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Women in Media Conference 2017: Steph McGovern Keynote Speech


Steph McGovern has worked in financial journalism for over 13 years covering economic and business news for the BBC. She was the main producer for the daily financial news on Radio 4’s Today programme and was later the lead producer of business news on the BBC’s main news bulletins working with Robert Peston. For the past five years she has been part of the BBC Breakfast team. One memorable event was a feisty exchange with the then boss of Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland who disputed her economic knowledge on air when discussing the latest profits that had been published.

What was discussed?

Steph spoke frankly and amusingly about her experience working, particularly the issues she has dealt with since becoming a presenter. She had to deal with prejudice not only for being female who has the audacity to be knowledgeable about economics and business but also for her strong Middlesborough accent that is seen by some as inappropriate for the BBC.

We got to listen to how she has to deal with pigs biting her during an item, Richard Branson ringing her to get the latest news and the strange Twitter accounts she has inspired. However she explained that the best piece of advice she had been given was;

You’ve got to be yourself

Steph and the shirt that sparked thousands of comments that morning on BBC Breakfast.

Again, there was emphasis on getting out there and gaining experience;

Do not be afraid to contact the producer and say why you love their programme and if you could come in to see. Then once you are able to go in to somewhere, make yourself as useful as possible!

Through working hard, making the right contacts and learning through experience, it will all pay off. If possible, find your niche. Having a specialism is good as the knowledge you have in a particular field can help give you the edge over others in the industry.

Stand out advice:

Don’t be afraid to ask to do things


Be helpful, enthusiastic and creative

What I took from the session:

Steph really emphasised the importance of displaying your enthusiasm to potential employers so you need to ask yourself how much do you really want this? The people who really want to tell stories, make the best presenters, producers and editors.

It was interesting to hear how broadcasters are looking for new talent by searching online so the piece of advice that really resonated with me from this session was to do what the organisations are currently not. Show your enthusiasm and specialism for the area you want to pursue. Think about how you would tell the story to the audience and ultimately,

Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything.








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