Speaking during a Sky News showcase at Somerset House in central London, he talked about the news brand’s approach: “We’re fair, and we’re thoughtful, and we want our coverage to set an agenda, not present one.”
The event took place at a time when Sky News is preparing for what it has called “a pivotal year for U.K. and U.S. politics,” given big elections in both countries.
Rhodes also described Sky News’ goals as “challenging the powerful in equal measure, challenging the status quo” and being “an insurgent brand.”
He also promised that “we’ll be investing in our political coverage,” mentioning the weeknight 7-8 p.m. show Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge as an example. “We started the Politics Hub on television, it had been a digital brand. And now it’s presented with, I’d say, extraordinary viewer interest just in these first few weeks, doubling what was there before on key nights.”
The American executive highlighted that “we could not do this, we could not make these investments, we could not present this new programming without the support of [our] parent company Comcast [and] NBCUniversal that is deeply invested in the kind of news coverage that we do globally on behalf of the whole company, and deeply invested here in the U.K.”
Looking back at the launch of Sky News in 1989, Rhodes said: “Starting out, we were a plucky upstart. We brought 24-hour news to this country, and today we have over 800 people doing the news gathering … all around the world.”
At the end of February, Rhodes, the former CBS News president, was unveiled as the exec chair of Sky News. His pan-European role focuses on “the development of a long-term commercial strategy for both Sky News U.K. and TG24 in Italy,” the news channel of Sky Italia, the company said back then. Rhodes reports to Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of Sky Studios.
Jonathan Levy was promoted to managing director and executive editor of Sky News U.K. The new leadership structure was set after the December news that John Ryley would depart as head of Sky News after 17 years at the helm.
“Throughout my career, I’ve admired Sky’s commitment to accurate, impartial, high-quality journalism,” Rhodes said at the time of his appointment. “Together we will bring this important news coverage to audiences around the U.K., Europe, and the wider world.”