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New faces with big shoes to fill

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New faces with big shoes to fill

The journalistic merry go round is moving apace. That lengthy period of stagnation when there were no new jobs and no new money is over. If you’re a hack, opportunity knocks.

For flaks, well, you are going to have to get used to some new faces.

This is especially true at the top end of broadcasting.

Yesterday Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel quit the BBC for Global – they will do shows and podcasts for the LBC radio station.

Let’s assume money was a motive, but there might be others. Such as, quite possibly, an easier life.

There will be no hanging around a cold Newsnight studio till midnight for Maitlis, no getting up at the crack of dawn to speak to the Today programme for Sopel.

And no backbreaking 15-hour days of the sort he could have expected had he, as was widely suggested, become the corporation’s new political editor.

The timing may also be no coincidence. The BBC newsroom has just launched a fresh round of redundancies.

Maitlis has been at the BBC for 20 years and Sopel for more than 30. The generosity of the BBC’s final salary pension scheme for long-time employees means both could already look forward to well-funded retirements. And who knows, maybe they have also been able to apply for redundancy pay-outs?

Either way it represents little risk for them to go off and do podcasts for LBC on a higher wage than the one they receive from the BBC. And a podcast won’t take long to produce. They will also have more time to go off and host corporate events and make speeches for which they can charge big sums.

What is doubly interesting is that this comes at a time when challenger brands like LBC, GB News and Talk TV are paying up big money for established broadcasters like Eamonn Holmes, Colin Brazier, Andrew Marr and Piers Morgan.

There’s a huge opportunity for new faces at the BBC and other broadcasters to step into some big shoes and make a name for themselves.

Punchy stuff here from the No 3rd Runway Coalition, having a proper go at Heathrow.

A sample: “It is clearer than ever that Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway are nothing but an uneconomic fantasy. Campaigners share the widely acknowledged view that Heathrow would struggle to finance expansion, even prior to the pandemic.”

Some other words: “Self-interested fantasy”, “mortgaged to the hilt”, “nonsensically”.

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