A JMU Journalism graduate has beaten thousands of people to a top TV presenter’s job to be the face of the 2012 Paralympics coverage on Channel 4.
Alex Brooker, 26, entered the ‘Half a Million Quid Talent Search’ last year and, along with several others, will put the skills honed as a student into practice interviewing athletes competing during the games.
When JMU Journalism asked Alex if he thought he would ever end up working for Channel 4, he admitted: “Absolutely not! I didn’t even think I’d be working seven months ago.”
As the recession continues to bite, graduate jobs are hard to find. But Alex took on extra responsibility when he was at Liverpool John Moores University to ensure that he had more to offer to employers.
“The Liverpool Echo employed me as a casual once a week,” he said. “I did a column in Havoc, which was the student magazine at the time, and worked as a Sport Editor on Shout FM – the then student radio station. I loved doing that, reading the sport news on the morning show and acting as a co-presenter.”
From there, Alex enjoyed his role as Disabled Rights Officer for LJMU, then went on to work for the Press Association on a trainee editorial scheme.
He is still on contract with PA and even though Alex knows it will be tough working at his presenting job as well, the rewards have been high.
“Recently I interviewed [South African paralympic athlete] Oscar Pistorius a couple of times trackside live. When I got to sit there and watch myself on screen, it was weird but also pretty cool. I had a couple of good jokes in there and it was a fun show to do,” he said.
There has been no such thing as a typical day for Alex since embarking on his career as a journalist, one that has included meeting sports personalities such as Steven Gerrard, Marcel Desailly and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former JMU Journalism student from Kent, who graduated in 2006, has also competed in paralympic shooting events, and naturally he hopes to be doing more broadcast journalism and presenting jobs in the future.
However, working with disabled children is something he says he would find worthwhile. He told JMU Journalism: “I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve been able to live fairly unrestricted in the able-bodied world, but I know there are some kids who don’t.”