Make politics relevant to real people, says BBC Look North political editor

Finding the human angle in political stories is all-important, BBC Look North’s political editor James Vincent told SHU journalism students.

The best way to report political issues is to show how it affects real people, he said.

And that means making it relevant to your audience.

“It might be something about not getting your bins emptied, or Brexit or universal credit, but you have to make it relevant to people having their tea at 6.30pm on a week night.”

James, who spent this week reporting on the Budget and then following the Prime Minister and Chancellor on a trip to Leeds, told Public Affairs students that it was a good thing to be cynical and to hold authority to account.

“It’s about being interested and nosey and casting a critical eye over everything. Yorkshire is a great part of the world for politics and and it’s great getting out and meeting people and chasing politicians.

“It’s good fun, even though it can be stressful and pressured. I worked a 12-hour shift on Budget day.”

James said it was also good to be light-hearted about politics sometimes, such as when he’s doing 60 Seconds clips for the Sunday Politics programme.

On a story about the devolution row in South Yorkshire, he referenced Game of Thrones to make it easier for the audience to relate to.

James also spoke to TV journalism students about working as a video journalist.


He urged them to keep it simple and – THINK PICTURES.