Sky News criticised for ‘graceless’ handling of reporter whose child interrupted interview

Presenter Mark Austin failed to lean into the comic nature of the moment

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 02 July 2020 07:44
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Deborah Haynes interrupted by son asking about biscuits on Sky News

Sky News has been criticised for its handling of a reporter who was interrupted by her child midway through a live interview.

Foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes was being interviewed by Mark Austin, when her young son burst into the room to ask a question about biscuits.

Haynes was talking about David Cameron when her son entered. She immediately offered her apology.

“Oh I’m really sorry, that’s my son arriving, really embarrassed, sorry,” she said as she told her to son to wait “one second”.

He refused to wait, though, and asked Haynes: “Can I have two biscuits?”

Dealing with the situation like a professional, Haynes said: “Yes, you can have two biscuits.” She then told Austin she was “really sorry”.

However, instead of leaning into the comic nature of the moment, Austin wrapped up the interview, saying: “We’ll leave Deborah Haynes there, in full flow with some family duties.”

This has led to criticism on social media with many feeling the the decision to halt Haynes’s interview failed to “normalise childcare” in the time of lockdown.

“I think this was disappointingly handled by @SkyNews,” one person wrote on Twitter.

He believes “they should have stayed with the reporter” like they did during a similar instance on BBC News, which also occurred yesterday evening (1 July) also.

British boxer Ashley Theophane wrote: “Poor showing from @SkyNews. No need to cut her off.”

Another said the situation was “badly handled” by Austin, with one tweeter writing: “Incredibly graceless response compared to the BBC.”

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A mother watching said that if she was Haynes, she would have much experienced ”the @BBCNews approach”.

She said: “Parenting and work don’t exist separately.”

Haynes has been working for Sky News since 2018.

Earlier on BBC News, Dr Clare Wenham, a global health policy expert from the London School of Economics, had been speaking to the broadcaster about local coronavirus lockdowns, when her young daughter interrupted the interview.

As she decided where a piece of art depicting a unicorn should be displayed on a shelf behind her mother, presenter Christian Fraser asked Wenham what her child’s name was, and even offered an opinion on where the artwork should go.

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