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When Andrew Gilligan went on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 at 6.07 a.m. on 29 May 2003 and precipitated the row which led to the explosive Hutton Inquiry (2004), he was using one of the most common devices in news broadcasting: the semi scripted, live conversation with the programme presenter. And as the Hutton inquiry unfolded, broadcast journalists around the country shifted uncomfortably and thought ‘There but for the grace of God…’.

In the mid-1980s, two-ways were relatively rare. Interviewing your own journalists about a story was seen by programme producers as a last resort, to be used if no authoritative sources could be found, or maybe to give context and analysis by specialist correspondents who knew the story and the subject inside out.

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