MEDIA: PROFILE; Channel 5’s finger on the pulse: Chris Shaw, editor, ITN’s news service for Channel 5

This week, Channel 5 underlined its presence to the media world with a blockbuster firework display and spectacular party at Holborn Studios. It was another brave and confident gesture from a station that has managed to hold off the critics despite its delayed launch and deathly silence on programme plans.

This week, Channel 5 underlined its presence to the media world with a

blockbuster firework display and spectacular party at Holborn Studios.

It was another brave and confident gesture from a station that has

managed to hold off the critics despite its delayed launch and deathly

silence on programme plans.



Even Channel 5’s news programming is shrouded in mystery. It has great

plans, with hourly bulletins and a flagship show at some point between

8pm and 9pm, but it plans to surprise the nation with its presentation

and agenda.



If you think news programmes are just half an hour of some cheesey

anchor reading the headlines, you’ll get short shrift from Chris Shaw,

the station’s editor at ITN. He plans a youthful show, with stories that

you won’t find on any other station. It’s going to be a challenge, and

as such Shaw is the man for the job.



Challenges are his life blood. It is almost impossible to find a single

news programme launch of the last five years that he hasn’t been

involved in. He worked on the launch of Sky News, was a member of the

team that re-vamped News At Ten in 1992, devised and set up ITN’s news

service for the launch of Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and now he’s at the

helm of the news output for the largest TV event for 14 years. Not bad

considering he decided to get into broadcast journalism after graduating

from Oxford because he was a curious fellow with a desire for some

excitement.



Excitement he got. He recalls flying in a ramshackle light aircraft into

Addis Ababa in Ethiopia during the coup in 1992 only to be hauled off to

the guardhouse by a bunch of soldiers. He remembers trying to get Jon

Snow up a mountain on the border between Iran and Iraq just after the

Gulf War in the face of a hostile Republican Guard. He also recounts

with pleasure how he abandoned a promising career in TV journalism to

tour Asia and South America for 18 months on an archeological dig before

returning to find his professional standing undiminished. This man is,

to put it mildly, resourceful.



‘If I hadn’t gone into journalism I might have become an archeologist,’

he says. ‘Either that or a professional footballer. I ought to say I’d

have played for my own team, West Bromwich Albion, but really I’d have

liked to play for someone fashionable like Chelsea. I ended up

supporting West Brom because they were the first full team I collected

in those football cards.



‘No-one wanted the duff teams so I got them. I used to be quite a good

player, but now I’m lucky if I stay on the pitch for the full 90

minutes.’



‘I suppose what I want from life, or at least my career, is a blank

sheet that I can write on,’ he says. ‘I do tend to move around a lot but

I’ll be staying with Channel 5 for a while. I have a tremendous personal

investment in that I’ve recruited everybody to the team and I know what

I want the show to be like. As to what I want to do when my time is up

at Channel 5, if you look back at my career you’ll see I don’t really

plan it. I just keep my eye out for a new challenge.’



HIGHLIGHTS



1992 Home news editor, Channel 4 News

1993 Programme editor, News at Ten

1994 Programme editor, Budget ’94

1994 Launch editor, The Big Breakfast news service

1996 Editor, ITN’s news service Channel 5



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in