Maitlis gave the audience a fascinating warts and all glimpse behind the scenes of the newsroom. What you don’t see, said Maitlis is the “chaos and messiness”. Quite often “news starts being one thing and ends up being another…it rarely goes to plan”.
She said, writing her book, Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News, was a “cathartic process”, which helped her make sense of events “in retrospect, more than they ever did at the time”. It also gave her an opportunity “to explain…to bring people with us” on the decision making process of “why that happened and why I didn’t do that”.
Maitlis gave behind the scenes account of her interviews; her dilemma on whether to ask Bill Clinton the Monica Lewinsky question, whether she should have called out Trump on his “truthful exaggeration” years before he became President and how “reeling in interviewees”, quite often involves “an indecent amount of begging”.
Questioned about her interview technique and whether she feels empathy, she said “you have to bring your whole self to the interview…maybe it’s become more acceptable now for journalists to admit that we’re not these steely eyed robots…but you’ve got to admit that without compromising the story, and without making it all about you”.
Asked if she could name her favourite interviewee she said “I like interviewing most of the people I interview but I’m not sure I’d have dinner with most of them”.
If you are interested in more events like this, please also see Event 365 at 10am on Sunday 2 June.
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Picture by Paul Musso