PR people must be 'chess grandmasters', says Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow

PR professionals "have to be chess grandmasters", and courageous to boot, according to veteran broadcaster Jon Snow.

PR professionals must be chess grandmasters, thinks Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow
In an exclusive interview, ahead of his appearance as compère at last month’s PRWeek UK Awards, Snow also explained how he regards Channel 4 News as a plucky challenger, leading journalism's transition into a web-dominated profession.

Channel 4 News currently presides over an enviable social media presence, with 1.2m followers on Twitter and a Facebook page that receives 250 million hits a month, compared with BBC News, whose Facebook page receives 167 million, Sky News on 125 million and ITV, on 67 million. 

Snow explained how the programme pioneered television news for the mobile phone, releasing up to 20 "gobbets" of bite-sized news chunks per day.
Commenting on the future of media, Snow envisaged a different world 15 years from now.

He said: "There will be jobs that amount to journalism. But they will be online and they will be multi-skilled. I just think it’s going to be a different beast; doing the same job a completely different way."

His advice for those trying to break into journalism now was to try and join an online team.

In a wide-ranging interview, Snow, who is "friendly" with Alastair Campbell, also mused on the relationship between journalists and PR professionals - and admitted that the latter had the harder task.

He said: "I think the PR man is in a lot of trouble... It’s a fantastically dodgy business because you’ve got to foresee what I am going to ask you. Obviously I, in turn, am looking for a left-field shot, or a right-field shot, so I think they really have to be chess grandmasters."

And of the traits he most admired in PR and comms professionals, Snow teased: "I admire their originality, I admire their courage and I admire their capacity to lie."

Snow, who regards his lurid ties and socks as his personal brand, told PRWeek he did not envisage crossing the fence and becoming a spokesman for any organisation, saying he did not think he was loyal enough.

And he said the proliferation of high-quality online content competing with news for the attentions of the public was fair game.

He said: "I’m not going to start pouring cold water on the newest game in town. I’d rather [people] were receiving some information than none at all... I think all’s fair in love and war, to be honest."
  • Come back to tomorrow for the full interview

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