Production companies need Journalists

By Susie Paterson

Last night the Channel 4 offices on West George Street was the venue for a cross section of media moguls to meet.

A group of sixty journalists and production staff were entertained and informed by some of  Scotland’s leading executives.

The National Union of Journalists promoted the event, in an attempt to put commissioning executives and journalists together.

Channel 4 news boss, Dorothy Byrne was part of a forum of three industry specialists along with Nicole Kleeman of Firecrest Films and Steven McGinty, STV producer and one time newspaper journalist.

They talked for an hour on how different companies commission and decide on content, and the process of how an idea that comes from a journalist can be developed and made into a news package or even a twenty part TV series.

Dorothy Byrne, Head of News & Current Affairs at Channel 4 said: ‘Always pitch, because what have you got to lose?’

She gave anecdotes of her years in the business and ended by saying that journalists have skill sets that production staff don’t have.  She said an instinct for a story is not something that everyone has. Journalists who spend their lives searching for ‘the story’ are the people Scottish production companies need to be talking to as a source in order to stay ahead of the game.

Nicole Kleeman, MD of Firecrest Films  – double BAFTA winners for documentaries, series and features – explained the process of how much or how little time is required from journalists who come with an idea.  From initially pitching to Firecrest, a deal can be struck there, or there may be an opportunity to join the development team and see it through right through to production.

When asked about having your ideas pinched Dorothy’s advice was when you pitch keep a record of everything.  She swears C4 don’t pinch though!


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