McMichael award highlights importance of court reporting

Whether you approve of honours or not, three cheers for Ivan McMichael, the doyen of a dwindling profession, that of court reporter, for being made MBE. He should have waited for the spurs of knighthood.. At the height of the troubles, he was also a terrific news tipster. For generations, he has supplied court stories to the entire media without a serious stumble. In a rare burst of modesty Ivan comments:

“I have been thinking why me instead of colleagues who achieved so much more, and some of whom are household names,” he said.

Aw shucks Ivan!, In the courts he’s a legend. I was in court when a magistrate made a mistake in a ruling. Ivan began a curious rumbling, clearing of the throat and shuffling about. Then he let out a loud whisper: “No !“ that echoed all over the court room The magistrate looked up and saw Ivan shaking his head vigorously. “ Oh I’m sorry Mr McMichael, “ he said, and corrected the point. Ivan was not always go gentle with colleagues but always retained their respect and affection. May he continue for as long as he wishes. He’s surely needed.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London