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Newsnight editor apologises after ‘boring snoring’ tweet about shadow cabinet guest

By PA Mediapoint and Press Gazette

Ian Katz, the editor of Newsnight and former deputy editor of The Guardian, has apologised after sending a tweet describing one of the programme's guests as "boring".

Katz made the gaffe in a post on Twitter that was supposed to be private, but ended up being visible all of his 26,000 followers on the site.

The message, which was subsequently deleted, referred to an appearance on the BBC’s flagship show by Labour shadow cabinet minister Rachel Reeves.

In an apparent reply to a comment about the programme, Katz wrote: "Tnks … except for boring snoring rachel reeves … playout was fun tho, wasn't it? telly MUCH netter [sic] than snooooozepapers innit"

The post prompted an apparently sarcastic reply from shadow treasury chief secretary Reeves, who simply said "thanks…".

Katz subsequently apologised for the "ill-judged" comment, which he said was supposed to have been a direct message (DM) to one individual Twitter user.

He said: "Accidentally sent v ill-judged tweet referring to @RachelReevesMP's appearance on NN. Thought was DM but in any circs wrong. Have apologised"

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Katz is in just his second week as Newsnight editor, having replaced Peter Rippon who left the programme in the wake of the Jimmy Savile crisis.

According to PA, the Labour Party has asked Katz to issue a formal apology. It said in an email to the Newsnight editor: "We would like to express our anger and disappointment at your tweet following Newsnight's interview with Rachel Reeves.

"It is completely unacceptable for a senior BBC editor to have expressed this view, whether or not you intended for it to be made public. It is vitally important that the Labour Party, our shadow cabinet and Newsnight viewers have confidence in the impartiality and fairness of your programme, and the criteria on which guests and interviews are judged.
 
"This incident undermines that confidence and it is important that this is redressed. Although a tweet of apology has been made, a full written public apology should be made by the end of the day."

 

Following the request by Labour, Katz sent a letter to Bob Roberts, director of communications, reiterating his apology.

 

“I apologise unreservedly for my ill-judged remark about her appearance on Newsnight last night,” he wrote.

 

“As you know it was intended as a private message but as you rightly say that is no excuse.

 

“I don’t accept your implication that my tweet reflects in any way on the impartiality or fairness of Newsnight, except to the extent that it reflects a determination to make Newsnight as interesting as I can.”

 

Katz added: "I am acutely aware, however, that we ask quite a lot of guests when we invite them to come into the studio to do late night interviews and my tweet hardly conveyed the appreciation we owe them for making the trip.

 

“I particularly regret any personal offence or upset I have caused to Rachel and hope she will come on Newsnight again soon.”

 

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