Paul Mason (journalist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Paul Mason
El periodista británico Paul Mason, fotografiado en Madrid (cropped).jpg
Mason in March 2016
Born (1960-01-23) 23 January 1960 (age 59)
NationalityBritish
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
Institute of Education
OccupationJournalist, broadcaster
Years active1991–present
EmployerBBC (2001–2013)
ITN (Channel 4 News) (2013–2016)
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Jane Bruton

Paul Mason (born 23 January 1960) is a British commentator and radio personality. He was Culture and Digital Editor of Channel 4 News,[1] becoming the programme's Economics Editor on 1 June 2014,[2] a post he formerly held on BBC Two's Newsnight programme. He is the author of several books, and a visiting professor at the University of Wolverhampton.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Mason was born in Leigh, Lancashire.[4] His father, John Mason (1927–86), was a lorry driver for Ward & Goldstone Ltd. His mother, Julia (née Lewis, born 1935), was headmistress of St Margaret Mary's Primary School, Hindley Green. One grandparent was a miner and another was a Lithuanian-Jewish violinist.[5]

Mason was educated at St Joseph's RC Primary School in Leigh and Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton, which was a grammar school when Mason attended in the 1970s. He graduated from the University of Sheffield[4] with a degree in music and politics in 1981 and trained to be a music teacher at London University Institute of Education, after which he undertook postgraduate research into the music of the Second Viennese School at the University of Sheffield until 1984.[6]

Mason lived in Leicester from 1982 to 1988, working as a music teacher and lecturer in music at Loughborough University.[4]

Journalism and broadcasting[edit]

Mason in Athens during Greek elections, reporting for Channel 4 News, 20 September 2015

Mason has lived in London since 1988, becoming a freelance journalist around 1991. From 1995 to 2001 he worked for Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, on titles including Contract Journal, Community Care[7] and Computer Weekly, of which he was deputy editor.[4] During the dotcom boom, Mason launched E-Business Review and was consulting editor for the launch of CW360.com. He also contributed articles to the Daily Express and The Mail on Sunday.

In August 2001 Mason joined the BBC Two television programme Newsnight taking up a post as Business Editor. His first live appearance on Newsnight was on the day of the September 11 attacks in 2001.[8]

In May 2007 Mason's book Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global was published by Harvill Secker. The book was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award on 24 August 2007. In June 2007, Mason presented Spinning Yarns, a four-part series on the history of the cotton industry for BBC Radio Four. Mason appeared as the key talent in a new five-part BBC series Credit Crash Britain, first broadcast on BBC Two on 30 October 2008.

In January 2012 Mason's book Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions was published in paperback by Verso.[9][10]

Mason attended the Wigan Casino in his youth as a follower of Northern Soul and hosted a documentary about the Northern Soul scene for the BBC's The Culture Show in September 2013.[11]

In August 2013 it was announced that Mason would join Channel 4 News as its culture and digital editor.[1] In May 2014, it was announced that he would become the programme's Economics Editor at the beginning of the following month, replacing Faisal Islam.[2]

Mason announced in February 2016 that he was leaving his position at Channel 4 News in favour of freelancing so he could engage more fully in debates on the political left without the constraint of impartiality observed by broadcasters in the UK.[12]

Playwright[edit]

Mason answering questions on the set of Divine Chaos

In 2017, Mason wrote Divine Chaos of Starry Things, a two act play looking at the life of Louise Michel and other exiles from the 1871 Paris Commune in exile in New Caledonia.[13] The Guardian described it as "a frustrating, clunky but always intelligent drama focusing on the women in New Caledonia, and particularly the revolutionary Louise Michel. While her comrades take refuge in drink and hopes of appeal against their sentences, Michel keeps the red flag flying. She recognises that the oppression of the Kanaks and of the Parisian working class are one and the same".[1]

Awards[edit]

Mason won the Wincott Prize for Business Journalism in 2003,[14] the Workworld Broadcaster of the Year in 2004,[4] and the Diageo African Business Reporting Award in 2007. His report on the social movements behind Bolivian president Evo Morales was cited when Newsnight was awarded the Orwell Prize (2007).

Personal life[edit]

Mason was Father of the Chapel for the National Union of Journalists on Newsnight. He is a supporter of Leigh Centurions rugby league club and Manchester United F.C. He is married to nurse Jane Bruton.[8] He is an atheist.[15]

Politics[edit]

Mason speaking in 2018

Mason is a former member of the Workers' Power group. He responded to an interviewer from the Evening Standard in 2011: "It's on Wikipedia that I was, so it must be true. It's fair to say I was a Leftie activist. What my politics are now are very complicated."[16][17][18] In an interview with The Independent in 2015, he described himself as having been a "supporter" of the group.[19]

In a speech in 2015 marking the publication of Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything, he declared that "capitalism is dying".[20] Mason has called for an alliance of "bond traders from Canary Wharf, arm in arm with placard-carrying Trots" against right-wing populist groups such as UKIP.[21] Mason later described UKIP voters in unfavourable terms, stating "They are toe-rags, basically. They are the bloke who nicks your bike".[22]

In 2016, Mason distanced himself from his former involvement in far-left Trotskyist politics, by saying that he no longer holds such views and identifies with a "radical social democracy". Responding to comments by the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, he said:

As to Mr Osborne's claim that I am "revolutionary Marxist" it is completely inaccurate. I am radical social democrat who favours the creation of a peer-to-peer sector (co-ops, open source etc) alongside the market and the state, as part of a long transition to a post-capitalist economy. There's a comprehensive critique of Bolshevism in my latest book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.[23]

However, Mason subsequently wrote positively about Marxism: in a piece for New Statesman published in May 2018 for the bicentenary of Marx's birth, he praised Marxist humanism inspired by Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in general, and the thought of Raya Dunayevskaya in particular, for its emphasis on overcoming alienation from labour in order to achieve individual freedom, whilst criticising the authoritarianism of Stalinism and the structural Marxism of the likes of Louis Althusser.[24] In another New Statesman article published the following year he described himself as an "actual Marxist", whilst critiquing determinist interpretations of Marx which posit Marxism as a "theory of everything".[25]

In June 2016, Mason supported Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after mass resignations from his cabinet and a leadership challenge. He wrote in The Guardian: "But one thing I do know: Corbyn is incapable of lying to the British people; he is inured to elite politics; he didn't spend his entire life in a Machiavellian project to gain power and an invitation to Oleg Deripaska's yacht. That's why I voted for him and will do so again if you trigger a leadership vote."[26]

In September 2016, he told the website The Canary: "Instead of attacking Momentum, any social democrat with an ounce of knowledge of Labour history should welcome it, even if they disagree with its politics... It is a genuine movement of the Labour left; it stands in the long tradition of radical social democracy, going back to Robert Blatchford's Clarion movement before 1914, or the ILP in the 1920s."[27]

In the New Statesman magazine in mid-2018, Mason argued the case for state suppression of "fascists", saying that he favoured a policy of using "the full panoply of security measures to deter and monitor" those he described as "racists" and added: "For clarity, unlike many on the left, that means I am in favour of state suppression of fascist groups." He finished his article by saying that "The progressive half of Britain needs a narrative to overcome this threat: a narrative based on shared, historic values of democracy and tolerance", and also "[to] stop pandering to right-wing nationalism and xenophobia and start fighting it."[28]

Cyberspace[edit]

In the run up to the 2005 G8 Gleneagles conference, Mason was one of the first journalists at the BBC to be permitted to write a blog. His blog "Idle Scrawl" was later incorporated into Newsnight's "Talk About Newsnight" blog, which has now also been closed. Thereafter, he became the first person on British television to broadcast from within the online virtual world Second Life,[15] where he has an avatar also named Paul Mason.

Books[edit]

  • Mason, Paul (2007). Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global. London: Harvill Secker. ISBN 0-436-20615-3.
  • Mason, Paul (2009). Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-396-4.
  • Mason, Paul (2012). Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-851-8.
  • Mason, Paul (2012). Rare Earth. Harpenden: No Exit. ISBN 1-84243-846-8.
  • Mason, Paul (2015). PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future. Allen Lane. ISBN 9781846147388.
  • Mason, Paul (2019). Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0241320105.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Josh Halliday "BBC Newsnight's Paul Mason joins Channel 4 News", The Guardian, 5 August 2013
  2. ^ a b Oli Townsend (13 May 2014). "Paul Mason to become Economics Editor at Channel 4 News". Features Exec Media Database - Media Bulletin. London. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Paul Mason, Esq". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight
  5. ^ "This Happy Breed: what the heck are British values? – Paul Mason – Channel 4 News". Blogs.channel4.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  6. ^ Lacey, Hester (13 January 2012). "The Inventory: Paul Mason". Financial Times Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  7. ^ Gray, Robert (7 May 1997). "MEDIA: In Brief - Computer Weekly sees changes". PR Week UK. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/paul-mason-the-robert-peston-of-revolution-6376041.html
  9. ^ A revolt the world over. Leela Yellesetty reviews journalist Paul Mason's book on the global rebellion of 2011. Socialist Worker, February 2, 2012]
  10. ^ Tweetin' 'bout a revolution: Paul Mason talks about Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: the new global revolutions and horizontalist movements. Red Pepper, February 2012.
  11. ^ Northern Soul - Keep The Faith BBC Website, September 27, 2013.
  12. ^ Jackson, Jasper (26 February 2016). "Paul Mason quits Channel 4 News". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  13. ^ "White Bear Theatre London | south london, London | White Bear Theatre, London". whitebeartheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Podcasts: Institute of Public Policy Research".
  15. ^ a b https://highprofiles.info/interview/paul-mason/
  16. ^ Richard Godwin "Paul Mason: the Robert Peston of revolution", Evening Standard, 7 December 2011
  17. ^ Paul Mason Live Working Or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, Harvill Secker, 2007, p.298 ISBN 0-436-20615-3, ISBN 978-0-436-20615-3
  18. ^ "Paul Mason's tweet about evil lettuce | London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  19. ^ John Rentoul. "Paul Mason interview: The Channel 4 firebrand reveals his formula for a 'gift' economy". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  20. ^ ~ Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine (28 March 2015). "Naomi Klein Calls for System Change to Address Climate and Inequality". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Bond traders, Trots and Mumsnetters must unite against Farage's mob". The Guardian. 21 December 2016.
  22. ^ Nair, Ajay (13 February 2017). "Broadcaster Paul Mason brands Ukip voters 'bike-stealing TOE-RAGS' in bitter rant".
  23. ^ Paul Mason (2 March 2016). "Mickeygate — the truth! – Mosquito Ridge – Medium". Medium.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  24. ^ Mason, Paul (7 May 2018). "Why Marx is more relevant than ever in the age of automation". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  25. ^ Mason, Paul (6 February 2019). "The hammer attack on Karl Marx's tomb shows the alt-right fears his time has come". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  26. ^ Mason, Paul (26 June 2016). "Corbyn delivered the Labour vote for remain – so let's get behind him". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  27. ^ Topple, Steve (19 September 2016). "Momentum: here's the truth about the 'hard-left' group". The Canary. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Ukip's turn to the alt-right is a warning sign - we need to fight back". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 4 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Stephanie Flanders
Economics Editor: BBC Newsnight
2008 – 2013
Succeeded by
Duncan Weldon (with Business)
Preceded by
Faisal Islam
Economics Editor: Channel Four News
2014–2016
Vacant