Question Time: Faisal Islam
Monday 29 June 2009
Work: Named Business Journalist of the Year for his coverage of Iceland's banking meltdown, Islam is Channel 4 News's economics correspondent
Life: Aged 31, he lives in London, but his heart is in Manchester
Balance: Season ticket-holder at Manchester United FC; ageing fan of old-school breakbeat music
How did it feel to beat the BBC's Robert Peston and win Business Journalist of the Year title?
It came as an incredible surprise. I was honoured and delighted because it was voted on by specialist business journalists.
How did you land the Iceland banking story?
I spotted the story a year-and-a-half ago. It was an obscure story and extremely sensitive, suggesting the risks attached to banks when all the other broadcasters were telling how much money the public should put in.
What has been the low point in your career?
Once, as a very young newspaper reporter, I temporarily lost the tape for an exclusive interview with then chancellor, Gordon Brown.
What interests you about economics and business?
Economics determines everything. British politics for the next decade, for example, will be wholly strait-jacketed by the ability of Britain to sell government debt. I cannot imagine a more interesting specialism, really.
Do you prefer print journalism or broadcast journalism and why?
The average broadcast script length is about 300 words. Trying to explain a complex story, with the right interviews and relevant pictures, is like solving an incredible, four-dimensional Rubik's cube.
What has been the most exciting story you have worked on?
I went to Iraq last year to visit a tiny Norwegian oil company that had become the first foreign company to pump oil from Iraq in four decades.
What are your future career plans?
I'd like to make a long documentary about economics and I am considering some options to enter the overcrowded economics books market, but at the moment I can't think of anything better than brained-up television.
What are your desert island media?
The Economist, FT.com's Alphaville blog and the Man United fanzine Red Issue's website.
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