More 4 News promises to be 'edgy and opinionated'

By Caitlin Pike

When More
4 News debuts at 8pm on Monday, anchor Sarah Smith and her team will
have had just four minutes to take over the studio from Jon Snow and
the Channel 4 News team.

Despite the close quarters, Smith (pictured)n claims there is no
rivalry between the two programmes: “Half the team have come from
Channel 4 News and half are new recruits. There isn’t really any
competition between us, we’re separate, but from the same family.”

She
also thinks her new programme, which goes out on Channel 4’s new
digital channel, will not pose a threat to Channel 4 News’ audience.

“We don’t think people who watch Channel 4 News will watch us as well.

We’ll
be using different contributors – there’ll be a researcher from More 4
on the Channel 4 news desk all the time to make sure we don’t chase the
same politicians, contributors and experts.”

Smith, who trained
at BBC Scotland and worked as a producer on BBC Two’s Newsnight before
joining Channel 4 News in 1998, is excited about what the new programme
has to offer: “The mantra at the moment is ‘the same, but different’.
It’s shorter than Channel 4 News and people who don’t necessarily want
to devote 55 minutes to watching news may spend half an hour watching
More 4. It’s not an adjunct to Channel 4 News, you will get the
headlines and the news from me, but with some of the best reports from
Channel 4 News correspondents – the greatest hits.”

The programme
will take more risksthan other news bulletins. “We’ll have different
guests, it will be more like the op-ed and comment pages of a paper
rather than the leader pages.

“If the home secretary introduces
new terror laws, we won’t have the same interview as Channel 4 News, or
even the shadow home secretary. We’ll have someone who can really give
a different view. We’ll be a bit provocative, with an edge.”

Even
with the edge, the apparentharmony between the two Channel 4 news teams
should ease the sharing of resources – the More 4 team has been
rehearsing the four-minute run into the studio. The producers have the
same deadline to get into the gallery and log on to the computers.
Smith says they’ve done it in two-and-half minutes.

“We’ve even
got to change the studio from blue and purple to green – and push all
the furniture around. We’re doing it to a stopwatch.”

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