Published on 10 November 2020
Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Mirror, has been at the cutting edge of news journalism for more than 30 years.
In 2018, the South Shields born writer received an Honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Sunderland.
Now, as part of the University’s Creative Industries Week, the journalist gave a talk and answered students’ questions on the current state of the industry.
Kevin on journalism during the pandemic
“We have not lost a single edition, it’s been tough and we have been challenged, but we’ve passed the test.
“Of course things have changed, journalists now work from home and that ability to spark off each other in newsrooms has gone.
“But I think that during the pandemic people started to rediscover the importance of journalism and the role it plays.
“All too often journalists were seen in a stereotypical ‘second-hand car salesman’ way, but all of a sudden, in a crisis, people wanted information they could trust.
“We saw how television viewing figures were almost a Christmas levels and how well watched the daily press conferences were to begin with.
“In many ways, this has been quite a good time for journalism, people need journalists to breakdown so much of the Government’s rhetoric, to make the guidelines and rules understandable.
“On the down-side, it’s been harder in some respects to get that important face-to-face time with Government officials.
“We used to have two opportunities every day in Parliament to question politicians but that’s all online now which makes it harder when it comes to things like follow-up questions.”
Kevin on mistakes made during the pandemic
“The biggest mistake was the Dominic Cummings situation. Up until then the lockdown had been well observed – the message was getting through, Stay Home; Protect the NHS; Save Lives.
“Seeing Cummings getting a privileged free pass made a lot of people think, ‘why am I sacrificing my freedom; why am I missing out on seeing my family?’
“Of course, the reality of the situation is that Dominic Cummings is hugely important to Boris Johnson and this was the latest in a pattern of arrogant behaviour
“I’d be surprised if Boris Johnson is still Tory leader at the next General Election.”
Kevin on media and the US election
“The decision by US television networks to pull the switch on Trump’s press conference was an interesting one.
“I think it revealed a lot about the way things were going; why stick with a bad loser who is basically pedalling lies.”