John Watson, Sports Presenter for BBC News
- Sport and fitness
Name: John Watson
My job title: Sports Presenter for BBC News
How I got the job… I did some work experience at a radio station when I was in school, helping out on weekends. This got me interested in broadcast journalism, so I decided to do a journalism degree. After university I got a job as a local news reporter, but sport always interested me the most, so I tried to cover as many sports stories as possible.
It was always my ambition to work for the BBC so I applied for a job as a researcher on the children’s news programmes Newsround and ended up getting a six-month placement. Having done some production roles, I decided to try and make the step into sport. I applied to work as a sports presenter on BBC news and made the jump from children’s TV to adult sports news.
My position in a nutshell… Day to day I am based in the studios in Salford, as part of the team presenting bulletins on the BBC news channel, on BBC Breakfast and a whole host of programmes. But the main job is to compile the big sports stories of the day and produce a sports bulletin on various different programmes – BBC Breakfast, BBC News and BBC World News.
My typical day… It can vary, we work across lots of different shifts and hours but we’ll start by having a discussion with production and the technical team to decide what stories we are going to run that day and which will be our lead stories. Once we’ve decided on the stories, I then write my script and decide what it is we will be talking about in our bulletin.
My most memorable moment… The London Olympics back in 2012, on ‘super Saturday’ when GB won 6 gold medals across the day. There was a really special moment inside the Olympic stadium when GB won 3 gold medals in 45 minutes – Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Gregg Rutherford – you could just hear 80,000 people cheering – that sound was incredible and to be in that stadium to see that happen and hear the atmosphere was my career highlight to date.
The worst part of my job… The early starts. If I’m working on a breakfast shift you need to be in studio for 5am, so when the alarm goes off on those cold, winter mornings in January, that can be miserable! But, by and large, I’m lucky to say we don’t have too many low points in this job.
The best part of my job… Meeting people – I get to work with some great colleagues but interviewing the big sports men and women is great – Andy Murray, David Beckham, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Serena Williams – these are some of the big sports stars I have been able to interview. Getting to some of the events also – world cups, Olympics, Australian open, Wimbledon…
What are the key skills/attributes needed in your role… A natural curiosity is great, be interested in your surroundings and have a passion for your subject. Research is very important when it comes to relaying information, being factually accurate is important. Being able to get on with people, to draw information out of people and be interested in what they are passionate about.
Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… There are so many things you can do now. With social media, in many ways, you can be your own journalist because you have an immediate access to information and you can share that information – photos on Instagram, interesting quote/anecdotes that you have heard from people in football, rugby or any sport that you are interested in. Practice writing your own articles, or practice recording your voice or filming yourself and do your own bulletin. Read as much as you can around your subject. If you are passionate about it, it will shine through. If you are watching something and think there is something missing or it could be written in more details, don’t be afraid to get in contact with those people – show that you are interested and passionate about something. If you show some passion and energy for something, you may get that opportunity which will see you be able to take that first step in a career you want to do.