Masterclass 27: Political Journalism
When Andrew Marr was voted top UK political journalist in 2010 he was asked by Press Gazette what he thought the attributes of a good political journalist were
I’ve extracted from his quote, which you can read in full here: curiosity, fair-mindedness, respect.
Perhaps this is a surprising choice. He doesn’t mention ruthlessness, an obsessive interest in politics or the killer-instinct to pursue and trap a politician who is up to no good.
But I’ve chosen to begin with Marr’s words because I think they are a more accurate reflection of the way a political reporter needs to operate if they are to survive, and succeed.
They reflect the fact that stories come from people, and to get stories from them you need to treat them right.
In this masterclass we’ll look in much more detail at the aptitude and interests you need to have a chance of becoming a good political reporter
Also at the experience you should try to gain on your journalism course, in your blogging activities, and in your first job
Then we’ll take a look at how to find and tell political stories, with a detailed look at how Westminster political reporters, press officers, and special advisers operate.
There is a top-trumps list of the best political journalists, as voted by the public and their peers, with links to their work, plus guides to the best political commentators.
And a look at a curiously British form of political reporting – sketch writing.
There are very few university courses in political journalism, but we have some links – including a look at what they do at Winchester University, teaching multimedia political reporting, including covering an election live and through the night.