RTÉ reporters race for the White House
Covering international stories well is essential for ‘serious’ operations, says news boss
Kevin Bakhurst: “We have to do well on big stories.”
Richard Downes left the prestigious, white-knuckle ride of a post over the summer as his two-year contract came to an end, and RTÉ news and current affairs managing director Kevin Bakhurst dispatched one of Downes’s predecessors, Robert Shortt, to temporarily staff the bureau earlier this month when it looked like the US might launch military strikes against Syria.
Interviews for a permanent replacement for Downes are due to take place shortly.
Meanwhile, at a media conference in DCU on Monday, Bakhurst said he was “old-fashioned” in his belief in the importance of having reporters on the ground.
“I think if you’re going to be a serious news provider competing, as we now are in Ireland, with Sky News, BBC News, ITV News – people can access all that – we have to do well on the big stories, the big international stories, as well as obviously on the Irish stories.”
Bakhurst reiterated that RTÉ would reopen its London bureau once it could afford to do so.
“Different reporters have different levels of sophistication that they bring to the story,” he said of the less-than-ideal practice of sending Dublin-based staff to cover UK news when stories break.