Former Newsnight political editor Michael Crick has revealed that he jumped ship from the BBC after 21 years because he faced being moved into an “ill-defined” role.
And he has also condemned his former employer for a “scandal” whereby hours of unbroadcast news footage – including interviews with politicians – are being deleted every week.
Crick told The Independent: “I was 19 years on Newsnight and 18 of them were extremely happy and then towards the end, about a year ago, they made it clear to me that they wanted me to stop being the political editor and to do another job, which was ill-defined. They sort of said it would involve politics but they wanted to bring in somebody else as political editor and I wasn’t very happy with that, to put it mildly.”
Crick said that after “years and years of cuts” the BBC is facing another five or six years of 20 per cent cuts brought on by the new financial settlement with the Government. He said that life has become “very, very difficult” because of efforts to “squeeze more and more out of the staff” on Newsnight.
Crick has also spoken about the “scandal” whereby the BBC does not archive unbroadcast footage in news and current affairs.
“Anybody making a documentary is going to get a lot more material out of the ITN archive than the BBC one.”
After being political editor of Newsnight, Crick is taking more junior position at Channel 4 News as number two to C4 news political editor Gary Gibbon.
Crick is the latest in a series of BBC journalism stars to leave for ITN. Former BBC Washington correspondent Matt Frei has just joined Channel 4 News in the same role, and as one of the regular anchors.