Don't feel pressured into moving to London, Darshna Soni tells budding journalists

Don't feel pressured into moving to London, Darshna Soni tells budding journalists

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Darshna Soni in conversation with Deborah Kelly
Darshna Soni in conversation with Deborah Kelly

Darshna Soni, Home Affairs Correspondent at Channel 4 News, shares her experiences of working in broadcast journalism, and offers advice to those who want to follow in her footsteps.

How she became a journalist

“I came to journalism quite late having done sociology at university. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I ended up working for Britain’s first black MP, Bernie Grant, for a number of years.

“Working for him I saw media from the other side and it wasn’t very good. Awful things were written about him, especially in the tabloids. I saw the effect that had on him and his constituents.

“That’s how I became interested in journalism. I did a BBC traineeship but in order to get onto that I did a lot of voluntary work for my local radio and TV station.”

What makes a good reporter

“You have to be nosey, like gossip and be really interested in people. It is no good sitting behind a desk, you have to get out there and meet people.

“When a big story breaks there is no point in just standing with the rest of the media pack camped outside someone’s house. You need to knock on neighbours’ doors and ask questions.

Working outside London

“I am based in the Midlands. I think it is really important to think about regional journalism and represent people outside London.

“Following Brexit and the Grenfell tower fire there’s been a huge debate about the elite and London newsrooms not being in touch with what’s going in the rest of the country.

“People often feel they have to be in London to have a career. It was something I faced. I am not originally from London. I found it really expensive to live in London.

“There’s a whole country out there. A lot of people outside London were shocked by Brexit, but in the regions we saw it coming because we talk to people on the ground.

“We knew how they felt and were listening to them every day. Don’t feel under pressure to work in London.”

 

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