Last month,  Easy News journalists, Jermaine Williams and Shanna Lau, visited  Channel 4’s studios in London to interview news presenter  Jon Snow

The interview was timed to coincide with the European Parliament and local elections on 22nd May, which gave our journalists plenty of opportunities to talk to Jon about the importance of making news accessible and how it can help people to vote.

Launched at the start of 2013, Easy News uses plain language and helpful images to explain the biggest current news stories.  It makes politics and the news easier to understand for people with learning disabilities, who often find both inaccessible due to the complex language used.  As someone who has a long history of breaking big news stories, Jon Snow told our Easy News reporters why some news stories can be really difficult to understand:

“Sometimes [stories are] happening in places in the world they’ve never heard of.  Sometimes they’re people who speak a language they’ve never heard of.  And it’s very hard to explain to people in a very short time – because you only have a very short time in the news – it’s very difficult to give them all the facts.”

As two of the team who write Easy News, both Shanna and Jermaine know how difficult it can be to compress really complex news stories into a small space.  Recently, our Easy News team wrote a special edition on the European Parliament and local election results, which proved hugely popular, demonstrating the appetite for accessible information about politics both among people with learning disabilities and more widely.  As Jon told our reporters:

“I certainly think that [news can help people to vote].  If you are able to simplify it, which we very often do not, we assume a level of understanding which often isn’t out there.  But I think if you can simplify it, it will make it very much easier for people to vote.”

Speaking about the interview, Easy News reporter Jermaine, said “it was really amazing being in the studio.  I felt like a real journalist.  Jon Snow was a really nice guy.”  Shanna added, “it was an exciting day.  I enjoyed being an interviewer and I would like to do it again!”


A full version of the interview, which was set up with the help of disability campaigner, Kaliya Franklin, can be read in the ninth edition of Easy News, published today.  If you’d like to sign up for future editions of Easy News, send an email to easynews@unitedresponse.org.uk with your details – both digital and print copies are available.

You can see more photos from the interview on our Facebook page.

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Rachel Bowen, campaigns officer.