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Sanjoy Majumder: Our Friend in Bangladesh

Sanjoy Majumder (Credit: BBC)

Landing a major assignment or, as modest journalists would prefer to phrase it, getting your teeth into a powerful story, can sometimes be a mix of good fortune and the result of a sequence of random, unrelated events.

Towards the end of August 2017, my team and I were preparing to head out to Bangladesh to cover floods in the north of the country. It was not particularly unusual – sadly, Bangladesh experiences them every year. The situation was severe but certainly not the worst in its history.

Jeremy Thompson: The buccaneer

If television news had a golden age, it was surely the three decades from around 1980. Driven by videotape newsgathering, growth in satellite capacity and buoyant budgets, news bulletins often drew audiences of 15 million. They were the main way that most people got their news. This was Jeremy Thompson’s time, and mine, too.

Thompson came up the old-fashioned way: straight from school into local newspapers and radio before BBC TV, ITN and Sky News. His father, an insurance man, was horrified at his son’s career choice, warning that only jazz musicians were a worse actuarial risk.

Fran Unsworth's balancing act for turbulent times

Fran Unsworth (Credit: BBC)

Fran Unsworth will need no reminding that the BBC calls itself “the biggest provider of news in the UK” and “the world’s largest broadcast news organisation” and that it recently announced the “biggest expansion since the 1940s” in international operations.

With more than 35 years’ experience of working for the corporation, she also knows that BBC News regularly quotes independent evidence that it is, “by far, the most trusted and impartial news provider in the UK”.

BBC's Nick Robinson calls for a new style of journalism in Steve Hewlett Lecture

Nick Robinson delivering the inaugural Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

The evidence is already clear that millennials largely ignore the news coverage of the traditional UK TV networks, said the Radio 4 Today presenter.

Unless broadcasters raise their game, Robinson said, there was a risk that quality news organisations like the BBC, ITN and Sky News would lose future generations of listeners and viewers.

Robinson, a former BBC and ITN political editor, said that erosion of trust in public institutions and the rise of alternative sources of news meant that traditional broadcasters needed to try harder.

Inside Sky's Election Campaign: Getting it right on the night with Paul Bromley

Bromley is Sky News’ Editor for On-Screen Information, the man responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all the information that viewers see on screen.

His job on election night, he says, is to ensure that “anyone turning on Sky News at any point in the [election show] will find out instantly the state of play. I have always worked on the basis that, if we have information in the building and we can share it, why wouldn’t you do so?”

“The information -the words and the numbers – is what I am concentrating on,” he explains.

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.”

The fight against fake news

Any politician who uses the words ‘fake news’ to describe something they don’t like from their opponent should be assaulted verbally by people in their own party and fellow parliamentarians – we have to fight for language,” Nick Robinson told an RTS early-evening event discussing false news and alternative facts.

At the event in late February, chaired by former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis, Robinson argued for the continuation of “impartiality as a legal requirement for television news”.

Jeremy Bowen: You don’t just go to wars for the sake of it

“It’s an all-consuming job which can be immensely satisfying, but it demands a great deal and you have to be prepared to make that commitment… Sounds awful [but] it’s a lot of fun and you get to travel and someone else pays for it.”

Bowen has become a household name during his 33 year career at the BBC, reporting from conflict zones across the world. He can still reel off the names of the hotels he’s stayed in while reporting from El Salvador, Bosnia, Croatia and Iraq. “I’m a bit obsessed with hotels,” he admits.