Lone female political reporter says being unique has benefits

By Andreas Mullings

The Times' Scottish political correspondent Lindsay McIntosh

The Times’ Scottish political correspondent today spoke about her career as the only female newspaper reporter covering her field.

Political journalism was often stereotyped as being populated solely by male figures, but 31-year-old Lindsay McIntosh said she has yet to find any prejudices in the Scottish media.

Ms McIntosh said: “There are fewer women in journalism as you go up the ranks because women naturally leave to have kids, the hours needed in it makes it very hard.”

But there was a benefit to being the only woman reporting in Scottish politics: ”It can make me instantly recognisable to politicians.”

Ms McIntosh said that even though she may be the only one writing for newspapers, there were several women in broadcast who report politics.

After covering general news for The Times for three years, Ms McIntosh became a political specialist on the Scottish devolution debate.

The debate is a live issue in Scottish media, as the referendum vote for independence is due in 2014. Ms McIntosh said it would be for Scottish citizens “the most important decision they will probably ever make”.

When talking about Scottish coverage of the debate, she outlined how important it was for journalists to be unbiased.

Ms McIntosh also gave tips on how to interview politicians. She said: “If you can doorstep someone, you can ask a politician.

“Perseverance is key to getting them to answer your question, continuously rephrasing so you get an answer they haven’t rehearsed. And often, one from left field works.”

Ms McIntosh advised trainee journalists wanting to go into politics to spend a few years reporting general news and to get as much work experience as possible before heading into the industry.

To watch the video of Ms McIntosh’s entire talk, click here.


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