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Keep it impersonal; LETTERS.

SIR - My namesake, John Humphrys of the BBC, appears not to have learned the fundamental lesson of journalism: listening to and then reporting faithfully what the other person says, no matter how much you might personally disagree with the answer.

While it is accepted journalistic practice for Mr Humphrys to ask probing questions when he suspects that his subject, in this instance William Hague, is being evasive, it is disgraceful when he refuses to let the man even answer, so intent it seemed is the interviewer on expressing his own opinions.

Listeners to the Today programme were treated most recently to Mr Humphrys' perverse brand of "journalism" when he interviewed Mr Hague about the Conservative Party manifesto.

Frankly, after having spent fifty years in journalism myself, on this newspaper, in Fleet Street and Europe, I was embarrassed by my namesake's tactics which I believe damages the credibility of journalists and the BBC while adding nothing to the election debate.

All that can be said in Mr Humphrys' defence is that he is not alone among BBC interviewers with this brand of personalised interviewing which seems to have spread through news and current affairs programmes like a disease.

While we are reminded too often of the BBC's high standards for it to be any longer true, has it not editors to remind its mavericks when reporting ends and editorialising begins? JOHN HUMPHRIES Tredunnoc, Gwent
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 19, 2010
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