What’s wrong with the political interview (and how to fix it)

September 8, 2014

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:


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. We need to try harder to understand what makes politicians tick
  4. 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.

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