Andy McSmith's Diary: Is Ian Katz right for Newsnight?

 

BBC’s Newsnight has been through seven turbulent months, taking in the Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpine fiascos, and last night’s apology for a “misleading and unfair” item about the Help for Heroes charity. What the programme manifestly needs is an editor with good judgement. They have got Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian.

His was the imaginative mind behind the great Guardian Clark County stunt, which came to him in a north London pub. In 2004, during the US Presidential contest between George Bush and John Kerry, The Guardian launched a project to “pair” readers with undecided voters in Clark County, Ohio, in the hope of persuading them not to vote for Bush. On day one, 4,000 people visited the Guardian website wanting to be paired; within days, there were 14,000. The publicity it generated was global. The outcome was not so good. In 2000, the Democrat, Al Gore, had narrowly won Clark County. In 2004, it swung to Bush.

Katz’s appointment set off some ill-informed Twitter commentary about left-wing bias at the BBC, but not all Guardian executives are left wing. The operative question is not Katz’s politics. How steady is his judgement?

Wharton’s private interests

James Wharton, the 29-year-old Tory MP from Stockton South who, by the luck of the draw, will have the honour of presenting a Bill in the Commons that would guarantee an in/out referendum, is a man of diverse interests. Three months after his election in 2010, the Newcastle Chronicle reported that he had written to a local quango urging them to speed-up a grant to a firm run by one of his friends, which sold giant penis statues. Time to update that children’s classic, James and the Giant Peach.

Councillor reveals Tyler scrape

Bonnie Tyler, the 61-year-old Welsh power-ballad star, who was very big in 1983, is the person chosen to bomb for Britain in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. This has evoked memories for Paul Braithwaite, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Camden, who worked for RCA records in his youth. In July 1976, he tells the Camden Journal, he was booked for speeding while driving Tyler home from a gig in Hereford at two in the morning.

He already had nine points on his licence, so hired a barrister and took the case to court to plead that using a car was vital to his work. By ill luck, the hearing clashed with the arrival from the US of a furious managing director of RCA, who had flown in to fire those responsible for signing up the Sex Pistols, including the future Councillor Braithwaite. This made him late for the hearing, but his barrister did such a good job that he was allowed to keep his licence anyway.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

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
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'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'