How to become a top financial and business broadcast journalist

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What’s it like to be a top female financial and business broadcast journalist today, and how can you become a top financial journalist in national and international TV, radio and podcast broadcasting?

On Thursday January 19th, Becky Barrow, editor of Sunday Times Money and Women in Journalism Committee Member, chaired a discussion on the topic at the Financial Times in London. She was joined by Claer Barrett, editor of FT Money and the FT Money Show podcast presenter, Helia Ebrahimi, Channel 4 business correspondent, Georgie Frost, Share Radio presenter, and Anne-Marie Tomchak, editor of Mashable UK.

Starting out

  • Get a specialism, it doesn’t matter what it’s in. Just find your voice, love the subject and want to communicate.
  • Work on a big investigation – if you become an expert on the topic you might get asked to do TV or radio interviews.
  • Be willing to get up early in the morning and do shift work to get work experience.
  • Get yourself a mentor who knows the business.
  • Make connections with editors and people who can help you find a job.

 

Tips for moving from print to broadcast journalism

  • Moving from print to broadcasting can be a challenge.
  • Take notes or a pen with you when you are broadcasting if it makes you feel comfortable – even for live TV.
  • Make sure you don’t just read from a sheet of paper. Be interesting and engaging
  • Be aware that things go wrong in live TV, but viewers often don’t notice.
  • You might have to unlearn habits you’ve built up in the rest of your career.
  • Find your own voice. There is no substitute for authenticity in broadcasting.

 

Challenges

  • The biggest challenge is to maintain your enthusiasm without getting caught up in the daily churn of news.
  • As soon as you start getting comfortable and bored in your job, you should think about  leaving.
  • Everyone gets imposter syndrome, whatever gender you are and whatever sector you work in.
  • Many experts you interview have never been on air – your job is to get them to speak well in an unnatural environment.
  • What you perceive to be your weaknesses in your career could become strengths. It may not feel like it, but setbacks can also be an opportunity.

 

Training

  • If you want to get into broadcasting, record yourself speaking and watch it back to see what it looks like.
  • Learn shorthand to help you write notes more quickly.
  • Look into courses by the BJTC, but you can also learn on the job.
  • Make the most of your social media profile to get work.

 

Appearances

  • You get lots of advice on what to wear in broadcasting, but what you’re saying is the most important thing.
  • Authenticity is good for your soul as well as your career, but TV people often obsess about how things look.
  • TV producers often want you to have a brand and always look the same, so that you are recognisable to the audience.
  • There is a determination in TV to do things “cookie cutter”, but successful journalists will do things differently.

 

Do you have more tips and ideas on financial and business journalism? Tweet us at @WIJ with the hashtag #WIJfinance.

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