A month ago, when Gary Rogers took the job of editor of Channel 5
News, speculation was rife that he had only taken it in a fit of pique,
after being told to apply for the job of editor of the BBC’s One O’Clock
News and Six O’Clock News, where he had been acting editor for the past
eight months. Rogers laughs the rumours off.
’I’d been acting editor because the BBC was looking at what to do with
the programmes,’ he said. ’Before I took the acting editor post, I knew
that the position would be formally advertised within and without the
BBC. If I had wanted the job, I knew I was well placed for it, but I
think the time was right for me to get some experience outside the
At a commercial station, you have more freedom and more control.’
Taking over all of Channel 5’s news programmes towards the end of 1998
means he has only got a few months to get his feet under the desk before
TV news competition really hots up next year. Channel 4 is revamping its
flagship programme from January 1999. Out goes the formal desk, although
Jon Snow stays and keeps his flamboyant ties. At the same time the BBC
will re-launch the Six O’Clock News after extensive focus group research
in a bid to attract more of the younger viewers that Channel 5 News is
so successful in luring.
However, he is ready for the challenges ahead. ’I think that Channel 5
News is so far ahead of the rest of the industry that we don’t need to
react automatically. As the second editor of the programming since the
launch, I want to be careful not to fall for that ’difficult second
album’ syndrome. I want to move the ship forward but keep it steady,’ he
Jonathan Baker, the editor of the BBC’s Nine O’Clock News, says he will
bring the right touch to Channel 5 News.
’Gary is full of beans with a strong editorial focus and a keen sense of
the ridiculous,’ he says. ’He will be very much at home at Channel 5, in
a broadcaster which has rapidly established a reputation for sharp
journalism. I think he’ll bring more substance to the style.’
Apart from a year as a trainee with Thomson Regional Newspapers, Rogers
has spent his career as a journalist at the BBC working on news.
He is concerned that, with most organisations now employing some form of
PR person, access to stories and individuals is becoming less a matter
of traditional journalism.
’It annoys me the way PR people try to barter access to individuals
between different news organisations. I think we have a duty to be as
transparent as possible to our viewers, so I think it is time for us to
start to show this sort of behaviour to our audience,’ he says.
He recognises that PR has a role to play but says ’there is no way I am
going to let the PR industry determine any aspect of the 5 News agenda.’
However, with Channel 5 News’ hunger for off diary items and without the
same resources as the BBC, Rogers’ stance may yet mellow.
1998: Editor, Channel 5 News
1998: Acting editor, One O’ClockNews and Six O’Clock News
1996: Assistant editor, Six O’Clock News
1990: Assistant editor, BBC Breakfast News.