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I was born in Brighton, but spent my early life in Kenya, although later I returned to England, where I was brought up in Barcombe, East Sussex. My father was a university professor, but I went to the local comprehensive. In the summer of 1991, after completing the rigours of А-levels, I dreamt about a carefree year travelling the world. If anything was furthest from my mind, it was journalism. However, the job I took instead of sightseeing, in the office of Neil Kinnock, inspired me to join the industry in which I’m now so well-known.
Working as an office skivvy for the Labour leader, I was the complete junior — doing every task from making the tea to delivering letters to Downing Street. People are surprised that I didn’t end up pursuing a political career, but witnessing the machinations of our democracy in action was not as stimulating as mixing with the press, as I assisted in the 1992 election organisation. Before then, I hadn’t even contemplated a career in journalism. But then the bug bit me. My studies had previously been all-consuming, but when I eventually started at Oxford I instigated the search for a route into broadcasting.
During the university holidays I sought as much experience as possible, but with difficulty, only finding work in the BBC secretarial pool and finding a job after graduating wasn’t any easier, so while I was firing off hundreds of letters to TV firms begging for advice, I went on the dole. I could only find myself working in a succession of mundane jobs, including one which involved daily trips to the nearest supermarket to buy ingredients for the salad lunch of the managing director of a temporary employment agency for whom I worked as a personal assistant. I remember this period of my working life as the unhappiest. I felt ‘demoralised’ and ‘a failure’, particularly as many Oxford friends had secured top jobs via the milk round. The letters I received declining my applications for work I still keep in a box underneath niv bed. But I went on writing letters of application. One respondent to my pleas was Jill Dando, who actually took the trouble to call me and invite me for coffee. She gave me the most inspirational piece of advice for an aspiring presenter: always believe in yourself and never take rejection personally.
I kept trying to break into television and found work on a cable channel, Talk TV, alongside Sacha Baron Cohen, the future Ali G. That was the vital break I had been desperately searching for and within a year, I was taken on at Meridian television in Maidstone. The people there trained me up and eventually gave me the morning news show to present. It was my first news role and led to my presenting the station’s evening bulletins with Fred Dinenage. When I was given the chance to work alongside Alastair Stewart presenting London Tonight, I had my dream job. It lasted a year. Journalism had truly gripped me. Yet at the same time, I bought my first flat in London, forcing me to make a long commute to the south coast every day, until, fortunately, London Tonight came calling.
I settled in very happily to presenting the capital’s flagship news programmes, so when my agent called me during a holiday with an approach from Sky News, I was very upset, even cross. I was convinced that I didn’t want to move. He spent hours pleading, trying to convince me that cutting my teeth on a 24-hour breaking news network was a career move that could not be spurned. My two years on Sky, dealing with limited resources and interviewing a diverse range of guests at short notice on Sunrise and Live at Five, turned out to be a tremendous learning experience. But I promised myself I would never do the early starts again — until Breakfast headhunted me to work on the BBC channel that I had always longed to work for.
I have had a strange career, moving around an awful lot. In fact, my current stint on the early morning BBC sofa is the longest I have remained in a job since I started in television. However, it is an enormous strain and it takes huge sacrifices to wake up at such a ridiculous time in the morning. Over the years, I have wished that I had banked up more sleep. I have embarked on a totally different stage in my career — entertainment presenting. I never thought I would make it as far in television so quickly, especially recalling how difficult it was to find a job at the outset. Aspiring broadcasters should remember that most people are sympathetic, that you have to start from somewhere, and it is in people’s nature to help. That said, so much is based on luck, rather than a fantastic CV, and as Jill so memorably told me in my hour of need, you have to believe in yourself.
ВОПРОС 1. The article says that the author has lived the most of her life in:
1) a small country town in East Success;
2) Oxford, famous for its ancient University;
3) Kenya, a country located in East Africa;
4) England, the southern part of the UK.
ВОПРОС 2. After the author had passed A-level exams, she:
1) immediately went travelling the world;
2) went straight to Oxford University;
3) started doing an unqualified job;
4) experienced different types of workplaces.
ВОПРОС 3. In this article the author stresses that:
1) journalism became her dream career as soon as she had completed A-level exams;
2) salaries for journalists may vary widely depending on what is the person’s area of specialization;
3) journalism as the most high-paid occupation in many countries attracted her immediately;
4) she started thinking about how to become a TV journalist when she studied at the university.
ВОПРОС 4. After she had graduated from Oxford University:
1) she wrote to everyone asking for a job as a presenter;
2) she immediately started working as a BBC journalist;
3) she quite easily found a job of a BBC newsreader;
4) she was never among unemployed media specialists.
ВОПРОС 5. She left the TV programme London Tonight because:
1) she didn’t like her job there any more;
2) she had been persuaded to change her job;
3) she lived very, very far from her work;
4) she was about to make a career move.
ВОПРОС 6. The writer feels that her years on Sky News were from professional point of view:
1) absolutely useless;
2) extremely useful;
3) quite encouraging;
4) financially stable.
ВОПРОС 7. In this article the writer tries to prove that in the world of TV journalism:
a) only self-confident professionals usually make a successful career;
b) good written CVs always help professionals to find a dream TV job;
c) successful journalists shouldn’t often change their places of work;
d) good communication and writing skills are not enough to be a journalist.
ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 3
ВОПРОС 3: – 4
ВОПРОС 4: – 1
ВОПРОС 5: – 2
ВОПРОС 6: – 2
ВОПРОС 7: – 1