Adam Shaw, one of the best financial journalists on television and BBC Radio 4 Today programme, gave an insight to financial reporting at last week’s Coventry Conversation.
Having started off as a Shakespearean actor and later working on BBC 2, Shaw describes radio as being “quite flexible” compared to television. Although the editor of the programme and the producer can change their mind about the show while on air, he has learned how to cope with the unexpected: “On radio if something happens you can just get someone on the telephone, while on television this would be quite difficult as you’d have to set up the camera and have the guest present.”
Shaw described how he is forced to sum up what he has to say in a limited time span: “It is quite a discipline to try and say what you have under a headline in those minutes; it makes your thinking quite good.” Another problem he finds in combining broadcast journalism and business is having to mention large figures which would be hard for the audience to pick up: “If for example you say six billion pounds, you wonder if anyone caught that and you have to run the story a couple of times a day for people to get it.” Writes Christine Meama…
Adam sees himself as a translator where he says there is ‘massive financial illiteracy in the UK’. He introduces market guests – who are normally bank managers – to talk about the profit and loss of their different companies. He said: “Although these people are not particularly interesting, they are responsible for large amounts of money.”
Finally, asked why he thought ‘Working Lunch’ was such a success he explained it was due to the friendly approach they had to their audience. Most of what they talked about and did on the show came from the audience. This creates a friendly relationship between them and the viewers. Therefore, instead of being criticized they were highly appreciated: “We messed up all the time, but the audience didn’t criticize us, they actually found it funny if we did!”