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Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes

Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News

Hay Festival 2019, 

The Newsnight presenter takes us behind the camera and onto the newsroom floor: “The things that are said on camera are only part of the story. Behind every interview there is a backstory. How it came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. Making news is an essential but imperfect art. It rarely goes according to plan.

I never expected to find myself wandering around the Maharani of Jaipur’s bedroom with Bill Clinton or invited to the Miss USA beauty pageant by its owner, Donald Trump. I never expected to be thrown into a provincial Cuban jail, or to be drinking red wine at Steve Bannon’s kitchen table or spend three hours in a lift with Alan Partridge. I certainly didn’t expect the Dalai Lama to tell me the story of his most memorable poo. 

The beauty of television is its ability to simplify. That’s also its weakness: it can distil everything down to one snapshot, one sound bite. Then the news cycle moves on.”

Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes