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My job explained: Broadcast journalist

broadcast journalist juliet spareA good nose for a story could lead you into a high-flying job in journalism. Read on as Juliet Spare gives the scoop on her career as a broadcast journalist.

Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I'm a broadcast journalist and newsreader for Smooth Radio, which is part of GMG Radio.

Can you describe a typical working day?

There are two daily shifts at the station, breakfast and drivetime. I'm the desk editor for drivetime in the afternoon. I start work at 11am, having spent the morning digesting the news on the radio, TV, online and on my mobile. Each day we have a handover meeting with the breakfast team and then I read the news on the hour from 1pm until 7pm for the North West and North East regions.

Why did you choose to be a journalist?

I always wanted to be a journalist - being nosy by nature helps! – and radio is my favourite medium. I love it, it was always my final goal.

What qualifications do you have?

GCSEs, A-levels and a degree in Classical Civilisation, plus a post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Cardiff University.

What other skills do you need?

The three Ts: tenacity, timekeeping and tea-making. I work to deadlines and have to read exactly to time. I decide each hour what the most relevant stories for our audience are. As a reporter it's essential to always be thinking on your feet. You also have to know what sounds great on air.

What's the best bit of your job?

When a big news story breaks - then we switch from providing a regional service for Smooth to one national bulletin. It's all hands on deck, very exciting. The feeling of getting an exclusive story is also hard to beat. I also love producing longer radio packages and features on all sorts of subjects from climate change to curry.

What’s the most challenging bit of your job?

It can be a high pressure environment so staying up to date and on the ball is the biggest challenge.

Was it hard to get your first job?

After I finished my post grad course I would freelance where I could. I wanted to work in Birmingham for a news editor I knew who would train me well. While it was hard, I was persistent, and by becoming indispensible at the radio station I wanted to work for I was in line for a full time job when the position came up - and luckily I got it.

What advice would you have for people who want to follow in your footsteps? 

You have to really want to do it. It's no good seeing radio as just a stepping stone. Listen and watch the news all the time to hear and see how it's done.

Work hard, trust your instincts...and make tea.

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