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April 29, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:14am

Jon Snow to step down as Channel 4 News presenter after 32 years

By Charlotte Tobitt

Jon Snow will step down after 32 years presenting Channel 4 News at the end of 2021.

The 73-year-old will continue to represent Channel 4, including by fronting longer-form projects, and will also focus on his charity work.

He said: “After three incredible decades on Channel 4 News, it is time to move on.  I am excited by the many things I want to accomplish but I have to say I have enjoyed every minute of my time with the programme.

“It has brought me adventure, as well as sorrow in some of the stories that I have had to report and also joy in reporting others, but above all, it has brought me community in working with the most fantastic group of people who are bound in intellect, humour and understanding.

“Together, we have forged a wonderful service. I feel proud to have contributed to Channel 4 News let alone to have anchored the programme for the last 32 years. I’m looking forward to new adventures and new challenges.”

Snow is Channel 4 News’ longest-serving presenter and has worked at ITN for 45 years, holding the roles of Washington correspondent and diplomatic editor in the 1980s before taking the helm of the programme in 1989.

His notable work during his time as presenter of the nightly news show has included covering the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama’s inauguration and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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Channel 4 News, editor, Ben de Pear, said: “Jon has been the driving force behind Channel 4 News for the last 30 years.

“His fearless journalism, inherent compassion, a nose for a good story as well as sympathy for the underdog have been powered by relentless energy, charm and a mischievous sense of fun. It has been a great honour to be his editor and friend, and I know that everyone at Channel 4 News and ITN feels that he is far more than a colleague.

“As well as his support and friendship to fellow workers, for decades he has worked tirelessly for a multitude of charities and causes beyond the public gaze and for no other reason than to help those less fortunate than himself.

“He may be leaving us after decades on the front line of history, but his contribution will live on and undoubtedly continue elsewhere. He is a wonderful man, and it has been an honour to call Jon our friend and colleague.”

‘There is only one Jon Snow’

ITN chief executive Deborah Turness said: “Over a lifetime dedicated to journalism, and in a life devoted to fairness and humanity, Jon Snow has earned a unique and special place in the hearts of the British audience.

“There is only one Jon Snow – when they made him, they broke the mould. His warmth, intellect and decency have always prevailed, even as he held the powerful to account and sought justice for the weak and powerless.”

Channel 4 chief content officer Ian Katz added: “No-one can match the colossal contribution Jon has made to both broadcast journalism and Channel 4 over more than three decades. He’s a talismanic figure whose combination of integrity, humanity and mischief helped make him the most trusted and well-loved news presenter of his generation, and the embodiment of everything Channel 4 aspires to be.”

Jon Snow’s lockdown Channel 4 News work

Snow was one of the first UK journalists forced to isolate at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic after returning from Iran to cover the presidential election in February last year.

He then reported from home during much of the Covid-19 pandemic as his age put him in the vulnerable category – and he told Press Gazette last summer he was missing “rubbing shoulders with my colleagues because there’s great fertility, in terms of information and the rest of it, spending time with them on the beat”.

“Journalism, in the end, is a people job,” he said. “You spark off other people in the newsroom, other people on the road.

“However much a journalist may pretend that they are loners, at the end of the day they depend on a lot of other people and they’re always ear-wigging, picking stuff up…

“It’s a much more collective operation than people think.”

[Read more: There’s been a ‘fair amount of bullshit which needed probing’ during the pandemic – Jon Snow]

Snow spent time reflecting on his lengthy career last year putting together his show What Jon Snow Knows by drawing on his years of reporting and ITN’s archives.

He said coronavirus was the “biggest thing since the Second World War” and the biggest thing he has reported on, dwarfing earlier outbreaks and even recent wars, which “aren’t things that came to visit our homes”.

Tributes to Channel 4 News legend Jon Snow

Channel 4 News presenting colleague Cathy Newman tweeted that it had been a “total privilege” to present alongside Snow, who was a “titan of British broadcasting, a brilliant colleague, mentor and friend”.

Fellow presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy wrote: “Jon is a national treasure and is most treasured by us, his colleagues. For 23 years I’ve sat next to him watching and learning from his extraordinary passion, energy and commitment. He cares, massively. I know he has big exciting things ahead. We love you Jon!”

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