BBC Breakfast presenter and sports journalist
MA Broadcast Journalism, University of Sheffield, 1998–99
I currently present BBC Breakfast three days a week – which involves getting up at 3:20 in the morning – and host Football Focus every Saturday – which doesn't involve such an early start. I have a football show on BBC World News, and stand in on Match of the Day when Gary Lineker is on holiday or pant shopping.
Over the years I've worked in local and regional radio and TV and was a presenter on the BBC News Channel for a few years before moving into network TV about 12 years ago. I've been privileged to travel all over the world covering major sporting events and interviewing some fascinating people.
The most valuable part of the course was the work experience. That gave me a real idea of what working in the industry would be like. When I did get a job, I felt like I was already up and running
I did the Broadcast Journalism MA at Sheffield the first year they ran it so was very much a guinea pig. I just missed out on the BBC Trainee Scheme during the course (I ate the examiner's lunch by accident, which didn't help) but the most valuable part of the course was the work experience. That gave me a real idea of what working in the industry would be like. When I did get a job, I felt like I was already up and running.
A great grounding
I did my final radio piece on the shared experiences of a family of quads in Sheffield as they approached their GCSEs. We ran that as a feature on one of our many newsdays, which were a great grounding for doing the job for real.
The course also gave me the ideal platform for doing other things. I wrote for the University newspaper, helped set up the radio station (which is still going today) and I entered and won a football commentary competition run by Hallam FM while I was on the MA. I started working for them the week after I graduated and within six months I was the Sports Editor at Key 103 in Manchester, reading the news and commentating on Manchester United and City.
Don't tell him, but I loved learning media law from Mark Hanna. I still use that most days in the job.