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Alumni

Ian Payne

Career Path: Presenter (News), ITV Tyne Tees & ITV Border Television
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Thanks to my degree, and my placement, the day after I graduated from Northumbria I started my first job with flimNOVA, the sports television arm of Brendan Foster's events company Nova International. Three years later I'd produced TV commercials, corporate videos and sports programmes, I then moved to Tyne Tees Television to join their Sports Department. I developed as a sports reporter, then presenter, at a time when north east sports stars were performing on the world stage and I was fortunate to be able to report on their achievements. My assignments have included the Champions League, The Ashes in Australia, The Rugby World Cup in France, the Paralympics in Beijing and the Special Olympics in Los Angeles.

I'd really caught the bug during my TV sports placement on my degree course, but my first television experience had been a few years earlier as a sixteen year old contestant on the quiz programme, Blockbusters. If you recall the show, I didn't make it to the 5th Gold Run, but they told me afterwards that my prize would have been a trip to the Olympics (Barcelona, 1992). I resolved at that point that one day I would work at a major sports event and, thanks to Northumbria, I got there! After 12 years in Sport, I switched to news presenting and have since received Royal Television Society (RTS) Awards, and a BAFTA, for news presenting.

What are you doing now?Ian Payne

I'm the main presenter of the flagship 6pm weekday news and sport magazine programmes for ITV in the Tyne Tees & Border franchise areas. I've been a Disability Sports Ambassador, and I also run workshops for youngsters to gain an inital introduction of the different career sectors.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I was committed to starting out on a sports-related career path. The leading sports degree courses in the country at the time were Loughborough University and Newcastle Polytechnic (Northumbria Univ), my preference was for an arts degree and the offer from Northumbria was a good one! It was a big move for me, 300 miles from home in Ipswich, but it worked out well.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I opted for the Arts degree course, with a 60% balance towards Sports Management, Psychology, etc. and about 40% Physiology, Bio-mechanics, etc. There was a great mix of lectures and seminars, and the practical element was also a big draw.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course was hosted jointly by Newcastle Polytechnic & Sunderland Polytechnic (briefly branded 'NewSun'), and there were real benefits to accessing the combined resources, facilities and expertise, with terrific links to external employers and placements.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

My placement was with an independent sports production company in London called 'TSL': Television Sport & Leisure. It was run by Mike Murphy & Brian Venner - legendary former BBC Sport Producers and Directors. I was with them for four months in the Summer of 1988, working in London on the Seoul Olympics and the Tour de France, both of which aired on Channel 4. The experienced left me absolutely hooked on a career in Sports Broadcasting.

What was the best thing about your course?

The flexible, vocational nature of my course with access to expert lecturers and in the company of a terrific talent pool. It was inspiring, invaluable and fun.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

My peers were a terrific bunch with real talent in each of our specialised sports. Our cohort had International Footballers, Rugby Players, Hockey Players, Cricketers, Athletes, Basketball players, Skiers .. and I was a Trampolinist. Thanks to Northumbria's support, I twice won the British Student Championships. In hindsight I realise that the mutual inspiration we gave one another was a huge factor in collectively raising the bar.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Seeing, encouraging and respecting the relative strengths of others, being able to constructively criticise when necessary (some of our coaches and lecturers were very candid and pulled no punches in their feedback!) and appreciating that there is no substitute for dedication, training and hard work. It was a great learning environment, and still stands me in good stead on a daily basis. Live TV presenting, sometimes delivering tragic news from the studio or location to half a million viewers, needs a cool head, quick thinking and confidence. I still owe a lot to the candid and professional lessons learned during my time at Northumbria.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The camaraderie - I made some terrific friends. Also being part of a pioneering chapter in Sport developing as a credible degree subject.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Northumbria has always been at the sharp end and it's in a buzzing city at the hub of a fantastic, friendly part of the country. Definitely take a look - it'll be a fantastic chapter of your life.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Pioneering, camaraderie and achievement.

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