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Pete Doherty – BBC South – The People Behind Your News

Darren Northeast
Posted by Darren Northeast on 12.05.2020

Pete Doherty

For our next People Behind Your News interview, we speak to Pete Doherty, a Senior Journalist at the BBC, working on BBC South Today.

Having worked for BBC South for 30 years, he’s covered some pretty spectacular stories and enjoys the creative freedom he has. Oh, and he’s a big James Bond fan!


What is your main responsibilities/What does a normal day in the office look like? 

I am a Senior Journalist for BBC South working on BBC South Today. 

I have 3 types of day – filming days which can be stressful, editing days which require a lot of brainpower and setting up days which are the calm points between the storms. 

Since the lockdown, I now work mainly from home. We get stories from emails we receive, but we also think up our own ideas and working from home does help with that.


What’s the main reason you chose to work in the media?


I love telling stories and creating videos that move people. I enjoy combining great images with a powerful soundtrack. 

The media I work in, can inform, entertain and educate, all in the same programme. Lord Reith couldn’t have asked for more. 

It’s also fun working in a team, I tend to work with the same reporters and crew so we have spent 30 years trying to tell every story as creatively as we can. 


How important is journalism for wider society? 

Since the lockdown, I think the public has realised how important the BBC is and in particular regional TV is to them. Our figures have increased quite substantially. I love the fact that the BBC News theme has become so popular.


How do you stay up-to-date with current affairs? 

Listen to Today, Any Questions and The Archers on radio 4, and watch the news channel on the hour. 


How do you see journalism changing in the future? 

Change can happen slowly or like in the past few weeks, very fast – they way we make news items has completely altered since the lockdown. The distance from where we film someone to the use of skype or zoom has made our reports look very different.

Already Journalism has become more democratic, anyone can make news with a mobile phone, this will continue but there will always be a place for a crafted piece. 


What’s your favourite thing about the outlet you work for? 

South Today has an amazing history – nearly 60 years of broadcasting. We follow in the footsteps of great people both in front and behind the camera. Andy Price, Bruce Parker, Jenni Murray, Paddy Haycocks and behind the camera John Coleman who used to produce some amazing documentaries for BBC South. 

As I have worked there for 30 years, I have the freedom to do stories that might be a bit risky or creatively might not work.

As I have worked there for 30 years, I have the freedom to do stories that might be a bit risky or creatively might not work. Every time we do a piece, we challenge ourselves, how can we do it differently.


What’s the most up-lifting story you covered recently? 

I don’t know about uplifting but the best stories I have covered include: a live from the needles lighthouse, getting a trip in a Chinook, sailing with Alex Thomson in his new yacht, following a group of autistic drummers who had never performed before as they prepare for a live performance on Children in Need.    


What would be your ideal story? 

The next one…. 


Journalism is a stressful job, so how do you unwind? 

I watch movies and listen to a podcast called James Bond Radio. The best podcast about 007 ever…