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How the BBC’s Ros Atkins became the voice of reason in global news

Ros Atkins has perfected the art of the explainer. His team at the BBC consistently produces viral videos using story-driven journalism that starts conversations and, crucially, works just as well on social media as it does on TV.

But this success hasn’t just come overnight. Atkins has spent years honing his techniques, experimenting with new ways of telling stories, and thinking deeply about the technologies he can use to reach audiences. Every element of a video is meticulously scrutinised, from the language he uses to the clothes he wears, all with the intent to connect with the audience.

In the latest episode of Journo, Nick Bryant sits down with the BBC’s ‘explainer-in-chief’ to understand the precision that goes into making his must-watch content.

Transcript

Ros Atkins (RA): There was a Christmas party in Number 10. We know about it because the Daily Mirror reported how officials knocked back glasses of wine during a Christmas quiz and a Secret Santa. “It was a Covid nightmare”, one source says.

Nick Bryant (NB): Ros Atkins has been called the BBC’s explainer-in-chief. And he’s just been appointed its first analysis editor, a role tailor-made for him. His videos on the Downing Street partygate scandal had been watched by millions and turned him into a star. They’ve even given him something of a catchphrase.

Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent: There were drinks and they were nibbles and there were games.

RA: Drinks, nibbles, games.

NB: On his show, BBC Outside Source, Ros seems to have perfected the art of the explainer — reports that work just as well on digital platforms as they do on TV.

RA: We’ve got a trending page, which shows you what’s hot on Twitter at any point, a hashtag page, which allows us to work social media into our storytelling,

NB: He seem to have arrived at the holy grail of the modern news industry, a formula for journalism that routinely goes viral. So, I want to learn more about the method behind his success. The ingredients of his secret sauce. I’m Nick Bryant and this is Journo, a podcast from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Ros, how are you?

RA: I’m good. You, okay?

NB: Yeah, it’s great to see you,

RA: You too.

NB: Ros Atkins is presently enjoying a career high. But things weren’t going so well.

RA: Three years ago, in 2019, I almost thought about stopping being a journalist, because I was concerned that the work we were doing collectively wasn’t working for people. It wasn’t resonating with them. It wasn’t proving helpful enough to them. And I thought, well, maybe that’s because people don’t want journalism. Maybe they want different types of information. And I thought, well, I’m not ready to accept that. But I am ready to accept that how my journalism is manifesting itself is not good enough for our audience’s expectations. And this was really a last throw for me to say, alright, can I find a different way of doing the fundamentals of journalism in a way that competes in the digital arena? And crucially, the digital arena is dominated by opinion and it’s dominated by heat. And that doesn’t look like a comfortable environment for impartial journalism.

RA, announcing: Hi there, welcome to the World Have Your Say YouTube channel. Now, we put quite a few different things here, you’ll get our TV shows from BBC World News, all our Google Hangouts and also the films that we make when we’re on the road. Now, click the subscribe button, which is just up at the top right of this page and that will give you notifications every time we post something new. And if you’d like to get involved in the conversations that we host, you can go to bbc.com/worldhaveyoursay.

The test for me was can I carve a space for impartial journalism in these arenas, where opinion and where heat are present all the time? I didn’t know if the answer would be yes. But the videos are my effort to see if I could.

NB: I want to start with partygate, you have made a real name for yourself — within the BBC and beyond the BBC — during this scandal about parties at Downing Street during the lockdown that violated the rules that Downing Street actually put in place. Why do you think they’ve been such a hit?

RA: The fact that we’ve been able to deliver quite in-depth summaries of the story very quickly has helped us. So, the thing I’m trying to do with these explainers is to provide depth, but what I call fast turnaround depth. So, we are trying to move on stories very quickly after they’ve happened. But to give you not just the latest development, but to place it in context, and also to tell it as a story, because my observation was that as journalists, we follow every twist and turn of stories. But, of course, quite reasonably, our audiences don’t necessarily, and what I was trying to do with the partygate videos was to say, look, you’re all aware of this story. It’s been in the news. But you may not have been following every twist and turn. So, just at the moment when your story is peaking, because there’s a new development, we go here’s a full distillation of all the different developments that we think are important to you.

RA, Outside Source episode on partygate: That was the 16th on the 18th a senior doctor described the situation…

Dr Katherine Henderson, Royal College of Emergency Medicine:  We are now at a really dangerous point where we could tip into finding it incredibly difficult to manage.

RA: Also on the 18th of December, 514 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in the UK. And in the morning that day, Boris Johnson tweeted: “If you’re forming a Christmas Bubble, it’s vital that from today you minimise contact with people from outside your household. Everyone must take personal responsible.” we were advised. That was after that tweet was posted in the evening of the 18th there was a Christmas party in Number 10.

I do think there’s a broader thing,  though, which came out of the Trump years especially, which is that our audience was looking for us to use a different language to assert when something was true and when something wasn’t true. And to make sure that we stress test what we’re being told by our politicians. And with partygate, I was certainly keen to be as clear as I could with the audience. What was true what wasn’t true, what we knew what we didn’t know. And of course, those are the basic tenets of journalism.

But I think the language and the structure I was using in the storytelling was a little different to more classic TV news storytelling, and the audience responded to that.

RA, Outside Source episode on partygate: The morning after the games, drinks and nibbles in Downing Street, the Prime Minister was to ask even more of people, having repeatedly said he wouldn’t change the rules at Christmas, millions of Christmas gatherings had to be cancelled less than 24 hours after Downing Street had had a gathering of its own.

NB: The language was very bold. The language was very frank. The language at times was very forthright. It obviously kept within the editorial bounds of the BBC, but it struck me you were going right up to the line.

RA: I don’t know if I was necessarily trying to go up to the line. I was just trying to reimagine what impartiality means. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be impartial. Sometimes people ask me questions about impartiality, as if it’s a constraint. I don’t see impartiality as a problem. It’s not something I’m having to put up with. It’s something I think is a brilliant idea and an important strand of journalism. But the couple of things that I really tried to do — and if you watch my videos, I hope there’s holds on any of them — one, never seem judgmental. So even if I’m calling something or I’m being forthright in my description of something, I’m doing it to assert what the facts of the story are. I’m not doing it to score points, I’m not doing it because I disapprove of anyone, so I hope you’ll never see any judgement.

And then the second thing I was doing was anytime I was being forthright and particularly assertive, I didn’t just provide evidence for that assertion at some point in the piece, I juxtaposed the assertive statement with the evidence there and then, so anyone consuming, it can see the factual basis of what I’m saying.

RA Outside Source video: Now, we’ve been putting clips of our Australia coverage on the BBC News YouTube channel, on Twitter, too. And we keep getting messages from people claiming the story of these fires isn’t climate change, it’s arson. Let’s assess this. One researcher analysed over 300 accounts using this hashtag. He found a third of them displayed highly automated and inauthentic behaviour, meaning there could be bots or trolls. And on this subject, you can listen to the authorities in Victoria saying there’s currently no intelligence to indicate that the fires had been caused by arson or any other suspicious behaviour.

RA: And one of the really rewarding things of this experience, experimenting with tone and with language and storytelling style, is that the partygate videos and more broadly, our explainers generally have been welcomed and praised across the political spectrum. They’re not seen as being on one side or the other because they aren’t on one side or the other. And we spend huge amounts of time making sure that we are being assertive and saying what’s true and what’s not true, but never tipping over into trying to score points or be judgmental.

NB: This has actually been described as assertive impartiality. A phrase is attached itself to your style of journalism.

RA: It is impartial. It has to be impartial. I believe in it being impartial. If we ever stopped being impartial, we would lose everything we have, both me as an individual journalist and the BBC, like it’s at the core of what we do. It’s a precious thing. But there’s no doubt I am being more assertive and more direct than perhaps we may have been in more classic reporting.

RA, Outside Source video: With one announcement, Vladimir Putin left the world asking, “would he?”

Vladamir Putin, English translation: I’m ordering the Minister of Defence, and the Chief of the General Staff to put the strategic nuclear forces on special alert.

RA, Outside Source video: Russia has the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world, and Putin wouldn’t be the first leader to give the order.

NB: You’re very strategic, about your use of language. The fact that your videos are going viral isn’t a fluke, you’ve been very calculating about this. You’re a real student of storytelling. I wonder what sort of phrases you’ve been using and what sort of language you’ve been discarding, to give your journalism and explainers such impact.

RA: So, there’s a few things that I’m really, really trying to do. So one is that I’m trying to write very sparse scripts. So, if you’re being assertive, and you’re being bolder, you don’t want to risk any misinterpretation of that boldness. And if you’re not using adjectives, that helps. So a classic bit of TV journalism might be presented says this has happened to a politician, brings in a correspondent and says, what do you think about this, and the correspondent says, well, it’s been a really bad day for this politician. They’re saying it’s been a bad day. Well, maybe it has been a bad day, maybe it hasn’t, we’ll only find out in time, we can’t know. And so I don’t really get involved in using adjectives to describe things, because that’s me bringing something of myself. And with every time you bring something of yourself, which is essentially a perception and not much more, you risk being accused of speculation or something that’s not fact-based or bringing your own agenda.

If you write very sparse magic free scripts, you’re not at risk of that because your entire piece is rooted simply in the information.

RA, Outside Source video: And that scale creates power. The power to turn off the news.

Australian newsreader: In breaking news this morning, social media giant Facebook has followed through on its threat, restricting people in Australia from viewing news content,

RA, Outside Source video: The power to turn off those in power.

British newsreader: Facebook has extended their block on Donald Trump’s accounts for at least the next two weeks until Joe Biden’s inauguration, accusing the president of using the platform to incite insurrection.

RA, Outside Source video: And the power to change how we connect how we communicate for better, says Facebook; for worse, says this former employee.

RA: Another thing that I do, and if I point this out you’ll spot me doing it a lot in my videos, you would introduce an element the element would play if it’s a clip, and then you would move straight on to introducing the next element. And I was feeling like, okay, there’s nothing wrong with that, you’re not really creating momentum in your storytelling. And so I started to experiment with something that I call joining phrases, or hooks, or various jargon to describe it. But it’s essentially an idea of looking back and then looking forward. So if you’re constructing a story with a number of different elements in a in a line, rather than just talking into one then talking to the next, as you come off one, look back at it, and then move the audience forward into the next element. If you watch, for example, the golf video that I posted a couple of days ago, which has gone viral. It’s an eight minute video on golf, they aren’t supposed to go viral in a news context. And you’ll see me doing that repeatedly.

Golfer: Speculation. I’m not even going to comment on speculation.

RA, Outside Source video: No comment on that question. And in their own different ways, the golfers have been making this point.

Golfer: We’re not politicians. I know you guys heard that expression. But we’re really not unfortunately.

RA: I’m saying, here’s something, and then I’m going to come off the back of it. I reiterate to some degree what we’ve heard and I join it to the thing that’s coming. If I do that well it can create a rhythm and a momentum that makes the pieces I hope, quite watchable, that you’re feeling like, okay, tell me what’s next. Tell me what’s next.

RA, Outside Source video: And while freedom is being offered to golfers, it’s not on offer to some Saudis. The US government says there are credible reports of forced disappearances, torture by government agents, executions for nonviolent offences.

RA: The kind of final thing I would emphasise is, you know, you and I go back a long way at Five Live the BBC Radio Network. And many, many moons ago, I went to an audience research session at five live and they talked about this test that they did, where they sit a group of people in a room, play them a show, and each person in the room is holding a dial effectively, and they turn it to the right, if they’re liking it, they turn it the left if they’re not. A bit like those worms you get on presidential debates. It gives you a feel for where the audience is engaged and where it’s not engaged. This like lodged in my brain, like you can’t know. And it stayed in my brain every day I work. And whenever I’m making a piece, I’m thinking about the dial, where are the weaknesses, where you might lose someone? Because in a digital context, much more than TV, even if the first three minutes and the last three minutes are good. If the minute in the middle isn’t and is a bit boring, your digital audience is gone.

NB: I’m interested as well, rather than how you have borrowed storytelling skills from all over — stand-up comedians, mates in a pub. It’s not just journalists, you’re looking for inspiration from, but you’ve cast your net wide and far.

RA:I think you need to Nick because I think journalists are in danger of getting stuck within certain types of storytelling constructs that have been dominant since the 1960s. And there is a risk that while that still works for some of us, it’s not working for an increasingly large amount of our audiences. And so the idea that people aren’t interested in the world around us, I don’t think that’s true. I think people are very interested in the world around us, but they want to be told about the world around us in different ways. And journalism, I think, to thrive needs to embrace the idea that while underpinning our work, is that same commitment to being factual and fair and all of the things that we try and do. But the way that manifests itself can be inspired by a whole range of people.

So you’re quite right that I quite consciously consume lots of different types of storytelling to try and take inspiration. Of course, I don’t go away from the basic tenets of journalism, but the way that I’m doing it does go away from more traditional approaches. And the single guiding principle that I take away from this huge, amazing storytelling surge, because of the internet, is that you have to make the story central. I know this might seem obvious, but I don’t mean the story in terms of the information within the story. I mean the telling of the story

So the telling of the story isn’t a secondary thing. The telling of the story is the thing. And if people feel like they’re being told a story they want to hear the end of, everything else follows. If they don’t, you may struggle.

RA, Outside Source video: This is much more than a regulation diplomatic spat, here’s why the China, Australia round matters. They’ve always had political differences. But Australia and China have found common ground in a hugely valuable trading relationship that gives China imports and Australia income. But things are turning sour.

RA: The compliment people quite often pay about our videos, and I’m thrilled when they do is they will say like, wow, it was seven minutes, but it was a quick seven minutes. And for me, that is exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to create stories you want to hear the end of. And this was partly inspired by a visit to YouTube’s headquarters in London 2015/2016. And I was really interested in this idea, this orthodoxy, that had grown up in news media that our audience could only consume short videos, everything needed to be simple, and maybe with music and two minutes long, and I just wasn’t sure that was true. So I went to YouTube, and they showed me a load of data on how people were consuming news and news related information. And they were saying people are watching for longer and longer. They said, if you tell the story well, and it’s a subject, people want to hear about their watch for ages. So I thought, Okay, well, maybe we’re drawing the wrong conclusion here. Maybe the reason they’re not watching our five-minute videos isn’t because they weren’t watched for five minutes. But maybe the five-minute videos we’re making are the ones they want.

RA, Outside Source video: One of the tricks that we have on Outside Source — you could call it the world’s biggest iPad — is a brand new touchscreen, which allows us to bring our viewers all the live feeds coming into the BBC, and also all the latest information. Let me quickly show you some of the things we can do.

NB: Ros, we’ve spoken about how you go about putting the explainers together. But what strikes me about your success is you seem to spend an equivalent amount of time thinking about how you’re going to sell this product, how are you going to make it turn viral? Again, that’s not a fluke, you’re being pretty calculating about it. And it even extends to the branding. And the fact that you wear the same clothes every day.

Ros Atkins

Well, I’m certainly glad that you notice the effort that we’re putting into distribute it. This is a particular bugbear of mine, that journalists quite reasonably are very focused on stories and how they manifest those stories. They seem to me largely not as focused on how they distribute their stories. And in a broadcast environment there are good reasons for that. You and I have been making TV and radio for a good while and if you make TV and radio. You do your story, it’s good or bad, you make your programme it’s good or bad. The TV distributes it for you, the radio distributes it for you. And you see if people liked it or not.

In the digital world distribution is a multifaceted endeavour and it requires a lot more attention. And it seemed to me that, first of all, when I when I did all this thinking in the summer of 2019. First of all, we didn’t have a product that was good enough, a digital product that was good enough. So we had to fix that. And there was journalistic work, tonal work, visual work, technical work, marketing work, all of that stuff needed to be done. But if you did all of that work and it was successful, then you’ve got a successful product. But that’s not enough either. Because if you want a successful digital product, you need to think about its distribution. And you need to be not only strategic about that, in understanding how you’re going to distribute it. And then, and this is a really, really important point, you’ve got to put time into it. Even if you’ve identified how you’re going to distribute it, it’s just not going to happen by you sending a couple of emails, it just isn’t when we’re working out how much time we’ve got across the week, we block out time to distribute the work. Like it’s part of the work. Otherwise you risk making something that’s brilliant, but that doesn’t have impact. And that’s a shame if you’ve spent the time on the on the journalism.

BBC Six Music radio announcer: Who knew that the man who can summarise the most complicated of news stories whose explainer videos run rampant across social media who knew that in a past life he ran a club in Brixton and DJ’d all over the place showcasing his love of drum and bass? Yes, making his Six Music debut. Yes. It’s Ros Atkins.

RA: So, here’s my mix, starting with DJ Hype, and Ganja Max.

NB: An example of how much care and attention you devote to this came recently. You were invited to do a drum and bass Mix for BBC Six Music. And you spent a day putting together a Twitter feed that helped make it go viral. And it did go viral. Just tell us a little bit about that Twitter feed and tell us that, again, the thinking behind it.

RA: There are two definitions of success if you’re making a radio program these days: how many people are going to listen live and how many people are going to go back and listen. And in the case of something like a mix, a lot of people might go back and listen to that. We didn’t trail it weeks in advance. People are listening, and they’re going, oh, my goodness, what is this and tweeting, going, hold on, is that the news guy doing drum and bass. So that had its own impact. And I couldn’t really influence that. That’s just down to the brilliance of Steve Lamacq and the Six Music team.

But I thought that I could possibly influence how many people go and listen to it after the event. And it seemed to me that the central parts of this was: a) is it a good mix? and b) Is it a good mix coming from a bloke who we associate with doing the news? And the latter part of it was definitely — and I understood this — part of the dynamic. So I thought, well, how can I give that dynamic particular impact and also explain why I’m doing a drum and bass mix, because it could just look like a slightly insincere manoeuvre to try and get attention. While in fact, drum and bass has been a huge passion of mine for years. So I thought, well, I could try and wrap all this up and kind of lean into the fact that this is quite a surprise. So I went up into the loft, dug out some boxes of old photos, found some pictures of me at a rave in Milton Keynes in 97, and a couple of pics of me DJing. And I didn’t just want to post a picture going, hey, here’s me at a rave. Now, here’s the mix. I wanted to tell a story. And so I did. And so this Twitter thread is me going, you might not know this, but back in 1997 … and I don’t mention the drum and bass mix until the 10th tweet in the thread. So it’s a story which you have to stay with. And the punchline is, here’s the mix.

I could have just gone, hey, you’ll never guess what, here’s a mix. And I don’t think it would have gone viral. And so the lesson there was, it’s the power of the story. It’s the same thing, whether it’s drum and bass, or much more serious news, if you tell stories that people want to hear the end of they are much, much more likely to consume your work, whatever it is. And in this case, it worked. So I can’t quite believe this is true, but I’m assured it is, it remains, the mix remains the most downloaded Six Music program of the year.

NB: Promotion obviously involves up to a point self-promotion. And sometimes with the news organisations like the BBC there is a tradition more of self-effacement. I wonder what you say to journalists who are sort of more old school about getting out there on Twitter and telling stories about their personal lives? What do you say to them as they try and navigate this new digital world?

RA: Well, I would say to them, I feel the same way. So if you look at my Twitter feed, it’s not full of pictures about my life, you know, I’m not sharing very much at all, I’m sharing my work. The only thing that’s different is that the way my journalism is manifesting itself is perhaps different to previous iterations. I’m not passing judgement on people who do this. But I’m not trying to become a general personality on social media or anywhere. I’m trying to be a journalist whose work is successful. That’s that’s literally my only goal. And if you go through my Twitter feed, I don’t think you’ll find very much that’s not about journalism. And so I get it.

But I suppose my point is that we need to be honest with ourselves that the forms our journalism have taken in the past, brilliant that they were for that time, may not work for the audience’s we need to reach now. And so for people who are uncomfortable about the new world, I would say, fundamentally, it’s the same journalism, we’re not walking away from the strength of journalism, we’re reasserting it.

NB: Ros, I’m fascinated that you have become a kind of journalistic leader not just within the BBC now. And this is rare for somebody who’s on air. I mean, generally, the journalistic leaders come from within management, not from on air talent. And one of the things that you did one of your great innovations was the 50:50 project. Just tell us a little bit about that.

RA: The 50:50 project is something I started in January 2017. It was an effort to show that we could have as many female contributors in our journalism as male contributors.

50:50 promotions

We got involved with 50:50 because it’s part of our job to inspire children, and it’s easier to inspire kids if they’re able to see someone like themselves on screen.

In science, I think 50: 50 has really challenged our assumptions about how difficult it is to find female contributors in certain subjects.

RA: It was a goal that had been widely accepted at the BBC and across news media for a long while. But I was frustrated that my program and news media more broadly wasn’t making more progress to actually doing it. And so I in the latter half of 2016 spent a long time thinking about, well, why is it that we have this goal that we all accept, and we’re not doing it, frankly, and I thought, all right. I don’t have any managerial power, I don’t have access to a budget. I can’t tell anyone what to do at work. Of course, I can’t. I’m a presenter. I’m not an editor. But I do have a small, brilliant, multidisciplinary team that works on my program and within that environment, I do have quite a lot of soft power, if not hard power, and I reckon I could persuade them to try something. And so I sketched out what became the 50:50 project, which was a data driven, self-monitoring idea where you measure the diversity of your contributors, you share that data every day, and by sharing it, you influence your behaviour.

It started on my program, and bluntly, it worked. We went from below 40% women to over 50% women. We’ve been just there for five years now. And it grew organically across the whole of the BBC. And so now, I think we’re 700–800 content teams across the BBC do it. It’s in over 120 organisations in I think, over 30 countries, including the ABC in Australia. It’s got, you know, needless to say, it’s got a lot bigger than I ever thought it would.

NB: You’ve spoken about the need for extreme creativity. I mean, if you’re a journalist around the world, who’s probably seen 20 years of massive digital disruption, you might be thinking the last thing I want right now is even more extreme creativity, because that usually means extreme disruption.

RA: Well, you might not want it, but I’m afraid it’s, it’s, it’s not optional. I mean, this is the world that we’re living in. The internet is changing everything in every way, you know. My explainers might be working now. They might not work in three years, things are moving quickly. And I just think you spotted a little bit earlier how much time I put into thinking about distribution and the promotion of the journalism that I’m making. I’m also putting aside lots of time for creativity. So the other day, I was talking with my brilliant two producers, Michael and Mary, and we didn’t have a video we were working on that day. And we were talking about what to do. And they were saying I could look at this story and that story. And I said them just spend several hours consuming any type of explanatory storytelling, you can find. Just take the time to just go and see what’s being done. And that’s quite rare, because journalists tend to turn up for our shifts, we’ve got something we need to produce at the end of the day, right? It might be a video or a program or an article or whatever it might be. We work to daily deadlines a lot of the time and that can often mean we’re entirely focused on that daily deadline, I get it. But we have to find ways of creating space at the time we spend working to think about creativity, to think about storytelling. Because if we don’t, we’re just going to keep creating the thing that we’ve always created. And there’s increasing amounts of evidence that some of those more traditional journalism formats, brilliant though they’d been in their heyday, are struggling to engage people.

But I just come back to something that is unavoidable for me, which is, it’s unavoidable that the Internet has changed everything. It’s unavoidable that we need to make journalism that reflects the world we live in, it’s unavoidable that we need to innovate around storytelling if we’re to make journalism work for audiences around the world. And it’s unavoidable that we need to get involved in helping people understand what’s true and what’s not true in the most direct language that we can, because they would like us to. And all of those things come with journalism anymore, and we could wish them away or we could embrace them. But however we react to it, it’s not going to change the reality that it’s all true. And in my own very small way, I’m just trying to wrestle with those four challenges and see if I can come up with a form of journalism that can work, that can show to people that our trade has a value.

NB: I’ve been watching Ross Atkins for many years and what I particularly enjoyed about his recent success is that becoming a viral sensation didn’t happen overnight. Like a golfer perfecting his swing or an artist constantly experimenting with new means of expression, he spent years honing his technique, and he’s also thought deeply about how to marry that technique with the new technologies and how to constantly keep on adapting.

Ros has also demonstrated that impartial news has a future in an ever more polarised world. And at a time when the Internet is awash with so much misinformation, h is work stands as a timely reminder of the primacy and power of facts.

Ros, I’m struck by your energy levels. I mean, haven’t been an overnight sensation by any means. I mean, you’ve been at the coalface for 20 years or so. And a lot of us feel very tired, especially at the end of the coronavirus. It’s been a crazy for the five years with Trump, Ukraine, so many other things. You still seem to have this extraordinary energy. Is it the DJ in you?

RA: I don’t always feel energetic. I have a couple of mornings this week where energetic was not the word I would use. I’m doing it because I believe in it. I feel that passion as much. This week making the videos that we’ve made, I was just as fired up about making sure that was quality journalism and the value that brings to our country inits own small way, as I was about journalism as a 13 or 14 year old just gorging on radio and TV and newspapers. And so the energy comes from the fact that journalism matters, and I care about it. And I don’t want to see it fail to hold an important role in the societies that we will live in around the world. And I think that that is not something I assume is going to carry on and so my energy is partly out of excitement, but partly out of necessity that to keep journalism playing its important role. We need to stay energetic.

NB: Journo is produced by Deadset Studios for the Judith Neilson Institute, which supports quality journalism and storytelling around the world. You can find out more about the Institute’s programs and events at jninstitute.org.

Make sure you follow the podcast in your podcasting app so you’re alerted each time we release a new episode.

Our executive producer is Rachel Fountain, our producers are Grace Pashley, and Britta Jorgenson. Sound design is by Krissy Miltiadou. Our managing editor is Kellie Riordan and our commissioning editor is Andrea Ho at the Judith Neilson Institute. And I’m Nick Bryant.