Sarah Smith (news reporter)

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Elizabeth Smith

(1968-11-22) 22 November 1968 (age 53)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow (MA)
TitleNorth America Editor, BBC News
Simon Conway
(m. 2007)

Sarah Elizabeth Smith (born 22 November 1968) is a Scottish radio and television journalist with the BBC. She is BBC News' North America Editor, with responsibilities for reporting on all major news stories across the United States and Canada. She previously held the post of Scotland Editor, having joined the BBC in Spring 2014 for the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September 2014.[1] She has presented the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. Smith has covered stories ranging from the United States presidential elections and the Madrid train bombings (for which Channel 4 News won an International Emmy in 2004), to the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith and an exclusive interview with Saddam Hussein's defence lawyer.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Edinburgh in 1968, where she attended Boroughmuir High School.[2][3][4][5] She then graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1989 with a Master of Arts degree.[6]


Smith began her journalistic career as a graduate trainee with BBC Scotland. She spent a year living and working in Belfast for BBC Northern Ireland, during which time she was held at gunpoint by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in its West Belfast headquarters.

In 1991, Smith moved to London as an assistant producer with BBC Youth Programmes, working on Rough Guide, Rapido and Reportage. Two years later she moved to news and current affairs, first as assistant producer with the Public Eye and Here & Now programmes. She then worked as a producer for the BBC on programmes as diverse as Newsnight, Public Eye and Rough Guides.

On 5 News she was a reporter for two years. Smith was then the first newsreader on More4 News on Channel 4's digital television sister channel More4. She was Channel 4 News's Washington correspondent before moving to the post of business correspondent in the summer of 2011.[7]

Smith presented BBC Two's Scottish current affairs programme, Scotland 2014, alongside sports presenter Jonathan Sutherland. The programme first aired on 27 May 2014.[8] She was appointed the BBC's first Scotland editor in November 2015, to cover Scottish news for a UK audience.[9]

In August 2017, it was announced that Smith was to succeed Andrew Neil as the presenter of the Sunday Politics programme on BBC One from mid-September that year.[10][11]

In November 2021, it was announced that Smith had been appointed BBC News' North America editor, succeeding Jon Sopel.[12]


Smith is the eldest daughter of the former leader of the Labour Party John Smith, and of Elizabeth Smith, Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill. She has two younger sisters: Jane and Catherine Smith. The John Smith Memorial Trust, on whose Advisory Council she sits, lists her as The Hon. Sarah Smith; her mother's status as a Baroness allows her the right to use "the Honourable" before her forename. Smith married Simon Conway, an author, former British Army officer and co-chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, on the island of Iona, where her father is buried, on 22 September 2007. The service was led by Rev. Douglas Alexander, father of former Scottish Labour Party leader Wendy Alexander.[13][14] In 2014, she returned to live in Edinburgh.[8]


  1. ^ "Sarah Smith joins BBC News" (Press release). BBC. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  2. ^ "In the line of fire: Sarah Smith on stepping into the hot seat". The Herald. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Sarah SMITH". Personal Appointments. Companies House. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ McSmith, Andy (1994). John Smith: a life 1938–1994. Mandarin. ISBN 9780749396756.
  5. ^ "Boroughmuir High School has some notable former pupils". The Edinburgh Reporter. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Our alumni: Life after Glasgow: Notable alumni: Arts and Media". University of Glasgow. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. ^ "News: Sarah Smith". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b Black, Claire (24 May 2014). "Sarah Smith on fronting the BBC's Scotland 2014 show". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  9. ^ Miller, Phil (19 November 2015). "Sarah Smith appointed BBC's first Scotland Editor". The Herald. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  10. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (23 August 2017). "Andrew Neil steps down as Sunday Politics host". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Sarah Smith the new presenter of BBC One Sunday Politics" (Press release). BBC. 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  12. ^ Bedigan, Mike (17 November 2021). "Sarah Smith takes over as North America editor for the BBC". The Times. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Sarah Smith: Eight things you need to know about the 'pushy' new BBC Sunday Politics presenter". The Daily Telegraph. 18 September 2017. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Smith's daughter married on Iona". BBC News. 22 September 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Position created Scotland Editor: BBC News
Succeeded by
James Cook
Preceded by North America Editor: BBC News