Where are you from?
Born Bristol, brought up in the Gulf and then Scotland.
How did you get started in broadcasting?
The traditional route: local newspaper, local radio, and then national and international radio and TV.
When was that?
I got my first job as a full time cub reporter in 1993.
Why News broadcasting?
It’s an old cliche but true: the variety and excitement. You can start the day not knowing what you’ll be doing at the end of it (though on a slow day you have a good idea!). It’s also extremely challenging — to get the story, make sure it’s correct, and communicate it in a way that is engaging is much more difficult than it appears.
Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
BBC GLR, World Service Radio, World TV, News 24, Breakfast on BBC1, Newsnight, BBC4’s The World, Today, World at One, PM, The World Tonight, BBC News Online, 5Live
What is your Best on-air moment?
Actually, a special Newsnight report on reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia. It was incredibly satisfying to do, and drew a huge response from viewers. I’ve also enjoyed working on more imaginative long-format pieces for BBC4. Then there’s the big news buzz of covering the Middle East.
What is your Worst on-air moment?
Too embarrassing to reocunt. But I’m sure it’s still out there. Absolutely mortifying.
What would you like to do before your career ends?
For now, just to continue as a foreign correspondent. It’s the reason I entered journalism.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Tinker with my Vespa, though it spends most of its time under wraps in a soggy South London backyard these days. I’m currently Belgrade Correspondent, where I live with my wife, and am lucky to have both ski slopes and the Adriatic Coast within reach. I try to get to the hills and lakes of Montenegro as often as possible, where we have been lucky enough to buy an apartment.
What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Persistence and a good showreel. And think about whether you really want to do it. It’s incredibly oversubscribed and a lot of the available jobs are unsatisfying. If you’re sure then get as much as experience as possible. The explosion of digital channels means that there are more opportunities to get on air early in your career, so that potential employers can see and hear you (the downside is that most of them are rubbish). Decent camera and editing equipment is very affordable now, and the indie documentary sector is the most interesting area by far. If you don’t want to wait for someone to give you a break, do it yourself. It doesn’t harm to try to push things creatively either. Much TV journalism is very formulaic.
A big thanks to Matt for taking part.
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