From milking cows to the front seat of history – Sky News journalist’s rise to fame – UPDATED

Gerard Tubb, the North of England correspondent for Sky News

Gerard Tubb, the North of England correspondent for Sky News

Honesty, nosiness, attitude and a healthy disregard for authority are a vital part of being a successful journalist, according to Sky News’ North of England correspondent.

Quoting former foreign correspondent Nicholas Tomalin, Gerard Tubb insisted that the only qualities essential for a career in journalism are rat-like cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability.

“My wife describes me as the rudest man she knows,” he said.

Gerard advised budding journalists at Leeds Trinity University that the desire to create a change should always be at the forefront of their minds.

Chatting to students before his talk, he said: “Our job is to hold people to account and to do that you need to be vigorous and troublesome.

“And to be a good journalist, it’s essential to not have an over-respect for those in authority and it’s really important to continue to ask those difficult questions.

“If you don’t want to create change, then why be a journalist. I am a tradesman, a craftsman and a bit of a chancer. I get to be in the front seat of history, in the midst of amazing stories and watching them happen.”

Gerard Tubb shows students the newsroom at Sky

Gerard Tubb shows students the newsroom at Sky

In his time as a journalist, Gerard has covered a number of high-profile stories, including ‘canoe man’ John Darwin and an investigation into illegally traded pork, which eventually led to the downfall of the late Lord Carter, former Chief Whip of the House of Lords.

Speaking about the investigation into illegally traded pork, Gerard said: “A lot of people had to answer a lot of questions and that is what journalism is all about.

“I would never have been able to uncover that story without that rat-like cunning I was talking about.

“Every scoop you get and every big story you get is about making your own luck. You need to give yourself permission to hunt down a story.

“Find a bit of truth and put it into the public domain.”

He added that to be an investigative reporter you have to be honest yourself and stay on the right side of the law – he once had his expenses claims forensically examined by the police.

If you found £100 in a city centre and weren’t the kind of person to hand it in then you should not be a journalist, he said.

He also told students that how you dress is really important. He said he dresses more casually than other journalists and Sky News colleagues: “This garb is non-intrusive and non-threatening. I find people are more likely to talk to me dressed like this. If I was wearing a suit and paying to have it dry cleaned I may be more nervous about interviewing someone sat on a wall.”

Sky News correspondent Gerard Tubb says "smart but casual" dress best for journalists

Sky News correspondent Gerard Tubb says “smart but casual” dress best for journalists

He said he felt like an “imposter” among journalism students as he had no background in journalism – he spend his teenage years milking cows and studied drama at university.

However, he was taught to edit using an old reel-to-reel tape recorder by an ex BBC employee, and when he turned up at BBC Radio York with the name of that contact plus editing skills, it got him an interview.

“I offered to work for nothing, answer the phone. Being pushy meant I wheedled my way in,” he said.

 

Gerard’s entire talk:

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Comments

  1. Engaging read. Very good points, well-made. I do think your are right.

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