'You Learn To Think On Your Feet In A Live Studio Environment' | A Q&A with TV Journalist Helen Fospero
One of the most popular and trusted faces in British Broadcasting, Helen Fospero is a safe pair of hands for hosting all sorts of corporate events around the globe.
As well as travelling all over the world as showbiz correspondent for both Sky News and GMTV, and being ITV’s U.S. Correspondent based in New York, she has hosted on the sofa for ITV’s Daybreak and Lorraine shows, and is currently a reporter for BBC1’s The One Show.
We spoke to her to find out more about her busy life on the air!
How did you make the transition from newspaper journalism to broadcasting?
When Sky News first went on air, they recruited half their journalists from Fleet Street as they felt newspaper hacks had a certain grit and determination, which wasn’t always there in the world of television. My presenting break came one night when the overnight newsreader went sick. I read the news for five hours and that was the start of my on-air career.
What’s an average day like for you?
No two days are the same, which is one of the things I love about being a journalist. There’s no such thing as an average day. I work for The One Show, host all sorts of corporate events all over the world for brands like Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, and I’m also an Ambassador for Barnados. I recently led a fundraising expedition to the Arctic to raise awareness of the extraordinary work that they do for Britain’s vulnerable children and young people.
Can you share a couple of your most memorable moments from your career?
My job as a journalist has given me a front-row seat at some of the most incredible moments in history. Sadly I watched the towers come down on September 11th from my apartment in Soho, New York, and covered the subsequent War on Terror. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. My live reporting from Ground Zero was very personal and I felt part of the story rather than an outsider looking in. Entertainment wise, I love film and always got a big kick out of hosting live on the red carpet at The Oscars and in Cannes for GMTV, and doing one-on-ones with the stars.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Getting my work-life balance right with two gorgeous kids raised in a freelance world!
What have you learned from working in live broadcasting, and how do you translate this experience to the corporate circuit as an awards host and conference chair?
Fronting live breaking news prepares you for pretty much anything in life. You learn to think on your feet; react quickly; tackle any situation; and rise to the challenges of the live studio environment. Interview wise, you meet world leaders, CEOs, extraordinary members of the public, celebrities and are able to put anyone at their ease. In the corporate world, the ability to interview to a high standard, to listen to responses, to help with damage limitation and to remain calm and unflustered at all times is essential and to be able to adapt to an ever-changing brief and running order. As a journalist, I like to think I bring that experience to the table as well as hosting skills and I love working as part of a team.
What do you aim to bring to an audience?
Capturing an audience is key and keeping them engaged with the content - vital. Before any corporate event, I like to mingle with the delegates and get a feel for my audience and who they’re made up of. I want to them to enjoy my hosting and feel able to come over at the end for a chat.
Which event(s) have you most enjoyed hosting?
I can honestly say I enjoy all kinds of corporate events. I hosted one this year in Madrid which involved 15 vehicles driving on stage during my presentations including a rally car fresh from the track. It got the adrenaline pumping! And another exciting one in South Korea on the day of the presidential election.
What’s next for you/ what are your goals for the future?
Next up, I’m hosting business awards in the North of England where I’m from, and also the community pub awards. 21 pubs close every single week in Britain. I’ve campaigned to save The Great British Pub doing a One Show hour-long special so this event is close to my heart. As an Ambassdaor of Barnardo’s – Britain’s leading children’s charity – I’m also hosting the #PiccadillyOn campaign live in the West End to raise funds.
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