Broadcast documentary makers – what do you do with your historic interviews tapes?

I wrote an article for Britain Journalism Review (BJR) last year on what journalists do with their paper and digital archives and what are the problems of preserving ‘the first draft of history’.

I’m  following up with a natural second part to this which is: what to do about all those significant interview videos and audio tapes that are in warehouses and are historic in value. I made three Timewatchs in the 1990s with people who have never otherwise been interviewed. I interviewed at length a range of USAF (SAC), RAF and Red Air Force officers, from generals right down to crew, and then a long list of Cold War players including J K Galbraith. I would say many are of historic value and only a few minutes were actually broadcast.

There were lots of other significant interviews in other projects I worked on. Mostly we edited in 30 – 60 seconds but there were dozens of hours of tapes. While I have transcripts in my paper archives the beta tapes are stored somewhere by the independent TV company I was working with and I suspect other journalists and film-makers have this problem. Please tell me your story:

PL’s paper on Spies putting journos lives in danger in Press Gazette

Warning that western spies put lives in danger by posing as journalists


The Guardian’s Edward Snowden revelations were widely condemned by those involved in secret intelligence for undermining spies’ safety.

But a new study, by City University’s Paul Lashmar, has warned that western intelligence agencies themselves have put journalists in danger by using the profession as cover whilst operating covertly.

In “Tinker, tailor, journalist, spy…”

All that is important about Dorset’s heritage – Volume 138 of Proceedings published today

PL is proud to say that Volume 138 of Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society (DNHAS) is published – the sixth annual volume under my editorship. Available from Dorset County Museum. £20. 176pp

Proceediings Vol 138 oneProceediings Vol 138 twoProceediings Vol 138 threeProceediings Vol 138 four


Top investigative journalist Paul Lashmar joins City journalism department

Dr Paul Lashmar will be teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate journalism courses

 • by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

One of the UK’s leading investigative journalists, Dr Paul Lashmar, has joined the Department of Journalism at City, University of London.

Dr Lashmar, who is also a well-known academic, will be teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate journalism courses as a Senior Lecturer, including City’s MA Investigative Journalism programme.

He said: “I’m delighted to join City, one of the world’s most exciting journalism schools, and to be working alongside so many distinguished colleagues. It’s also great to be back in London, one of the great global news hubs.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to help students to become the probing and ethical journalists that world so desperately needs in this difficult time of fake news and sensationalist reporting.”

Dr Lashmar has worked in television, radio and print for media including Channel 4, the Observer, the Independent on Sunday and Granada Television.

He is an outstanding journalist and educator and our students will benefit hugely from his experience  Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of the Department of Journalism

His academic research and journalism has covered a broad range of subjects, including organised crime, terrorism, intelligence and business fraud. He is the author of four books, an adviser to the Centre for Investigative Journalism and a former winner of the Reporter of The Year prize at the British Press Awards.

Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of the Department of Journalism at City, said: “I am delighted that Paul Lashmar is joining our staff. He is an outstanding journalist and educator and our students will benefit hugely from his experience. Paul is also developing a strong track record as a researcher and we look forward to his contribution in this area.”

Dr Lashmar is an experienced commentator in the UK media and is regularly interviewed on radio and television. His current research interests include: the British press and the EU, journalism and espionage, and reporting serious crime.

He joins City from the University of Sussex.



How spies cause the death of journalists – Dr Paul Lashmar research paper now published

Putting lives in danger? Tinker, tailor, journalist, spy: the use of journalistic cover

First Published September 13, 2017


The Anglo-American intelligence agencies’ use of journalists as spies or propagandists and the practice of providing intelligence agents in the field with journalistic cover have been a source of controversy for many decades. This article examines the extent to which these covert practices have taken place and whether they have put journalists’ lives in danger. This article, drawing on various methodologies, examines a number of cases where the arrest, murder or kidnap of journalists was justified on the grounds that the journalist was a ‘spy’. This has been followed through with research, using a range of sources, that shows there have been many occasions when the distinction between spies and journalists has been opaque. The article concludes that widespread use of journalistic cover by spies has put lives in danger, but that the extent is unquantifiable.

This is a subscription only journal obtainable from: