Friday, June 28, 2013

The One Basic Question All Journalists Should Ask Comes From Britain

So the United States Can Still Learn Something From Our English Speaking Cousins

The New York Times has a nice story about how the current media is dominated by Brits, and they are doing very well at it.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Comedy Central
John Oliver, who is hosting “The Daily 
Show” this summer, is one of many
 British imports gaining visibility in
 American media.
Piers Morgan came from Britain to take over for Larry King, The Wall Street Journal is edited by Gerard Baker, a British newspaper veteran, and the chief executive of The New York Times is Mark Thompson, who spent his career at the BBC. Anna Wintour has edited Vogue for more than two decades and, more recently, Joanna Coles took over Cosmopolitan, which defines a certain version of American womanhood.

NBC News recently looked to the mother country for leadership and found Deborah Turness, the former editor of Britain’s ITV News. ABC’s entertainment group is headed by Paul Lee, also formerly of the BBC, and Colin Myler, a Fleet Street alum, edits The New York Daily News.

The list goes on, but the point is made: when it comes to choosing someone to steer prominent American media properties, the answer is often delivered in a proper British accent.

No question the British are very good at this sort of thing, although to listen to the new, temporary  host of the Daily Show it is clear that writing is as important or more important than performing.  And here, without further comment is one reason why.

It’s a very British way of thinking. The one question all young reporters on Fleet Street are taught to keep foremost in their mind when interviewing public figures can be best paraphrased as, “Why is this jerk lying to me?”

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