John’s talk covered his early career joining Reuters in 1967 as a writer, and a script writer at the BBC, before moving to ITN as a rooky news reporter, a role he didn’t think he’d be any good at but very quickly loved and made his own. During the talk, John’s illustrious career came into sharp focus; covering the Afghanistan war, downfall of Communism, revolutions in Iran and the Philippines and countless world news events. But it was never his ambition to move from reporting to news casting, because "he loved reporting and the challenges he faced every day."
John spent 32 years at ITN, presenting the ground-breaking News at Ten, a "glorious and varied job" which he loved every minute of. John’s retirement in 2004 was short-lived, after Channel 5 asked him to stand in for Kirsty Young while she was on maternity leave. The four month contract lasted nearly two years and his retirement plans were further put on hold when Classic FM, who knew about his love of classical music after reading one of John’s many books on the subject, asked him to present his own show. John found he adapted well to the move from TV to radio, "mediums which are like chalk and cheese", because he was able to use his skill of painting picture for listeners, plus he had a real passion for classical music.
Throughout the talk, John gave tips to journalism students. He told students that:
"To be a newscaster should come from wanting to be part of the news rather than seeking fame”; that “you only get one shot at live broadcasting, so do it and do it well”; and “the best qualification for being a journalist above all else is passion."
John then took questions from students on a variety of topics; from his love for Beethoven, to how we made the transition from script writer to news reporter, and how he’s adapting to the world of social media and its impact on contemporary journalism.
Commenting on John’s talk, Rachel McLean, Director of Liverpool Screen School said:
"John’s talk was full of fascinating stories and good advice for our Journalism students about to embark on careers as reporters or newscasters. We are incredibly grateful that our students were given this amazing opportunity to hear from someone with such a rich and varied career in the industry. I have no doubt that every one of them took away several nuggets of advice to guide them along their career paths."