They’re changing the guard at the Palace of Westminster.
The political editor of a TV (and these days digital) news service is a unique position in the broadcast firmament. Reporter, pundit, political anorak, celebrity, workaholic, and conduit between government and company – the roles it encompasses are varied and subtle. It requires a sophisticated skill set to do the job well.
So, who’s in the running for two of the top jobs in British news?
As I’ve argued before these roles have for too long been awarded to middle-aged, white men. And the two deputies, James Landale and Chris Ship,at BBC and ITV respectively, fit that demographic. Both are competent and well respected, either would be a safe pair of hands.
But the deputy never gets the top job.
And I’d say that also rules out Sky News’s Joey Jones.
I’d say the most eligible candidates are all women. For either channel the interview short-list could look something like this:
The BBC’s Lucy Manning – a well respected political journalist at ITV and Channel 4 before heading to the BBC, she’s got the Westminster chops. Crucially she’s also close to Head of Newsgathering, Jonathan Munro.
Channel 4’s Cathy Newman – a previous life with the FT and as a political correspondent means she’s got the experience. But with Jon Snow rapidly approaching 70 perhaps she might feel her name is firmly in the running to be lead presenter at Channel 4.
And as an outside bet, especially for ITV News, I’d look at the former political editor of The Observer, Gabby Hinsliff.
One final thought: Evan Davis has never really appeared comfortable at Newsnight. Could this be a way back into the mainstream of news?