Jim Rosenthal, How to stay at the top of the broadcasting game – Media Festival

I booked this event for the media festival as I knew it would be interesting, maybe because the guest speakers son happens to be Tom Rosenthal from Friday Night Dinner, but mostly because of Jim Rosenthal’s broadcasting knowledge and career.

Rosenthal has a huge amount of experience and has done a lot during his broadcasting career including covering formula one races and much more. I wanted to hear about his experiences and gain some advice which I could use myself, as a student journalist.

He started off by explaining how his career started, starting at the bottom and building his way up. At school, he wrote an article about being on the tennis team and getting to the final and had it published in his local paper. For him, this was exciting and he started trying to ‘get his foot in the door’ and began to build up his career.

One of Rosenthal’s mottos; ‘really have a go and see where it takes you’ urged him to carry on and succeed in making his way up in his career, telling us about how broadcasting gives him joy and a buzz.

Never planning ahead is also advice which Rosenthal gave because he says planning ahead doesn’t always end well. I found this interesting and personally now, I might start taking opportunities more and see where they take me rather than planning ahead and waiting for those things to happen.

Social media was slightly touched upon during the event and Rosenthal said “it didn’t exist in the bulk of my career.” He made his way to the top of the broadcasting game the ‘old-fashioned way’, without social media and online presence.

Whether social media is a good thing or a bad thing is a big debate and Rosenthal mentioned how he was told on one occasion that he had a number of nasty comments written about him on social media, but he never paid attention to any of it.

He went on to tell us about how you need self-confidence to do what he does as it’s a fun job, but it isn’t always easy. There can be early mornings and lots of travelling, but that the job is definitely rewarding.

In 2003, Rosenthal covered the rugby world cup final and revealed that this was his proudest moment in his career. Millions of people watched this, and I wondered how he stayed calm. This was answered later on in the talk when he discussed that one day someone had given him the advice; “treat the camera like it’s your friend.” I personally found this really helpful as talking to a camera knowing that people are or will be watching is a strange situation which many journalists struggle with.

I think the main thing that I’ll take away from this event is that you have to keep trying and work hard to achieve what you want to achieve. Success doesn’t just come over night. I really enjoyed this event, and gaining knowledge and experience from Rosenthal is a honour.

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