Peter Reavy

Newsnight under scrutiny

Posted in television by Peter Reavy on July 16, 2007

Newsnight’s deputy editor has been defending a package on Gordon Brown made by Jamie Campbell, which showed a pair of events out of chronological order.

Having watched the film, it seems to me that the meaning is at least somewhat affected by the order.

More to the point, Jamie Campbell’s packages to date have not been a great fit for Newsnight. They feel like a different sort of documentary-making. They are akin to the work of Louis Theroux or, before that, Nick Broomfield. In this type of film, the film-maker is part of the story. The interviewer becomes a character. We begin to doubt the interviewer’s own motives and sincerity.

I can see the editorial need for a roving reporter taking the maverick approach that Michael Crick once did. Crick has had to tone his approach down now that he is the programme’s political editor.

However unless Jamie Campbell can work in a different style, his approach feels wrong for Newsnight.

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