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Nicholas Anthony "Nick" Robinson (born 5 October 1963) is an Englishmarker journalist and political editor for the BBC. He was previously the Political Editor of ITV News from November 2002 until August 2005, and Chief Political Correspondent of BBC News before that. He is noted for his trademark glasses and bald head.

Early life

Born in Macclesfieldmarker, Cheshiremarker, in 1963, Robinson attended the independent Cheadle Hulme Schoolmarker before reading Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at University College, Oxfordmarker. At Oxford he was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association.

In 1982 he survived a car crash in France in which his friends James Nelson and Will Redhead (son of Brian Redhead) were killed. Brian Redhead later encouraged his career in journalism. In 1986, he spent a year as national chairman of the Young Conservatives; he does not state this in his own blog biography.

Media Political Editor

Robinson joined the BBC as a production trainee in 1986 from Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, and worked extensively as a television and radio producer on Brass Tacks, This Week, Next Week, Newsround, the Pamela Armstrong Show and Crimewatch. He joined On the Record as an assistant producer and eventually became Deputy Editor, and subsequently held the same position on Panorama for three years. In 1995, while Robinson was at Panorama he wrote an internal BBC memorandum suggesting lines of defence over an interview with Prime Minister John Major. When leaked it gained attention from the Labour Party who perceived it as the legitimised denial of equal time in the run up to local elections.

In 1996 he moved in front of the camera to become a political correspondent, covering his first General Election for BBC Radio in 1997, before joining BBC Radio 5 Live where he presented Weekend Breakfast and Late Night Live. Robinson was BBC News's chief political correspondent from October 1999 to October 2002, and also presented Westminster Live on BBC Two. In the run-up to the 2001 general election, Robinson started keeping a daily diary of the campaign, called "The Campaign Today", which latterly became Newslog, which ran until his departure to ITV.

ITV News Political Editor

In 2002, Robinson left the BBC for Independent Television News as ITV News' Political Editor. Robinson caused a major stir early in the 2005 election campaign at the unveiling of a Labour Party poster. The poster claimed the Conservative Party would initiate cuts of GBP £35 billion if elected; journalists, led by Robinson, attacked Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair was forced to admit the £35 billion figure was a reduction in future spending rather than cuts of existing services.

Return to the BBC

Robinson returned to the BBC as Political Editor at the end of August 2005, replacing Andrew Marr.

Robinson got a very hard stare from George W. Bush when he asked him if he was in denial about the situation in Iraq (since the most Bush had said about the situation was that the increase in attacks was "unsettling"). After a pause, Bush replied coldly "It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?". Nick Robinson had another run in with George Bush. At a press conference featuring Bush and Gordon Brown, Bush said to Robinson "you should cover up your bald head, it´s getting hot". As Bush walked away Robinson replied "Didn't know you cared", to which the President said "I don't". When Robinson appeared on Have I Got News For You in May 2008 the video was shown. During Bush's final tour of Europe in June 2008, in the press conference held at the Foreign Office with Gordon Brown, Bush joked with Robinson about still not wearing his hat.

In the time-honoured tradition of BBC newsreaders and journalists such as Angela Rippon and Natasha Kaplinsky, Nick Robinson has begun to appear in light-hearted shows such as Children in Need and Have I Got News for You.

Robinson keeps a blog on the BBC website, where on 5 May 2006 he raised eyebrows with the revelation that when hearing of Charles Clarke's sacking in the 2006 Cabinet reshuffle, he was "naked in bed." He later apologised, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, saying he was "merely trying to add authenticity. That's the naked truth."

Robinson is a regular contributor to 'The Daily Politics' on BBC2; he has also occasionally co-presented the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme, and did a stint hosting BBC2's 'Newsnight,' week commencing Monday, 27 July 2009.

Criticism

Media monitoring group Media Lens used part of an article written by Nick Robinson, on the subject of the invasion of Iraq, to illustrate their view that mainstream journalism has become largely associated with promoting the interests of those who hold power:

"In the run-up to the conflict, I and many of my colleagues, were bombarded with complaints that we were acting as mouthpieces for Mr Blair.
Why, the complainants demanded to know, did we report without question his warning that Saddam was a threat?
Hadn't we read what Scott Ritter had said or Hans Blix?
I always replied in the same way.
It was my job to report what those in power were doing or thinking...
That is all someone in my sort of job can do."


Personal life

Robinson is married with three children and lives in North London, close to Arsenal's Emirates Stadiummarker. However, he is a lifelong Manchester United fan. Robinson sails and enjoys the theatre, particularly mime.

References

  1. Patricia Wynn Davies "Labour says other leaders should join Major interview", The Independent, 31 March 1995, as reproduced on the Find Articles website. Retrieved on 17 November 2008.
  2. Donald MacIntyre "BBC is accused of giving in to Tories", The Independent, 30 March 2005, as reproduced on the Find Articles website. Retrieved on 17 November 2008.
  3. BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Robinson returns for BBC top job
  4. Nick Robinson, '"Remember the last time you shouted like that?" I asked the spin doctor', The Times, 16 July 2004


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