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Media Masters

Author: Media Masters

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Extended one-to-one interviews with the key people in the industry. Find out their tips for career success, and peek behind-the-scenes at their workplace. Candid, thoughtful and reflective - a chance to share the insight of those at the very top of their game. Presented by Paul Blanchard.
344 Episodes
Paul Tweed is an international media lawyer. One of the world’s foremost reputation managers, he has never lost a libel case, and has an impressive roster of clients including Liam Neeson, The Duchess of York, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Harrison Ford and Johnny Depp. In this in-depth interview, Paul takes us behind-the-scenes of some of his most high-profile cases, including an early win for Britney Spears, for whom he was the first in the business to obtain a media apology; argues that the law must be strengthened to protect us from online giants, who “believe they are so powerful that the rules do not apply;” and expresses his strong support for “protecting investigative journalism at all costs,” noting his long history representing both reporters and MPs, he explains why we’re still yet to see the full threat posed by fake news and the impact this will have on the media.  
Media Masters - Tom Rogers

Media Masters - Tom Rogers


Tom Rogers is a media and technology industry leader who has revolutionised TV business news and TV itself. Best known for his time as the first-ever president of NBC Cable, he created CNBC and MSNBC and then spent eleven years as President of TiVo - transforming TV consumption globally and bringing Amazon & Netflix to our screens. In 2006, he received an Emmy for outstanding contribution to the development of television, and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In this in-depth interview, Tom reflects on the incredible journey launching iconic news brands, CNBC and MSNBC - amidst the industry’s conventional wisdom that CNN’s dominance could never be challenged; describes the serious threat cable is under with the competition posed by increasingly popular streaming platforms calling its very survival into question; and shares his predictions for broadcasting’s future - and how the entertainment landscape is set to be dominated by esports and gaming. 
Andy Coulson is a strategic media advisor to CEOs and global leaders. In a meteoric career which included editing the News of the World and serving as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications, it all came crashing down in 2014 when he was convicted of conspiring to intercept communications and sent to prison. Andy apologised for making significant mistakes as editor but denied - and still denies - breaking the law. In this in-depth interview, Andy reflects on the lessons learned from his time in jail and how “reverting back to his journalistic instincts” boosted his resilience and fortitude; shares the ambition behind his podcast ‘Crisis What Crisis,’ which features a diverse array of high-profile guests - and aims to give listeners practical “landing lights” to help overcome their own difficulties; and criticises the government for aspects of their handling of pandemic communication - arguing that their “disease of don’t know ... may have, at times, needlessly eroded public confidence.”
Tim Harford OBE is an economist, writer and broadcaster. A Financial Times senior columnist, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘More or Less,’ TedX speaker and honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, he was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to improving economic understanding. His best-selling book ‘The Undercover Economist’ enlightened millions of readers about the economic principles powering everyday life. In this in-depth interview, Tim discusses his mission to encourage people to have a positive and “healthy scepticism” towards statistics and data, as the best way to tackle fake news and widespread misinformation; shares his motivation for writing his latest book where he tempts his readers to share his love of statistics; and argues that the UK government needs to “get its priorities right on research” - with more money currently being spent on measuring sport than on crime… 
Julia Angwin is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Markup. Founded in 2019, the nonprofit newsroom has pioneered open-source data journalism to hold Big Tech to account and assess its impact on society. A winner (and two-time finalist) of the Pulitzer Prize, Julia previously held senior positions at ProPublica and The Wall Street Journal, and is author of the best-selling book ‘Dragnet Nation,’ a searing exposé of America’s “surveillance economy.” In this in-depth interview, Julia shares the reasons behind their newsroom’s determination to tackle fake news, and give their readers the tools to decipher between truth and propaganda; expresses her concern that social giants’ decisions are taken behind a “veil of secrecy” and The Markup’s mission to “stem the power grab from these largely unregulated platforms;” and describes how witnessing the recent riots at the US Capitol has redoubled her passion, determination and commitment to journalism itself... as “necessary for democracy.”
Errin Haines is founder and editor-at-large of The 19th*. Founded a year ago and based in Austin, Texas, the nonprofit, non-partisan newsroom covers the intersection of women, politics and policy. Named after the US Constitution’s 19th Amendment, their mission is to encourage the participation and representation of marginalised people in democracy. Her career has taken in senior positions at the Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and she is also a regular on-air contributor for MSNBC; and was recently appointed Ferris Professor at Princeton University, teaching a class on the role of race in the 2020 election. In this in-depth interview, Errin delves into her newsroom’s commitment to changing the narrative around underrepresented groups - and how their reporting avoids “cheap shots, cheerleading, partisanship and clickbait;” describes America’s recent “national reckoning” with insurmountable racial tensions and identity politics continually “shaping who and where we are as a country;” and shares her experience as a Black female reporter writing about President Trump’s racist rhetoric, and her hopes that Kamala Harris, the US’s first female, Black and south Asian to take the role, is the giant leap that American democracy needs. 
Jamie East is a broadcaster, journalist and podcaster. Known for his witty commentary on showbiz and entertainment, he started ‘Holy Moly’ in 2002, which went on to become one of Britain’s largest and most influential gossip sites. He has presented Channel 5’s ‘Big Brother’s Bit On The Side’ and ‘Thronecast’ for Sky Atlantic - and has recently launched his new daily podcast ‘The Smart 7’ which summaries the news in seven minutes. In this in-depth interview, Jamie argues that traditional celebrity culture is “dying” as celebrities no longer need to cooperate with journalists, due to Gen Z’s preference for social media and its influencers; shares his reasons for resigning from talkRADIO in protest at a fellow presenter ripping up his face mask live on air; and reflects on his entrepreneurial highs and lows - with ‘Holy Moly’ failing to fulfil its potential after he sold 50% of it to Endemol, and the huge success of ‘The Smart 7’ which has recently celebrated its two millionth download.
Melanie Leach is CEO of South Shore Productions, and has spent decades creating iconic programmes for the BBC, ITV, Netflix, and beyond. Her production credits include the Emmy award-winning ‘Educating’ series for Channel 4, ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ for the BBC - and ‘Hotel Inspector,’ now Channel 5’s longest-running show. Launched in 2019, and backed financially by ITV Studios, South Shore creates documentary, popular factual and entertainment programmes for stations and streaming platforms globally. In this in-depth interview, Melanie takes us behind-the-scenes of the whole process in creating a TV show - from the initial idea, through production, and ultimately to broadcast; shares both frustration and optimism at the opportunities created by new streaming platforms, tempered with the almost insurmountable production difficulties created by Covid-19; and discusses her ongoing quest to create and deliver “the next TV show game-changer” equalling the impact of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire.’ 
Stephen Sackur is the presenter of BBC HARDTalk - the most popular news interview programme in the world, with 70 million viewers. Before this, he was an award-winning BBC foreign correspondent covering landmark global events such as 9/11, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the civil war in Sri Lanka. In this in-depth interview, he takes us behind the scenes on the “crackling tension” in the HARDTalk studio; reflects on some of his career highlights, from the first ever on-screen interview with Hugo Chávez, to getting Dr Anthony Fauci’s take on America’s handling of the pandemic; and defends the “dying art” of the long-form interview, which remains “hugely important and very compelling.”   
Rick Wilson is a political strategist, media consultant, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of The Lincoln Project. Described as “one of the best political analysts of our times” and “the father of the attack ad,” he has an award-winning column in The Daily Beast, and also writes for The Washington Post and The Spectator. In this in-depth interview, Rick shares how The Lincoln Project was born and takes us behind the scenes of some of their most provocative and attention-grabbing campaigns; slams Fox News as an “alternative version of reality” and a “sewage pipe of misinformation and conspiracy;” and reflects on the downfall of his former boss Rudy Giuliani, as a stark example of “unspeakable tragedy -  someone who hasn’t fallen from grace, but fallen from legacy.” 
Alvin Hall is a broadcaster, author and financial educator. Beginning his career on Wall Street, a chance encounter with a BBC producer led to an unexpected career detour - becoming one of the UK’s most prominent business TV presenters, hosting BBC flagship programmes and landing the beeb’s first-ever interview with Jay-Z. A successful author, his best-seller ‘You and Your Money: It’s More than Just the Numbers’ has helped millions take control of their finances. In this in-depth interview, Alvin takes us behind the scenes of his hit podcast ‘Driving the Green Book,’ his first-person reportage following the original journey from Detroit to New Orleans, and his examination of America’s Jim Crow laws and long-standing history of racism; shares how growing up in poverty in Florida and then making a fortune on Wall Street drove his passion for teaching financial literacy - to guide others on avoiding poverty and start building wealth; and reflects on memorable on-screen moments - including the famous out-take of him standing in a field doing a piece to camera, sporting his iconic bow tie... only to be repeatedly attacked by a flock of ostriches. 
Alessandra Galloni is global managing editor at Reuters. Established in 1851, the organisation comprises 2,500 journalists, working in 16 languages across 200 locations in over 100 countries. Her bestselling 2013 book, “From the End of the Earth to Rome,” profiles Pope Francis and his unexpected election as pontiff. Beginning her career at The Wall Street Journal, she spent over a decade as correspondent, economics writer and editor in multiple locations including New York, London, Paris and Rome, before joining Reuters in 2013. In this in-depth interview, she paints a picture of a newsroom “bombarded by a huge attempt at misinformation” from governments (including China, Russia and the US) who have “seriously underplayed the severity of the disease;” outlines the challenges tackling the false claims of the Trump administration - and advocates that the occasional killing of a story is “the ultimate act of journalistic bravery;” and reflects on some of the more unusual moments of her career - the first to get an on-the-record quote from a mafia boss, and the only one so far to have expensed a latex bodysuit.
Kyle Pope is editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review - an essential publication for journalists, and respected watchdog of the press. Starting out as an editor at The Wall Street Journal, Kyle then moved to The New York Observer as editor-in-chief, joining CJR in 2016. In this in-depth interview, he recalls his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, where he argued that Congress had “failed to stand up for press freedom” whilst “under attack” from President Trump; shares his perspective on the role Covid-19 has played in reinforcing the need for a local press - as “granular information became a matter of life or death;” and questions whether it’s possible for a Biden White House to normalise relations with the media, noting the damage caused by Trump may well be “irrecoverable.”
Laura Wilshaw is editor of ITV News at Ten. She previously held senior positions at Euronews, 5 News, NBC and Sky News, and her team was recently shortlisted for a BAFTA. In this in-depth interview, she reflects on this year’s “incredible news cycle” and the multifaceted editorial & logistical challenges brought on by the pandemic; ponders on the ethics of balancing human empathy with the responsibility to report fairly when covering sensitive (yet divisive) issues such as the UK’s migrant crisis; and shares her passion for increasing the representation of women in newsrooms - recognising how her mentoring of other women who aspire to work in television news is bolstered by her own “non-traditional route” (and late entry) into the industry.
Jonathan Munro is the BBC’s Head of Newsgathering, leading the day-to-day activity and deployments of all journalists working across the network’s 60 international bureaux. Prior to this he spent 26 years at ITN joining as an editorial trainee, and ultimately becoming their Correspondent reporting on stories in the US, Russia and Africa. In this in-depth interview, Jonathan describes the challenges of covering a year of “a lot of shade and not much light” - including Covid-19, Brexit and the Presidential election; discusses incoming D-G Tim Davie’s new social media impartiality guidelines, and their efforts to improve on-screen diversity; and shares lessons learnt following the BBC’s controversial coverage of the aborted police investigation into Sir Cliff Richard. 
Professor Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, and formerly director of GCHQ. Spending much of his career leading the UK’s national counter-terrorism strategy, he was directly responsible to the prime minister for homeland security. His book ‘How Spies Think: 10 Lessons in Intelligence’ is described as a “call to arms for more rational decision-making” and shares the spooks’ problem-solving skills. In this in-depth interview, Sir David argues the government has “failed to protect its citizens” against Covid-19 - after several warnings that a global pandemic was likely - and warns we now have “years of great disturbance” ahead; blames “disinformation, conspiracy theorists and social giants” for encouraging division and “creating a fundamentally fragmented society;” and recalls the pressure of making judgements then delivering difficult news to the PM - including giving the order to “ready the fleet” after warning Margaret Thatcher that Argentina was about to invade the Falkland Islands, and his ringside seat whilst Tony Blair dealt with 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. 
Nicholas Coleridge is chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beginning his career as a journalist at Tatler, he moved to the Evening Standard as a columnist, and was appointed editor of Harpers & Queen (now Harper’s Bazaar) at age 29. Joining Conde Nast in 1989 he spent 26 years at the top, overseeing some of the world’s leading brands such as GQ and Vogue, operating in 32 markets and reaching over 400 million. An author of fourteen books, his renowned memoir ‘The Glossy Years’ recounts his experiences as a socialite, attending parties with Princess Diana; and his adventures as a journalist, including a brief spell in a Sri Lankan prison. In this in-depth conversation, he describes the incredible challenge the pandemic has brought to the museum sector - noting the V&A has lost 75% of its visitors, he discusses the long-term viability of maintaining the nation’s cultural heritage; reflects on the exciting day-to-day of the media industry and his experience launching the staple magazines Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour; and fondly explains why he will forever be “an optimist for print.” 
John Battelle is co-founder and CEO of Recount Media. Founded in 2018, they have developed “a new approach to politics” that “won’t waste your time,” by collating current affairs content to create videos that reflect the modern consumers’ shorter attention span. His eclectic career has encompassed two professorships and co-founding Wired magazine. He also wrote the best-selling book, ‘The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture,’ regarded as the definitive take on the subject. In this in-depth interview, John reflects on a long career in the media industry, seeing it lose almost half of its journalists and suggests what must be done to tackle its decline; argues that big tech are stifling smaller companies’ ability to innovate by withholding data from developers and creators; and in the lead up to an election marred by fake news and disinformation, shares his frustrations that “free speech doesn’t mean free reach” - and how the election result may need a ‘recount’ in more ways than one... 
Scott Omelianuk is the newly appointed editor-in-chief of ‘Inc.’ Founded in 1979, the award-winning magazine focuses on inspiring entrepreneurs and has a monthly reach of 25m. In an eclectic journalism career, taking in positions at both GQ and Esquire, Scott has also been a film producer, and presented several TV shows across fashion and design. In this in-depth interview, the self-described “under-achieving entrepreneur” explains how a series of failed ventures has given him an admiration for business people and a determination to help inspire and equip them to succeed; shares concern over the “win at all costs” attitude of today’s social giants, and how their huge footprint forces smaller brands to compete for resource and money; argues how the US government letting businesses down amidst the pandemic (and recent social unrest), puts responsibility on companies to lead the way and use their power to “do the right thing.” 
Eric Schurenberg is CEO of Mansueto Ventures, publishers of iconic business magazines ‘Inc.’ and ‘Fast Company.’ Founded in 2005, and with a team of over one hundred, their mission is to inspire and inform the business leaders of the future. Over two decades, Eric’s career has spanned both business and finance, beginning on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs, before moving into journalism with stints at BNET and CBS MoneyWatch. In this in-depth interview, Eric argues there is still “real magic” and potential in the printed page, despite the growth of digital; talks passionately about diversifying the boards of corporate America, and the genuine company and employee benefit of opening up opportunities and welcoming differing perspectives; and shares his fears that if the US “closes its borders” post-election, this would “deny employers much-needed talent” and lead to “economic suicide.”
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