UPDATED: Twist, stick, or get lucky, says BBC reporter

Phil Bodmer speaks in front of students at Leeds Trinity

Phil Bodmer speaks in front of students at Leeds Trinity

By David Mackie

Getting ahead in journalism is about choices, with a heavy dose of luck, said Look North presenter Phil Bodmer today.

The experienced broadcaster discussed his career at the BBC and said: “All the qualifications and all the talent in the world will get you nowhere. Unless you get a lucky break you won’t get far. The industry is supremely competitive. And a certain helping of hard work is needed as well.”

While addressing journalism trainees at Leeds Trinity University he said his career has been made up of ‘twist or stick’ moments, where he faced a choice of braving the unknown or playing it safe. “I have no regrets about the choices I’ve made,” he said.

Phil’s first experience with broadcasting was working on a talking newspaper for the blind. While recording that, he met a journalist who then became an editor of a local radio station. This connection then led Phil to a job in broadcasting – even though it involved a 50 per cent pay cut.

Phil said he felt extremely privileged to now work for Look North: “250,000 people tune into the show every week. It shows a huge appetite and demand for local news. The future is exciting and there are many opportunities.”

Phil showed a report from Look North on fly tipping in Barnsley. He had stumbled across the story and pitched it to the editor with an iPhone picture. This story ended up setting the agenda for a week in the local area, with several other news outlets covering it and the local council spurred into action.

“I do presenting and some people only want to be presenters, but I quite like reporting as well. Doing unglamorous stuff has never bothered me. I actually quite enjoyed being knee-deep in that stinking pile of rubbish.”

However, he said others who work in TV are not always so humble.

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