UPDATED: ‘We don’t decide the heroes and villains’, says BBC reporter

Mike Wooldridge, BBC World Affairs

Mike Wooldridge, BBC World Affairs

by David Mackie

BBC World Affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge has spoken of the need to be impartial when reporting on stories from around the globe.

He said: “It can sound high-minded and pretentious to talk about changing the world, but I do think we can aspire to help make the world a better informed place.”

The experienced reporter was at Leeds Trinity University this afternoon talking to students about his long career in journalism.

Mike, 67, joined BBC News in April 1970 and received an OBE in the 2002 Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting in developing countries. His long and illustrious career in journalism has seen him posted in Africa, Asia and Europe, where he has reported on droughts, civil conflicts , the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and his death.

“It’s a great privilege to be a journalist,” he said. “To have the opportunity and responsibility you have to try to make sense of the world, locally and globally; we have a ringside seat at history in the making.”

On the subject of the Syria conflict and other complex world affairs, Mike also believes that it’s not the media’s job to name the forces of good or evil. In fact, he believes that is increasingly a difficult decision to make.

He spoke about the relationship between charities and journalism, after reporting in Uganda on United Nations aid project.

He said: “Fundamentally the most important thing from a journalist’s point of view is you campaign, we report. I think it can get overlooked. We are as independent of charities as we are anything else and charities should be challenged and tested in the same way that other forces are.”

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