They actually worked together while out in Hong Kong during the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997. Ms Maitlis worked in the Far East for six years in radio and TV, including a stint for TVB News, the news gathering arm of Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Ltd. She also spent some time with NBC Asia as their business correspondent creating documentaries, and then as a presenter in Hong Kong covering the collapse of the tiger economies.
Then in 1997 she worked for Channel 4 News during the handover as Mr Snow’s “fixer”.
He described her as cool, efficient, enthusiastic, personable and well-informed.
Speaking to Post Magazine, he said: “Judged by any number of fixers I’ve had in my 40-years working on the road, she was a breed apart.
“To be honest, I was surprised that someone as good as her was available and that she didn’t have a job at one of the big banks.”
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Emily Maitlis used to work under Jon Snow
Ms Maitlis reporting from Hong Kong in 2014
The Channel 4 veteran, who is 22 years her senior, added that he felt “humbled” to be referred to as Ms Maitlis’ mentor.
He praised his former colleague profusely when she was offered her current job on BBC Newsnight in 2006.
According to the Independent, he said: “She’s really a very, very bright cookie indeed and I think she performs brilliantly.
“She was just incredibly efficient. She has a tremendous enthusiasm about Hong Kong and it was clear that she was ambitious that she would get there.
Jon Snow presenting the Channel 4 News
“She’s focused, doesn’t faff about, cuts to the quick. She’ll give Newsnight a run for their money.
“She’s young and zesty and I think she’ll shake up the proceedings. She’s very down to earth, very straight, very easy, no airs and graces.”
However, Ms Maitlis recalls their time together slightly differently – in a more self-deprecatingly way.
She said she recalled thinking up “slightly preposterous ideas” that Mr Snow was very nice about.
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Hong Kong on the handover day
Hong Kong on handover day
The BBC Newsnight presenter said: “I remember saying ‘I’m going to get you to this island off the coast of Hong Kong but it feels like mainland China, I think it’s really important.’
“Probably at the back of his mind, he was like, ‘I’m not going to a f***ing island. Stop trying to give me weird s**t features’, but he was so gentle with me and so kind.”
She added that she also made documentaries for BBC Radio 1 on the music and club scene in Hong Kong, insisting that partying was “obligatory”.
She said: “It was just that sort of sultry heat and you’d stare out at the lights, a drink in my hand. My partying was ecumenical, let’s say.”
Ms Maitlis describes her time in Hong Kong as “golden” and calls it her “spiritual home”.
She originally went to Hong Kong with a job tutoring Spanish, French and Italian, while learning Mandarin herself.
She then signed up to a postgraduate degree at the University of Hong Kong “on, bizarrely, the bowdlerisation of Shakespeare”.
However, she abandoned her degree half-way through to get a job at Radio Television Hong Kong, commuting to the studios from her home on Lantau Island.
Emily Maitlis reporting from Hong Kong for BBC Newsnight, 2014
The BBC journalist insists that during her time in Hong Kong she was “a terrible journalist” who “made every mistake in the book”.
She said: “I remember taking the ferry back every night with my best friend and a bottle of wine and somewhere between laughter and tears, crying about how badly the day had gone.
“And I think in a London environment, I would have just been chewed up and that would have been the end.”
In 2014, Ms Maitlis returned to Hong Kong where she covered the “umbrella movement” for the BBC.