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November 10, 2022updated 21 Nov 2022 9:32am

John Simpson and Huw Edwards top the table for BBC moonlighting: Full Q3 2022 figures

John Simpson, the BBC's longstanding foreign correspondent and world affairs editor, made at least £20,000 on top of his salary between July and September, according to the latest data on BBC journalist outside earnings.

By Aisha Majid

John Simpson, the BBC’s longstanding foreign correspondent and world affairs editor, made at least £20,000 on top of his salary between July and September, according to the latest data on BBC journalist outside earnings.

The veteran journalist was paid at least £10,000 on two occasions for speaking events in September, including one by London law firm Doughty Street Chambers. The register provides details of outside payments in ranges. I.e. Simpson’s two payments were listed as at least £10,000.

Press Gazette has broken the BBC’s outside earnings register into two groups: its highest-earning stars – those who earn more than £150,000 a year – and all of its on-air staff. Simpson is in the second category.

The BBC’s highest-earning journalists netted a possible £34,500 overall across a combined seven events in the quarter. Among them were Amol Rajan, Kirsty Wark and Naga Munchetty, who took on two of the events.

According to Press Gazette’s calculations, Munchetty may have made a possible £10,500 on top of her BBC salary of at least £365,000. She hosted the British Citizen Award in July and the Business Woman Awards in September.

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Among the other high earners moonlighting on top of their BBC roles in the third quarter of the year were former media editor Rajan, who made between £5,000 and £10,000 for a speaking role at an event hosted by financial publisher Citywire. Hardtalk presenter Stephen Sackur, meanwhile, was paid in the same range to moderate a Silicon Valley event in September.

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So far in 2022, 22 high-earning BBC on-air journalists have taken on a total of 60 external jobs, making a possible £358,000 between them. At nine engagements, Munchetty has taken on more external work than any other high earner.

The BBC’s highest paid journalist, Huw Edwards, has likely made the most money on top of his BBC salary in 2022. The News at Ten presenter may have earned a possible £52,500 from five jobs on top of his salary of at least £410,000.

Press Gazette’s calculations are based on extrapolations from the limited data published by the BBC, which only provides ranges within which how much each presenter was paid. For engagements that paid under £1,000 we used a figure of £500. For those paying £1,000 to £5,000, we used £3,000. For those from £5,000 to £10,000, we base our calculation on a £7,500 payment. For the events that paid upwards of £10,000, we used a fee of £15,000.

Overall in 2022 so far, the 147 journalists who have taken on non-BBC work (including a majority on non-star salaries) signed up to 317 outside gigs which may have amounted to a combined £732,500.

The lack of specific data means, however, that our overall totals and those for individual presenters are ballpark estimates.

Since January 2021, the BBC’s on-air presenters in current affairs, sports news and radio and senior leaders have had to declare earnings from paid external work.

The publication of this register is part of the BBC’s impartiality efforts. Staff cannot take on external work without written approval from a divisional head of department.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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