View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
March 6, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:00am

Ministerial boycott of Today was ‘welcomed by many’ listeners, says Nick Robinson

By PA Mediapoint

Today presenter Nick Robinson has claimed the recent “boycott” of the BBC Radio 4 news show by ministers had been welcomed by many listeners.

Robinson said he was glad Health Secretary Matt Hancock had become the first minister to appear on Today since the general election, but that it was now time to look at how political interviews were structured.

Hancock appeared on the flagship BBC programme this week in a bid to reassure people that the Government was well placed to deal with the coronavirus situation.

Writing in The Spectator, Robinson said: “There is one thing Covid-19 has changed for the better. It’s persuaded No. 10 that Today’s seven million listeners do deserve to hear from a Cabinet minister.

“The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, was the first to appear since the election.

“The ministerial boycott has actually been welcomed by many, who say it’s made for a better listen.

“To be fair to politicians, I think that is a comment on us as much as them.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

“People had grown weary of tetchy and unproductive standoffs between presenters who felt their questions were being ignored and ministers who felt frustrated they weren’t being given a chance to get their message across.

“It will always be a vital part of our role to hold to account those with power – in government, business or anywhere in public life.

“What the last few weeks have reminded us though, is that this is far from the only function of an interview.

“There is a role for conversation as well as confrontation; enquiry not just cross-examination; explanation instead of disputation.

“After three years of bitter political divisions, there is a need, indeed a yearning, for light as well as heat.”

The former BBC News political editor recently put himself into self-imposed quarantine after returning back from South East Asia with a cough.

It turned out he had not contracted cornavirus on his holiday.

Picture: BBC/Steve Brown

Topics in this article : , ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

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 New Statesman Media Group 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.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network