Nick Robinson grilled by students at Dunraven School, Lambeth
21 October 2014
BBC Political Correspondent Nick Robinson spoke to 150 students from Dunraven School about impartiality, cornering politicians and the role of the media.
Nick began by speaking about his immigrant background, and how his grandparents’ reliance on the radio while fleeing the Nazis gave him a reverence for the news from a young age. “We would listen to the radio in silence,” Nick recalled.
The students, who were from year 7 up to Sixth form, learnt how tenacity can help land a dream job in the media. “We all love to know there’s a new generation who share our passion for broadcasting”, Nick said, adding that blogging was a useful way of showing interest in the industry.
Finally, Nick told the students about his work “asking the questions that politicians don’t want to hear.” Drawing upon awkward moments with George Bush, far-right groups and photo-bombing protesters, Nick reminded the audience that his job also required a great deal of off-camera editing work. “It sometimes takes up to three hours of editing to finish up with a single minute of broadcasting material… with limited air-time, I always have to think carefully about how to best summarise my exchanges with world leaders.”
During the Q & A, a number of students asked about impartiality, and whether that limited the questions which journalists could ask. Nick replied that there weren’t restrictions of that sort, but observed that the more hard-hitting his questions were, the more viewers were likely to accuse him of bias.
After the talk – Nick staying to discuss politics with some of the sixth formers – David Boyle, the headteacher at Dunraven reflected: “Nick’s talk was refreshingly open and honest, and made the political personal. The students today will think differently about politics now for the rest of their lives.”