BBC News Channel executive editor Sam Taylor says his team report on the BBC itself like any other story: going to the press office to ask for a comment.
“If the press office have something to say about it we’ll put it on and if they haven’t we’ll say they haven’t,” Taylor told the Media Masters podcast.
- January 14, 2021
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“That’s the process, you should just treat it as any other story – make inquiries, gather information and then report the information.”
Taylor, executive editor of the 24-hour BBC News Channel and BBC News at One bulletin, added: “What I’m focusing on is helping the team deliver that accurate and impartial reporting whatever it’s about and that’s no different recently with the pay story.
“I didn’t want to come away with the audience feeling that the people reporting, even if they’re quite close to the story or know people who are involved in it, have not reported it in as fair and accurate a way as possible.”
He added: “One of the best things about the BBC’s independence and commitment to impartiality is that it’s able to report on itself in a way that people think is very fair minded.
In striving to keep the BBC’s news coverage impartial, Taylor said he pushes for other angles and voices on stories.
As part of this, he created the 100 Days programme to explore a wider range of opinions on Donald Trump’s presidency – including his supporters.
“It was clear that we needed a way to really drive our journalism round Donald Trump,” he said.
“People in Europe think Donald Trump is a problem and knowing that in America there’s a lot of people who don’t think that whatsoever.
“That show has been a real vehicle for us finding strong Republican voices, having a debate and getting lots of points of view from different people.”
Taylor began working at the BBC 20 years ago when he started as a trainee. He said he “fell in love” with the company when he started working on broadcast news.
Taylor said TV news had no cause for concern, despite large numbers of younger viewers switching to online sources for news.
He said: “When news is happening in real time it’s important that people have a source of information that they can rely on.
“At the moment news programmes are a really critical part of that and I don’t think they can really envisage how they would be replaced.”
He added: “People have quick ways of getting breaking news out there in short text form, but the role that really well trained, skilled presenters play once a story has broken – bringing it all together and helping people understand what’s happening, adding context and explanation in real time – can’t be replicated just on digital at the moment.”
He added: “It’s certainly not the case that right now people would be better informed if they didn’t have 24-hour news. News channels are the oxygen of news.”
Picture: BBC News