The News Agents is a daily podcast that aims to provide an alternative view of the day’s news stories. Produced by Global Media & Entertainment in the United Kingdom, and presented by Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel, and Lewis Goodall, The News Agents was launched on August 30, 2022. The podcast aims to provide a more informal approach to news presentation, compared to the more conventional style found in media outlets such as the BBC. The podcast has been marketed as an alternative to Radio 4’s Today, although it has also been compared to The Rest Is Politics, a political podcast presented by Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart.
The News Agents is produced by Dino Sofos, who had previously worked with Maitlis and Sopel on the BBC’s Americast podcast. Dino had also been the producer for The Next Episode and the award-winning Brexitcast (now Newscast) podcasts for BBC News. However, in November 2021, Dino left the BBC to establish his own production company, Persephonica, along with Tom O’Hara.
Details of The News Agents podcast first came to light in February 2022, when it was announced that both Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel would be leaving BBC News to join Global Media & Entertainment. Emily Maitlis, who is the presenter of Newsnight, and Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America correspondent, had previously worked together on the BBC’s Americast podcast. In August of the same year, Global confirmed that The News Agents would launch the following week, with Maitlis and Sopel presenting from Monday to Thursday, and Goodall presenting on Friday.
The first edition of The News Agents, titled Trump – Prison or President?, focused on the FBI investigation into former US President Donald Trump’s handling of presidential documents, and the subsequent raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate. Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House Director of Communications, appeared as a guest in this edition. The presenters adopted an informal approach, which was a departure from their conventional style on the BBC. Maitlis referred to Sopel as “Sopes,” Scaramucci as “Mooch,” and Goodall as “Luigi.” This first edition received a mixed reception, with some reviewers praising the quality of the content while others expressed concern about the informal approach of the presenters.
In January 2023, The News Agents obtained a leaked letter from Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in which she recommended the government reverse its plans to privatize Channel 4. In an episode released on January 27, 2023, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, was interviewed. In this interview, Sturgeon accused some opponents of the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill of using women’s rights as a “cloak of acceptability” for transphobia.
The News Agents has received a lot of pre-launch publicity, with James Marriott of The Times describing it as a “weeks-long publicity blitz.” The first edition of the podcast topped the Apple UK Podcast Chart in September 2022. The reception of The News Agents has been mixed, with some reviewers praising its content and others criticizing the informal approach of its presenters.
In conclusion, The News Agents provides a refreshing alternative view of the day’s news stories, presenting them in an informal and entertaining manner. The podcast’s unique approach to news presentation has been praised by some and criticized by others, but its popularity speaks for itself, with the first edition topping the Apple UK Podcast Chart in September 2022. The News Agents is a podcast that is worth checking out for those who want to stay informed about current events in a more entertaining and informal way.
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