Sarah Champion is a television presenter, national radio host and actress. The majority of interviews I have completed with journalists on Jump4Journalism has been with either online or print journalists, but I think radio journalism has a big part to play in this industry too. Many journalism courses – whether it be an NCTJ or a degree – include broadcast journalism as modules or workshops. I completed a broadcast journalism workshop as part of my NCTJ and although I didn’t quite get the hang of the ‘talking and hearing back my own voice’, it is was interesting to compare the differences between that and online journalism, or print, etc.
Sarah has had a dab at different types of journalism in the industry, and tells us more about her journey from a work experience at 19 Magazine, to now being a radio presenter for Absolute Radio.
What first interested you in a career in journalism?
To be completely honest I wasn’t sure I DID want to be a journalist… I chose to concentrate the practical part of my Communications degree at Goldsmiths on journalism as I believed it would equip me with an excellent set of ground skills necessary for a career in the media.
What academic training did you have that helped you? (degree/nctj)
BA (Hons) Communications specialising in journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London
Did you complete unpaid work experience, and if so did you find them beneficial?
Work experience is absolutely crucial! I worked voluntarily in the features department at ’19’ magazine part of IPC magazines during the summer holidays of University. I was delighted to have my first article published there, a piece on World AIDS Day. My final dissertation at University was on the sexual discourse surrounding HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns – particularly in relation to women so I would have liked to delve far deeper than I was permitted to for the article. Nevertheless it was a great feeling to be published for the first time.
Where have you worked prior to Absolute Radio?
BBC Radio Essex (voluntarily to begin with!)
Storm Internet Radio
FM 103 Horizon
Your journalism career has seen you work in print journalism, broadcast and TV. What are the main differences and what do you prefer?
I prefer the buzz of broadcasting so would have to say radio. The basic skill set required to write succinctly and to deadlines remains across all mediums but is perhaps a little more pressing when it’s then up to you to deliver those stories live!
Can you tell us about how you got your current role at Absolute Radio and what you do?
I moved from news to presenting during my time at Oxygen/Fusion radio. I realised programmes were where the real fun was and where I wanted to be! The skill set I had developed as a journalist held me in good stead particularly in regards to interviews which are a frequent part of my job now. I host music shows in the main and travel to all the major festivals interviewing artists and bands. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some real musical heroes. I’ve been at Absolute for eight years now and genuinely love every second of what I do.
What is your advice for aspiring journalists hoping to break into the industry?
Work experience! It really is crucial. Volunteer to make tea at your local newspaper or radio station to get that all important foot in the door and be persistent!
What do you hope to achieve at the height of your career?
I’m lucky in that I always wanted to work for Virgin Radio/Absolute Radio and MTV and I have achieved that. At this point I would honestly say real success is achieving the right work/life balance.