The Newsroom

Alastair Stewart to leave ITV News.

(January 2020)

MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
AlexS posted:
Meanwhile it appears outright statements of bias on social media are perfectly acceptable if you work for BBC local radio.



And not even the usual disclaimer in her profile of 'Views are my own' or similar.


To be fair, I think this is implied. I think although it is fairly commonplace, it's fairly obvious that she doesn't speak for her employer.


Any more than James O'Brien does for LBC, but LBC allows its presenters to make partisan comments on air. The BBC don't.
As pointed out, it was a fairly mild comment, but I'm not sure where you can draw the line. You can't be 'slightly pregnent'?
WA
watchingtv Anglia (East) Look East
Faye presented this afternoons early evening bulletin. Duncan is presenting News at Ten. I guess this should have been Alastairs shifts.
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AN
Andrew Founding member Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Obviously an Alastair Stewart shaped hole in the rota today.

Faye Barker did the teatime bulletin, having done the morning and lunchtime bulletins and is presenting ITV News London as well

Duncan Golestani is to present the late bulletin
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
Will miss him on Sunday nights. Must admit at weekends especially I was probably more likely to sit and spend 10 minutes watching a bulletin if he was presenting than anyone else. Not something I think I did conciously, but also not something that should have been underestimated. ITN have clearly misjudged how much both the public and his colleagues respected him.
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PE
Pete Founding member STV North Reporting Scotland
Cando posted:
ITN coming across really badly in this - just no need for that statement. I've followed him on Twitter for years and never seen anything questionable.

Are you joking?
He has been "tired and emotional" for years on there


I too have followed and had conversations with Alastair for a very long time on Twitter. I have seen no evidence of him being tired and emotional.

I have seen debates but I will say again; he always maintained the fact like others that all views were his own.


I have no idea why I'm wading into this but ho hum.

You clearly cannot of been following Alistair very closely if you do not realise why this has happened.

And let me clarify, I have always enjoyed his presenting style on TV and, from his posts, he is clearly a good family man who loves his family and is deeply proud of his sons.

Martin Shapland, having seen many of his tweets fly by over the past ten years, is someone I find irritating. But he is essentially irrelevant in this whole debacle as if he'd not been online that day it would have been someone else two days later...


This is not Shapland's fault, it's a problem entirely of AS's own making. Let's discuss AS's habits on social media.

Arrow Impartiality
Alistair is, as are nearly all UK TV newsreaders, a professional at being impartial on the TV.

He stated his opinion that much of the "as it happens" commentary on social media, and analysis provided by others was a danger to this tradition. This has been covered in depth elsewhere.

However he did this whilst seemingly oblivious to the fact that
- statements about quality politicians
- statements about the best quality governments over his lifetime
- posting photos of his going to endless conservative association dinners and so on

meant it didn't take a genius to work out which box he marked his X in.

This never crept into his TV work, nor did he ever support / oppose a political policy in a blatant way. Nor is it news that, for example, Nick Robinson or Andrew Neil are to one side of the fence. But taking a holier than thou stance when being oblivious to your own shortcomings is hardly professional.

Arrow Arguments

AS would never let a good argument die. He was exceptionally easy to bait and would then keep at it as long as the other side could. Given the nature of twitter and its notorious style, this should be something someone of his standing should learn to avoid. Have a discussion yes, have a disagreement fine. But it's how you conduct yourself and knowing when to stop. Which brings me to...

Arrow Pile ons

AS would use the quote tweet function of twitter rather than the reply. This meant all of his followers got to see whichever pleb was currently facing his wrath. This is a notorious trigger to pile-on culture and should be used sparingly and intelligently. You can see him doing this in the Shapland example.

But this happened again and again and again over months, if not several years. It was not a one off.

Arrow Snobbery

AS tended to exude the worst type of middle class snobbery. He would pour scorn on people's education and intelligence if they dared question him. The slightest thing could trigger needlessly harsh attacks on people's character. Similar to Stanley Johnson and his "people couldn't spell pinocchio" comment.

Again there are plenty stupid people in the world and its fine to give them enough rope with a poor argument. But the "you're not worthy enough to argue with me" attitude came out often.



So in conclusion, there were two sides of AS. One was a charming and friendly person, which by the comments of his colleagues I do not doubt. But the other side was easy to bait, an (oblivious) hypocrite, and a snob. It was this side, and his inability (arguably his choice) to temper it on a public website that has resulted in his leaving ITN.

This, as I have said, has been going on for a long long time and I would hazard a guess that his managers had several meetings with him, and indeed he may have been on an existing warning, when he got into his fight with Shapland. And if Shapland hadn't been there, someone else would have been along soon enough to trigger him.
ELM 2011: I am sick of been persicuted by you immature TV Forumers!
CH
chris Granada North West Today
Bravo Pete. This thread can now close.
NE
newsatten
I think the team is almost there but maybe a rebrand (presentation, not presenter) is actually what is needed to sell that, with some slight tweaks to who covers the main Evening and News at Ten bulletins - basically use Julie more across the two as primary cover.


Thinking about it on reflection I agree it's mainly the lack of Julie (but may very well be her choice) that doesn't help. I think also since all the bulletins went single headed that adds to the lack of the 'family' feel it used to have back in the early 2010's. But the single headed vs double headed is a debate for another day and another thread....

I can’t see what any of that has to do with this thread. Alastair wouldn’t have featured in any such promo anyway as he wasn’t the main presenter of any bulletin. He was seeing out the days until his retirement with a fairly light schedule of cover slots, albeit with a lot more gravitas and presence than the usual cover presenter would have.


Yeah apologies if this was slightly off tangent and probably would have been better placed in the ITV news thread - I was just feeling a bit nostalgic with the news of Al's departure.

I think in whole, following on from Pete's post. It's just a shame well respected journalists like Al end up jumping to the bait and giving their opinion a bit too much on social media and it ends in this kind of situation.
RD
RDJ Central (West) Midlands Today
Here's Alastair on This Morning in 1998 with a fresh faced Philip Schofield. Alastair's comments about not drinking at all when driving after his first drink driving conviction are very ironic, considering six years later he'd end up being convicted for drink driving a second time.

Central News South January 9th 1989 - December 3rd 2006
GR
griffinuk Central (West) Midlands Today
RDJ posted:
Here's Alastair on This Morning in 1998 with a fresh faced Philip Schofield. Alastair's comments about not drinking at all when driving after his first drink driving conviction are very ironic, considering six years later he'd end up being convicted for drink driving a second time.


... the second time whilst presenting "Police, Camera, Action". The irony continues!
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RN
Rolling News Central (East) East Midlands Today
When was Alastair's final bulletin?
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NE
Newsroom
RDJ posted:
Here's Alastair on This Morning in 1998 with a fresh faced Philip Schofield. Alastair's comments about not drinking at all when driving after his first drink driving conviction are very ironic, considering six years later he'd end up being convicted for drink driving a second time.


... the second time whilst presenting "Police, Camera, Action". The irony continues!


Oh do exit right you bunch of people wanting to put the boot in to a man whose service to television journalism is hard to match.

Take your tabloid cr@p to a different forum.
ittrgrey and Brekkie gave kudos
MB
Media Box
Reluctant to wade into this as well, but ...

ITN did have its reasons for taking the action it did. As I think has been made clear, this was not an isolated incident.

Could it have been handled better? Of course.

But as much as I admire Alastair for his service to journalism (and ITN), I've been equally disappointed by some of the tweets he reportedly posted.

I'm not sure ITN had much choice in the matter, but I do know this wasn't a decision the company took lightly.

Whatever one thinks of his departure, the controversy surrounding it will eventually dissipate and the business of reporting the news continue.

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