling my door open and the captain of the rugby team was thrown into a complete and there's nothing more outside my window making a noise and I just put out by this especially as he came upstairs and still naked have another student so the next day.

I went to see the Dean of my college and I said I don't think this is on and he's his responses ohemaa boys will be boys and I've got mine anyway, and then eventually I decided to write for the Guardian women's page which you can imagine but I did get paid to chicken to put my name to it.

I use the pseudonym because I didn't want to get into trouble but anyway it took me earlier on the power of you know if you if you don't you know if you need to speak to you.

The college authorities there's a way of doing it ok, so you wear at the ftua Frank Osborne tft.

You enjoying the times they became editor of the Sunday Times as we said only the second female editor in over a do you think they would make any difference no not really maybe an error thing was only asked to cover you know when I was younger cover the source of stories and social affairs stories of the stories that was seen as a yes.

It's not like that now.

Generally my time newsdesk is run by women although we have actually just admitted he starts in November but you not have an offer money when we working now and you know I've got the Sunday Times here last week's edition of the Sunday Times it just doesn't feel so familiar this paper version huge as distinctive.

It's full of magazines you have something to sit down.

Is over breakfast on a Sunday in to lunch whenever how much longer do you think this print edition can exist will be around for a lot longer yet? I mean listen.

The future is entirely, but there is still a place for the print edition I suspect it will be around for quite a lot longer.

I often think that even though all I ever an engineer is hocus pocus very much and how do journalism for the digital audience in a way that means that the print product has become even better.

It has to be more beautiful better laid out even though it's already A Thing of Beauty we've got an excellent art director to become even more of a beauty product possibly one that we charge a bit more for but you say that all Grace's digital.

Do you yes entirely right? I wonder whether the Sundays might be the last to go in terms of the print version because I don't even have a question that print will die it may be that still there's a place for sitting around on a Sunday in the way that there is.

I think that's absolutely right.

I don't think you can Britain has a strong tradition of Sunday newspapers, so I suspect you're more likely to see the newspapers.

Go digital only Monday to Friday I think that will happen and then yes maybe there's still a price on a Sunday when people still want to share the sections enjoy the physical product people still talk to me so much for the physical product of the Sunday Times even though my main focus on what we doing digital and yet for the digital version.

Are you trying to replicate that Sunday experience? You know when so much when you've found online.

Do you have a strategy which is trying to still make it feel like Sunday yes, and no yes in the sense that I think the core value of the Sunday Times Rich is that it produces, Great Expectations and exclusives that still something that resonates in digital so the sort of commission of what we doing is invested in this really so high quality investigative journalism.

But what we doing differently in digital is we're thinking about how we tell the stories who and which audiences were targeting and we think much will close all about that because we can because we know so much about you then we used to do you still see it as the job of the Sunday Times to set the news agenda, and yes, I do.

I think I think for Sunday not doing that then it's not doing it's job.

You know by the time people get dressed on a Sunday they already know what the news is so they looking for something different for my still looking for something truly distinctive.

They are the bus to give them the news by coming up with her own excuses all they want us to really properly explain the news that they already are are aware of how old is in that sense whether it's print or digital that business of really explain the news but also breaking news is the same but is there any discomfort for you? Do you feel at all? I'm comfortable with the amount of?

The British press still holds, I think it's healthy I think I think it's good.

I mean you know it's good if it's truth to power and this is something that you know if we won't hear people complain about the pressure lot but if you weren't here.

They would miss us because really in truly.

No one else's holding something at the Sunday Times has been doing for the Sunday Times but I wonder if it's about how you hold that part of cannabis buds cause some campaigners say you know British newspapers titles Lord Rothermere got together.

You can make up and down the government.

Would you think they could I think they could bring down the government if the government deserve to be brought down but if you look at the kind of pains we do with a kind of stories.

We done.

They are going back over time you can look to some of the famous campaigns at the Sunday Times has run including uncovering thalidomide.

I'm covering corruption at the heart of FIFA sorry David Walsh Lance Armstrong as a drugs cheat and more recently we have we did have a series of articles about have a government mishandled the beginning of the Outbreak of the covid pandemic.

We didn't tell these stories will nobody else with my sort of letting people know what decisions have been made on their behalf by the people who who run our lives my do remember those extraordinary series of articles fed the 38 days when we walked into disaster in hindsight.

Do you think it's Sunday Times reported on the government's response to the pandemic actually Mark the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson you know because there was a period every Sunday you seem to have a scoop about what was going on in the other inside number 10 suspected.

Had we not done the covid story he?

Necessarily that different now.

I think I'm important thing about that story was that took me by surprise was extent to which it resonated with people and also I was taken by the government someone dishonest response to it.

They were will they be on the day that story came out on the very evening that story came out they issued a 2000 word for battle to the because they were which which will I think it had one minor correction it but actually it was just words to try and stop other people running the story.

I think we dendrobatidae a bottle and actually now when you look at what the government inquiries and have said about what the government's response in those early days.

It's pretty much backs up everything that we reported on the Scoop sale wallpapers definitely and what you just said, I think it says more subscriptions and that's what matters to our so you.

Good scope for the Sunday Times results in traffic and engagement with our Christmas as well lots of subscription because people realise that it's worth paying for our journalism, because they're going to get something different so yes groups are what are bread and butter but they they always have been and they still are even and have you yet had an Audience with a new prime minister digital you as a down the street.

How does that work at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham and I went along with my place go to turn my TV political commentator for a coffee as you do as that feel healthy and a democracy is that right? It was it was very much half an hour chat.

I mean obviously you know what to talk about.

I actually make a point of not going to meet the government too often is very useful as background, but I don't think it's healthy.

As an editor to calculate to relationship with any of them because you don't have that's not that's all my job is my job is to hold them to account absolutely I guess a lot of talking about in terms of journalism.

These days is about sort of loss of Trust or time.

Do you think the public Festival when it comes to scoops appreciate old school investigative journalism in the way that you and I probably did when we were children.

Do you think journalism as a trade is less appreciated now than it was it is less appreciated and I often think that as a society.

We don't talk enough about the value of a free press and the importance of free speech but also a present able to operate freely and you Shine a light on what governments and people in power getting up to so I think on the one hand it is not a surprise.

Is it was on the other hand the advent of fake news and social media and all that kind of noise that out there means that people do still come to the trusted brands where they want whenever there's a big news story whether it's Ukraine or you did recently the mini budget people come to us that you know the moment of big big news.

They do still come first because I think there is a value still well.

I know there's still a value to the master said there's another Trust wrapped up in that Sunday Times masthead and does the paywall impact that in the sense that you know obviously you don't give away the Sunday Times free you certainly don't give it away free as a newspaper in print, but you don't give you a free on does it make it harder to reach people and show them your journalism showcase look we doing this correctly.

We are we are people to trust well number one the payroll very important because we need to this type of donors and future generations in the best way to do that is to come up with a model that sustainable but you do have a point that we need to amplifier journalism beyond the pale and one of the great things when the

Great Innovations that we've now got at the times.

We have x radio so we have our own radio station and I'll journalist able to go onto times radio and talk about their stories and the registration which causes freezer listen to this Toys R Us we have podcast we have our own social media accounts are there are there are ways of getting our journalism out there behind the paywall even whilst keeping it there so that we build a sustainable business and I've got to ask because it is a well-worn path from the Sunday Times editor to the editor of The Times would you want that job? Yeah? Well, I wouldn't there is a new editor of The Times has recently appointed Tony Gallagher and he's going to do a fantastic job, so baby pull me a bit too left window that is such an annoying honestly.

I'm just a journalist.

I like good stories and that's what that's what we get on with fantastic and many good stories to come.

I am sure that is all.

We've got time for thank you so much.

That's all.

The John Simpson was on earlier BBC World affairs editor and Emma takahiro in the studio editor of the Sunday Times thank you so much all editions of the media show available through BBC sounds.

Thank you so much for good.

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