Chris Mason this week took over as the new Political Editor of the BBC, replacing Laura Kuenssberg, who’s accepted a new position elsewhere in the corporation. Unlike his predecessor, Chris comes across as a more likeable on-air BBC personality. Many believe that Chris’ appointment as Laura’s successor was to primarily for the BBC to restore its reputation on impartiality, which took a beating in the last few years.
Sir Robbie Gibbs, former head of the BBC’s political programme output, was quoted by Daily Mail as saying, “Chris is the perfect ambassador for the BBC – fair, impartial, decent, with bucket-loads of character.”
There were, however, plenty of dramas during the recruitment of new Political Editor. The BBC had stunned everyone by abandoning the recruitment process after shortlisting two final candidates namely Sky’s Sophy Ridge, ITV’s deputy political editor Anushka Asthana and BBC’s Newscast host Adam Fleming for the top job.
What Mason said on new role
Reacting to his appointment, Chris had said, “What a tremendous privilege to take on what, for me, is the most extraordinary job in British broadcasting and journalism.
“I clamber upon the shoulders of giants like Laura, Nick [Robinson] and Andrew [Marr] with a smattering of trepidation and a shedload of excitement and enthusiasm.
“To lead the best team of journalists in the business on the best news patch of the lot is something I’d never even dared dream of. I can’t wait to get started.”
Chris hails from Steeton with Eastburn in Bradford, West Yorkshire and is the son of two primary school teachers. He spent his childhood in Grassington and went to Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton.
He later attended Christ’s College, Cambridge, to study geography. Chris joined the ITN as a trainee soon after his graduation before completing a postgraduate diploma in journalism from London. In 2002, he joined BBC New Castle.
During his 20 years with the BBC, 41-year-old Chris has worked on Radio 4 documentaries, Could the PM Have a Brummie Accent? and The Country vs the City and Any Questions?
Laura earned more than £260,000 every year, but Chris has been on the lower end the salary even after spending nearly two decades with the BBC. In 2017, Chris stunned everyone by announcing that his annual salary was £60,000. He later took extra work within the BBC but continued to remain below the £150,000-a-year threshold, which requires the BBC to make a public disclosure about an individual’s salary.
It’s believed that Chris has struck a deal, which will take his salary to more than £200,000-a-year.
Chris is a family man and loves to spend time with his wife and children when he’s not reporting for the BBC. He’s a happily married man and has two children from his wife Polly. The family lives in London.