My Life In Media: Dermot Murnaghan

'Wearing see-through clothing in front of an audience of several million, with Terry Wogan in the background, is pretty embarrassing'

Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan, 50, presents Sky News Today every weekday morning. A decade ago his interview with Peter Mandelson on the ITN Lunchtime News prompted the minister's resignation. Murnaghan joined Sky last year after five years on the BBC Breakfast sofa and is enjoying the opportunity to spend more time with his four children. He is a cycling addict and often bikes the 32-mile round trip between north London and the office. He is married to Maria Keegan, also a journalist.

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

Watching a lot of television news when I was a kid. I remember being transfixed by the first moon shots and Alastair Burnett and his team analysing Apollo 13 falling apart. In a way they were the prototype for today's rolling news.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

I lived in Northern Ireland so we got the Belfast Telegraph and I used to read that.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I remember watching Civilisation, the huge BBC series. It was one of those grand things they used to do, a 13-part documentary by Lord Clark. Apart from that, I enjoyed things like Alias Smith and Jones.

Describe your job.

As the presenter of Sky News Today I try to prepare as much as I can for four hours of non-stop rolling news. By and large anything can happen in news in the course of a morning.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

Radio 4. It's always been my radio station choice and it's useful to listen to in the car.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?

I look through as many of the papers as I can bear to read and then check the wires and various websites when I arrive at work. At the moment I'm particularly focused on the American elections and look at a lot of politics websites. I cram as much as I can into my little head as any bit of knowledge is useful when you're involved in rolling news. It might buy you another 30 seconds until you get more information on something that has just come up.

What do you tune into when you get home?

Quite a lot of news, sadly. I watch a bit of Sky News at home, the BBC News at Six and I'm keen on Channel 4 News. I watch Summer Heights High on BBC3 with my eldest daughter. It's a very bizarre but very funny Australian programme and an acquired taste. Professional cycling on ITV4 is my kind of relaxation TV.

What is the best thing about your job?

Just being involved in current affairs is a rare privilege. Politics and economics rock my boat. I have access to Cabinet ministers, and the great thing about Sky News Today is that there's nobody in your ear saying "You can't ask that".

And the worst?

I suspect if I won the lottery I would give up work, but in the absence of that it's a great job.

How do you feel you influence the media?

That's for other people to judge but there is a symbiotic relationship between different forms of media. If I get something out of somebody, I know somebody else will report it. Equally, I listen to the radio in the morning and read the papers, and then do things on Sky News which I know will be on in other newsrooms. I think I have a pretty unusual position having worked for three major broadcasters in the course of my career.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I hope that anyone I've come into contact with over the course of my career I've treated fairly and that their views were represented fairly. I've seen people in the media being rude to members of the public. You've asked for their time which they've given willingly, and therefore you should pay them back accordingly. Without people watching and listening we don't exist.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

There have been far, far too many. The one that is still on YouTube these days is one of my sequinned dancing moments for BBC Children in Need. Wearing see-through clothing in front of an audience of several million, with Terry Wogan in the background, is pretty embarrassing.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

An impossible question because I get such a great pile. In terms of must-gets, it's The Sunday Times, The Observer and probably the Mail on Sunday. I read The Week and Private Eye.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?

I'm in the really fortunate position of having started early and I'm pretty satisfied right now. One of my first memories of watching television news is of the News at Ten. To be presenting it 30 years later was my "look at me" moment.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Walter Cronkite is the all time great. Our own much under-appreciated character is Alastair Burnett. It was one of the greatest privileges of my career to overlap with him by about six months when I first joined ITN.

Dermot is taking take part in Sky Sports London Freewheel, traffic-free cycling, this Sunday

The CV

1984: Starts as a reporter on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, leaving for Channel 4's The Business Programme

1988: Joins the European Broadcasting Company

1989: Back to Channel 4 as presenter of the Channel 4 Daily

1992: Moves to ITN as a presenter

1998: Scoops the Royal Television Society 'Interview of the Year' award for the Mandelson interview

2002: Becomes the face of BBC Breakfast

2003: Begins presenting Treasure Hunt

2007: Poached by Sky to present Sky News Today

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Recruitment Resourcer / Recruitment Account Manager

£20 - 25k + Bonus: Guru Careers: Are you a Recruitment Consultant looking to m...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'