DESPITE HAVING given a Coventry conversation in February this year, Jon Snow was back but this time in Coventry Cathedral under the new title of Visiting Professor.
The theme of his lecture, the best and worst of times in journalism, gave the audience an outlook of how much information sharing and technology has changed throughout the years through the means of news reporting. Writes Sophie Bray
Jon Snow at the fall of the Berlin Wall and shared a private jet with Idi Amin and has experienced great moments of history as a journalist. But the main point of the lecture was how much the digital age that we are living in has taken over, and adapted our media consumption.
When asked if this technological advancement would hinder journalism as well as help it, Snow said:
“It is hindering but at the same time much more is helping it. To be able to find out information the way one can, not least with informants; people can inform you within a secretive way by emailing you with amazing material. There weren’t easy ways of contacting people. You can work out my email pretty easily and away you go”
In line with the future of journalism, where in the lecture Snow said that people will pay for high quality information including newspapers online, I asked him what he thinks will happen to all mediums of journalism in the future:
“I think that in the end we’re going to come out the same hole. It’s all going to be a web-based experience. How it manifests, whether it’s a plasma screen or a small radio in your pocket, that’s where we’re going to be. I think it’s going to be all for the better.”
As a foreign correspondent, Jon Snow has travelled the world and seen the devastation caused by war and conflicts. But how does he personally feel when he is in a dangerous situation?
“I think they are, in the end the same emotions that would cross anybody’s mind. ‘Am I going to get hit?’ They say you never hear the one that gets you. I think inevitably if you see great suffering; for example I was in Gaza, and you do see in people especially people who have been injured, you see your own child and you do feel it emotionally.”
Having started at Channel 4 in 1989, Jon Snow has become a popular figure as a newsreader. When I asked him who does he admire, one name came to mind:
“Nelson Mandela. But it’s a tough one. I admire lots of people. But the trouble is once you say you admire somebody, as a hack, you’re suddenly in danger. They’ll say “You’re not going to get them because you said you admire them.” So I’ll stick with Nelson Mandela because he’s given up on interviews!”
Despite admitting to some downsides to the future of the digital age for journalism, Jon Snow assured us that these changes would only allow people to survive who bring higher quality and trustworthy information and will bring around a lot more information sharing and democratization. At the end of his lecture, Snow said, “People aspire for the best, we’re going to live in the best of times.”
By Sophie Bray