One Show editor Sandy Smith: “Everything has to be relatable”

By Tom Clayton

The One Show editor Sandy Smith talked of the skills young journalists need coming into a working environment during his Journalism and Media Week sessions.

During his talk and workshop on Monday, Smith spoke about how important it is for young journalists to have both journalistic and technical abilities.

He said: “Unless you’re exceptional at one thing, having more than one string to your bow is hugely valuable.

“For me, the ideal person would be someone who knows how to find a story, stand up a story and shoot a story.”

Since Sandy has been working at the BBC, he has been editor for multiple shows including Panorama and Watchdog.

Smith is currently the editor of The One Show, serving an average of 3.5 million viewers per show. And for him, The One Show is all about keeping the audience engaged.

“Everything has to be relatable,” he said.

“Statistically most of our audience is over 65; we avoid social media generated stories as they are in a bubble and our viewers may not grasp the concept.”

Recently, The One Show ran a story based on the older generation being introduced to the game Fortnite.

Smith said: “Instead of doing a piece attacking the amount of time young people spend on it, we got a 14-year-old to teach his granddad how to play.

“We made it relatable to the older generation.”

Senior lecturer at Leeds Trinity University Glyn Middleton hosted the talk with Smith.

Middleton, a former colleague of Sandy’s, said: “When I was working with him, he’d say here’s a problem I was confronted with.

“I wanted him to give them [attending the workshop] scenarios working in a team and say, you sort it out, you get your brains working.”

During the workshop session, those in attendance saw that process in action.

Students were given a brief to come up with an idea for a segment on The One Show and feedback would be given from Smith.

Journalism and Media Week continues until Thursday.

Other key speakers include creator of the Great British Bake Off Richard McKerrow, Gogglebox star Rev Kate Bottley and former Minister Jonathan Aitken.

The One Show on the BBC iPlayer – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b007tcw7

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