Veteran broadcaster Adam Boulton is leaving Sky News after 33 years.
Boulton has been editor-at-large at the channel since 2014 when he stepped down as political editor after 25 years. He first joined the channel ahead of its launch in 1989.
He currently presents All Out Politics each weekday at 9am and has previously hosted flagship shows across the schedule including breakfast, Sunday morning, and lunchtimes.
Boulton told The Times it was a “mutual decision” to leave and that “it looks like the direction which Sky News wants to go over the next few years is not one that’s a particularly good fit for me”.
He referred to an article his boss, head of Sky News John Ryley, wrote for Press Gazette in August which said the “age of the all-powerful anchor is gone – instead they share the stage with journalists in the field, providing the audience with the high fibre news they demand”.
Boulton, 62, added that Ryley has also made it clear “he believes the future of news is digital, is on the platform for phones and is very strongly based around data journalism. At that point you do start thinking…”
He added that he had always told Ryley “I want to work for someone who wants me to work for them” and he felt that time was ending.
Ryley said today: “Adam Boulton has been a hugely significant figure both in the growth of Sky News and British broadcasting as a whole.
“Adam was the first political editor to treat politics as a dynamic, changing story combining live commentary with video. He also played a key role in bringing about the first leaders’ debates in 2010. I will miss his wise counsel.”
Of Sky News’ aged 60-and-over presenting talent like himself, Kay Burley and Dermot Murnaghan, Boulton said: “We’ve had our day.” Also referring to Jon Snow leaving Channel 4 News and Huw Edwards suggesting he may soon leave the BBC, he added: “I think there is a changing of the guard going on, and that may be reasonable.”
He said he understands the channel needs to attract a new generation and that he will continue to do some work for Sky as well as other broadcasting including more long-form programming.
But he did say: “…to give up daily broadcasting is a wrench.”
Boulton has interviewed every British prime minister since Sir Alec Douglas-Home but has turned down interviews with party leaders he considered too intimate and “old telly”, such as those in their kitchens.
He has also been critical of the “traditional news conference and the traditional television interview”, which he said tended to consist of “long patches of tedium interspaced by blunders and gaffes”.
In recent years at Sky Boulton led a campaign for televised pre-election debates with UK political party leaders to be a permanent fixture. He said the debates are an “important public service which only TV can provide and that the television companies should co-operate to bring them about”.
Beth Rigby, Sky’s current political editor, said Boulton was a “hugely significant force, not in just our newsroom, but in the very fabric of British politics and broadcasting.
“I grew up watching Adam and was lucky enough to work with him. An absolute titan.”
Picture: Press Gazette