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Old-timer broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald opens up, encouraging more given jobs on merit

Sir Trevor McDonald, a Trinidadian-British newsreader and journalist, best known for his career as a news presenter with ITN, has claimed that he favours people being given jobs on merit rather than as part of hitting diversity measures.

The journalist, now 81, who became the presenter of ITV’s News at Ten in 1992 and knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism, explained: “I understand why people do it and why people think about quotas... but there is a philosophical downside about that.

Veteran broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald. Image credit Daily Mail

‘It’s awful if you walk into a place and they say, ‘Oh I know why she got that job because they are looking for women’.

“I think that is so unfair to the people. Maybe you were the best person for that job and so I am more interested in meritocracy... where someone is employed because they can do the job.”

In the middle of a talk on the Fane production company website, Sir Trevor also opened up about his struggles with the notorious reputation of being such a celebrated black journalist in Britain.

He admitted that when he first became part of the ITN network, he did not want to be characterised as ‘the black reporter’, and was not going to be ‘referred’ to as only reporting stories about Bradford or Brixton or the ‘problems of immigration’, as he was passionate about international politics and he wanted to focus on that, shedding a light on the truth behind hidden and usually covered facts by mainstream media.

Another picture of Sir Trevor McDonald. Image credit Daily Mail

Sir Trevor stated he had always found understanding the news to be ‘terrifying’ and added: “I don’t think you ever lose the terror of doing it.”

He explained that anyone who claimed it was ‘easy’ was ‘not being very truthful’, as doing real journalism implies committing yourself to report truth and evidence, even when the world tries it hard to make it noticeable usually in discard to the truth. The veteran broadcaster, who presented his last ITV News show in 2005, added: “I was overawed by the responsibility. I have a very strong almost philosophical sense of the news.”

He regularly recalled going to interview Saddam Hussein, the fifth President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003, and being asked to stay in a guest house where the phone lines had been disconnected.

“It was quite frightening as I suspect deep down, I am a coward.”


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