BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Something of a star

Craig Oliver Craig Oliver | 10:12 UK time, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Tonight marks the end of an era for BBC News.

BBC Ten O'Clock News logoEvan Davis is leaving his post as economics editor - and going on a year-long attachment to Radio 4 as a presenter of the Today programme. It's a great move for him - but we're feeling more than a little sad on the Ten O'Clock News.

I could try to sum up why we'll miss him - but someone has already done it perfectly. Ipsos Mori were looking for someone who personifies how they want to be seen - they hit on Evan and this is how they described him:

Evan Davis"Fun, quirky, lively, outspoken but apolitical, approachable, explains the complex simply (eg Evanomics); uses technology (his blogging); commonly cited and sought out for opinion. Seems passionate and interested in what he’s doing. Not just a corporate clone or hack."

They could also have written "self-deprecating". When I first joined BBC News a couple of years ago, Evan dropped by to give me an idea of what I could expect from him and his presenting style - he was laughing hard when he said The Sun's Garry Bushell had seen one of his early TV appearances and described him as "a cross between Gollum and a needy vicar".

So how did he go from being bullied by TV critics to being one of the most respected people in journalism? For me it's because Evan took the road less travelled. Some journalists can be showy and hyperbolic - in trying to get people interested in what they have to say, they can oversell their stories. Evan has always been utterly clear that economics is rarely an area of blacks and whites, but varying shades of grey - a world where things tend to happen in increments over a long cycle, not easily matching the hourly demands of modern broadcast news.

I once told him a literary anecdote about Samuel Taylor Coleridge not being impressed by William Wordsworth's poem Daffodils - Coleridge's point was that if you are going to get that excited about some daffodils, what are you going to say when it really matters? Evan agreed that he would have been very much on Coleridge's side. It's that unwillingness to shout loud about everything that made Evan saying a fundamental shift was happening in the global economy last autumn pack a real punch.

Over the last few months Evan has been leading the way in pointing out that the world's economy is slowing down, that slowdown will hurt - but how much will depend on the skill of the world's central banks. As other journalists have struggled to see their way through the complexities of the economy Evan has been clear and right time after time.

Evan has been unique; he's also become something of a star - but most of all he's been a brilliant journalist.

He's followed by Stephanie Flanders - another first class journalist with a style of her own, I'm sure she will be equally successful.

Update, Thursday 20 March: And here's Evan's last piece from the Ten O'Clock News.


  • 1.
  • At 11:21 AM on 19 Mar 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

Have always enjoyed Evan's style and reports. One thing that has confused me about the current economic crisis.. my brother who follows economics out of self interest (shares) predicted to me about Northen Rock and the impending downturn last August. Why did it take Evan and others so long?

  • 2.
  • At 04:17 PM on 19 Mar 2008,
  • m c graham wrote:

I developed a dependence on Evan's columns to get a rational view of what was happening to the U.S. economy- He was a stark contrast to the U.S.'s Kudrow and Cramer, i.e. insight versus screaming.
Will he continue to write a newsleter or blog?

  • 3.
  • At 05:16 PM on 19 Mar 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

Very much appreciate the work Evan has done, it's always been a delight to find rational rather than sensational analysis when the facts run out and it's time to bring some editorial analysis to the news rather than just getting over excited about limited facts and figures. Evan's style has always struck me as journalism at it's best, a true asset to the BBC - calm, clear rational and intelligent analysis. In a world where journalism appears to be moving closer and closer to a "Drop the Dead Donkey" approach, Evan's has always been something of a beacon.

I look forward to his Today posting and wish him every success.

  • 4.
  • At 06:28 PM on 19 Mar 2008,
  • Roba wrote:

All i can say is that i don't often listen to the Today programme - i'll now be listening every morning. Enough said really! Best of luck Evan

Everyone moans about plastic presenters and character-free journalists - Evan and Stephanie are both real personalities and excellent hacks. Good luck to them both.

  • 6.
  • At 11:01 PM on 19 Mar 2008,
  • Stephen Shorey wrote:

Always liked Evan's reports on the 10 o'clock News. Entertaining, adroit and to the point. Will look forward to hearing him on R4.

  • 7.
  • At 09:39 AM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

Good luck Evan and Stephanie. Superstars both of you. Please go on exposing the incestious and self-serving banking industry. Ensure that your listeners understand that nothing short of major simplifications in process and dramatic cost reductions will be acceptable. Make everyone aware that it must rapidly return to its core function of providing a service to consumers and business rather than a relentless pursuit of profit for its executives and shareholders.

  • 8.
  • At 10:14 AM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • karen wrote:

He's been fab. Turned complex scenarios into something that everyone can understand (well most people).

Good Luck Evan. Stephanie has very large shoes to fill.

We're going t have a more intelligent, measured and better informed today programme. That's good news and Evan will encourage me to listen more.

  • 10.
  • At 11:36 AM on 25 Mar 2008,
  • Duncan Stansfield wrote:

Sorry to hear you're moving on, Evan. It is thanks to people such as you that I have an interest in economics now. Other comments are certainly true that you have a skill that so few have in making complex issues simple and interesting. May you continue to find success in your future endeavours. Looks like I'll have to locate the Today programme to continue to receive these quality opinions

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.