Sam McAlister

BAFTA-Nominated Interviews Producer on BBC Newsnight
  • Expert negotiator with a clientele list including the Buckingham Palace, The White House, and Tesla.
  • Former Criminal Defence Barrister
  • Provides insider perspective to the BBC’s biggest interviews

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As the BAFTA-nominated interviews producer on BBC Newsnight, Sam McAlister has successfully negotiated with everyone from Buckingham Palace and The White House to Facebook and Tesla. With skills honed through more than a decade in the BBC's elite news programmes, she  has mastered the art and science of persuasion, as evidenced by her ability to build rapport with people and positively influence them to participate in a news programme that is renowned for its rigour and bite. 

Exclusives include, most famously, that interview with HRH Prince Andrew — but also interviews with Sheryl Sandberg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Bill Clinton, Elon Musk, Prime Minister Netanyahu, James Comey, Stormy Daniels, Julian Assange, Trevor Noah, Amy Schumer, and Eric Schmidt — to name a few. She has the inside scoop on what interviews like this say about leadership, reputation, and communication in the modern age and knows how to avoid making terrible mistakes and deal with the media. She also speaks about the art of negotiation — honed over years and years — and “how to convince a Prince.”

Described as “indefatigable” and having “silky smooth persuasive skills,” when speaking to groups, McAlister outlines best practices for developing trust and understanding, as well as mistakes to avoid for more effective communication and negotiation in the modern age. Using fascinating stories from her career, she shares examples of what worked and what didn’t as she persuaded heads of state, royalty, celebrities, and global changemakers to share their stories with the world. Her insights can be adapted for any organisation aiming to enhance interactions within their teams and with their clients.

Negotiation, strategy, and public speaking have always been at the heart of everything that McAlister has done — from her time as a criminal defence barrister to her many public speaking and debating prizes, and her dealings with celebrities and governments. She has extensive experience speaking on panels — with everyone from banks to law firms, via CEOs and embassies and has also chaired day-long events and hosted awards ceremonies.

McAlister's book, Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews, was released in July 2022 and details the secrets of a former BBC producer who found her way to Buckingham Palace, giving a backstage pass to the most unforgettable journalism of our time.

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The Art and Science of Negotiation. For 10 years, Sam McAlister pulled the strings behind the scenes of BBC Newsnight to negotiate and secure exclusive interviews with royalty, heads of state, global business leaders, and world-famous celebrities. Just as in show business, negotiation skills are paramount for achieving favourable outcomes and building beneficial relationships in today’s business landscape. In this talk, McAlister explores the intricacies of negotiation and offers insights and strategies for mastering the art of negotiation to arrive at the desired outcome.

Enhancing Communication for Impact. Effective communication was the single-most important skill for Sam McAlister to master in order for her to be successful during her decade as BBC Newsnight’s interviews producer. It led to her securing exclusive interviews for the programme with global newsmakers, including Sheryl Sandberg, Elon Musk, and even Prince Andrew. Reflecting on experiences from her own career, she shares practical strategies for communicating with maximum effect — including mastering nonverbal cues and crafting compelling narratives. McAlister leaves audience members with tools to enhance their influence, build stronger relationships, and achieve their goals.

Exploring Current Affairs. In addition to her tenure as interviews producer for BBC Newsnight, Sam McAlister is a renowned journalist and TV presenter with a keen eye on the pressing issues shaping our time. McAlister examines the aspects of the news of the day that matter most to audiences and offers deep, clear analysis on the heart of the issues, as well as their potential impact on the world around us.


In addition to the above, Sam McAlister is well-positioned to delivered custom keynotes on the following additional topics:

  • The Media
  • Leadership
  • Crisis Management 
  • Journalism
  • Women In the Media

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