Broadcasting impartiality under siege in 2019 election campaign

Whatever your view of the result, it was a wretched and dispiriting election campaign. Politicians seldom broke away from churning out the same sound bites, and on social media there was a level of viciousness that was unbearable.

It’s therefore not exactly a surprise that the mainstream media, pressured by parties and harried by online trolls, had a rough ride in the 2019 general election, too. It is difficult, as the proverb goes, to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Inside Sky's Election Campaign: Jon Bennett on the lure of covering election night

Bennett is a Sky News lifer, having joined the news organisation 28 years ago before it had even begun broadcasting. Now, he is taking the chair for a seventh time to direct the broadcaster’s election night coverage.

Working alongside Executive Producer Nick Phipps – the man who decides on how the story will be told – Bennett is tasked with making his vision a reality. “We represent the two sides,” Bennett explains. “His is the editorial and mine is the production. He is the one I don’t want to let down.”

Sky News claims to have been cut out of Tory election coverage

The broadcaster has released a statement today claiming that “since early in the election campaign, Sky News has not been getting live interviews on election issues with Conservative ministers. Also we weren’t initially invited to follow the leader’s tour,” a Sky spokesperson claimed.

The RTS understand that Sky News was offered places on Theresa May’s campaign bus on Tuesday 16th May – four days after it was initially launched. However access to the Prime Minister and her team is still being denied.

May & Corbyn face the public on Sky News and Channel 4

The special programme, to be broadcast on Monday 29th May, has been announced as part of Sky’s coverage of the upcoming General Election, and will feature the first leader interviews of the campaign in front of a live audience.  

In the 90-minute programme, Islam will begin with an audience Q&A before Paxman steps in to interview the respective party leader, before the process is repeated with the other party leader. .

Report: RTÉ's biggest live events

The Centre welcomed John O’Regan and Margaret Bennett, RTÉ’s executive producers for current affairs special events, who were closely involved in the planning and broadcast of the two events.

Election 2016, a marathon 17-hour broadcast at the end of February, marked a significant first for Irish television, as RTÉ broadcast live pictures from every single count in the country. It was also RTÉ’s first high-definition general election results broadcast.