Do you want to know the behind the scenes of one of the biggest interviews of 2021? Watch back our exclusive event with Sam McAlister and Sarah Hewson.

Newsnight producer, Sam McAlister was in conversation with journalist, broadcaster and royal commentator, Sarah Hewson. They discussed her training as a barrister at the start of her career, but for Sam “it was not the right fit,” and she made the decision to leave the bar. 

Sam was the first in her family to go to university and is a trained barrister and a single mum. Her route into journalism began after spending the day at BBC Radio 4 Law in Action programme. 

Speaking on her time at Newsnight Sam said: “The moment I loved was that moment of jeopardy, the magic live moments, they were the thing that I loved. Although it was the lower status thing from the public perception, for me it was the thing I loved and so I pursued that with a visceral passion.”

Since securing the incredible interview with Prince Andrew for Newsnight, Sam’s book, Scoop: Behind The Scenes Of The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews, is to be made into a major feature film.

For Sam the most important lesson from her time working at Newsnight has been learning to deal with rejection and having a thick skin. She said: “One of the skills that I learnt early on was that most of the time I was going to get a ‘no,’ but I would always get into that pattern that if I failed, I would ask why, try again and be polite.”

During the event Sam revealed some of the lessons that she learnt during her time at the BBC and how she now deals with rejection. 

Sam also spoke about the all-famous interview with Prince Andrew. It was almost a year in the making and she told Women in Journalism all the behind the scenes from the first email she received to being at Buckingham Palace with Emily Maitlis. 

Watch the full event back below. 


Sam McAlister: @SamMcAlister1

Sarah Hewson: @sarahhewsonTV