A TV producer who battled to report the Covid pandemic amid a government boycott has described the ‘extraordinary’ situation she faced, in an interview for a Midlands communications agency’s new podcast.
Anne Alexander reveals how, in her role as senior political producer at Good Morning Britain, things reached a ‘worrying state of affairs’ after ministers refused to be interviewed.
“It was really tricky because we were trying to get the correct information out there and we hadn’t got a minister to ask the specific questions we needed answers to,” she said.
“You needed to hold people to account and we weren’t allowed to do that. It was quite a worrying state of affairs. It was extraordinary.”
Former Midlands journalist Anne describes how her team called up to 70 Conservative politicians in just one day in a bid to find someone to be interviewed. But it was a fruitless search.
Instead, the GMB team watched or listened to rival channels’ coverage and based a number of reports on that. They were also boosted by expert knowledge from people like Dr Hillary Jones, Anne said.
Anne says the boycott came from a ruling by the head of government communications and ended when there was a change at the top. It began shortly after imposition of the first national lockdown and lasted 201 days until November 16.
In conversation with Sally-Anne Youll from Staffordshire-based Nurture Media (www.nurturemedia.co.uk) Anne explains how the pandemic went from breaking everyday news to the biggest story of her life.
She also discusses career highlights including accompanying then prime minister Theresa May on her plane to meet Donald Trump. Anne also highlights a lack of diversity in political reporting.
Ex-Sandwell Chronicle, Express & Star, Sheffield Star and BBC journalist Anne recounts how she fell into journalism by accident and talks about how proud her family in Wednesbury are.
The Nurture Media podcast, The Media & Me, features interviews with people on both sides of the headlines, talking about their experiences of being involved in the big stories of the day.
Sally said: “Anne was a brilliant guest with great stories to tell.”
Nurture Media’s second podcast will feature an interview with Rebecca Lockwood, a student who hit the headlines during the first lockdown when she contacted all of her exes to ask them what went wrong in their relationships.
Nurture Media director Linda Aitchison, said: “Thanks go to Anne and Sally for such an insightful conversation. There will be many more fascinating interviews to come.”