After leaving Liverpool, Snow was hired by Lord Longford to direct the New Horizon Youth Centre, a day centre for homeless young people in central London, an organisation with which he has remained involved and of which he subsequently became chairman.
By 1978 he was working as a correspondent for ITN, and in November of that year was sent on a mission to Vietnam to report on the plight of the boat people. He served as ITN's Washington correspondent (1983–1986) and as diplomatic editor (1986–1989) before becoming the main presenter of Channel 4 News in 1989. In 1992 he was the main anchor for ITN's election night programme, broadcast on ITV; he presented the programme alongside Robin Day, Alastair Stewart and Julia Somerville. (Previously ITN's programme had typically been presented by Alastair Burnet, who left ITN in 1991. The 1992 election night programme was the only one hosted by Snow. He was replaced by Jonathan Dimbleby from 1997 onwards.) He has won several RTS Awards – two for reports from El Salvador, one for his reporting of the Kegworth air disaster as well as the 1995 Award for Best Male Presenter and the 1980 Award for TV Journalist of the Year for his coverage of Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East.
Snow is known for sporting his vast collection of colourful ties and socks.
While working as a journalist in Uganda, he flew alongside President Idi Amin in the presidential jet. He has recounted how whilst Amin appeared to be asleep he thought seriously about taking Amin's revolver and shooting him dead, but was worried about the consequences of firing a loose round in a jet.
In 1976, Snow reportedly rejected an approach by British intelligence services to spy on his colleagues. At first he was asked to supply information about the Communist Party, but he was then asked to spy on certain "left-wing people" working in television. In return he would have received secret monthly, tax-free payments into his bank account, matching his then salary.
In 2002 he returned to radio, presenting Jon Snow Reports on Oneword Radio, a weekly show and podcast. He wrote regular articles for the Channel 4 News website and Snowmail – a daily email newsletter on the big stories coming up on the evening edition of Channel 4 News.
In 2003, at the height of the dodgy dossier affair, Alastair Campbell walked into the studio to rebut statements by the BBC. Without notes or preparation, Snow attempted to question Campbell about the affair.
In 2004, Snow published an autobiography, Shooting History. The book was published by Harper Perennial and detailed Snow's life from his childhood up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Snow refuses to wear any symbol that may represent his views on air; in the run up to Remembrance Day, he condemned what he called "poppy fascism" because "in the end there really must be more important things in life than whether a news presenter wears symbols on his lapels".
Jon Snow in June 2007
On 28 February 2008, Snow said that the silence of the British media on the decision to allow Prince Harry to fight in Afghanistan was unacceptable: "I never thought I'd find myself saying thank God for Drudge. The infamous US blogger has broken the best kept editorial secret of recent times. Editors have been sworn to secrecy over Prince Harry being sent to fight in Afghanistan three months ago." These remarks provoked criticism from some viewers and media outlets.
On 9 February 2009, Snow interviewed Lt-Col Yvonne Bradley, the military counsel for Binyam Mohamed, a British resident detained for five years at Guantánamo Bay. Snow asked whether Mohamed's allegations of torture were justified; Bradley said there was no doubt at all that he had been tortured. Mohamed was released and returned to Britain on 23 February 2009.
In November 2010 Snow was sent to Haiti to report on the cholera outbreak.
In early 2014, Snow had a debate with comedian and actor Russell Brand who appeared in a Channel 4 interview about his petition for a debate on British drug laws.
Accusations of bias
In June 2017, it was reported that Snow had shouted "fuck the Tories" at Glastonbury. He was criticised for his views on air by a guest on Channel 4 News, and former Conservative minister Grant Shapps later refused to appear on the show, doubting its neutrality. Shapps stated: "I don’t think he [Jon Snow] can deal in an even handed manner in any interview with a Conservative MP. He has lost all credibility." MP Andrew Bridgen called for Snow's resignation, arguing that Snow's "extreme views" were incompatible with an impartial interviewer. Rival presenter for the BBC, Andrew Marr, commented that if he had made similar comments, he would have lost his job.
Channel 4 released a statement saying that Snow had been “spoken to and reminded of his responsibilities around due impartiality”.
Awards and honours
Snow declined an OBE because he believes working journalists should not take honours from those about whom they report.
In 1979 Snow was briefly engaged to fellow ITN journalist Anna Ford, ITN's first female newsreader on News at Ten. For 35 years his partner was human rights lawyer Madeleine Colvin, by whom he has two daughters. In March 2010 he married Precious Lunga, a Zimbabwe-born academic 27 years his junior.
Patron of Reprieve, a legal action charity which uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.
Patron of the African Prisons Project, an international non-governmental organisation with a mission to bring dignity and hope to men women and children in African prisons through health, education, justice and reintegration.
Patron of the DIPEx Charity, a UK-based charity that produces two health websites, Healthtalkonline and Youthhealthtalk, featuring people's real life experiences of health and illness.
Patron of SafeHands for Mothers, a UK-based charity whose mission is to improve maternal and newborn health by harnessing the power of the visual, through the production of films.
Chairman of the Heart of England Forest, a charity working to create a 30,000 acre connected woodland of native broadleaf trees. Currently 12% towards their final goal they are already England's largest new native forest.
^Waterson, Jim (17 May 2018). "Channel 4 News host Jon Snow takes 25% 'gender pay cut'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2018. A Channel 4 News source said that Snow, as one of the station’s most recognisable faces, was employed directly by Channel 4 rather than ITN, meaning his pay cut will reduce the gender pay gap at the broadcaster rather than at the news production company.