Menu
Browse > Home /

Audio: Jeremy Bowen on the BBC; Boris Johnson on Paxman’s salary

June 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

From last night’s ceremony at the University of Westminster, at which BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was presented with the British Journalism Review’s Charles Wheeler Award for achievements in broadcast journalism.

Bowen said the BBC’s loss of self-confidence and introspection was not justified, and the corporation should be proud of its global and national status. Referring to the BBC Trust’s ruling that he was inaccurate in his reports on Israel, he said he believed he was accused “wrongly”.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, then spoke (or boomed) on the shifting power game between politics and media; and managed a quick jibe on the BBC’s lack of accountability when it comes to its journalists’ own salaries. Johnson asked Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman how much he earns 14 times, but he didn’t get an answer. The short speech in full is an entertaining listen.

Most of Bowen’s and all of Johnson’s speech is recorded in the clip below:

Tags: , ,

Similar posts:

Cameron’s fear that TV debates might be ‘slow and sluggish’ (video)

April 15th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting

Conservative leader David Cameron has expressed concern that the televised leader debates, the first of which will be aired on ITV at 8.30pm tonight, could be “slow and sluggish”. He’s worried, he told ITN News, that the public might feel “short-changed.”

We’ll see. But if he prefers fast-paced and high pressure television, why has he refused to appear on a Panorama Special – an election tradition – with Jeremy Paxman?

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Crisis or no crisis? Speakers divided on whether the journalism glass has anything left in it

October 29th, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism, Online Journalism

The speakers were split between the yeas, nays and dunnos at yesterday’s ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ live-streamed video conference at Coventry University (full audio and video to follow soon), chaired by the head of the BBC College of Journalism, Kevin Marsh.

In the optimists’ corner we had CUNY’s Professor Jeff Jarvis (no surprises there) and a buoyant Professor Richard Keeble: despite witnessing the plight of his local, the Lincolnshire Echo, he was confident new opportunities and techniques were emerging for journalism of the future.

More cautiously, Dr Frederick Mudhai, senior lecturer in journalism at Coventry outlined challenges in world markets and emphasised the increasing ‘tabloidisation’ and celebrity content of African news, citing that a Nigerian newspaper had now introduced page 3.

Dr George Nyabuga, managing editor at the Media Convergence Group and speaking from Nairobi, said that media is in very few hands in Kenya, which can lead to a crisis in trust. There’s a disconnect, he said, between journalists and public, with news organisations producing content that interests the market, not the public. State and commercial pressures increasingly put on media organisations to conform to ways of doing things, he said. Nonetheless, he said, he was encouraged by citizen participation online and the opportunities that afforded.

Likewise, Professor Adrian Monck, former head of journalism at City University, saw potential for journalists to work in new fields, but emphasised that there was a crisis of confidence and jobs in the industry of which new students needed to be aware.  Dr Suzanne Franks, director of research at Kent University’s Centre for journalism was err-ing more on the glass half-empty, with little faith in the growth of citizen media (she wouldn’t trust ‘citizen dentistry’ either). But, while cautious about releasing money from the public purse, she could see the potential for some top-slicing of the BBC licence fee.

In-between camps, her colleague Professor Tim Luckhurst deeply regretted ever letting content go free during his time at the Scotsman, criticising the way newspapers had blundered into the online market. But he said, new online agency models were very likely to emerge, and he was ‘also optimistic that others will make more innovative models‚ funded by sales and advertising’.

Meanwhile, renowned BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman, sipping (what looked like) a coffee in a room at BBC TV Centre, was despondent about the level of press-release generated content from ‘the sausage machine’. A saturated news market essentially recycles press releases as an ‘extremely partial version of the truth’ – with too much comment over investigative journalism. His wish for the industry? “I think I would plea for more time, and more originality.” But while he tries to put off people who want to enter (it’s a good test of whether they’ll make it) he still loves the job.

Nick Davies, author and Guardian journalist, was a truer pessimist, stressed the seriousness of the crisis for quality journalism, with theories familiar to readers of Flat Earth News (the various commercial pressures on newsrooms have led to journalists manufacturing a ‘consensus’ version of the news). We need professional journalism (and no, he’s not a citizen journalist of sorts, he told chair Kevin Marsh) ‘Punters’ can’t do it alone, he said, claiming that a lot of citizen journalism content was rubbish. For Davies, it’s all about the truth, and trust-funded journalism (such as the Scott Trust) is our best hope of that.

Lastly, me, an in-betweener. I tackled the UK newspaper industry, deeply in crisis in its current state, I think. But we can be more positive for journalism at large, with truly exciting online projects emerging – not necessarily branding itself as journalism (MySociety, data-mashing projects etc). We can look bravely ahead, whilst accepting that the Sunday Times Insight Team of the future may not be newspaper-based.

Event producer and Coventry University lecturer John Mair didn’t elaborate his view fully, but ended on an upbeat note: They said a world video conference couldn’t be done, he said. “But you’ve had some of the best in journalism beamed into Coventry”.

In an email to participants after the event Mair said that it ‘should not have worked’: “Distinguished speakers from across five continents, an audience of students, academics and real people, three-and-a-half hours of exciting intellectual debate and more, breaking new frontiers with videoconferencing and webcasting and Twitter and more: this has put Coventry and Coventry journalism on the world stage.”

All audio and visual material will be available in due course. Covetnry University’s ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ was supported by Journalism.co.uk and sponsored by Camelot plc.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Is World Journalism in Crisis? Speaker update: Nick Davies confirmed

As previously reported on Journalism.co.uk, we are supporting an event at Coventry University on October 28 that will ask ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ with participants contributing via video-link from around the globe.

It already had an exciting line-up: chaired by the BBC College of Journalism’s Kevin Marsh, speakers include Fackson Banda, SAB-UNESCO Chair of Media & Democracy at Rhodes University, South Africa; Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine blogger and journalism professor at City University New York (CUNY), and Professor Adrian Monck, World Economic Forum, former head of journalism at City University, London.

Now Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News and special correspondent for the Guardian, is also confirmed – live from Brighton. And, we’re permitted to hint, it looks very likely that the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman will be joining the conversation from London.

‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ Wednesday October 28, 2-5 pm. Entry will be free. For further information please contact John Mair at Coventry University, johnmair100 at hotmail.com or Judith Townend: judith at journalism.co.uk.

NB: The event will follow the annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics, ‘I’m an ethicist… get me out of here: Communication, celebrity and conscience in a global media age,’ also in Coventry, from 10am to 12:30. For further details contact Katherine Hill: K.Hill [at] leedstrinity.ac.uk.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Newsnight: Paxman interviews Huffington on ‘curation’ and editing of reports from Iran

Jeremy Paxman interviews Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington and the Evening Standard’s Anne McElvoy on the use of non-traditional media/amateur reports from Iran and the concept of ‘curating’ this information as opposed to traditional editing.

McElvoy usefully describes the intersection of as a complex mosaic with each piece contributing subjective information – but information that requires an overview/comparison that can be added by an editor or professional journalist.


BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Has internet journalism come of age?.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

‘Babel-like cacophony drowning out perception’ but new media still developing, says Paxman

So, as reported on the main site, and in John Mair’s tribute to the fearsome journalist, Jeremy Paxman collected the inaugural Charles Wheeler Award last night. His Newsnight colleagues had put together a little tribute, which as David Dunkley Gyimah pointed out on Twitter, is a ‘This Is Your Life’ style must-watch. Journalism.co.uk will try and obtain an embeddable link asap.

In the meantime, enjoy the clip at the end of this post: when Paxman dipped his toes into YouTube waters for Newsnight (which, incidentally, BBC director-general Mark Thompson later confessed to never having seen till that evening: “I had no idea  – I’d missed that”).

So Journalism.co.uk asked Paxman: you’re a little sceptical about social and new media, then?

“It’s a joke [his YouTube video – see below]! One of the functions of journalism, seems to me, [is that] it sifts and analyses – and it’s great to have a lot of raw material, but someone still has to sift it to make sense of it,” he said.

There are occasions, for certain stories, he said, ‘when one spends a lot of time looking at blogs… comments… it’s just time wasted.’

“We haven’t yet developed a mechanism for synthesising what comes out  – we’re currently at a stage where someone goes to a rally and writes down the comments of everybody there. That’s no way to report an event – it doesn’t tell you very much,” Paxman said.

“We still need journalists forming perception and analysis of what’s happening – that’s getting drowned out by this Babel-like cacophony. But we’re at a very early stage of development with it. I think there are new things going to happen.”

And, does he still advise wannabe hacks to go and do something more sensible and worthwhile, like become a brain surgeon?

“You do it [give advice] with a certain knowledge that those who are determined won’t be put off anyway. But, I think, overall, the prospects in this trade are not good,” he told Journalism.co.uk.

“Wages are being cut – [there are] apparently respectable newspapers which actually survive on work experience people – and not paid. This is no good! When you’re 21 you don’t think about it. You’ve got to think about it: the longevity of it, [being able to] afford to put a roof over your head and feed your kids etc.

“It’s always been a young person’s trade I think, but it’s even more that now.

“I personally believe in it of course – I think it’s a really worthwhile activity. But it is, I think, the case that there are more immediately socially worthwhile things that you could do with your life. I just think these are strange circumstances.”

Paxman trying out YouTube:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Why Jeremy Paxman is the new Charles Wheeler

May 20th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events

Tonight he steps up to get the first ever Charles Wheeler Award at Westminster University from his boss Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general. Paxo is now the worthy wearer of Wheeler’s Crown. Well deserved.

Charles loved words and using them. So does Paxman. Witness this week, Paxman calling Esther Rantzen a ‘retired television nabob’. Ouch.

It’s what good journalists do; we use words. Charles transformed any film which he reported. I’ve seen very so-so stories become very good watches when reported by Wheeler. Paxman, lest we forget now that he is in a warm studio, was the best film reporter of his generation. Look at some of the films from the Central American frontline 30 years ago. The man learned early.

Charles liked to cause mischief. All good hacks do. He was once heavily censured by the BBC bosses for being rude to royalty on tour. Did he care? Not a jot! Think Paxman and Blair: ‘Do you and President Bush pray together?’ and my all-time favourite to Shaun Woodward, the new MP for St Helens in deepest Lancashire: ‘Mr Woodward did your butler vote Labour?’ (Woodward is very rich and was parachuted to St Helens. He did have a butler).

Charles was less the master of the studio than Paxo has become. Charles always looked a mite uncomfortable, Paxo not. A caged animal waiting for its prey. It’s no wonder Gordon Brown refuses to be interviewed by him. Paxo takes Newsnight up a gear when he presents it.

Both are, to use that wonderful English word, ‘curmudgeonly’. So what? There are too many smiling faces on TV and too many autocuties. Curmudgeons find things out – even if they do not make huge numbers of friends. But then good hacks are loners.

For all of their similarities (and differences) who can begrudge Paxo the title of King of the TV Journalism jungle? Not me.

John Mair is a senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University. He produced last month’s Media Society Annual Award Dinner for Jeremy Paxman.

Note: updated with subbing corrections 21.05.09

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

The BBC is in ‘a vortex of its own making’ Paxman tells awards audience

April 28th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Events, Journalism

BBC Newsnight star presenter Jeremy Paxman is never known to mince his words and he certainly didn’t when receiving the Annual Media Society Award last Thursday evening in London. The ‘Great Inquisitor’ attacked the BBC, saying that it was ‘in a vortex of its own making’.

He criticised cuts on his own programme – “people at the top are no longer interested in what we do or how we do it” –  to the audience that included Helen Boaden, BBC director of news, Stephen Mitchell, her deputy, and no less that six former or present editors of Newsnight.

Paxman was stinging in his criticism of the cuts in the media outside the BBC as well, saying it was ‘now cheaper to print opinion that the truth’; and that some major American papers no longer had a full-time correspondent or even a stringer in London. He described the current situation as ‘depressing’.

Paxman, who has now presented Newsnight for 20 years, was the subject of paeans of public praise from his bosses past – including Robin Walsh, who gave him his first reporter’s job in BBC Northern Ireland 35 years ago – and who had the audience reeling, with his tales of ‘Paxo’ interviewing the Appointments Board – and Peter Barron, the last Newsnight editor who had forced Paxman into the digital 21st century and to do a (short-lived) weather forecast on the programme.

The tributes were all warm, especially from his most high profile victim former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, of whom Paxman famously asked the same question 12 times in 1997. Time had healed the rift.

It was not all downbeat. Paxman said that if he had his time again he would still join ‘our trade,’ and become a journalist, as he had at 23. “I’ve spent my life talking to amusing people. It is an incredible privilege to work with thoughtful, clever, funny people,” he said, saluting the teams who had made it all possible. “There are no solos in television – everything is collaborative. Even the gargantuan egos!”

For this British giant, the basic premises of journalism remain, for what is still the same job. To be good, one needs to be ‘curious’ and have ‘instinct’ and in ‘Paxo’s’ case, plenty of Chutzpah.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

George Monbiot – the new fiercer Paxman?

December 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Online Journalism

From the looks of Comment is Free feedback, the jury’s still out on this one. Is George Monbiot an interviewing force to be reckoned with? “Monbiot grills his subjects, making Paxman look like a pussycat,” Guardian.co.uk says of the environmentalist’s video interview series.

In his latest video offering (can’t be embedded here, you have to visit site) he talks to Shaun Spiers, head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and asks Spiers why the campaign opposes windfarms but not opencast coal mines.

Below the video there’s lots of CiF praise balanced with a bit of criticism: is Monbiot really scarier than Paxman?

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

BBC dominates list naming top political journalists

November 20th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Magazines, Online Journalism

Total Politics, political blogger Iain Dale’s recently launched magazine, tomorrow publishes its list of top political journalists, as voted for by over 100 MPs, the magazine’s Facebook group of 500, and 130 lobby journalists. It can be viewed online, after registering, on the e-zine site.

Iain Dale told Journalism.co.uk that it’s “surprising that the BBC seems more loved by Conservative MPs and Labour MPs, but few will be surprised that Labour MPs rate Andrew Marr and James Naughtie highly.

“The surprise is that Andrew Neil doesn’t figure in the Top 20 of either party. Conservative MPs have shown a masochistic tendency by voting Jeremy Paxman at eight, but Labour MPs don’t include him in their Top 20 at all.”

Topping the overall list:
1. Evan Davis
2. Jeremy Paxman
3. Matthew Parris
4. Nick Robinson
5. John Humphrys

So who do the Tories like…?
1. Evan Davis
2. Jonathan Oliver
3. Jeremy Vine
4. Carolyn Quinn
5. Martha Kearney

And who do Labour like….?
1. Andrew Marr
2. Michael White
3. David Aaronovitch
4. Polly Toynbee
5. Evan Davis

And journalists themselves…?
1. Nick Robinson
2. Jeremy Paxman
3. Evan Davis
4. David Dimbleby
5. John Humphrys

And the top blog…? A certain Iain Dale’s Diary, followed by Tim Montgomerie (2) and Guido Fawkes (3).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement