Did you know that Newsroom experience at the Leicester Mercury convinced award-winning television presenter Julie Etchingham that she wanted to be a journalist?
The Leicester-born personality – who is on the Mercury’s list of the 100 most famous people from the city –cites work experience at the Mercury as one of the reasons which helped launch a career which has now taken her all over the world, interviewing figures such as Hilary Clinton, fronting the Leader’s Debate ahead of last year’s General Election and presenting coverage of majorevents , including the election of Pope Francis and Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton.
Julie Etchingham with Press Club directorsBob Warman and Julie Etchingham
Julie, who went to English Martyrs School. Leicester before going on to study English at Cambridge, revealed the “light bulb” moment that she wanted to become a journalist when she spoke at a Birmingham Press Club lunch when she was installed as an Honorary Life Member for her services to the media.
“I’d kept a diary ever since the age of six and when I was about 13 my mother said: ‘Do you want to be a journalist?’ It was a light bulb moment. Of course, I wanted just that – to be a journalist.
“And after work experience at Radio Leicester, Centre Radio and the Leicester Mercury I was convinced that was the career for me,” Julie said during an “interview” with Press Club president and ITV Central presenter Bob Warman.
Julie, who last month was named as Television Presenter of the Year – repeating her success from 2010 when she became the first woman to win the award – first appeared on television screens while with BBC Midlands Today in Birmingham. It was here that she first met and worked with presenter Kay Alexander, one of the guests at the lunch, who, Julie said, was an “inspirational figure.”
After leaving the BBC, Julie joined Sky News before switching to ITV in 2008 to co-present the re-launched News at Ten alongside Trevor McDonald. Today, she is the “female front” of ITN.
She told guests that one of her most challenging moments was hosting the Leader’s Debate – the first time that such a television event had been broadcast in the UK. The next significant challenge would be covering the EU referendum – the biggest question that today’s generation would probably ever face.
A raffle, held in aid of The Journalists' Charity, of which Julie is an Ambassador, raised almost £500.