I chaired a virtuoso performance from the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston. He romped through the current economic crisis in a kind of 3D Music Hall version of his TV live spots.
It was all in celebration of his book Who Runs Britain but what we all really wanted to know was what did it feel like to be the most important man in British media? Does he savour the power to break banks and move markets?
Surely the facts that investment banks send email alerts to staff when he blogs must have an impact on his journalism?
Well, Robert claims not. He insisted that he really just does his job. I think that would be a superhuman achievement, and possibly even beyond our Robert. But although he is in a special position it is something that every financial journalist must wrestle with in some way at some time.
We have a new Polis report out on financial journalism out. Peston is in it and he was also good enough to read it and recommend it to his adoring fans. Go here to read it or email us a email@example.com and we will send you a copy (or copies).
There’s a very good post on the Peston event here by Jazamatazz
Here is Simon Jenkins’ more critical take on Robert Peston’s book.
Hey Charlie, thanks for the mention.
It was a great event and very thought provoking. Peston, and this section of the media in general have a unique role at present, there’s an unprecedented weight of responsibility on their words.
It’s definitely a debate that needs to get going – as your report is doing.
Surely Peston must share at least part of the blame for not doing more to alert ‘his public’ to the looming financial crisis to begin with? In a recent edition of Steve Hewlett’s Media Show, both Peston and the FT’s Gillian Tett admitted that before the crisis hit, writing about the looming debt burden was considered ‘rather geeky’ by the media establishment. Then again, as no ambitious mainstream financial journalist relishes the idea of being sidelined as an ‘axe grinder’ or the John Pilger of financial journalism then this is perhaps understandable. After all, they do have their careers to think of.
Well chaired, Charlie, well commented and well written here!
I bought the book there and then, LOVE reading it and gave Mr. Peston a copy of our key documents. For as a mathematician and system analyst I have looked at the statistics of the Bank of England and put my understanding into an online petition “Stop the Cash Crumble to Equalize the Credit Crunch”. See http://tinyurl.com/666rwd
I echo his debt, debt, debt mantra and go just a bit further in terms of history and shift of power from Westminster to the City. Let’s hope his media ‘complicitness’ will deliver what we all need: the crisis rising turning into an opportunity!
Organiser, Forum for Stable Currencies
What a facinating article. I’m looking for an NLP expert to help with a project, could you help?