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FT.com on Robert Peston: the characters shouldn’t get bigger than the brand

October 27th, 2008Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Well, although we’re not having a drink in the Long Room we did get to ask FT.com’s Rob Grimshaw about his views on the BBC’s Robert Peston (formerly of the FT). After all, the FT lept to the BBC’s economic editor’s defence last week.

What does Grimshaw, FT.com’s managing director, think of Peston-mania? Journalism.co.uk asked.

“Ah, the all powerful Robert Peston,” Grimshaw laughed.  Individual and ‘big’ personalities are important, he said. “The characters matter. It’s not just about the FT brand – it’s about what these individuals think.

“But I don’t think they can ever be bigger than the brand,” he said. Although, ‘ultimately they are part of core FT message,’ he said.

You can listen to his comments here:

[audio:http://www.journalism.co.uk/sounds/FT4.mp3]

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  • His style of delivery suits the current mood on TV and Radio. News executives ave. age 14 1/2… Its not very polished but direct,no flannel,few print journalists make the change without a hitch but he has pushed a few top liners into second place. You make enemies on the way up and also meet them on the way down…Het Pesto, keep the eye on print journalism… the whole TV news thing will certainly implode during the recession…the move to Manchster and darkest Wales being the final straw… meanwhile ITV will start pulling the regional news Norwich shutting shop from Christmas, an insider told me…so could be true….

  • @Julian, you call it the ‘current mood’ for informality / lack of polish – is it here to stay? Can a journalist make it (big) if he or she is not prepared to do the ‘informal’ thing?

  • @judith. It could be a manifestaion of ‘the policemen are getting younger’ but hard hitting investigative journalism on TV and Radio has all but gone. You need to go back to the days of THIS WEEK and WORLD IN ACTION to see what I mean. These days you get polite soundbites, trite exchanges and when it does get the slighted interesting : “…that is all we have time for” and so on. Links are banal, pictorial puns, weak cringeworthy jokes, walking talking to camera,” and “I’ve come to find out” skips off camera right..

    Broadcast English has to be regional, ethnic, mockney anything but posh RP unless you are the studio based anchor

    For OB’s use aged footballers, ex cricketers, former athletes, ex car thieves, short bald people with mockney accents, former con merchants, lots of northern ireland brogues, discredited city brokers, a couple of aussies doing Europe even. In fact anyone who can read an autocue verbatim without falling over, the script written by a work experience second jobber… then we get onto Wossy and Brand….all of the above fits…
    So to answer your question to be big (and overweight is good
    if you are doing showbiz, film ints, competition voice overs and cooking – might have to add in swearing) don’t offer perfect English, your controller might be a 24 year old producer, possibly a late developer from the MTV generation. I fear the wossy/brand backlast will cause middle regional management to crack down on perfectly harmless local radio and tv journalists, many will be asked to leave, last in first out and aas they are cheap to run who really cares? That is what you are facing, all very sad.

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