Newsnight editor Ian Katz outlines what he believes is wrong about the TV political interview in this Financial Times article. In summary what’s wrong is that the interview has become a dance between defensive politicians and aggressive interviewers – each frustrated by the others’ attempts to prevent a discussion about what is really going on. But Katz outlines a new manifesto for how this relationship could move forward and his four points could be easily transported into any environment in which change and difference play a part. He says we need a new contract in which:
- Both broadcasters and politicians need to acknowledge that the interview is a transaction that must yield something useful for both sides – and especially the audience.
- We need to make a genuine attempt to explore and illuminate the dilemmas politicians face, to recognise that government is not a choice between good and bad policies but most often a search for the least worst option.
- We need to try harder to understand what makes politicians tick
- We broadcasters need to give interviews – at least some of them – the time to breathe, even if that means putting up with more boring, snoring bits.
We need more of this kind of thinking in order to get beyond simplistic dualities.