Huddersfield-born Nina Hossain has worked as a journalist for over two decades but says she still must pinch herself whenever she thinks about her successful career. She is a role model for northern women who wish to pursue a career in journalism.
With an undergraduate degree and a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism, she then went onto a traineeship with ITV, before establishing her name in broadcasting as a reporter and presenter for national news.
Some of her career milestones include interviewing huge political figures such as David Cameron and Boris Johnson, sports, music and film stars, and covering royal weddings. Her contribution to the media has seen her win the Royal Television Society award for presenter of the year and nominated for the Services to Media award at the 2015 British Muslim Awards.
Nina told an audience at Leeds Trinity University’s tenth Journalism and Media Week that her career highlight was covering the London Olympics in 2012.
There has been a push to establish a more representative workforce within the media industry, but Nina pointed out that this issue doesn’t stop at gender and ethnicity. There needs to be more opportunities for budding journalists that don’t have the privilege of a prestigious education.
“I’m excited to see how real diversity within a newsroom impacts our story choices and our story telling and I’m delighted – to see that Leeds is going to be a big part of that solution with Channel 4 coming here, that’s just brilliant news for the region, for the city, for Yorkshire as well.
Nina’s passion to encourage people without the privilege of a middle-class upbringing and received pronunciation, to pursue a career in journalism, comes from her own experience in breaking the industry. With a Yorkshire accent, Nina suffered some criticism over her voice for broadcasting. This, she says, is something which needs to be celebrated, rather than ‘fixed’.
“I will never be entirely comfortable with losing most of my Yorkshire twang, and certainly my family, and definitely my sister in Huddersfield continuously take the micky out of me for doing so – get a drink inside me and it soon comes back.
“I think times have changed now and nobody would have to do that (change their voice for broadcasting).”
7% of the British population are privately educated, but according to the Sutton Trust in 2016, just over half of Britain’s top journalists (51%) had a private education, meaning most successful journalists received a privileged head start.
The same report showed that although 90% of the population were educated in a comprehensive school, only 19% of top journalists come from this background.
However, with Channel 4 recently announcing they will be moving to Leeds, and the growing hub in Salford, there are more opportunities being made available to aspiring journalists from the North of England.
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