2 minutes with: Stuart Thomas Editor London Tonight

Why has London Tonight been revamped and what are the main differences PROs need to be aware of?

As part of the merger of Carlton and Granada, London Tonight is now produced at ITN. It now has a slightly different editorial agenda, covering more issues and trends that affect Londoners as a whole, such as transport, housing, health and crime.

What role do PROs have in forming your content?

We set our own news agenda, and we’ll approach PROs with queries or requests. Equally though, stories will come from PROs approaching us.

For which stories are PROs most useful?

Human-interest stories. We have made Keir Simmons our London life correspondent, adding education and health to his transport brief. He’ll be covering news but also looking for the personal stories behind the issues.

Do PROs sometimes have unrealistic expectations of how a story will air?

Yes. When dealing with competitions, for example, they sometimes lack knowledge of what we can and can’t do. We have strict guidelines about how much we can promote products.

How does TV differ to other media and what do PROs need to keep in mind?

We look for picture-rich stories. Also, we have bulletins from 6.35 in the morning until late at night, so the deadline is always half an hour away. We effectively publish ten or 11 times a day and are always looking for the latest line. Almost everything is done on the day.

How much forward planning do you do?

We have a features and forward planning department. We’ll do three or four features a week but we don’t start making the majority of stories until the day they go to air.

How should PROs get in touch?

They should talk to the forward planning desk. If it is a story for that day, they should go to the news desk. Email is the best way.

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