Jon Snow: Acclaimed journalist with long career and love of jazzy socks and ties

Laura Harding
·3-min read

An acclaimed and celebrated broadcaster whose journalism career began almost 50 years ago, Jon Snow will step down as presenter of Channel 4 News at the end of 2021.

Famed for his love of eye-catching socks and silk ties, he has been a staple of the channel’s news programme for 32 years.

Snow, 73, began his career in journalism for Independent Radio News, LBC in 1973.

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He joined ITN, which produces Channel 4 News, in 1976 and served as Washington correspondent from 1983 to 1986 before working as diplomatic editor from 1986 from 1989.

He became the main presenter of Channel 4 News in 1989 and has since travelled the world covering elections, revolutions and conflicts, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the release of Nelson Mandela; and the elections of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair and Barack Obama.

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Born in Sussex in 1947, he grew up at Ardingly College where his father was headmaster.

In 2013 he revealed in a blog post on the Channel 4 website that he was abducted and abused by a member of staff at the school when he was six years old.

After leaving school he spent a year as a VSO volunteer teaching in Uganda and described it as the most radicalising experience of his life.

Jon Snow to step down as Channel 4 News Presenter
Jon Snow reporting from Haiti (Channel 4 News/PA)

He credited a determination to return to Africa with his decision to enter journalism, realising that was the best way to go back.

Some 10 years later, ITN dispatched him to Uganda to cover Idi Amin’s coup.

Over the years he has won awards including the Richard Dimbleby Bafta award for Best Factual Contribution to UK Television and the Royal Television Society awards for Journalist of the Year and is a five-time winner of Presenter of the Year prize.

In 2015 he was honoured with Bafta’s highest accolade, the Fellowship.

House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards – After Party – London
Jon Snow with his Bafta Fellowship (Ian West/PA)

Delivering the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in 2017, he said management at media companies should be shamed into ensuring equal pay for women and called out organisations for lack of diversity across the media.

He also revealed that he had taken a pay cut at the request of Channel 4 and said he felt it was the right thing to do.

He sparked controversy in 2019, after a day of rallies and protests relating to Brexit, he said he had “never seen so many white people in one place”.

More than 2,700 people complained to regulator Ofcom, making it the most complained-about programme of 2019, and Channel 4 said it regretted any offence caused by the “unscripted observation”.

Ofcom found the comment did not breach TV rules.

Jon Snow to step down as Channel 4 News Presenter
Jon Snow interviewing Idi Amin in Uganda (Channel 4)

Earlier this year, Snow, who has two daughters from his relationship with human rights lawyer Madeleine Colvin, announced he and his wife Precious Lunga hd welcomed a child together.

He announced the couple had a baby boy with a surrogate on March 2 after “numerous medical setbacks and miscarriages”.

Snow and Lunga, a 46-year-old Zimbabwean academic, tied the knot in 2010.

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