ITV Yorkshire’s “longest serving double act” pass on tips

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By Karen Liu

The presenters of ITV Yorkshire’s flagship “Calendar” news programme have told students that establishing relationships with contacts is the key to success in the industry.

Duncan Wood and Christine Talbot told trainee journalists at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism Week that they both started out working on local papers before moving onto television.

The pair are now the “longest serving double act in regional TV news” with 12 and a half years on screen together.

Christine went on to explain that building relationships and contacts,  as well as being someone who brings out the best in people, are essential skills for  journalists.

Speaking about the difficulties of reporting on sensitive stories, the anchors talked about their experiences reporting on the case of stabbed Leeds schoolteacher Ann Maguire and the mystery of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence.

Christine spoke about establishing a relationship with Ann Maguire’s sisters for such a sensitive story.

She said: “If you keep those contacts and good relationships going then you’ve got to nurture it and you often become friends.

Duncan added: “Four people had gone into her house from a television company and four hours later, they came out as friends.

“You have to be able to build those contacts and know what to say at the right time.”

However Christine advised the students about being careful not to get too emotionally involved, but to keep a journalistic distance whilst still maintaining a relationship.

Duncan went on to say: “If you don’t treat people with respect and understanding then you won’t get anywhere in the business.

“Ordinary people with their extraordinary stories are the best people to meet.”

The session concluded with the pair giving a master class on presentation in Leeds Trinity’s own TV studio, with students given tips as Christine and Duncan presented a dummy bulletin for ‘Yorkshire Voice’, the university’s webcast news programme.

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