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“Their story is always most important” – top team behind ITV Tonight on their duty of care to interviewees

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Alice Taylor, series producer and Laura Caveney-Morgan, executive editor of ITV’s Tonight

Finding the right case studies is 90 per cent of making an episode of Tonight, according to the team in charge of ITV’s flagship current affairs show.

Alice Taylor and Laura Caveney-Morgan said the duty of care they have for their interviewees, audience and crew is also crucial.

Taylor, Tonight’s series producer, and Caveney-Morgan, executive editor, spoke at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week about the importance of authenticity.

They emphasised that a large part of their job was how they portray a true representation of their viewers while covering their often sensitive subjects.

Caveney-Morgan said that you can never be underprepared when covering “niche” stories.

They both explained that their duty of care reached to ensuring they told stories about those from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Representing those from every region was particularly important for Caveney-Morgan.

“We are where our audience is.

“We really strive to represent families across the country. Extremes don’t work as well.

“The best stories are the ones people can relate to.”

Taylor explained that listening to the people around you is how authentic stories can come to light.

She said: “What are your friends and family talking about? What are the things that they really care about?

“The more you speak to people on the ground, the more it becomes real to you.”

Taylor previously worked for Channel 4 News and explained that while she wanted to work in public affairs, she longed for a more focused approach.

She said: “I got fed up of being on the news treadmill, because after a while, you end up covering the same sort of stories over and over again.”

Caveney-Morgan explained that Tonight should not be seen as news as it is “fantastic story-telling and story finding”.

Taylor explained that after the episode The Truth About Stalking, many charities came forward to say they had more people contacting them for support.

They believed that Tonight has certainly seen success with getting messages and help across to those who need it.

ITV Tonight’s Executive Editor Laura Caveney-Morgan on providing their viewers with support

When talking about duty of care, Caveney-Morgan said that this duty does not just stretch to the people whose stories are being told.

She said: “We also have a duty of care to our team.

“We step in and give our experience and expertise to make sure they’re OK.”

Taylor said: “‘Certain people’s stories really do stick with you.

“You need to have your own personal boundaries.”

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