Why Alan Little will be a big loss

When it comes to TV news, it’s pictures, pictures, pictures.

For a story to work, there must be decent, engaging images.

That’s always been the received wisdom, and of course it’s true.

But now and again, the sheer power of words and good writing exerts itself.

Often that time is when a story is in the hands of BBC journalist Alan Little.

Today the BBC announced that he would be leaving the corporation at the end of the year.

I will miss him, and I suspect I won’t be alone.

Alan Little with Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev Picture: BBC

Alan Little with Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Picture: BBC

These days Alan Little isn’t usually the first person at the scene of a story.

But, as the Beeb’s special correspondent, he often has the last word, the authoritative word, and the influential word on all manner of issues.

His choice of phrase, his sense of pace and his ability to strike the right note in difficult circumstances put him head and shoulders above the rest.

It was always a joy to hear his byline announced, and it is clear both from the heartfelt tributes now being paid and his presence on the BBC’s College of Journalism website how much he is valued by his employers.

He was walking, talking proof of the power of words, of the role of good writing in moving people, changing perceptions and telling simple truths.

He has set a standard to which all journalists should aspire.

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